DeVere 54 large format enlarger

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smudge.g

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Good afternoon all,
I have recently acquired an old devere 54 enlarger (a real beast of a machine) but have no experience using these nor can I find any user guide/instructions. Does anyone have an experience and hints on setting up one of these (mine is wall mounted) particularly use of the condenser head and lamp bellows? Odyssey simply said that they didnt write any guides for it hence me looking for user's experience instead.
regards from a newbie
 

Steve Smith

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I have a 54. I converted mine to an LED light source as the cold cathode light was broken.

Mine doesn't have condensers though so I probably can't offer much help to you.


Steve.
 

ic-racer

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Hard to know what you have without a picture of it. Does it have an adjustable condenser head with its own bellows? If so, then you move the condenser up or down to get the most even illumination after you have framed, focused and stopped down.
 

MartinP

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So you have a De Vere 504? If the 54 was a predecessor of the 504 (instead of a typo) then I haven't used one. I worked with a bench-mount 504 and Dichromat head for years.

If you have an old and unmaintained machine then the first thing to fix will be the cable tension. The 504 has the head-height and focussing knobs mounted at the front of the baseboard. The drive to the movable parts is via steel cables which are accessible via the rear of the column - the tensioners are obvious.

We didn't have a Varicon head at work, but I have one now at home on a 203 (6x9cm neg stage) and there are no bellows involved - do you mean the focussing bellows for the lens stage? This is one of those moments when a picture would be worth a lot of words... :wink: On the 203, three condensers are needed to cover from 35mm to 6x9, with the upper one of the normal two swapped to concentrate the light for the smaller neg - this should be shown in a diagram on the condenser door on the 504 just as it is on the 203, so you will be able to work out what you have and what formats you can cover..

Alignment needs an Allen-key, spanner and screwdriver but is straightforward and very solid once done. I have laser-checked mine every few months but no adjustments have been necessary after the initial set-up.

EDIT: I eventually found a picture of the head on a 54. It is indeed different to the later versions of the Varicon. There does seem to be a diagram of the condenser layout on the front of the head though, so that will be your best reference.
 
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smudge.g

smudge.g

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Good evening,
thanks for all the replies, comments and assistance. I have hopefully attached a photo of this large enlarger which was removed from a newspaper printroom some years ago, i bought it from a journalist who used it. As i am new to LF enlargers, its how the upper parts work, that i am particularly interested in - the image shows both bellows extended. The 2 condensers, both in perfect condition, are present and in place but I only have a Schneider componon 50mm F2.8 enlarging lens at the moment to test with but will be looking for a longer focal length lens (any suggestions?) to enable MF (6x6) printing soon. The spring is very strong and after having freed the bearings that were seized, it glides nicely up and down the column with effective brakes. there is also a compartment just below the lamp housing which i assume is for large filters but an not 100% certain of this.
regards and thanks again.
 

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Steve Smith

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That's definitely a 54 rather than a 504. Same as mine apart from the light.

Some of the posts I mafe when I did my conversion...

(there was a url link here which no longer exists) some pictures in this one)
(there was a url link here which no longer exists)
(there was a url link here which no longer exists)


Steve.
 
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smudge.g

smudge.g

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Thanks Steve, very interesting and I assume that your conversion still works well! Do you have a timer or controller attached to your rig? At the moment, mine just has a plain plug on the lamp wire with no other control. Also, have you used filters in the condenser head or below the enlarging lens?
regards
Gary
 

Steve Smith

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My intention was to build a controller so I coulf vary the ratio of blue to green light but at the moment I just have a rotary switch which gives the options of red only, redd, green and blue (white), blue only, green only and blue and green together.

I have not tried filters but I do have plans to make a new light source with some very bright white LEDs I have at work. I think filters will work with them.

Mine does not have a tray for filters.


Steve.
 

MartinP

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It is indeed completely different to the design of the 504! There should probably be more than two condensers to cover the whole range of neg-sizes though. If it is now set up for 35mm then the condenser position(s) and/or focal length would need changing for medium format and larger - this is shown diagrammatically on the front of the enlarger.

For multi-contrast filtration, there are large sizes of sheet-filter available from Ilford/Harman, but it would be more practical to buy their under-lens filter set. And no, it doesn't destroy the image sharpness, unless you take up growing potatoes on the filters.
 

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ic-racer

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Thanks Steve, very interesting and I assume that your conversion still works well! Do you have a timer or controller attached to your rig? At the moment, mine just has a plain plug on the lamp wire with no other control. Also, have you used filters in the condenser head or below the enlarging lens?
regards
Gary

Thanks for posting the picture, looks like a good enlarger. You can put the contrast filters in either place with no ill effects. You plug the lamp cord in to a timer. The condenser head probably works as I indicated above, but can you show a close-up of the plate on the front of the enlarge, it looks like the instructions for the condenser adjustment. Did you get a lens and negative carriers? If the lamp is blown try a PH/212, you can get those for less than $5.
 
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