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Thread: Zone VI enlarger questions

  1. #1

    Zone VI enlarger questions

    Hi there everyone! I was recommended this blog by the manager of the community darkroom in my city (Ottawa, Canada) as a great resource for information and knowledge. As it happens I need some.

    I recently inherited from what appears to be (I have done a good amount of research) a Zone VI type 1 5x7 enlarger. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zone-VI-5x7-...d=331658603704 this is the model I have.

    I have tested it throughly and it appears to be working fine, but I have had a few issues and problems that I can't seem to sort out on my own. I'm hoping to get some guidance. First off, the enlarger came with (I will take pictures if needed for the sake of specificity) a zone vi compensating timer, and a zone vi cold light stabilizer. So far, it seems I can only connect one in at a time, because the Type I enlarger only has jack on the head to plug into. It seems stabilizing the light is important, my question is: Is there any way of plugging both in simultaneously? will just running the timer which has a built in brightness control knob the same thing? should I care?

    Furthermore, I am missing the lens board, and negative carriers. Again, after a good amount of research and roaming the web, it seems like both are in short supply/very hard to find. So, does anyone have any good leads on the enlarger lens boards? can they be made? same goes for the negative carriers. I have made negative carriers before from old mat boards. I have found a few negative carriers for zone vi enlargers online but the enlarger lens boards seem to not exist, especially for a type I enlarger

    I am not able to get rid of this enlarger or buy a new one, so i am determined to make this one work! this will be my first home darkroom, and I will make this happen!

    any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    I've owned both a Type I and two Type II Zone VI enlargers. I purchased the Type I used way back in the late 80's. A few years ago I upgraded to a Type II for a variety of reasons. Overall, it's an improved enlarger.

    The EBay example you showed is a Type II Zone VI enlarger. The difference is that, the Type I has one vertical column leading to the lens stage, and the Type II has two vertical columns leading to the lens stage.

    I'm not sure what the stabilizer does, but if it is supposed to electronically "stabilize" the electrical current to the enlarger, you would not want to use it with your new enlarger. The Type II is internally designed to automatically, and individually stabilize the green and blue tubes. The enlarger will benefit by using the Zone VI compensating timer.

    Being a Type II, there have actually been a variety of negative carriers available on EBay for reasonable prices over the last year. Both the 4x5 and the 5x7 negative carriers are difficult to find, though. When I purchased my Type II, I received a defective 4x5 negative carrier.

    If you examine a D5 Omega enlarger, you'll see that the negative stage has about a 5"x5" square hole in it that receives guides from the undersides of Omega D5 negative carriers. These "guides" sort of lock the Omega negative carriers into the correct position on the negative stage. I had a local metal smith cut the same sized 5"x5" square holes into each half of my defective 4x5 Type II carrier and ended up with two adapters that enable me to use Omega D5 negative carriers with my Type II Zone VI enlarger. The 5"x5" hole was positioned to center the negative under the Type II head. What's neat, is that the Type II head is large enough to descend over the entire D5 negative carrier. So, I can use any of the D5 negative carriers with my Zone VI Type II enlarger. In particular, I can use the glass 4x5 D5 negative carriers with my Zone VI. Where the non-glass 4x5 Type II negative carriers are difficult to find, Type II glass 4x5 negative carriers are impossible to find. I kept one of the adapters that I had made, and I sold the other along with the 2nd Type II enlarger that I had.

    While I can use D5 carriers with my enlarger, I prefer to use Zone VI Type II carriers. Fred Picker deliberately designed these carriers to be full-frame, so that one can print the entire negative. Most of the D5 carriers mask part of the negative. So, I use my adapter for the D5 glass carrier that I have.

    Zone VI enlarger lens boards are hard to find, whether Type I or Type II. If you can find one, you might consider using it as a template to make more. I've noticed a Type II lens board on EBay within the last month or so.

    A downside of the Zone VI enlargers, is that it's almost impossible to find replacement tubes for it. So, treat it gentle.

  3. #3
    Photographer
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    Feb 2001
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    As Neil suggests, first make sure that you actually have a Type I enlarger. As he said, the Type I has a single chrome rod extending from the enlarger head; the Type II has two chrome rods.

    If your enlarger is a Type I, the attachment is a drawing for the Type I lensboard.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    If it's a Type II, PM me, and I'll get the dimensions of a Type II lensboard.


    Until you can locate Zone VI negative carriers, it's pretty easy to make glass carriers to fit this enlarger. Here's a link to one I made (post 38):

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...492#post967492

    You can make these for either Type I or II.

    You probably don't need the stabilizer if you use the compensating timer. It would help if you posted a picture of the enlarger head showing where the electrical connections are and another picture of the timer showing the electrical connections. Then it would be easier to advise you about how to connect to power and the timer.

    Good luck with your project.
    Keith Pitman

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    IFAIK the stabilizer worked on the principle of decreasing the light intensity slightly and then adjusting it up or down as needed to maintain an even light output. The compensating timer increased or decreased the length of the time interval (second) to compensate for changes in light intensity. You do not use both at the same time, and I'm pretty sure that the stabilizer was designed for 4x5 heads and smaller, not the 5x7 head. By that time, Freddie had come up with the compensating timer which was better because it did not need to decrease the light output in order to stabilize the light.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for the insight everyone. I have confirmed it is in fact a zone vi type I, ad evidenced by the single chrome rod. Thanks to everyones advice here, I feel confident that the cold light stabilizer is not necessary and is redundant because i have the compensating enlarging timer. My issue that remains is still how do i get my hands on a lensboard?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1458836767476-359323131.jpg  

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jasoncliffordchampagne View Post
    My issue that remains is still how do i get my hands on a lensboard?
    You can put a WTB ad here, you can have one made, or you can look at the great auction site! You may also wish to PM Richard Ritter to see if he can fabricate one for you.

  7. #7

    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    is there a thread dedicated to buying/selling parts? I actually just emailed Richard Ritter through the email provided on his webpage. Hoping to hear back from him.

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    You need to be a member for 30 days before you can dig into the For Sale/Wanted sub forum.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  9. #9
    Photographer
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    Posting the pictures will help, but there is too much of a jumble of cables to help you hook things up. First, take the stabilizer out of the picture to simplify things. Then separate and organize the remaining cables and make another picture. It should then be possible to advise you on how to hook it up.

    I think it will be very difficult to find lensboards for a Type I. Try to find a shop in your area that does waterjet cutting and have some made. Use the drawing I posted earlier. It should not be too expensive. Make sure you know the size of board hole your lenses require.
    Keith Pitman

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Re: Zone VI enlarger questions

    If not there's SKG!

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