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I´ve been using and old Omega D2 for my 4x5 enlargements for over a year now. This enlarger will not be available for my use anymore, no I have two options to continue with my large format work.
1.- Buy a new 4x5 enlarger, since I live in Venezuela, shipping charges are an issue on big equipment as this.
2.- Forget about enlarging and steop up to 8x10 contact printing.
I´m mainly a fine art black and white photographer.
Any suggestions/comments will be appreciated.
-- Enrique Vila (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 17, 2002
It is going to be a matter of what you are comfortable with and crunching the numbers. Omega enlargers are always on E-bay at reasonable prices, usually pretty reliable units. The cost of an 8x10 camera (used as well as new) and a couple of lenses as well as a new tripod to hold it, will far exceed the cost of the enlarger and shipping.
OTOH, if you only enlarge to 8x10 now, why not simplify your prinintg process and have the larger neg for contact printing. You can always get an enlarger later or maybe find one in Venezuela.
-- James Chinn (email@example.com), January 17, 2002.
I love contact prints and don't really have space for a bigger enlarger at the moment, so I went the route of 8x10" camera and have no regrets. Contact printing lets me print on Azo or if I want to try alternative processes in the future, I'll have the negs in the file. If I want to enlarge the occasional 8x10" negative, I can always rent darkroom time if I need it.
I also just tried my first 8x10" color transparencies, and I think that's completely cured me of my lamentation for the demise of Kodachrome 25 (which was only available in 35mm).
-- David Goldfarb (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 17, 2002.
Contact printing 8X10's is a gas. You could get an old 8X10 into Argentina much cheaper than an enlarger. Then down the road maybe a used enlarger would come along and you'd have 2 expensive bad habits.
-- Jim Galli (email@example.com), January 17, 2002.
I also think you might want to give 8x10 a shot. If you never enlarge past 8x10, then it would simplify the process. The bigger camera, tripod, etc. can be a hassle to haul around sometimes, but given the option, I'd shoot nothing but 8x10. I'm required to use mostly 4x5 and medium format by my school, but for my personal/art work, nothing compares to the experience of 8x10 developed in PMK and contact printed on Azo. If you could rent or borrow an 8x10 to shoot with prior to buying, this also might help you make up your mind. Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
-- David Munson (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 17, 2002.
You might be able to pick up a used, usable 8x10 reasonably priced. You could add an old triple convertable, which would give you three focal lengths for a couple of hundred dollars. You will also need 8x10 film holders, which aren't cheap, a bigger tripod, etc. for the larger camera. As stated previously, 8x10 contact prints are wonderful to make and to look at. However, you are also stuck with one print size unless you have an enlarger, which is the problem now. The shipping and purchase price of a DII can't be as much as changing over to 8x10. If your current 4x5 equipment is good stuff, I would opt for the enlarger assuming you are satisfied with the quality of the prints you are now getting. This is a decision you will have to make yourself, as all our needs are different.
-- Doug Paramore (Dougmary@alaweb.com), January 17, 2002.
I use both 4x5 and 8x10 cameras. Like others, I really like the contact prints from an 8x10 negative but I do sometimes get frustrated with the inability to make a print any larger than 8x10 from these negatives. I'd love to be able to make a 16x20 or 20x24 print from some of these negatives but I don't have the room for an 8x10 enlarger and I don't want to get rid of my 4x5 enlarger. Pesonally I think I'd look for a used enlarger for your 4x5 work and then if you later want to move to 8x10 you can do so for reasons other than just being limited to making contact prints. Have you considered the possibility of doing your enlarging and printing digitally?
-- Brian Ellis (email@example.com), January 17, 2002.