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Tuesday, 05 November 2019

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Well, I only ever had one enlarger so I suppose that would be my favourite. It was a Meopta Axomat something-or-other - the monochrome version (i.e. no built-in colour filters). It was from the old Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, was built like a tank, and was ridiculously cheap. Sid-by-side with a made-in-the-UK Paterson enlarger - my dealer sold both - there was just no comparison. I used it for maybe 15 years, stored it when I switched to digital, and about 7 or 8 years ago responded to an appeal in Amateur Photographer magazine and donated it to a school which had set up a darkroom for an out-of-hours club for their pupils. Interest in the club was such that they needed more enlargers! Talking to the teacher who collected it from me, I gathered that they had a lot of eastern bloc equipment - it just lasted for ever.

Thinking back, if you were a photographer on a restricted budget in the UK in the 60s and 70s, eastern-bloc equipment was your best option. For cameras there were Zenit and Practica, and several other enlarger brands. They were all sold in western Europe, we understood, in order to raise hard currency for their respective regimes, and were therefore "priced to sell" - which they did.

Didn't like darkroom work, and although impossible to properly align, I loved the clean, classic lines of my workhorse Simmon Omega B-22 XL, simultaneously vintage and starkly futuristic.

In the late 60's I bought a used Durst 609 and had it until I shut down my darkroom in 2008. As the name might suggest, it would accommodate up to a 6x9 negative. It wasn't a fancy enlarger, but what I liked about it most was the glass negative carrier which, of course, kept roll film flat. Most importantly (to me) were the sliding masks that adjusted individually and they could be adjusted to just barely intrude into the negative or slightly outside the negative. Yup, for a time I was enamored with leaving a thin black line around my image. At the time I thought it was cool and it indicated that I didn't crop my image. And I also thought the Sunbeam Tiger was cool.

That's easy, the Omega D-4 with condenser head, printing both 35mm and 4x5. I never could get into cold light printing, I liked the grain definition I got with a condenser enlarger. The cool thing about the Omega was that you could lift the condenser housing with the negative in place and any dust on the top of the negative was shown in stark relief. I hardly had to spot prints. Plus the thing was massive and stable. At one point in my life I had spent more time in the company of that thing than with women! I still remember her fondly.

I couldn't describe myself as a good printer but even I managed to get decent results on a friend's De Vere 504. It had a digital multi-grade head that I found extremely useful for my more troublesome negs. I recall that the lenses were Rodenstock.

Spending Saturday afternoons printing, while listening to the football/soccer commentary on BBC radio, was bliss.

I was fond of the Saunder 45XX enlargers. They were rigid, the heads available were easy to use and they worked well. Their VCCE head was particularly nice to use, because I only printed black and white materials.

With there being absolutely no market for new enlargers, I still speculate what an enlarger made with modern materials and LEDs would be like. Sadly, no R&D money and the market isn't large enough to justify it. I suspect that there are a number of handy folks out there who have "hot rodded" an existing enlarger. Those would be cool to see.

LOL, that's funny, I think...
Back in the day, I had an old Omega D2 enlarger mounted on the wall with an Aristo cold-light head and Metrolux compensating timer. I loved that setup and still miss it sometimes.

My photographer friends keep giving me enlargers and as a result I now have four in my basement.
Two are in my darkroom, one is a Besler 23CXL with a dual dichro head and a box of EL Nikkor lenses. The other is a wall mount Durst L1000 with an ancient Pavelle color head.
I love them both but since I gave up LF photography the Besler is the only one that still gets much use.
In storage are an Omega B66XL and a Leitz Focomat Ic.
I love the Focomat as an object but the only film I still do is medium format so it is sidelined. I guess this is a long way around to saying the 23c is my favorite. They are workhorses, easy to align and the Nikkor lenses are excellent.

