conversion of a Burke & James camera to an Enlarger

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by namatjira, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. namatjira

    namatjira Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    4x5 Format
    As a way of circumnavigating the cost of buying a dedicated 5x7 enlarger for my 6x17 trannies- can someone who has trod this path before, shed some light on the conversion (temporary- as I still want to use the 5x7 for 4x5 work)-
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Multi Format
    I'm torn between doing this whole hog and buying a coldlight from Aristo.

    Trannies? Does this mean colour? That's a lot more complex. I think if you need a colour head buying is about it.

    If it's B&W you need to either build or buy a light source. You need to build a way to mount it on the back of the camera while at the same time including a negative carrier slot and a filter slot.

    For negative carrier I intend to use two sheets of glass. The filters will sit ontop of the glass sheets.

    It's easier if you keep the camera horizontal. Then the camera won't need to support the weight of the light source. OTOH you then need to rig up a vertical easel setup. This all needs to be aligned to the camera. You can get 1/4" hardware to mount the camera to a table. That would make the whole process a little easier each time you setup.

    If you're building a light source then you need something to make light. I'm leaning towards a bunch of compact flourcents. But you could rig something up with tube. Or even hot lights. Every choice has different issues. Remember cooling. So plan on some sort of fan setup for the head.

    Obviously it's a lot easier to just buy an Aristo head. Then you just need to rig up the neg carrier.
  3. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

    Nov 19, 2004
    Ansel Adams' book The Print has a good basic description of a camera converted into an enlarger on pages 26-29. Otherwise check out the Graflarger, made for the Graflex cameras for some ideas of how it could be done. It may be that trying to make an enlarger out of a camera could be more expensive and complicated than just buying an extra standalone enlarger. It's all down to how much time and effort you want to put into it, and how skilled you are with building stuff. But, if space is the issue (a 5x7" enlarger is big!), then by all means go for it. Here is one homebuilt enlarger, although it is for 4x5":