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MattKing

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I believe that this is similar to my friends' Durst enlarger:
1674415004103.png
 

Philippe-Georges

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It's a light source & controller I made myself; I call it 'Frankenstein' because it looks like something that ran away from that story/movie :smile:

You awaked my curiosity, can you show it?
 

koraks

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You awaked my curiosity, can you show it?

Sure: https://tinker.koraks.nl/photography/the-big-ugly-part-4-imperfect-present/
The preceding three parts of that blog go into the background; why I picked these specific LEDs among others, but also earlier experiments with not-so-good LED drivers. These parts are listed at the top of the page I linked to, in case you're interested.
If you look at the pics on that page, you'll get my 'Frankenstein' reference :wink:
 

BHuij

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I was using a condenser head on my 45MXT for a few years, but ultimately decided to do a DIY LED solution. In the process I got to design, fabricate, and program a custom controller that lets me dial in things like contrast grade, neutral density (really just partial dimming), and stop-based timings really easily. Sure beats swapping in and out huge filters, and having the neutral density option is also great for making small prints.

Perhaps this can simply be chalked up to my own undeveloped eye, but I can't tell that the prints with my condenser head were any sharper than the ones from my LED (diffusion) head. I've filed that notion away for now under the category of "things people say that are probably technically true, but have such an insignificant overall effect that I don't need to worry about them."
 

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Pieter12

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I was using a condenser head on my 45MXT for a few years, but ultimately decided to do a DIY LED solution. In the process I got to design, fabricate, and program a custom controller that lets me dial in things like contrast grade, neutral density (really just partial dimming), and stop-based timings really easily. Sure beats swapping in and out huge filters, and having the neutral density option is also great for making small prints.

Perhaps this can simply be chalked up to my own undeveloped eye, but I can't tell that the prints with my condenser head were any sharper than the ones from my LED (diffusion) head. I've filed that notion away for now under the category of "things people say that are probably technically true, but have such an insignificant overall effect that I don't need to worry about them."
I found when I switched to the Heiland LED head that there was no loss in sharpness, maybe even an improvement over the original condenser set-up. Possibly because the light source sits directly on top of the negative carrier.
 

cliveh

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About 95% of my prints from 35mm are printed on a condenser and I expose and develop film for that type of enlarger. A condenser gives an image snap that you just don't get with a diffuser (although in some instances, this is closely matched if the film is exposed and developed for a diffuser).
 

Philippe-Georges

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To pick up my former comment on the fact I do prefer condenser enlarger head:

Before I got the (used-) Omega D3, I had a D4 with a colour head, which I used for B&W.
But it worked on 110V (and luckily on 50Hz), so I needed a transformer as the mains power over here is 220V but variating between 220V and 240V.
And above that the D4 has its own built in low voltage power system (110V —> 20V), which complicated things when I installed a power stabiliser, which was necessary due to our solar battery system. Imagine a series of two transformers and a stabiliser in line...
Also, the bulbs (20V/100W) were very hard to find and extremely expensive, and you had to replace them with pairs.

That's how I could compare the results, as I was by coincidence 'forced to', and I will never go back to a diffuser/colour head...

I was lucky to find that D3, and I could use the accessoires of the D4...
 
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The more I think about it, the more I think that the notion that condenser or point-source light sources give sharper prints is just another urban myth.

You have a negative, a lens and a piece of photographic paper. As long as these are correctly aligned and the lens is of high quality, then focus should be focus regardless of the source of illumination. In other words, what makes us think that our enlarging lens is suddenly less sharp because we switch to a diffusion light source?

I'll grant that there is a marked difference in contrast rendering from a given negative and diffusion vs. condenser light sources, but once contrast is evened out (e.g., by using a higher-contrast setting for the diffusion source) sharpness should be the same.

If I'm missing something, I'd be happy to know what. I just don't see how the efficiency of the optical system can be affected by changing the light source. Taking lenses don't give different degrees of sharpness depending on the light sources illuminating the subject...

Doremus
 

Paul Howell

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The point source I made from an old Federal was sharp, sharper than my D3 with condenser head. It was too sharp, gain was really noticeable and the dust. It should be noted that a true point source uses a clear small bulb, most condenser heads use frosted bulbs, sort of a hybrid condenser diffuser. I passed the Federal off to a friend, she moved out of state and I lost contact with her, don't know how much has used it.
 

Paul Howell

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BTW, on Shopgoodwill.com local pick up only San Diego a Durst 605 with color and condenser heads. The condenser has both MF and 35mm condensers, not sure if the negative carrier is adjustable, comes with 50mm lens. Does look like some of the wiring needs to be repaired.

 

xkaes

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With a diffusion heads the grains are hit with light from all angles. With a condenser -- and even more so with a pint light source -- the light is going straight through, so the grain is more distinct. Too distinct for some tastes.
 
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ic-racer

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Enlarger lighting is a continuum from point source to diffusion source. The common 'condenser' enlarger with a big opal lamp is somewhere in the middle. It is a good compromise as it is much more efficient than a full diffusion head and doesn't render dust and scratches as well as a point source.
 

ic-racer

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There certainly are enlargers designed for professional/commercial use - robust machines designed for very heavy use and high throughput.
The Durst line of machines come to mind - not the ones designed for the home user, but the ones like the model that friends of mine own that cost $38,000.00 when purchased new (by a commercial user) back in the 1970s. Working with that enlarger is really impressive, but mostly it just does things really well that other enlargers also do. It is a 5x7 enlarger, so that certainly adds capabilities that smaller enlargers don't have.
With enough room, I'd be very happy to set up a two enlarger bench - one with a condenser and a diffused bulb, the other with a diffusion source. That would give me two useful approaches, although the diffusion source would get used more.