The enlarger I probably used more than any other right throughout my life in photography is the Durst Laborator 138S — a free-standing floor model with a three lens turret that was de rigeur from when I started my professional career back in 1965. Over the ensuing years I owned and used a cavalcade of Meoptas and Leitz Focomats (the IIIc) as well, but out of everything my venerated fave was undoubtedly the Durst L1200. I had them both with condenser heads and Diffusion heads, including the Ilford Multigrade heads.

But, undoubtedly, the most efficient and long-lasting enlarger in my possession hes been my mouth. It has functioned tirelessly and efficiently since I was a rug rat and, at times, has had me enlarged to 150 kilos at times. More recently, somehow it was switched to a slightly smaller output version because I am now only 120 kilos, my mouth still serves.

Enlargers have afforded me the wonders of a chloro-bromide glazed double-weight glossy print and, for a time, the splendours of a Cibachrome display print or display transparency, and similarly, my other enlarger has enlightened me with the wonders of a chateaubriand, a Goan prawn curry and the quenching liquid delights a Cabernet, a single malt and the ubiquitous pot of tea.

Hopefully my enlarger will serve and surprise me for all of my days.

Walter

This is an easy one for those of us that spent time working in a pro lab. A Chromega was easy to use, durable and as that sort of things go, not all that expensive.

But I must give a hats off to the Ilford Multigrade head for it too.

I rarely "loved" a piece of darkroom equipment. Most of it just seemed like plumbing to me... until I got hold of a Leica Focomat V35. It was a magnificent piece of gear and an absolute game changer for production. Sure, nothing but 35mm could be used but WOW! that enlarger delivered.

My favorite enlarger, which I still own but no longer use, is the Omega LPL 670VCCE 6x7cm Variable Contrast Black & White Enlarger. It has a diffusion light source with built-in filtration for variable contrast papers. There's also a lever for flipping the filtration out of the light path for ease of focusing or for graded papers. It was a pleasure to use because it was so well aligned, sturdy, fast, and reliable -- and I have no doubt it still is.

Leitz Focomat V35 with the multigrade module. Super sharp lens, sophisticated mechanical autofocus (adjust once and forget as long as you don't stupidly change the paper holder), sturdy as a drilling machine and of ethernal elegance. I bought one 30 years ago and sent it into retirement when I started to scan my b&w film with a Nikon Coolscan, but it's still waiting on the cabinet in case of ...

Greetings, Robert

Omega DIIV with condenser head for the first twenty years, then a Zone VI variable for the last ten years I used it. Still in my darkroom, which has become nothing but a closet for the last eighteen years. Sad that its just sitting there but like others in my spot, I imagine, I can find no one who really wants to use it!

I own, and still use, the LPL Saunders 4x5 enlarger. Bought it new in late 1996, and have never had a reason to look for elsewhere. I bought mine shortly before the VCCE module became available, so I mix my own multi grade filters with the color head.

Bessler 45MCRX , power up & down , interchangeable light sources, sliding multiple level baseboard, 4x5 film back converts it to a copy camera. Still have it. Also have a durst 6x7 cm with dichroic head.

5x7 Beseler. Mainly because it works, was not too expensive and has lasted without problems now for a few decades.

Durst https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durst - they still exist, but do they still make enlargers? I don't know...

Should have read before I posted - they ended making them in 2006...

[Yes, it was one of the memorable minor shocks of my Photo-Dawg life when Durst quit the field and went away. Something I would have liked to count on was Durst soldiering on seeing me out. But making enlargers was a difficult business to be in BEFORE digital came along. --Mike]

Beseler 45 with a cold light head. Good for 35mm up to 4” X 5” negatives.

The dual triangulated vertical columns were rock solid. The long bellows allowed much versatility. The baseboard would accommodate an easel up to 16” X 20.” It was motorized so it was easy to set height exactly where you needed it without any minute “sag” as one would sometimes get after tightening the knob of a single vertical column manually operated enlarger. Some didn’t like a cold light head, but I was able to modify my exposure/development/print contrast process to give me exactly what I wanted. Did I mention almost never a dust spot on a print?

