New to the darkroom - Info on the Automega D3 enlarger

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Dreaminginanalogue, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. Dreaminginanalogue

    Dreaminginanalogue TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,

    I recently purchased all the dark room equipment needed to have a fully set up dark room. I bought it all second hand and locally. They said they haven't used in around 7 years but it was working amazingly when they were using it.

    In the package was the Automega D3 Enlarger (and a tons of odds and ends that go with it). I'm looking for maybe some reading material on the anatomy of an enlarger and how to use it. What i'll need to keep in mind when enlarging. I've been watching videos and reading a lot online before the purchase.

    Does anyone have any knowledge on this enlarger that they'd like to share with me? Maybe some reading material that I should check out! It didn't come with a manual and I can't seem to find any anywhere else!

    Please keep in mind that I have never dark roomed ever before and this is all just to get started and learning how it works and growing my knowledge of film photography!
    Thanks so much!


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Automega? Or Omega?
     
  3. Dreaminginanalogue

    Dreaminginanalogue TPF Noob!

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    Automega D3 is the model it says on the side. Omega is the brand I believe.
     
  4. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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  5. Dreaminginanalogue

    Dreaminginanalogue TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much!
     
  6. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Looks like a very nice enlarger. I used a color head for a while when printing black and white, but I've never used an autofocus enlarger.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Reading the brief entry, it looks like you need a lens that's calibrated to the enlarger, and a 1" easel height. Hopefully the kit came with a calibrated lens that matches the autofocus mechanical system. I've used the Leica Focomat IIc autofocus enlarger, and it's a very nice concept, the autofocusing enlarger.

    One thing to keep in mind is that when making an enlargement, it might take the lamp of the enlarger being ON for 10 to 15 seconds before the negative pops!, as the expression goes...it depends on the particular enlarger. In some enlargers, the negative carrier will absorb enough heat that the film in it will flex a bit and lose its slight,slight curvature, and the negative will Pop!, and the focus point will change. This is pretty common. If you have a grain focuser, you can see this pop! happen in real time.

    Also, when calibrating the enlarger's AF system for the first time, or just setting focus with the grain focuser, make SURE it sits on top of a sheet of enlarging paper in the easel on the baseboard--not just on an empty easel. You need the dummy sheet of enlarging paper under the grain focuser to get the exact, proper focusing distance.

    Darkroom work has just a few of these simple old-school tricks to it, and consistency is important. For example, if you're going to make only short exposures for enlargements, like say 10 seconds, and the negative tends to pop! at 17 seconds with the lamp on, then you'd want to focus calibrate for a cold negative. But if you routinely make longer exposures, like say 25 seconds at f/11, then you'd want to have the focus calibrated for a hot,popped negative, make sure to heat it up befoe starting the exposure, and then make prints with the hot negative at its pre-set proper focusing point.

    The above might sound more complicated than it really is in practice.
     
  8. Dreaminginanalogue

    Dreaminginanalogue TPF Noob!

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    You're a saint!
    Thanks so much for the info, brother! I really appreciate it. I have to finish building my dark room (Unfinished basement). When I'm finished, I'm definitely going to draw on this as well as the manual from above. I'm super excited to get my hands dirty in this grand experiment!
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Darkroom work is fun. There is NOTHING like the thrill of watrching those first few enlargements "come up" in the developing tray!!! I can STILL recall my first enlargement, and my first with my own enlarger.

    One tip: as soon as you can, like within a week, start developing your prints face-down in the development tray, so that you go the full developing time and avoid the tendency to "yank" a print early. Trust me on this: developing to the full time will result in better blacks, and better prints, and it forces you to work carefully, and to make a good test strip print.
     
  10. Dreaminginanalogue

    Dreaminginanalogue TPF Noob!

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    I'll definitely do that! Thanks!
     
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  11. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Whilke moving, I recently found an old book I've had for years, titled "Lootens On Enlarging". A classic daerkroom book from the days of yore. Has a lot of practical darkroom tips and tricks, covering the types of things you will SELDOM ever hear about today, in this era. Sadlky, darkroom techniques have lost currency,and there just are not that many people who are intimately familiar with darkroom work's nuances, or even the basics of the field.
     

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