Enlarging Rolleiflex and Hasselblad negatives

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FujiLove

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I'm finding negatives produced by medium format cameras which run the film vertically through their backs (Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Bronica SQ etc.) very annoying to enlarge. Are they really a PITA, or am I missing something?

Let me explain...

I'm using a Durst M707 colour enlarger, an RR Beard 16x12" easel and usually print on 16x12" paper. All fairly standard equipment and materials. When I insert a strip of negatives from my Mamiya 6 or Pentax 67, everything's fine: I stand in front of the enlarger, work on the image, print 16x12" images (less a tiny margin) and everything's fine with the world. However, when I insert a strip of negatives from my Hasselblad, the image is rotated 90 degrees to the baseboard which makes composition and cropping very awkward. Luckily my enlarger sits on the corner of the bench, so I can move around the left side and at least see the image the right way up. It's not a very comfortable position, as the enlarger column is close to my left arm, which makes things awkward when moving around, but it's workable. Then I run into the main problem: I can no longer make 16x12" landscape prints. When I turn my easel 90 degrees, the left edge hits the enlarger column so the projected image isn't centred on the easel. The best I can do is print around 11x11" square, or around 11x8" if I want to keep the same aspect ratio of the prints.

Yes, I realise I could cut my film into single negatives, and place them the right way around in the carrier. That's certainly an option for a few one-off photos, but isn't something I would relish doing for everything I print. My negative files would be a huge mess.

Are there any other obvious solutions I'm missing, apart from buying a massive large format enlarger (which isn't an option in my tiny darkroom)? Or is this simply a limitation of cameras which run their film vertically?...not something anyone ever mentions when it comes to buying medium format cameras.

Thanks,

J
 

tezzasmall

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I know what you mean J, but I've just learned to live with it and accept it as one of the darkrooms 'quirks'. I have to work my way around it but deffo wouldn't think or call it a PITA.

Terry S
 

guangong

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Not familiar with this Durst enlarger, but I simply rotate the carrier on my 45 Besseler.
 

psychfunk

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I have just gotten used to printing with the image pointing the wrong way. If the sea or the sky has to be vertical while I'm printing it, I can probably cope. You can rotate the print after it's made...
 
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FujiLove

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Not familiar with this Durst enlarger, but I simply rotate the carrier on my 45 Besseler.

A rotating carrier would be great, but like most small enlargers, the Durst one just has a left to right path for the negative strip.

The issue with composing the image 90 degrees on the baseboard isn't the biggest problem; it's the limit it imposes on the print size that's most annoying.
 
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FujiLove

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Rotate your camera 90 degrees.

With a waist level finder? If I wanted the hassle of composing images upside down and back to front, whilst standing with the subject 90 degrees to the way I'm looking, I'd invest in a view camera! :D
 

spijker

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An option could be to mount the enlarger column directly on the (side) wall such that you can slide the easel underneath the enlarger column. Or build a "bridge" on your baseboard and mount your enlarger column on top of that. In both cases it allows you to slide the easel underneath the enlarger column and that might give you the extra space you need to do 16x12" prints in landscape orientation.
 

Luis-F-S

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Just live with it. Some people like to make up problems
 
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FujiLove

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Just live with it. Some people like to make up problems

How is it a 'made up problem'?

I'm trying to standardise on a paper size, mount size and frame size and discovering that negatives from two of my most used cameras are basically incompatible with 16x12" paper. That's actually quite a big problem. It means my Hasselblad and Rollie are only able to make prints two thirds the size of my Mamiya.
 

msage

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An option could be to mount the enlarger column directly on the (side) wall such that you can slide the easel underneath the enlarger column. Or build a "bridge" on your baseboard and mount your enlarger column on top of that. In both cases it allows you to slide the easel underneath the enlarger column and that might give you the extra space you need to do 16x12" prints in landscape orientation.
After using many different enlargers(at school and work) I did something like that. when I designed my darkroom. I mounted my Beseler 4x5 enlarger on a shelf about 8" above the countertop that serves as my baseboard. That way I have plenty of room for my 4-blabed easel.
 
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FujiLove

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An option could be to mount the enlarger column directly on the (side) wall such that you can slide the easel underneath the enlarger column. Or build a "bridge" on your baseboard and mount your enlarger column on top of that. In both cases it allows you to slide the easel underneath the enlarger column and that might give you the extra space you need to do 16x12" prints in landscape orientation.

