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04-28-2010, 05:57 PM   #1
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buying a used enlarger; how to transport it?

I'm setting up my own darkroom in my parents' basement this summer, and I'm going to buy the old and for-years unused enlarger from my college's newspaper. It's pretty big, though; it says Omega Universal 4x5 Variable Condenser Lamphouse on it, though I haven't found an actual model designation yet. I need to bring it home with me from New York to Boston in a few weeks, and I'm wondering what's the safest way of putting it in the car. Wrapped in blankets? How to prevent it from breaking ont he way home?

Thanks!

04-28-2010, 06:39 PM   #2
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Transporting Enlarger

Hi j,
never used big O but know its a great piece of equipment.
Used to move my Bslr alot, would open lamp housing and wedge something
around and inside components to keep everthing stationary, used alot a
differnt stuff as "stuffing"... newspaper, foam, styrofoam, you know what
I mean,let your imagination be the limit.(dont forget to remove)
did remove lamp a few times, found that wasnt necessary.
might check lens, ensure protection, can unscrew from lensboard and cover
with paper/tape(lens mount on board). maybe bring a roll of tape, zip ties
velcro, string or something for cord managment.

entire unit should easily break down if availble space requires
maybe bring a multi-tool or small selection of screwdrivers(primarily phillips, few slots too)
Bill

Last edited by BillM; 04-28-2010 at 06:45 PM.
04-28-2010, 08:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BillM Quote
...entire unit should easily break down ...
This what I would expect. Depending on model, you may have to disassemble the condenser (if present) and pack the lenses separate. The lamp housing should detach from the negative stage/bellows/lens mount/focus rail and that assembly should be detachable from the rail(s). The rail(s) should then detach from the base to complete the breakdown. Un-mount the lens (board attached) and pack that separately.

Steve
04-28-2010, 10:23 PM   #4
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Pull the condensers out it and wrap them in towels. Put the enlarger into your car in such a way that it's weight is taken fairly evenly.
Drive home.
These things aren't especially frail as long as the glass is cared for.

04-28-2010, 11:58 PM   #5
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Condensers = the lens? I don't know much about enlarger anatomy.
04-29-2010, 07:47 AM   #6
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The condenser lenses sit right above the negative carrier. At least it does on my Omega. Take off the lamphouse (sits on the condenser) and the condenser. Pack them in a box with towels/blankets and put them on the seat next to you. Well that's how I brought mine down to FL from NY.

The condenser focuses the light from the bulb. The actual enlarging lens is below the negative and moves to focus the image on the easel. It's also where you set the fstop.
04-29-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jzietman Quote
Condensers = the lens? I don't know much about enlarger anatomy.
Assuming that the enlarger has a condenser. Some do, some don't. The color head on my LPL is a diffusion head and does not have a condenser. The condenser is pretty obvious when it is there (two or more large lenses between the light source and the negative).

Steve
04-29-2010, 12:10 PM   #8
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Ah. I'm very familiar with that enlarger, at least if it's what it sounds like, actually.

There'll be a movable condenser inside the door on the front: That will be a large glass lens in a metal frame: should come out easily-enough: (if it's in the lowest position, it'll need lifting: I'd put that condenser in blankets or whatever and carry separately.

The lamphouse up top should also remove with relative ease: it mostly just sits in there with a locking screw that may have a reddish rubbery cover.

I'd just lift that off and also carry separately.

What you'll be left with will still be quite big: I would rack the focusing bellows all the way closed, and you may remove the lens-board or cone by simply sliding forward. There'll be a substantial mechanism attached to the focusing mechanism where a pulley-like wheel will ride on one of a number of aluminum tracks (shaped rather like flat blades) that go up and down the back: these are intended to preserve focus with various lens formats.