When the world went digital, I couldn’t give it away. But she was a workhorse that served me for more than 2 decades.

I still have my Durst M605 color, somewhere in a box on the attic. Had the color head for printing slides on Cibachrome paper which I developed in a drum. Good old times :-)

Bogen 6x7. The exact model is lost to the mists of time. I added a Chromega dichroic head w/ analog color analyzer sometime along the line. Cutting edge home darkroom item in the 70s!

I think that my favouite has to be my first which was a Durst F30. I remember as a young teenager building my first darkroom and the fun of mixing potions and seeing an image appearing magically from the red gloom. So much more satisfying than the dust free perfect images chugging out of a printer.
The loveliest engineered was a Leica enlarger with a standard 40mm lens and autofocus. So clever. Then there are the ones that I always wanted to try, Large format Dursts and Dunco which I could never find for sale. It says something that digital has made fantastic printing possible in a way that I could seldom achieve. But when on the rare occasions i get a print right, Wow. I love my best darkroom prints, for all of their,flaws to my very technically perfect dust and stain free digital ones. Not much beats seeing a print emerge from the developer even now.I am 13 years old again when I see it.

My favourite enlarger has been a Durst M70 with the vario contrast head.
A thing of beauty, for format up up to 6 x 7 cm.

Did I enjoy darkroom work? At first, yes. It was enjoyable to make something totally from start to finish rather than turning in the film at a drugstore. Later, when it became a job, it was drudgery. After that I tried to set up a darkroom and get really interested in the process again but the lab work was just a means to an end by then. I was slow coming to digital, even slower liking it, but once I got over my fear of new methods and processes I love it. No desire to ever go back to film.

My favorite enlarger I owned was an LPL something or other. Nice and sturdy and handled every format up to 6x7. But it wasn't my all time favorite. That would have been the autofocus Leitz enlargers at the newspaper where I worked. Just incredibly beautiful results from them (if you had the time to work on your prints). When I was setting up my last darkroom, a friend offered me one for free. I had to defer because the ceiling in my tiny printing room was too low for the upright tube.

The Beseler 23C was so ubiquitous that I only owned a 35mm carrier for one (filed out to print a black border), but I never owned the enlarger. I had access to Beseler equipped darkrooms everywhere I lived or worked. I did use a Leica Focomat II for a while, and that would have to be my favourite of all time.

Oddly the results for “Elevation Knob” are relatively innocuous.

This is a post that took me down memory lane.
In my very early twenties, while still with my parents, I built a darkroom in our basement, and bought a enlarger, one that I could afford.
A Veigel enlarger, from a large down town photo store call Haber and Fink! I wonder if they’re still in business.
It was pretty well made , I thought, and had the impression it was imported by them. It did not have a bellows, rather helicoid focusing. It was made of cast aluminum, and heavy. For me, it did the job. Beseler or Omega we’re out of my budget!
I googled ‘Veigel”, and got nowhere. If any of your readers remember that .name, I’d love to know.
If google existed then, in those more innocent times, and you typed enlarger, you probably would have got “that which to embiggen a photo”.
Fred

I brought a Durst Laboratory 1200 with colour head in 1988 for $7,500aus and used it for about 6 years and loved it, then moved to London form Australia so sold it, then about 10 years ago found a second hand one for £80,00 here in the UK with far more accessories than my original one had, this time I have both a black and white head and a colour one and every other accessory to print everything from 35mm to 5x4, and it is now currently sitting in my shed, one day I would love to set it up and really use it again! One day I might actually get to do this! And yet I still love prints from my Epson 3800 printer it might be cheaper and easier to upgrade that and use that more. Printing in the darkroom is for me a zen like experience and a way of hiding away to contemplate things while in a darkroom, printing on a digital printer is nothing like that experience.
Michael

When I printed I used an old Omega D2 4x5 condenser head thing that I recently had hauled out of my basement ... I did sell some of the pieces to a local sucker^H^H^H^H^H^H amateur who thought he wanted to print pictures before suddenly realizing he never would.

