Bringing it back to life.

Grandpa Ron

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Aug 9, 2018
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In the 1970's in inherited my uncles photo gear which had set in the attic for decades. I promptly put it away for that someday. Well about 2 years ago I rekindled my interest in photography both digital and film and that old gear started calling.

The enlarger is about a 1930's or'40's vintage 4x5 Kodak "auto focus" which still had most of the parts, but the bellows had all but disintegrated and the opal glass light defuser was gone. A trip to Wal-Mart for some black poster board and a you-tube video on bellows allowed me to "fold my own" so to speak, a white garbage bad stretched over a piece of clear glass worked for the missing opal glass. The 150 watt light was missing so I replaced it with an LED bulb. The electric cord was replace and I added a small industrial timer.

This is my darkroom set up, it is the only non-windowed room in the house, plus it has an exhaust fan. Any port in the storm will do. :)


Though the above paragraph sounds simple, it took months of diddling, especially to get the light to defuse equally across the easel. It works and by laying colored gel sheets it above the film holder I can even use variable contrast paper. The auto focus operates in a track and as you raise the head it retains its focus rather well.

Incase you were wondering where the 4x5 negatives came from, I also inherited the remains of the 1910 view camera. However that is a story for another post.
Nice set up, I used to used the edge section of my parents loft
How did you get on re the colour temp of the led vs the old bulb.
On a lighter note...
You will no longer have to rush a developing print just because you need the loo
Great to see this come back to useful life.

Hmm, you might want to move electronics further away from your washing sink.

I started with a 5000 K LED bulb with 1200 lumens or so. Well the blue sensitivity of the paper made for an exposure time of just a few seconds. So I changed to a 2700 Kelvin bulb with about 1000 lumens and it worked better. I like a 10 to 15 second exposure so I can do some burning or dodging. I was using Arista grade #2 and #3 paper and the old enlarger lens is a fixed aperture.

Next I was trying as assortment of colored plastic gel sheets between the lamp and the film tray when I ran out of paper. So I purchased variable contrast paper and combined the gel sheets for shades of magenta and yellow.

I do not have to tell you that I burned through a lot of time and paper especially since it had been 30 years or so since I had done any black and white film developing; and that was 35 mm with a small Vivitar enlarger.

On the safety front, as dxqcanada noted, things can get wet and sloppy, so I have replace the clock with a digital timer and moved the enlarger timer to the far corner of the counter. Plus I use masking tape to hold parts an wiring in place. Not idea but it will do for now.

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