View Full Version : aligning my enlarger

brian steinberger
19-Mar-2006, 13:51
I'm wondering what the easiest and most accurate way to elign my enlarger is. I know there are tools that allow you to elign an enlarger very easily. Does anyone have such a tool that they would be willing to let me borrow, use and return? I would gladly pay someone. Or is there something I can do myself? I've tried putting the X across a blank sheet of film and focus in the corners, but my micro sight cannot focus critically in the corners.

Kirk Gittings
19-Mar-2006, 14:23
What is the enlarger? On Beseler, I level base and then I use an 8x10 sheet of glass in the negative stage and then use a small carpenters level on both axis.

ronald moravec
19-Mar-2006, 14:23
Go to B&HPhotoVideo site and look up Omega Alignment tool. This is all you need except for the precision required to set the level perfectly. NOT CLOSE Perfectly centered. The laser tools may be capable of a better job, but this is sufficient to get sharp grain in all four corners with my Omega using a wide open lens.

Add a level to a straight hardwood stick and tape it down. Use a shim to replace the adjusting screw. A yardstick should work well.

Level the base first and then neg and lens stages to it. Which you do first depends upon the enlarger. Omega ones require the lens stage be set first.

Denis Pleic
19-Mar-2006, 14:24
I made an alignment tool myself, after stumbling upon some instructions on the Web.

It's a DIY variation of more expensive alignment tools, and consists of two simple pieces of mirror.

Place one below enlarger, on the masking easel, and the other goes into the slot where the neg carrier goes in the enlarger. The mirrors are oriented towards each other (i.e. reflective sides facing each other). The smaller mirror that goes in the enlarger shuld have either a small hole, or (easier solution) you just scrape some reflective backing to make a small "peephole". You can draw a cross on one of the mirrors for easier "sighting".

Basically, you "aim" through the top mirror and adjust alignment until you don't see multiple reflections of the upper "hole" - ie.e. until those reflections blend into a single one.

I'm not sure I've explained it properly, but it really isn't that difficult, and doesn't really cost much (if anything).

Search for "mirror enlarger alignment", and you'll find several discussions and explanations of the above solution, e.g.
here (http://members.rpa.net/~choffman/darkmeasure.htm).

Jon Shiu
19-Mar-2006, 15:31
I put a piece of glass on the negative stage as mentioned above. Then use a carpenter square as a guage to make sure all four corners are the same distance to the baseboard, ie raise or lower the head so that one glass corner touches the top of the ruler, then check the other corners of the glass. You probably already have a piece of glass and medium length ruler.

David Karp
19-Mar-2006, 18:46
I use a Parrallel by Versalab. It sits on the baseboard and uses a laser and some plates of glass which reflect the light back on a target painted on the device itself. Works great. See http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/products/parallel.htm.

Kevin Kemner
19-Mar-2006, 22:41

I've tried several methods and devices. Far and away the Versalab Parallel laser is the fastest and most accurate. If you find yourself needing to align your enlarger perodically this is the way to go. It let me keep my old E-4 tght enough to enlarge at f8 rather than f22. That is a big difference on some slow papers and a bit sharper with my lenses. Its a little pricey but worth it.

Paul Fitzgerald
20-Mar-2006, 23:55

Denis is correct but the much easier way to use it is to turn on the enlarger:

set the enlarger to your normal height

remove the lens assm.

insert a mirror in the neg stage and center it.

turn on the lamp and align the neg stage, it will be visually obvious when it's aligned, it will glow

lock down the adjustments and do not move the mirror, make sure it's centered

install the lens and align the lens stage, the X makes this part easier.

this should take all of 10 minutes if your enlarger has adjustments

Have fun with it.