8X10 Enlarger

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Folks, I've been watching for a deal on an 8X10 enlarger,(something I can afford). Don't see many, all are way out of my price range. I do know that Arista makes cold light heads for some 4X5 enlargers,(Beseler 45). I've heard of some folks crafting an enlarger from old cameras. Any thoughts or guidance as to the lower cost items to watch for, or instructions to build one from an old 8X10 camera?

-- Tim Kimbler (gandy2@gte.net), February 27, 2002


You could probably get an Elwood enlarger for about 1000 or less, if it comes up on E bay. YOu might also check out www.glennview.com, he has a few 8x10 enlargers (Elwood) Horizontal as well as vertical, but his prices are a little bit high, the guy is a ok to deal with an at least he is honest.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (rossorabbit@hotmail.com), February 27, 2002.

Tim, I agree! The Elwood is probably the cheapest route, but I wouldn't spend over $600 for an 8x10(don't be alarmed if that sounds too cheap, shipping will add some big bucks to the total) Try to get one with the diffusion disc intact. If you can't, no biggie. They still work and you'll have lots to write about on this forum. If it really bothers you aristo makes a cold light, BH lists them for a tad over $400. The only other low bucks alternative I can think of is to find an 11x14 studio camera and make a back for it. I've seen them go pretty cheap on Ebay, but add the cost of a vacuum easel and shipping a heavy studio camera and stand and,well its not much of an alternative. If you find an Elwood, keep in mind you'll need at least an 8' cieling and you'll be using it while kneeling! They are really very simple machines and lend themselves well to tinkering. They aren't as precise as modern enlargers, or even the venerable D- 2, but for some reason with 8x10 they are very forgiving when not precisly aligned. MidWest Photo has them on occasion. Oh by the way, if you get one, it helps to have an understanding bride! Good Luck!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), February 27, 2002.

I got an Elwood 8x10 for free; the photographer just wanted it the hell out of his basement.

Of course the new lens cost me $700.

I have to use vise grips to focus it, but it works fine.

-- Sandy Sorlien (sand44@mindspring.com), February 27, 2002.

I'm planning to build an 8x10 enlarger from the remnants of an old process camera. I paid $250 for it and figure the 12" Goertz lens is worth at least that. To start, I need to find a 10x10" cold light head, then I need to build a film holder, then I need to refine the focus mechanism, etc. It may take me a year or so, but I think I can make it work. I have an old 5x7 Elwood, but I'm not sure it is even worth resurrecting, and I see no way to convert it to 8x10.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), February 28, 2002.


Have you or anyone thought of going to a neon light shop and having one made with the right colour? I once priced one out and it was less than 100 bucks, but since I have an Aristo 4x5 already I did not pursue it.

It would not cost all that much for 2 duplicate tubes of the same shape different color to be fitted into one enclosure.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richardjx@hotmail.com), February 28, 2002.

Ed, I suggest that you use a cold light head at least 12x12 inches and add a second plex diffuser separated from the first by around 1/4 inch. You'll be amazed how even illumination is with double diffusers, and might be shocked at the degree of tube pattern that can print with a typical single plex head. However, edge falloff is accentuated by using two diffusers; thus the need for an oversized source. This assumes you plan on using that 12 inch Goertz lens. If your enlarging lens ends up being shorter, I'd make the source even larger than 12x12.

-- Sal Santamaura (santamaura@earthlink.net), February 28, 2002.

If you go to:http://www.google.com/grphp?hl=en and search for "8x10 homemade enlarger" you will find some useful information (be sure to click on "View Thread" to get all the answers to each question). Also try searching there for specific brands such as 8X10 Elwood, Beseler, Saltzman, etc. If you are near a city of any size, try making the rounds of photo studios and printing shops to see if they have any old equipment that is surplus. Converting a process camera may work if you have room enough for one. You might find one on eBay close enough you could pick it up and not have to pay shipping costs. Ask at local camera stores if there are any camera collectors/packrats in your area who may know of enlargers in need of a home. Howard Bond who writes for "Photo Techniques" magazine built an wooden adapter box to mount an 8X10 cold light and negative carrier on a 4X5 Beseler. I just looked at my 5X7 Elwood and I think it could be converted in the same way (an Elwood may be cheaper than a Beseler). I had planned to convert mine to an 8X10 Aristo light I have, but yesterday I bought the remains of an 8X10 Saltzman. It is dirty ("barn stored" is a good thing if you are buying hay; not so good for enlargers), the bellows needs a lot of gaffers tape, the light source is missing, and the original monster stand has been replaced with one made from an aluminum I-beam. Still, I think it will be very usable (if I can figure how to get it in my darkroom) and only cost me $86.

-- Leonard Robertson (leonard@harrington-wa.com), February 28, 2002.

I toyed with the idea of makeing an 8x10 enlarger from a 20x24 process camera I got off eBay for $50 this week. It's a work of art with motorized focus stage and easel, but just so darn heavy (400 lbs). I decided to strip the lenses, bellows, vacumn easel and base. The frame is in my truck ready to go to the scrap dealer...

-- Rocky LaRochelle (rockyL@attbi.com), March 01, 2002.

Not that $50 is a bad deal, but I cant believe people are paying for process cameras. This is the second sale I've read of in the last couple days. Most owners will bend over backwards begging to give them away, because there is virtually no market for them. Hell, I know where there are two that have been sitting for years with no takers! I took the mint 14 inch Goerz Trigor lens off one of them and had to INSIST they take $20 for it. This camera had been sitting outside under tarps, unsecured at a storage facility for over a year. They were so happy to have part of it gone that they almost didnt get even that! They begged me to take the whole thing. I have been tempted to go back for the ground glass, but havent. This is a monster horizontal unit.

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), March 01, 2002.

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