But, the enlarger was not my favorite piece of darkroom toy.

By far the best piece of equipment I ever had in the darkroom was the fancy grain focuser that I bought mostly on a whim. Man that thing was great.

I guess it must have been the one made by Peak? Those look familiar.

It's been 25 years now since I had a darkroom, but I still have my Leitz Focomat 1c. It's sitting the garage covered with dust. I keep trying to give it away without success. I also have an Omega B22. Both have good lenses, but would need serious cleanup before they could be used. Free to a good home.

A nationally known photo retailer that used to be located in Columbus, Ohio, had a sale a few years before they closed up the location. "Buy anything, get a free enlarger."

A nearby professional lab closed some years ago and hauled their 8x10 enlargers to the landfill.

Beseler 23C enlarger with Aristo cold-light head, Nikkor-EL 50mm f/2.8, and Schneider Companon 80mm f/4. (The Beslar 50mm lens that came with the enlarger was crap.) All my negative carriers filed out for black borders. Four-bladed enlarging easel. And, of course, a Graylab 300 timer. It's not a darkroom without a Graylab 300 timer.

I still miss my Minolta/Beseler 45a - such a magnificently overcomplited beastie, and a deeply silly way to print black and white. But once it was dialed in on a paper/neg combo, I could print reliably and FAST. But additive color and expensive flash tubes was a little too much for the world, alas.

I moved the motorized Beseler 45 to the attic, just in case, and have returned to a manual 45 enlarger with contrast filters - for 300 Art and the last of my cold stored fiber papers it's still a better workflow for me to get a result I like - I've no idea if it's any good and could care less.

I've owned and used everything from a Testrite, then a Lucky, then Omegas from B22 through D5XL. But once I got ahold of a Beseler 4x5 MXxx, I've never looked back. Currently have two, one condenser head, one dichro.

I feel your pain! Same thing happened to me, but for different reasons. I was searching for enlarger lenses, which are sometimes described as "enlarger" and sometimes "enlarging".

Alas, I forgot to include the search modifier "lens". As a result, all kinds of strange devices for "enlarging" a certain appendage appeared...

I was not a professional, just personal B&W and Cibachrome prints -- but my Philips PCS 130 (?) served me well!

The only enlarger I have actually bought was a Leica Focomat V35 (What else? :) )

The reasons were that I was a Leica nut and I found the idea of an autofocus enlarger pretty cool.

Of course it is totally pointless to have autofocus on an enlarger for low volume leisure photo printing :)

It was a very cool enlarger, really. I was so proud of it!

Until I got the Rollei. Out went the Leica, in came a plain Durst that worked just as well with the Nikkor lenses.

A belated response to say that my enlarger is a Kaiser 6x6 with multigrade head.

Reluctantly, the one I currently use, which is an Ilford 600 head on (I think) a Durst L1200. Reluctantly because it only pretends to cover 4x5 and it's shoddily made I think. But once you grok it not having to burn paper on test strips it is really worthwhile.

I miss the DeVere 504 we had before it, though: much better made.

Beselar 23c XL. Did Cibachrome and B&W. it was fantastic in every way. Hated to sell it cheap.

I use a Meopta Opemus 5a which I like for it's simplicity of design and function. It takes up to 6x6 negs in glass or glassless carrier (I use glass), has a filter drawer above the lens which I prefer to below lens filters, can make 16 x 20 prints on the baseboard but if I need larger I can swing the column 180 degrees and project onto the floor OR rotate the head 90 degrees to project onto the wall. All this from what is a very small package, thus very convenient for a small darkroom. I've seen 35mm only enlargers that are bigger. Oh, and it's a condenser enlarger as well if that's your preference. It is for me. I don't know of another enlarger I'd change it for unless I wanted to print larger negatives.