You may want to go ahead and tie or tape that wheel in place, once you've decided where you want the head to be when you transport. (Probably down if you aren't taking the baseboard off. )

I think that's about it, presuming your vehicle doesn't require further disassembly to fit the thing. (What are you driving?) They are quite massive, presuming it's the model I'm thinking of, but a real classic.


Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 04-29-2010 at 12:16 PM.
04-29-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
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I'll get some shots of it this evening to show y'all. I've a few weeks before the end of the semester to figure this all out. I'm renting a pretty big car (a Ford Escape, I think, or another of equivalent size) to bring all my stuff home from college. I assume I'll be able to make it all fit, I don't have that much stuff, and I'll be the only one in the car.
04-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #10
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Here it is! It's an Omega DV, the condenser is there and looks good, and the lens is a 50/2.8 Schneider Componon-S lens.

Last edited by jzietman; 07-01-2017 at 11:41 AM.
04-29-2010, 03:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jzietman Quote
Here it is! It's an Omega DV, the condenser is there and looks good, and the lens is a 50/2.8 Schneider Componon-S lens.
Well, I guess your found the condenser! The Componon-S 50/2.8 is a really decent lens despite a light-weight build. You will come to appreciate the pre-set lever. Did it come with any other negative carriers? Given the chance, you should grab carriers for 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, 6x4.5, and 4x5. They can be quite expensive even used.

Ditto if they have any other lenses they might want to throw in. About 100mm for 120 film and 150mm-180mm for 4x5.

Oh...and grab the grain focuser at lower left. They are an excellent focus aid and are also pretty expensive even used.


Steve
04-29-2010, 05:25 PM   #12
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Yeah, this is the old darkroom equipment from my college paper, and they (well, we, since I work there) switched to digital five years ago. The darkroom has basically become a storage closet, and they're selling me the enlarger and whatever I want from the darkroom for $100! So I'll get what's pictured above, some easels, trays, tongs, developing canisters, etc. Really I'm just missing a safelight. I can definitely take the grain focuser, I would hate to not have one. The paper only used 35mm, and I only see 35mm holders, most of them broken. One day I hope to get a 6x6 MF camera, so I'll search around for a holder before I leave New York for the summer. I doubt they have any other lenses, but, again, I'll look more.
04-29-2010, 06:28 PM   #13
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Aha! Well, that's more modern than the one I was thinking of, but the same basic design. (It looks like it lacks the funny focusing track mechanism I described as something you might want to lock down. It's just as well, I think: I never thought that mechanism was really precise enough to justify itself. Same basic design, otherwise, though, : perhaps not quite so heavily-built, it'd appear. Which should help you move it.

You can see the little screw I described to remove the lamp bell: (like you would to change the bulb: this might help to move things. As well as get the wire out of the way.) At least make sure it's locked down. Sometimes people'll just sit them up there ...without noticing, if the enlarger hasn't been moved in a while.

I'd probably definitely want to load the enlarger first. And, well, probably take a bunch of the offered stuff: for the most part, no one thing is terribly expensive, but it adds up to gather everything from scratch.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 04-29-2010 at 06:38 PM.
05-13-2010, 12:13 PM   #14
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Ok, I got it home! Not easily, though, the thing is HUGE. It's an Omega D5XL, and the XL part is not a lie. But it got home almost entirely intact. One important thing did break, though: a small plastic cog (one of two) that moves the head up and down the tracks. Anyone know how I could get a replacement cog? I've got one half of the broken one, I can't find the other half...
05-13-2010, 12:57 PM   #15
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Omega move

Hey J,
Congrats, that baby is impressive, you get all the goodies with it?...
easel, neg. carriers, focus magnifier.

Might be a good time for a good wipe down, blow down.

Im going to a local shop that has a lot of used stuff, has limited
inhouse repair service, (Sat.)
If you can post a pic and maybe a part num. of mentioned cog.
Ill see what they might have to offer and get their phone num. to you
if you want to try them, names Schiller camera, St.Louis, MO.
could google number.
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