A couple questions (easels and filters)

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by DSPhotography, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    I've read through the developing/printing portion of the guide posted in articles of interest and still had a couple questions.

    1. Are enlarging easels necessary, or just a luxury to make things easier?

    2. I have an Omega C700 condenser. Would I be better off getting this set of VC filters, or a set like this? Also, if I went with the second option, would it be better to cut them to fit in the filter holder that's on the head, or just hold them under the lens as indicated?

    Sorry for the "n00b" questions, but I'm just starting to get my darkroom set up and I'd like to avoid as much "trial and error" as possible :)
     
  2. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's necessary to keep the paper flat and motionless throughout the
    exposure. An easel of some kind is the only way I know of to do that.
    Some papers have a slight curl even when dry. If the paper isn't kept
    flat and motionless, the image will not be sharp "all over."

    I've never used your particular enlarger but I recommend placing filters
    above the negative stage so that any flaws or blemishes on the filter
    will not appreciably distort the image projected to the paper.
     
  3. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I've been eyeballing easels on eBay and saw a great price on an 11x14 but wasn't 100% sure if I should jump on it or use the money for something "more pertinent".

    As for the filters, I'm still not sure which ones to go with. the sheets are cheaper and I can cut them to fit the filter holder that's built in to the head, but labeling them would be a pain. But I'm also unsure if the ones built in to the holders would work with my enlarger.
     
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the filters you showed under the first link fit in a holder that goes on the lens of the enlarger with the filter slipping into the holder.

    the sheets go into the filter drawer, you can take a label maker and make a small number and place it in the corner of the filter so it doesn't show up on the print, or perhaps a sharpie will work on the corner. Be sure not to touch these filters with damp fingers or you will have color everywhere.

    an easel is important, and unless you know you will be printing larger than 8x10 you may check around and find a wide variety of easels available for very good prices.
    if you are only going to print 8x10 images with the standard border then look for a speed easel, they should be very cheap these days.

    on the other hand if your not sure, get a standard easel, 8x10 on one side, smaller print sizes on the other.
     
  5. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    I did some more research on the sheet filters and realised that yeah, they'll just fit right into the filter drawer. I also believe that they are already labeled in an inconspicuous place, so I'm going with those. Found an eBay listing for a huge lot of them for a really great price.

    And on the easels, Initially I will be printing mostly 11x14 as that's the size I need for my portfolio and it also seems to be the preferred size of some of my clients when they want an enlargement to frame. I've seen speed easels in different sizes, but I'd rather have one that gives me the versatility to print in whatever size I'd like.

    One more question for you guys.. I'm looking at a "borderless" easel (with the two parallel bars that lock down) and a standard two-bladed easel. I'm leaning towards the two-bladed since it seems like it would hold the paper down better and be easier to load, but I'd like to hear from anyone whose had experience with either.

    Thanks again everyone, you've all been really helpful. I'm really glad I found this site =)
     
  6. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The borderless easels are not particularily difficult to load. The difficulty is that they are hard to adjust. Getting the two bars adjusted correctly requires some careful adjustment, but once done paper is rather easy to insert. Bottom line, if you are making a lot of prints all the same size from factory cut paper they are easy to use, but if you are constantly changing sizes and using manually trimmed paper they are a pain in the ...

    The two bladed easels are decent, though not may favorite. They work well at their maximum size and down to about half of that. Much smaller (smaller than 8x10 with an 11x14 model) they can become a problem since the paper is up in one corner of the easel and when the paper is centered under the lens part of the easel often hangs off the edge of the baseboard. The more expensive 4 bladed easels work much better. The prints remain centered in the easel so the easel remains centered on the baseboard.
     
  7. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info. I would be using factory cut paper, though I really don't see myself doing anything smaller than an 8x10, but I do see myself switching between 11x14 and 8x10 frequently. So.. almost makes me think the two-bladed one would be a better choice.

    I've heard mixed reviews about the 4-blade models. Some love them, others say they're horrible. Plus even on eBay, they're a little out of my price range.
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    a "good" four blade easel is terrific.

    the issue is to check that the blades lie flat and sometimes with used equipment that can be an issue, especially with cheaper versions.

    the nice thing is that you can control the size of the borders which if your making images for a portfolio can be very handy. it will allow the use of the same size paper with different images sizes all printed with the same/similar border size.
    the 2 blade easels are more limiting as has been address already.
     
  9. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Quite true.

    Four bladed easels are more complex (read: harder to make meaning potentially more expensive) than two bladed versions. When made properly, they are the best easels out there for most uses. The problem is that when a manufacturer attempts to make an inexpensive 4-blade easel the result is often far worse than a similarly poorly made two bladed version.
     
  10. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Okay.. I have the chance to get a Saunders Omega borderless 11x14 easel for $16. Should I jump on that or wait to try and get a good 4-blade?

    edit: Found an older Saunders Omega four blade for practically a steal. I've read the older ones are made WAY better than the newer ones, so I feel okay buying it. I have asked the guy for more pictures of it (to make sure the blades lay flat and aren't kinked or bent anywhere). I'm probably going to go with that one unless someone tells me that Saunders Omega makes ****ty easels lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  11. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    bordless easel can be great if you wish you bleed a print.

    however, it will be a lot of work if you want to put the standard border or anyother even border around an image.

    i would go for the four-bladed one if that is the only one you can./want to afford.
    saunders makes excellent easel, bottom line will be how has it been used and treated.
     

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