Beseler 23C

My favorite was an Omega D3, I'm pretty sure. I don't think I ever used it for 4x5 (I've done some 4x5 on a later D5 I owned myself; still do actually).

Let's see; the way the head comes down on the negative carrier is right. The lack of dust-collecting bellows above the negative is right. The sloped column is right. It's built well of course.

And the cam-controlled "auto-focus" is amazing. I'd better explain about this: it wasn't establishing focus on a newly inserted negative, and it wasn't precise enough for the actual print (final focus still done with a grain focuser as usual). What it WAS doing was letting you change enlargement (head height) IN ONE STEP. (For those without darkroom experience: Moving the head up and down changes the focus of course. But changing the focus actually changes the amount of magnification, too. So, if you made a significant change in enlargement size, you went through a multi-step process of adjust head height, focus, adjust head height again, focus again; often more than just two steps. The "auto-focus" was good enough that I could focus once and then just run the head to the right height and fine-tune the final focus.)

I used a Besseler MX45 that I liked less well, the classic Besseler C23 that I disliked, a Durst M600 if I really couldn't avoid it. I did own a smaller Durst 35mm enlarger at home, and it was cheap and limited to 35mm but it got the job done for me (the model number I remember is clearly wrong so I'm not mentioning it). And a couple of dichroic color things later, both additive filter sets (vastly easier to learn to use).

Like Gordon Lewis, my favorite enlarger was the Omega LPL 670VCCE, bought new in 1998 and my third enlarger since starting darkroom work in 1971. It was purchased primarily for its ability to easily dial in contrast on VC paper. I mainly used the excellent Schneider 80mm f/4 Componon-S enlarging lens with it for both 35mm and 120. I traded photo printing for inkjet printing in 2006 and am now on my third Epson printer. Unlike enlargers, printers seem to have trouble lasting more than five years.

The enlarger that I currently use has a computer (and some other hardware) between the lens and the paper.

I also own a Leitz Focomat 1c that my father bought in 1950. I think that it might have been one of the very first imported to the US. As others have said, the Leitz enlargers are wonderful. But, about 10 years ago, two things happened: (1) I moved from 35 mm to medium format, and (2) I concluded that I would never become as proficient as a darkroom printer as I would as a digital printer.

I bounced around between different Beseler 45’s that were absolutely functional but not things of beauty by any stretch. Then I lucked into a Durst AC1200 Laborator for $300. The original price tag in 1988 was over $8,000. It is like the difference between a yashica electro 35 and a Leica. Both totally functional, hard working machines which can be used as professional tools, but one is truly pleasurable to use.

My Durst M70 and LPL 4550XLG enlargers and color heads are still operational in my B&W darkroom. However, their use has been greatly diminished since I purchased my Epson P800 over a year ago. I enjoy the process of making B& W prints but the quality of the B&W prints from the Epson printer are amazingly good!

Many a long hour spent over the years with several enlarges, Meopta worked well under the stairs as my first, followed by Rollie and Kaiser in the bathroom...Finally a new house and a proper darkroom furnished with a LPL 7700MX, my favourite.
I no longer have a darkroom but I kept the LPL enlarger and it now has a new lease of life as the light source for scanning all my film negs...


I bought my first complete darkroom when I was 14, it was very cheap, on sale, A Chinese one, a “Seagull“ enlarger. A year later, I replaced it with a much more professional one (Durst M305). I sold the first one for the same price that I had bought it for!
I told my dad about it, feeling a bit ashamed of having sold it for as much money as I paid for it when it was new.
My dad said “you could’ve gotten more money for that.“
===========
Below is the Durst. It was a beautiful piece of gear, I can’t believe I could afford it. Things like that were cheaper in those days. I got the excellent Nikon lens for it for like $40 brand-new! (Excellent for real, it was much much sharper than prints I got from a professional shop.)

