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Thread: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

  1. #1
    Motorsports Photographer LukeMunnell's Avatar
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    Red face Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    Working career photographer (digital), getting back to my film roots. I've been shooting and processing my own 6x6 and 4x5 film for the past year or so, color and B&W, but finally found a good deal on a 4x5 enlarger in decent (albeit incomplete) shape, and could use a little guidance/advice setting things up for B&W printing.

    It's a Omega D-2XL chassis, with Condenser Lamphouse Type D on Variable Condenser. I'm straight on which lenses to use and how to set it up for various negs, with the exception of lens boards/cones. Even with the variable condenser, will I need a cone for the longer-length lenses (135mm, 150mm)? Or just keep all the lenses on flat boards and crank the bellows?

    Do the later-model D5 three-lens turrets work on something older like my D2?

    I've only ever enlarged 35mm and 6x6 in the darkroom (lots of it), but that was nearly 20 years ago. Should I go for the glass carriers for the 4x5 stuff? If so, any opinions which carriers/glass is best?

    Also, any thoughts on which style of contrast filters I should be using? I don't have an accessory mount for round-type, and I've read that some ppl here seem to prefer laying square filters above the condenser lenses.

    Finally (I think), Are there better/brighter bulbs I should consider for this head? This one's probably 35 years old and I'm sure the technology has improved since then. I'd also prefer brighter for focusing/making larger prints.

    Thank you for reading! I'm stoked to be getting back into this. I shoot every week and have probably shot millions of frames in my life, but B&W film photography is still the only craft that I can remember completely stealing my heart and attention.
    www.lukemunnell.com

  2. #2
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    I use this halogen bulb in my D5:
    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Brighter and makes for crisper prints.

    For cones, etc, refer to http://www.khbphotografix.com/omega/Enlargers/D2.htm

    You can also search the part numbers once you have them on that auction website.

  3. #3
    Huub
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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    You will need a cone for the 135mm or the 150mm lens, as you won't be able to cranck out the bellows far enough for smaller prints. Shorter lenses can be used with a flat lensboard.

    I don't have any direct experience, but i very much doubt the lens turrets of the D5 will work on a D2. Exchanges lenses and cones is easy enough on a D2.

    The decision for glass carriers is a hard one. I made one myself out of a few layers of matte board and some window glass, as i wanted to be able to print the complete 4x5 and 6x6 negatives. I use a single piece of glass under negative for 4x5 and i don't see any quality loss in comparison to the glassless carriers. For 6x6 i use a piece of ant-Newton glass above the negative, also in in a self-made carrier.
    Original D2 negative carriers with glass are easy enough to find. When acquiring one, i would buy one with anti-newton glass as the top glass. If i remember correctly, you will loose some margin of your negatives when using one of these on 4x5.

    As contrast filters i use a set of the 6x6 Ilford filters, which i put into the condensor drawer. Works as like a song and that way they are not between negative and paper, so there is no possibility for quality loss.

    I am not sure you will need a brighter bulb. I use a 75 watt one in mine and my printing times are often very short, so i resort to a 2 step ND filter to achieve reasonable printing times. Do some testing first.

  4. #4

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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    I have a D2V also, it a fine enlarger. I use glass neg carriers for 120 and 4x5. You will need a cone for the 135 and 150mm lens, I don't think the 3 lens torrent will fit , but changing lens is easy. I use a 75 wat bulb and a 150 watt bulb for dense negs and large prints, if you have the extra long chassis the 150 watt might come in handy when making very large prints. The contrast filters are just used in with the variable condenser. If you have a choice to brace the top of the enlarger to a wall stud do it, especially your extra tall enlarger, the Omega D-2 enlargers do vibrate a bit and letting the vibration die down a bit before making an exposure helps with making sharp prints.

  5. #5
    Motorsports Photographer LukeMunnell's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    Thanks, everyone! Extremely helpful and good advice. Just what I was hoping for.
    www.lukemunnell.com

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    4X5 glass carrier, definitely. But you also need to know how to level the carrier platform relative to the baseboard.

  7. #7

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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    4X5 glass carrier, definitely. But you also need to know how to level the carrier platform relative to the baseboard.
    And to the lens stage.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    I had to make some minor modification to my ole D2 to allow precise squaring/leveling, and still had to insert a few shim in at the bottom of the column. No big deal, but nowhere near as convenient as the Durst machines a new use. And my big wholly custom-built 8x10 machine actually has industrial-duty micrometer-driven controls for parallel, yaw, etc, etc, cannibalized from all kinds of otherwise unaffordable machinery, including military surplus.

  9. #9
    Motorsports Photographer LukeMunnell's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up an Omega D-2XL -- missing pieces, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I had to make some minor modification to my ole D2 to allow precise squaring/leveling, and still had to insert a few shim in at the bottom of the column. No big deal, but nowhere near as convenient as the Durst machines a new use. And my big wholly custom-built 8x10 machine actually has industrial-duty micrometer-driven controls for parallel, yaw, etc, etc, cannibalized from all kinds of otherwise unaffordable machinery, including military surplus.
    Uhh, awesome. Got pics?

    Copy that on the leveling, everyone. Going to knock that out as soon as I have everything else assembled. There are quite a few minor parts on this thing that are bent or slightly tweaked, so I have my work cut out for me. But I come from an background of working on cars (alignments, bodywork, etc.), so I *think* I can handle it. We'll see.
    www.lukemunnell.com

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