Sounds about right if it came with a color head. I'm the second owner of my Durst and it came with the original sales receipt from 1988. In my case, the first owner went with an inexpensive Aristo head. The color head, at the time, cost more than the rest of the enlarger. I recall the price list showed the color head at about $20,000 at the time.

receipt.jpg copy.jpg
 

eli griggs

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xkaes is right, I had to paint the interior of the lamp housing with a flat black paint.

Why?

Lamp houses have reflective interiors for a reason, and, unless you used some high tech, uv absorbent of 99.9 black all spectrum light paint, you'll likely find issues with different sections of the light head interior, reflecting uneven light onto your focus point.

If you do insist on that black interior, you really should use that super uv absorbent black paint.

Are you using a point light source enlarger or average condenser unit?

By-the-way, there is also a super white paint out there should you change your mind.

Godspeed to all,
Eli
 
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Melvin J Bramley

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BTW, on Shopgoodwill.com local pick up only San Diego a Durst 605 with color and condenser heads. The condenser has both MF and 35mm condensers, not sure if the negative carrier is adjustable, comes with 50mm lens. Does look like some of the wiring needs to be repaired.


A good purchase at that price.
Coincidentally I have a similar set up for sale!
 

DREW WILEY

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I have a classic condenser head for one of my commercial Durst enlargers stuffed away on a loft somewhere, with no intention of ever using it. I sold the condenser lens set itself long ago. Colorheads do everything I need, and do it extremely well. With the performance level of today's finest apo enlarging lenses, I doubt there's any significant visual benefit to condenser point light sources except perhaps for tiny negative devotees. I only print 35mm film two afternoons a year at most, so that kind of thing is not a priority for me anyway.

And in terms of what a condenser light sources does, to accentuate crisp grain in tiny negs, also accentuates any scratches or bits of dust present on the neg or its carrier glass, which is one big reason cold lights and other diffusion sources largely replaced point light sources way back when for most enlarging purposes. But if you already have a condenser system, you might as well use it; you can always add an intermediate diffuser later if needed.
 

Philippe-Georges

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The more I think about it, the more I think that the notion that condenser or point-source light sources give sharper prints is just another urban myth.

You have a negative, a lens and a piece of photographic paper. As long as these are correctly aligned and the lens is of high quality, then focus should be focus regardless of the source of illumination. In other words, what makes us think that our enlarging lens is suddenly less sharp because we switch to a diffusion light source?

I'll grant that there is a marked difference in contrast rendering from a given negative and diffusion vs. condenser light sources, but once contrast is evened out (e.g., by using a higher-contrast setting for the diffusion source) sharpness should be the same.

If I'm missing something, I'd be happy to know what. I just don't see how the efficiency of the optical system can be affected by changing the light source. Taking lenses don't give different degrees of sharpness depending on the light sources illuminating the subject...

Doremus

There are a LOT of urban myths in photography, that's what it makes so enjoyable...

But, allow me, I think that contrast gives an 'impression' of sharpness.

And, a long time ago, I read somewhere that the micro curve of the grain, as rendered by a higher contrast light source compared to a diffused light source, is steeper, which gives a more sharper representation, I think it has to do with 'adjacency' or something...
Sorry, but that's how I would 'interpret' what I read in a German tekst (AGFA), a language I hardly master, and translated in my mind into Flemish, and I now translate out of memory into English for this forum, yes it's poorly translated, there is (always) a lot lost in translation!
But I hope you can 'see' the picture...
 

Paul Howell

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Why?

Lamp houses have reflective interiors for a reason, and, unless you used some high tech, uv absorbent of 99.9 black all spectrum light paint, you'll likely find issues with different sections of the light head interior, reflecting uneven light onto your focus point.

If you do insist on that black interior, you really should use that super uv absorbent black paint.

Are you using a point light source enlarger or average condenser unit?

By-the-way, there is also a super white paint out there should you change your mind.

Godspeed to all,
Eli

The idea is prevent as much light as possible from reflecting, only the point source light is used, At the time I did have access the super uv black paint, I used a flat black used to paint car engine parts.
 

xkaes

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Why?

Lamp houses have reflective interiors for a reason, and, unless you used some high tech, uv absorbent of 99.9 black all spectrum light paint, you'll likely find issues with different sections of the light head interior, reflecting uneven light onto your focus point.

If you do insist on that black interior, you really should use that super uv absorbent black paint.

Are you using a point light source enlarger or average condenser unit?

By-the-way, there is also a super white paint out there should you change your mind.

Godspeed to all,
Eli

The inside of my Beseler point light source head is matte black -- and the head has to be focused (moved up and down to get it at the exact height). This is separate from the up & down adjustment of the condenser stage.

The inside of my Beseler CB-7 standard condenser head (older) is white -- to spread out the light evenly on the over-sized CB-7 condenser, I suppose.

The inside of my Beseler 45MXII standard condenser head (newer) is black -- I've never run a comparison test, however.

All original.
 
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Paul Howell

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The reason I used a Federal is that the 6X9 model came as a one or two condenser, I bought the two condenser, the lamp can moved up and down but not side to side, I had a lamp shop swap out the standard bulb socket to a halogen with a dimmer switch. Most point source heads I've seen have a transformer to control the output as enlargements are made with lens wide open.
 

DREW WILEY

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A diffuse head needs a white mixing chamber or reflective mirror box above the negative stage, while an interior-blackened lamp housing would logically benefit the point-source characteristics of certain condenser lens applications, but not all the potential applications.
 
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