https://scontent-lht6-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/67692530_10156057355945672_2685850965260632064_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&_nc_oc=AQlpLivqaaS0v9b_ndmtGJMooLqZsbDy3DtowI19ku3Uywf5JdruRUXMNk38-5jpTJ0&_nc_ht=scontent-lht6-1.xx&oh=cb834e57a8fe29f32ad8c30c9b63a894&oe=5E5BAB7A

I have many fond memories of working in my basement with my 5x7 Zone VI Cold light enlarger with the compensating timer.
That sucker could make 30 x 40 prints with ease.
Sadly now gone, but I still have a set of Schneider and El-Nikkor lenses for it. And a really expensive Peak Grain Focuser, perhaps psu wants it? ;-)

Omega B5 & B7’s, real workhorses for 40+ years. Great machines!

I acquired an LPL 4500II enlarger with the VCCE head six years ago, and have been in enlarger heaven since. It's such a joy to use, I'll never own any other enlarger. Superbly engineered, with a fine focus that's silky and precise. 80% of my photography is still black and white film. Working in the darkroom feels like I'm hand-crafting prints, which is a welcome relief from staring at a screen. The LPL is a wonderful tool that adds to the joy.

My Beseler 23C II. A Goldilocks of enlargers it is. Not too small, not to big, just right. A $35 Goodwill local auction win.

Hmmm. I started out with a 6x7 LPL with a diffuser colour head and added a 4x5 Omega with colour head, a 35 mm Beseler, a 35mm condenser LPL, a 5x7 Durst 138 with colour head, a Durst 138 with condenser head and most recently 3 more 4x5 Omegas. Oh, I forgot to mention the Zone VI 8x10 with Blue/Green bulbs.
Which do I like best? The first a 670 DXL remains my favorite, it is not only my oldest it is the newest.

I only started printing last year - on a Paterson enlarger for 35mm film with a 50mm f4.5 lens. It came with a Paterson Darkroom Kit which my girlfriend and I found cheap on eBay. I think it was targeted squarely at hobbyists, but it's my first and so far only enlarger, so it's my favourite :)

My local camera club in the late 70s/early 80s had a Leica Fotomat - autofocus - coolest - thing - ever. And I have no doubt that unless someone threw it out, it still works fine.

Well I drank the cool-aid in the 1990s's and bought a Zone IV 5x7 enlarger with two cold-tubes (green and blue). And I have an align-y gadget to assure that my negative, lens, and paper are parallel. I also use a "hard" paper developer and a "soft" paper developer in sequence. So: black blacks, great greys. Lots of controls.

My favorite lens is a Schneider 80mm lens that I use for 35mm. But all the majors are in the lens drawer.

My favourite enlarger? The two I have in what was once my darkroom, a 35 mm Leica and a Japanese 4x5, both equipped with Ilford 500h enlarger heads and an RH Design analyser. Loved working there, but it needs to get converted into a home office, and there is no room in the house until the dreaded extension is going to happen. So their off to storage until there is room in my live again.

It does hurt, though.

My favorite enlarger was an Omega D5XL with the Zone VI variable contrast head and the triple turret lens mount with Schneider 150mm f5.6 Componon S and Rodenstock 90mm enlarging lenses. That enlarger was a tough workhorse, and I got years of good service from it; used it mainly for 4 x 5 and 6 x 7cm. For 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 and 35mm, I had the Durst M605, which, with its color head, was good for variable contrast printing.

I donated those enlargers, and the rest of my darkroom equipment, to the Colby College Art Department in 2005. It was plain to see that silver based photo was being displaced by digital, and I wanted no part of it - not then - so I converted my darkroom to a studio and went back to drawing and painting and bought an etching press for printmaking.

Still, I never entirely lost my interest in photo and bought a little Canon point and shoot in 2007; hmmm, not too bad, easy to use and photos looked ok on the computer screen. Then my family gave me an LX-3 on my 70th birthday in 2009. That was even better so I started using Lightroom a few years later, then to a GX-7 and an Epson 3880 printer . . . now the GX-8 and 9 and various lenses, including Lensbabies. Well, I don't miss the darkroom and my old enlargers one bit. I've made my peace with digital and love the convenience, quality, and look of digital prints, which I mainly use for my small journals and incorporate into encaustic and mixed media pieces. Goodbye enlargers, darkness, chemicals, and drudgery!

