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Thread: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

  1. #1

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    Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Some may have seen my babbling on LED enlarger heads and diffusion plastic panels.

    I have read, stolen and used all the sources here and elsewhere to get where I am now. Thanks to Konakoa, Jerry Bodine, Ginette and several I am forgetting.

    Basically I started this adventure with a $295 Fotar 10x10 enlarger chassis, that I could not resist, from Jack's Camera in Indiana. Pickup only, no head. It is in great condition, but very heavy and a beast to wrestle, at that time I could barely walk or help load or unload. Got it set up and figured I would make a DIY head, someday. Seems I finally have done something.

    Then I bought LED video lights very similar to this current eBay listing, which looks the same, exactly the same. http://www.ebay.com/itm/CN-900HS-900...item2c7604af6f

    For over a year I built my darkroom and did nothing with the Fotar (it has it's own Zip code, Chicago joke), I did use the LED's as shooting lights. But reading about other's LED enlarger heads got me moving last night.

    Pretty simple, I stripped the LED panel of barn doors and other parts, gaff taped closed a lot of side ventilation and light leaks and stuck it on top of the Fotar. I used the barn doors and gaff tape to mask the 12 x 14" bare light to fit the 10 x 10" hole in the Fotar. I used 2 pieces of glass to hold an 8x10" X-Ray neg and put a 12x12" piece of generic 3mm white diffusion poly-carbonate right on top of the glass. The LED's are about 1 inch above that. The light also came with clear, orange and purple diffusion filters that slide into a groove right next to the LED's. see the eBay listing. btw, I think Adorama now has cheaper LED panels.

    It works, it works darn good, plenty of power, I had to turn it down to about 1/3 power to get 15 second exposures at F16 with Rodagon 240mm. That's projecting a medium density 8x10 X-Ray neg onto 20x24 inches.

    I tried all the filters that came with the LED but have not yet used Ilford Multigrade filters. Orange cut a lot of light, supposedly changing the LED from 5600K to 3200K, purple and clear were similar to each other with less light loss. I was looking for even light coverage. I printed 5x7" pieces all over the 20x24 inch area and so far I like it.

    I am not an expert printer by any judgement, so no samples. I did not notice uneven illumination or any evidence of LED pinpoints of light. No hot spots, like I just fixed on my 5X7 Elwood.

    I do think this is going to work fine with tuning and I will be using my other similar LED light to make an 11x14 head on another chassis. Don't ask...

    I checked power consumption with a Belkin Watt meter and the LED uses 100 watts full blast, but I was printing with 20 watts, creating almost no heat. I may seal all vents and light leaks, or add a box above it with a light trap that allows ventilation, but if I use this rig only for enlarging it will have very little 'on' time, compared to it's normal usage as a video light.

    The eBay LED panel is not cheap, but is available and I like the simplicity and low heat levels. This whole thing is easy, a person could make an enlarger chassis from almost anything, look at AA's multi-bulb horizontal enlarger and try this as a modern light source.

    The pics show the projection at f5.6, 100 watts, full power. It's bright. The purple filter is in.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Randy Moe; 21-Jan-2014 at 00:01. Reason: pics wrong

  2. #2

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Hey, if it works and will be reliable, that's all that matters. Try exposing a sheet of large paper w/o a neg it to see how even it is. That's not a purple gel but magenta that we often use in the motion picture world since these things tend to be a bit green. The original version of this light (Lite Panel) came with very light (something like 05 magenta) installed behind the safety plexi. Warranty was voided if you took out the screws to remove it.

  3. #3

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Randy, I just finished an 11x14 enlarger and used this for a light source : http://www.anythingdisplay.com/Merch..._lightbox_sign

    Made 5 good prints the first afternoon...

  4. #4

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Good news Evan, and an even cheaper light source. I see they sell bigger, 14x17 is possible!

    Could you share a couple more things?

    Lens used

    Print size
    Printing times

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by evan clarke View Post
    Randy, I just finished an 11x14 enlarger and used this for a light source : http://www.anythingdisplay.com/Merch..._lightbox_sign

    Made 5 good prints the first afternoon...

  5. #5

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Great ideas here!

  6. #6

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    In the winter we go slowly mad here and start making things in our caves.

    Quote Originally Posted by jon.oman View Post
    Great ideas here!

  7. #7
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    I tried all the filters that came with the LED but have not yet used Ilford Multigrade filters. Orange cut a lot of light, supposedly changing the LED from 5600K to 3200K, purple and clear were similar to each other with less light loss. I was looking for even light coverage. I printed 5x7" pieces all over the 20x24 inch area and so far I like it.
    Randy, you might want to get your hands on a Roscoe gel filter pack. They work beautifully on VC papers and are large enough to sit above 8x10 negatives. The Cinegels are in sizes 20"x24", and 48x25' rolls.

  8. #8
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I just picked up an old Eastman 5x7 enlarger (fully functional) that I'm going to try to modify to handle larger negatives. Haven't decided yet if I'm going to try to modify the existing head or just replace it entirely but I'm likely going to need a new light source.

  9. #9

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    I have some and will get more as soon as my photo bank replenishes. It's always empty!

    Then those damn video guys want them, and they never return a gel.

    They are were trained in real film and while now shooting video, they still gel everything...

    Hell, they don't even own operational cameras anymore...

    fuming rant over

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew O'Neill View Post
    Randy, you might want to get your hands on a Roscoe gel filter pack. They work beautifully on VC papers and are large enough to sit above 8x10 negatives. The Cinegels are in sizes 20"x24", and 48x25' rolls.

  10. #10

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    Re: Hacking 8x10 and 11x14 enlarger LED head

    Quote Originally Posted by evan clarke View Post
    Randy, I just finished an 11x14 enlarger and used this for a light source : http://www.anythingdisplay.com/Merch..._lightbox_sign

    Made 5 good prints the first afternoon...
    I bought one of the displays for my Omega F. It seems to light fine, but the light source is divided into many small segments resulting in a pattern clearly visible in the projected image when the source is directly above the neg carrier. I have considered moving the source away from the negative and/or using diffusion but I am concerned about losing light intensity. How did you solve this?

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