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Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by gamincurieux, Sep 25, 2010.
Help wanted to align De Vere 504 in Melbourne Australia, will pay in beer!
While I'm at it, does anyone know if there is an 'oversized' 35mm mask available for this enlarger? You know, so I can print with black neg edge borders. And, if they do, can you get it with glass?
Hi, if you want an oversized 35mm mask, you will probably need to find a normal one and file it out. Or if you are happy with even black edges, get a set of glass neg holders. The glass neg holders (one plain piece, one anti-newton piece) were available from Odyssey Sales in the UK - I assume they still are.
Thank you Ian. I want to avoid filing out the perfectly good 35mm mask I have if I can avoid it (just in case I want to sell again down the track... FYI, this is a COMPLETE De Vere 504/Varicon setup I just bought, all condensers/masks/everything, so I'm going to look into the glass with Odyssey.
I have an alignment negative designed for getting the base board level and correctly aligned, it's actually a glass plate but I guess I could copy it. However I'm not back in the UK for about 4 weeks.
Essentially you want an accurate negative or positive with a rectangle & some alignment points you could use a computer to draw up your own, and if you have a glass carrier system print on clear film, 5x4.
To use you measure the width both ends of the long sides of the rectangle, and the same the short, then tweak until when these are identical then the base board is parallel to the negative carrier. A final check is to measure the two diagonals these need to be identical.
A large sheet of paper and a pencil makes the job very quick and you don't really need a ruler as you can just pencil mark the measurement of one end and rotate 180 degrees.
If you set the enlarger up with a large spirit level first, the feet are adjustable, you can get the baseboard extremely close the same way.
It sounds far harder than it is in practice.
Perhaps not the most pro, but I had to print a 6x9 cm neg as a favour.
I didn't have the (probably unobtainable) DeVere mask and not wanting to try to find one for such limited use I made one from mat board. The sliding masks in the head and a 4 blade easel gave me sharp edges.
Regards - Ross
I hear you Ross, but I always print with the black edge, so I'll be doing my best to find either the proper mask or the glass inserts, which come to think of it glass would be preferable as I do use a 4-blade easel. Would be good to have the film as flat as can be, having had glass all the while til now.
Glass would probably aid alignment too I guess.
I am not very good in DIY and hence just order Versalab Parallel. Not yet arrived for my Beseler 4x5 but I hope it work.
I would've thought I could do this by sight, as long as I know what I'm doing with the various points of the enlarger's construction that will allow adjustment..... and this is what I'm unfamiliar with.
First level the frame using a spirit level, there are adjusters under the front feet. Then check the enlarger head is level, it can be adjusted to give tilt so make sure it's det to the mid point. Once you've done that set the baseboard, there's adjusters where it sits on the frame.
There's a good chance it'll be fine anyway,
I guess an iPhone spirit level app won't really cut the mustard, eh?! I'll have to get a proper spirit level, which is what I damn-well knew I should've gotten today while at the hardware store especially to get a spanner for under the baseboard & allen key for those indented adjustment screws. Never mind, I'll get one later. In the meantime I've been playing with adjusting some points by eyesight, and already I can see a noticeable improvement
I use a good long spirit level, approx a metre or 3 of Henry the Eighth's feet Very useful for hanging exhibitions which is what I bought it for, but it also means you can see if the base boards flat and not warped, tey are cheap in the UK.
I would recommend the Parallel by Versalab. I used one to align my De Vere. Sorry Arizona is a little far from Australia. The good news is that it stayed in alignment for over 10 years, the De Vere enlargers are really well made.
Thanks Fred, I do have my eye on one of those, but after buying this enlarger it'll be a while before I can fork out for one..... if anyone closer could lend me one for a weekend that'd be great!
I've gone a fair way doing it by sight, but the outer edges of the image are still blurry, leading me to think that this is simply because the neg ain't FLAT and was probably the problem all along & that I probably shouldn't have started fooling around with it to begin with!!
Can't help myself
Obviously I need a glass mask though, if Odyssey do them.... I read www.khbphotografix.com states that 4"x5" Negative Carrier Glass & 4"x5" Anti-Newton Glass is available. That's a big area to place a little 35mm neg accurately, and without film guide pins, but that's OK, it's a big enough baseboard to move the easel around.
Has anyone got/used these glass masks? I guess they clip right in the master carrier there like any other mask.......
I use the 4x5 glass (1 x plain, 1 x anti-N) in my DeVere 504. As you guessed, they just clip into the holder like the metal masks do - they have similar beveled edges. It is no problem putting a 35mm or MF frame in the middle of it. The only downside is that you won't get that nice ragged edge effect that a filed-out carrier will give you, if you like that sort of thing.
It is certainly feasible to get your DeVere all square with a spirit level. I splashed out on the Versalab Parallel a while back though, and it is really terrific. More accurate and very fast. If you want one, now is probably the time while the A$ and the US$ are almost equal. Better still, find someone in Melbourne with one - you won't need to use it often.
Ian, is yours a condenser head?
I was wondering if you got any hint of the AN-glass mottled pattern showing on your prints. I'd guess that there's more chance of that showing with a condenser head.
Nope I use an Ilford 500 head
Well, to be safe what I might do is what I've done until now with my Durst, that is to use glass on the bottom & 35mm mask on top. I'll get an extra De Vere 35mm mask and file it out, take the AN-glass out of the equation, yet keeping the neg flat with the bottom glass.
Have a look on ebay for a spare 35mm mask, but another option might be to find a small metal fabrication bunch and get them to make you a single mask with a slightly larger hole. If you are using it with a piece of glass you won't need the registration pins/holes and it should be very easy and cheap to make.
Enlarger alignment is a chore best done once and done right. But getting that black border on your enlargements is simple. Don't file the negative carrier there is an easier way!
I expose the photographic paper in the masking easel as usual but before taking it out I cover it with a cardboard rectangle a few millimetres smaller than the picture area. First the rectangle is slid into the upper left corner formed by the easel blades. Then the room lights are blinked on/off for a couple of seconds. Next the cardboard rectangle is slid into the lower right corner and the room light blink is done again. Then the exposed paper goes off to the developer etc. Result? A photograph with a black border that is thick or thin, rough or smooth, depending on how you made the masking cardboard rectangle.
Another advantage of this method over the filed-out negative carrier is that it still delivers when you need to crop a negative!
That is a good method, Maris, especially when you want to crop a negative, as you say.
With a full frame, however, the downside is that, to my eyes, the natural transition from the image to the black film rebate is almost always more pleasing than the transition you can get with a created black border using a cardboard mask.
Thanks Maris. I'm aware of the method, and I do use it when on the rare occasion & for whatever reason (flare or even fogging outside the frame) I can't get the natural black edge black enough.
But, I never crop, I always print full-frame & shoot with that in mind, with the natural black edge showing that, and an unfiled/unadulterated 35mm mask always encroaches a little into the frame in any case, even if only 1/2 a mm or however much...... so, I guess I'm gonna be filing til my arm hurts
Actually Maris, a book I picked up at a market for $2 some time ago gives a very good explanation on how to do black borders your way:
"Darkroom Basics... and Beyond"
By Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz
Published by Collins & Brown, 2000