View Full Version : What head for variable contrast 4x5 printing with Omega D2?

13-Jan-2004, 09:56
My old D2 is the condenser model with a filter drawer for color printing, but that seems an akward way to do VC. Is there a better system (not the color head)?

13-Jan-2004, 10:59
hi bill:

i have a E4 and d3v with condenser heads and an aristo cold light heads. you might check out a used aristo head ( d2 or d2hi) - they sell for almost nothing and you can send them back to aristo to have the new v54 phosphor installed & the heater checked out for about $100.

you might also give harry taylor a buzz for omega suggestions. he IS the omega-man :)


good luck!

Gem Singer
13-Jan-2004, 13:34
Hi Bill,

I purchased my Omega D-2 in 1958, and this particular D-2 model does not have a filter drawer. Over the past twenty-five years, I have used three methods of printing VC with this enlarger.

First, I tried under-the-lens filters, with the enlarger's standard tungsten bulb condenser head, both the Kodak and Ilford types. It was the easiest and least expensive method to use. However, it was not convenient when I wanted to use multiple filters to burn in different areas of the print. More often than not, I would jiggle the enlarger or disturb the the focus while attempting to change filters

Next, I removed the standard lamphouse and replaced the condensers with an Aristo cold light. This was before the advent of the V54 tube. My old W45 tube wasn't designed for VC printing. After many conversations with Aristo, at their recommendation, I tried various yellow and green corrective filters. This only prolonged the exposure times. It seemed that the Aristo lamphouse, with the W45 tube, could not produce the results I was looking for.

Finally, I replaced the entire lamphouse and installed a Zone VI two tube variable contrast head. This replacement head is sold by Calumet. Information about it can be obtained from them. It is not inexpensive. However, it is the best investment I ever made in VC printing equipment, and I still use my old Omega D-2 chassis.

Christopher Nisperos
13-Jan-2004, 15:53
Hi Bill,

The Aristo VC head with the V54 tubes work well for me. It was a little weird at first, figuring out the contrast grades ("no. 2" setting does NOT necessarily give a no. 2 grade)...but the instructions include a graph with the grade calibrations. Seems to work fine, though pyro negs are a pain to focus on (the brownish neg and blue and turquoisish light tend to neutralize one-another).

Jeffrey Scott
13-Jan-2004, 20:47
I have Ilford MG 500 systems on three Omegas and one on an 8x10 Saltzman. Great setup.

15-Jan-2004, 15:19
I have a D2 with the Aristo 4500 VCL head on it. It has a green and a blue tube in it. You can mix the two or split print with this head by flipping a switch. I also use the Metrolux II timer for this unit.