Which enlarger?

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Gary Liggett

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I trained as a photographer in the late 1970s and am returning to darkroom work after many years absence. I would like to make fine art monochrome prints (including toning and from infra-red negatives) as well as printing normal monochrome negatives (from Ilford FP4). I have both 35mm and 6x6 film cameras.

With regard to printing papers, the landscape hasa changed a great deal since I was last in a darkroom!

My question is: which enlarger would you recommend for my requirements?

I would welcome any help, advice or suggestions.

Many thanks in anticipation,

Gary
 

Anon Ymous

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Hello Gary,

regardless of what enlarger you'll get, it would be a good idea to update your profile and declare your location. This way, you'll get more reasonable suggestions from other members. Think about it, Beselers are very common in the US, not so in Europe. Likewise, Meoptas are very popular in Europe, but rather unknown in the US.
 

yellowcat

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Are you in the UK? If you are not printing from anything bigger than 6x6 then there is usually a good choice of Durst and LPL enlargers on Ebay.
 
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Gary Liggett

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I have updated my profile. Please accept my apologies for not having had the good sense to provide my location information previously. Thanks Anon Ymous and Yellowcat for taking the time to reply.

The Durst M670 has been recommended. However, I read that colour enlargers tend to produce softer images than the old condensers. Having said that, I expect that multigrade printing papers compensate for this. Are there any particular enlargers you would recommend?
 

Anon Ymous

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...The Durst M670 has been recommended. However, I read that colour enlargers tend to produce softer images than the old condensers. Having said that, I expect that multigrade printing papers compensate for this. Are there any particular enlargers you would recommend?

Diffusion enlargers will give less contrast, and may also be slightly less sharp. The last isn't necessarily a bad thing, dust can be hidden to a small extent. Other than that, you might not be able to get the hardest contrast of a variable contrast paper with a colorhead. In any case, by using a variable contrast paper you can adjust contrast at will.
 

Martin Aislabie

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Gary, welcome to APUG :smile:

I expose my 35mm & 6x6 on a Condenser Enlarger and use a set of Ilford Under the Lens Multigrade Filters to control contrast.

There are very few bad makes of enlargers around, although some samples have seen more "life" than is good for them

Second Hand Darkrooms do a decent selection - http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk

They have a Durst 605 for £195 or a Meopta OPERMUS 6A for £129 both B&W Condenser 6x6 Enlargers

As with all these things, you need to decide how much money you want to spend and go from there

Martin
 

yellowcat

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This looks like a nice bit of kit , but it is collection only from London

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Devere-203-Pr...ewItemQQptZUK_Photography_DarkroomSupplies_SM

I would go for something like a durst M605 or LPL C6700 or C7700 (I have one of these), the LPL's have the advantage that they are still in production so spares should not be a problem.

If you do get a second hand machine it is a good idea if you can check it out before you buy to make sure everything is present and in working order. I would tend to avoid ones being sold off by schools as they are not likely to have been looked after as well as privately owned enlargers.
 
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Gary Liggett

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Thanks everyone for your carefully considered responses, and for suggesting sources. I'll have a closer look at those you have suggested and take it from there. Many thanks, once again. Gary
 
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