I think the only way would be to create the 'bridge' and bolt the enlarger to that instead of the baseboard. I'll definitely look into doing that. Thanks for posting that idea.
 

R.Gould

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Square isd square not a problem, I use 9 1/2 by 12 paper, I print full frame, so my final print is square, I I simply cu my mount board to fit, 16 1/2 by 16 1/2 gives me a 4 in border cut the mat with 4in border, so where is the problem, I do the same with 35mm and 645, the only sizes I use, print full frame and cut mounting boards and over mat to fit, I have done this for the last 15 or more years since I started using 66, folders,rollei's Etc,another option, which I have been known to use when using negatives from my rollei's is simply to turn the easel so that the long side is upright and the negative negative is the right way round, but with square negatives I have found that simply printing full frame, compose within the camera and lose that bit of paper, you could always cut it to square in the darkroom and use the off cuts for teststrips, if you are worried about the waste, but you really do not lose that much and I personally like the square format and think that if the neg is square the final print looks better square
 
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ic-racer

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The image is square, you don't need to rotate the easel, you can rotate the print after development.
 

M Carter

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The image is square, you don't need to rotate the easel, you can rotate the print after development.

The OP's issue is he wants to see the image as it will be viewed while printing vs. looking at it sideways - I can see how someone would prefer to print that way.

I always cut the neg I'm working on from the strip anyway, and it goes in a glassine bag in a job-jacket with print notes and masks. But I don't print a ton of photos, I find one neg I want to work - can't say how many times I've setup a shot, metered and framed it, and then thought "will I really want to spend a day printing this?" and pack it up without hitting the shutter. But I have really specific ideas of what I want to see in a print - just my .02, YMMV, etc.
 

jim10219

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I always cut my negatives down to singles before printing to prevent scratches and dirt on the other negatives. Of course, I rarely have two negatives worth printing right next to each other, so it’s not generally a problem. But it’s still good practice. Are you really printing that many negatives at 12”x16” that cutting down negatives would be a problem? What do you do with all of those prints? Do you not make contact prints to whittle down your list of print worthy negatives?

Anyway, I prefer to print with the image sideways or upside down. I find it helps to break up the content of the image in my mind and allows me to better compose the print (if I’m cropping). It’s more abstracted that way. So I might include a little more or less sky or bring in some trees from the side to better balance the image. Those are things I might not think of if looking at the print in its proper orientation due to me trying to recreate the photo I took, rather than create the best print I have available. That’s also one of the reasons why I enjoy shooting with view cameras.

You could build an enlarger “bridge”, I have a steel enlarger table that allows me to remove the baseboard on my Beseler 45MX and lower it, but it’s going to need to be really solid to support the enlarger and give you enough clearance to allow you to access the easel, and give you room for dodging and burning. That likely means you’re gonna need something big and cumbersome if it’s made out of wood.

If you don’t want to cut down film or compose sideways, you might want to consider getting a camera with a rotating back.
 

MattKing

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I'm trying to figure out if a longer focal length enlarging lens would permit 12x16 enlargements that don't conflict with the frame of the enlarger - it works with my enlarger, but it has an inclined column.
Does the easel work better if it is turned 180 degrees?
A Durst 707 can handle bigger negatives. Have you tried a different carrier?
 

guangong

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Since the price of enlargers is so cheap (sometimes the cost is only pick up or shipping), the best and most economical solution would be to get an enlarger with rotating negative carrier. Cheaper than a new camera or some of the convoluted solutions suggested.
As for analog photography, regarding cost of equipment we are living in good times.
 

Svenedin

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It won’t help your size printing issue (easel hitting the column) but if you like composing with the image the right way up just rotate the whole enlarger and baseboard 90 degrees so that the negatives feed front to back rather than side to side.
 

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spijker

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I occasionally run into the "easel against column" problem as well. This Kaiser extension arm would solve that. It looks like it would fit my LPL 670/7700 enlarger as well. Does anyone have this extension arm? If so, can you measure the diameter of the pin?
 

Xia_Ke

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I have a Durst M605 and they made an extension arm for it that supposedly also worked with several of their other M enlargers. It's called the Sirioar. It was meant for allowing the enlarger to print 20x24 instead of 16x20 IIRC, but it also helps to get the easel away from the column. Not sure if it will work with the M707 or not. Here's one on eBay (no affiliation with seller)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/132630815847
 
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