I printed B&W full-time in commercial labs for 5 years. I could run 3 enlargers at once by the time I was done. My two favorite enlargers are:

For 35mm: Leitz Focomat IIc (Love is not too strong a word for how I felt about that thing)

For medium and large format up to 4x5: Beseler 23C, motorized frame.

There was an Omega with a cold head in there with me, but I hung my jacket on it.

An LPL C6700 inherited from a friend in the early 90s when he no longer needed to print Cibachrome proofs.

I still have it and everything to go with it, though since I would need to clear the decks in our tiny kitchen to do any printing - and only then after dark - I have failed to print anything for at least 15 years :-( I've started shooting film again so perhaps this winter I'll finally get back in the groove...

My favorite enlarger is the Saunders/LPL 45 with VCCE head. Close second is a Durst 8x10 equipped with a Kienzle VC head. Both are still in use, because I love silver prints.

...Saunder 45XX enlargers. They were rigid, the heads available were easy to use and they worked well...With there being absolutely no market for new enlargers, I still speculate what an enlarger made with modern materials and LEDs would be like. Sadly, no R&D money and the market isn't large enough to justify it...

The 4500II is my favorite enlarger. There apparently is a market for new enlargers (the LPL is still available brand new) and there's no need to speculate what an LPL with LEDs would be like.

Herr Heiland has been making LED enlarger light sources for more than a decade. This blog post motivated me to visit his Web site again, where I discovered that he's now added a version which directly replaces the LPL mixing box:

https://heilandelectronic.de/led_jobo_4x5inch

Although I'm happy with my VCCE LPL setup, the Heiland replacement is tempting. Lack of heat means it would finally make the 4x5 glassless carrier practical, thereby enabling use of films like TMAX 100 which have a very glossy (and therefore susceptible to Newton's rings) emulsion side.

I still have a Durst M605 with a rodenstock Apo Rodagon 50mm f2.8 and my favorite 105mm f5.6 Apo El-Nikkor. I'm waiting to retire and have time to do film again.

Like many, my budget was limited, so I bought the Kodak Hobbyist. I was intrigued by its design features: a circular fluorescent bulb for cool light, a square aluminum tube for the post, and the angle of the post, that moved the head away from the post as the image got bigger. I later bought a Federal with parallel arms, which were spring loaded, for faster adjustments.

A trusty Meopta Axomat with four heads (Mono diffused, colour diffused, condenser and modified incandescent). Solid, cheap and easy to true-up.
Nikon and Schneider lenses. Still working, but somewhere else, 30 odd years later. Incidently I bought a roll cutter from them at the same time that is going strong.

The local community college had a bunch of Omega dual-rail enlargers that handled up to 4x5. Don't remember the model. They were mighty fine beasts.

I had used Durst and Zenith enlargers, but they were toys compared to the Omega. One time I had to make 40 or 50 prints in a single session and I would have lost my mind trying that with the smaller enlargers, so my buddy and I went to the college (he was studying photojournalism there) and those Omegas were rock steady and fast to set up.

Focomat V35. At first I was using the multigrade module, but after a while I ordered a Heiland Splitgrade with a special module. Amazing. You pass the light meter over the projected negative, the Splitgrade lets you know with a beep that it has all the information needed and then comes up with a perfect set of split exposures and a good working print, and the V35 was always on focus, no matter how many times you changed the head position. Have not used it for 8 years since moving to a new job in another country.

Omega D5 with Ilford Multigrade head and a three-lens turret. Industrial strength and a pleasure to use always. Everything bought used.

LPL7452 and LPL7700.
Both bought new and working flawlessly for 20 years.
Very young!

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