condensing head? dichroic? A little enlarger help...

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Youngun, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. Youngun

    Youngun TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking to start a home darkroom soon, and one of the biggest (most expensive, and most confusing) parts is the enlarger. Could someone explain a little bit about brands, options, various heads, etc? Thanks in advance. ~HD
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Anything I say will be extremely limited. I just went through a six-week darkroom class and I'm a beginner.

    Orie? Ksmattfish? (Where IS that boy lately, anyway?)
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    A condenser head uses an incandescent bulb shining through simple lenses (2 hemispheres of glass on my old Omega DII).
    Brighter: shorter print exposure times
    Sharper: the pro is obvious, the con is more problems with dust, scratches, and defects in the neg
    Higher Contrast

    A diffusion head uses an incandescent or fluorescent bulb/tube shining through a diffuser.
    Longer print exposure times.
    Less problems with dust, scratches, defects...
    Lower Contrast

    A dichroic head is similar to a diffusion head and uses high a intensity bulb and a diffusion chamber (a mirrored box) to mix the light with cyan, yellow, and magenta filters that are built into the head for color printing and variable contrast BW.

    Any enlarger from one of the major brands will probably work very nicely. More modern designs will have more features. Make sure you get one that is big enough for future interests; a used enlarger that will do 35mm through 4x5 doesn't cost much more than one that'll only do 35mm.

    I have an Omega DII and a Beseler 23C; both older than I am. I have a cold light diffusion head for the 23C, but I prefer printing with condenser set-ups.
     
  4. Youngun

    Youngun TPF Noob!

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    so you can interchange heads?
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Depends on the model, but yes, you can get different heads that will fit on the same enlarger chassis. And you can get different chassis to fit on the same head (like a longer one for larger prints, or one that will mount to a wall).
     
  6. Youngun

    Youngun TPF Noob!

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    more options...just what I needed. :shock:
     

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