Ilford head on Omega D5?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by nyoung, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. nyoung

    nyoung Subscriber

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    Looking at an Omega D5 with an Ilford head/light source.

    Does this contain filters for MC papers? Is it a condenser or cold light head?

    This is an internet look so I'm asking here because I can't go put my fingers on it.
     
  2. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

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    It is probably a Multigrade 500 head, could be a 400. Google Ilford Multigrade 500 and you should learn a lot. It is for black and white only. Things to check are 1. Which mixing boxes come with it. There are 3 separate sizes for 35mm, 6 x 6 / 6 x 7, and 4 x 5. Make sure you get the ones you need (not sure what a D5 goes up to), and they are the right ones for the D5 - the bottom dimensions vary with the enlarger they were customised for. Very unlikely they don't match but check this if you can; also if the one you want is not there they are as rare as hen's teeth, and the only source of spares is eBay. Then you need to make sure you get the 500S power supply, and the 500C control panel. If the 500S packs up it is very unlikely to be repairable, and you only rarely see replacements on eBay - I know, I had to get one. The 500C is likewise except that if it breaks it can be replaced by the RH Designs Analyser 500, a wondrous machine worth every penny of its price, but so long as the 500C works it is fine. There is also a 500P probe but you don't need that, it is a pretty useless bit of kit. Oh and there is a footswitch too, again optional.
    How does it work? 2 halogen bulbs, one shining through a green filter for Grade 0, and the other through a blue filter for Grade 5. Grades in between are obtained by the control panel 500C varying the amount of each. The light goes into a diffusion box, so it is a diffusor. Depending on the enlarger the light path may then go through a condenser, or not; I have a Focomat 11c where the head is mounted directly over the negative stage, but I have seen others where the head is mounted over the condenser; at least I assume that is why it is perched on top of the lower half of the lamp housing.
    Make sure there are heat filters as well as the blue and green filters - they have sometimes broken and not been replaced; there should be 2 bits of glass in front of the bulbs, and you need to look closely to be sure they are both there. Also be sure the fans for each bulb are working; the head can get very hot though a sensor switches it off if it gets too hot. I find I need at least an upper glass for 35 mm, and upper and lower glasses for 6x7, otherwise negative buckling makes focussing impossible.
    Finally the Grade 5 obtained seems to me contrastier than I have ever achieved with conventional filters or colour heads, so you are not left wondering if the picture might not have been better with just a little bit more contrast in that corner? Also the power is such that you can stop down as much as you like and still have a reasonable exposure time. In case you hadn't noticed I am a fan, but remember this is an obsolete machine so repairs and replacements are a problem; though I have only had one failure in several years.
    Richard
     
  3. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hi,
    There are several models of Ilford head(s). The manuals are available here in PDF form (scroll down to "MULTIGRADE Exposing Equipment"). The 500, which is likely what you are referring to is neither a condenser nor cold light but rather a diffusion system employing halogen lamps and a mixing chamber. The head provides contrast control for VC printing in .5 grades steps.
    Celac

    Heck, that fellow types much faster than I do. :smile:
     
  4. Mark_S

    Mark_S Subscriber

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    I have an Ilford MG600 head mounted on a Beseler 45 chassis. I have been quite happy with this head- very consistent results, good output, single bulb, able to adjust contrast in steps of 0.1. I believe that this head can be mounted on an Omega D5 - the head is a rebranded Durst Multigraph, so it would certainly fit on a Durst enlarger.
     
  5. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

    Messages:
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    It is probably a Multigrade 500 head, could be a 400. Google Ilford Multigrade 500 and you should learn a lot. It is for black and white only. Things to check are 1. Which mixing boxes come with it. There are 3 separate sizes for 35mm, 6 x 6 / 6 x 7, and 4 x 5. Make sure you get the ones you need (not sure what a D5 goes up to), and they are the right ones for the D5 - the bottom dimensions vary with the enlarger they were customised for. Very unlikely they don't match but check this if you can; also if the one you want is not there they are as rare as hen's teeth, and the only source of spares is eBay. Then you need to make sure you get the 500S power supply, and the 500C control panel. If the 500S packs up it is very unlikely to be repairable, and you only rarely see replacements on eBay - I know, I had to get one. The 500C is likewise except that if it breaks it can be replaced by the RH Designs Analyser 500, a wondrous machine worth every penny of its price, but so long as the 500C works it is fine. There is also a 500P probe but you don't need that, it is a pretty useless bit of kit. Oh and there is a footswitch too, again optional.
    How does it work? 2 halogen bulbs, one shining through a green filter for Grade 0, and the other through a blue filter for Grade 5. Grades in between are obtained by the control panel 500C varying the amount of each. The light goes into a diffusion box, so it is a diffusor. Depending on the enlarger the light path may then go through a condenser, or not; I have a Focomat 11c where the head is mounted directly over the negative stage, but I have seen others where the head is mounted over the condenser; at least I assume that is why it is perched on top of the lower half of the lamp housing.
    Make sure there are heat filters as well as the blue and green filters - they have sometimes broken and not been replaced; there should be 2 bits of glass in front of the bulbs, and you need to look closely to be sure they are both there. Also be sure the fans for each bulb are working; the head can get very hot though a sensor switches it off if it gets too hot. I find I need at least an upper glass for 35 mm, and upper and lower glasses for 6x7, otherwise negative buckling makes focussing impossible.
    Finally the Grade 5 obtained seems to me contrastier than I have ever achieved with conventional filters or colour heads, so you are not left wondering if the picture might not have been better with just a little bit more contrast in that corner? Also the power is such that you can stop down as much as you like and still have a reasonable exposure time. In case you hadn't noticed I am a fan, but remember this is an obsolete machine so repairs and replacements are a problem; though I have only had one failure in several years.
    Richard
     
  6. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to send that twice.
    Richard
     
  7. GM Bennett

    GM Bennett Member

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    I'll second Richard's endorsement of the MG500 - I have on on a D5XL chassis, with RH Designs Analyser, and it's a terrific piece of kit. It took me a while to find one in good condition (replacing my MG400 head, which was also good, but with a more limited range), but you can still find them. Graham