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Thread: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

  1. #1
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    This morning I enjoyed watching Greg Davis' video (https://youtu.be/VQ-9Ch5biKc) regarding the differences between diffusion and condenser enlarger light sources. I have a Beseler 45V-XL with the Dichro 45S head. I've been considering going to an LED light source (i.e. Heiland) and wondered what the difference would be compared to my 45S?
    "I have this feeling of walking around for days with the wind knocked out of me." - Jim Harrison

  2. #2

    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    The Heiland is great. I have one in my LPL and I really can't complain. It's the brightest enlarger I've used by far (requiring an ND in some cases). They are a lot of money however. If you have a working dichroic head I'd hesitate to tell you that everything will get better with the LED. In my case my power supply and/or lamp housing was malfunctioning so I made the upgrade, and also purchased the split grade controller. However I have (as of yesterday!) a modified Zone VI 8x10 enlarger with a Kienzle VC diffusion head. Given that the VC head is currently working, I hesitate to spend $5k on an LED for it. It would enable me to print color and use the splitgrade controller more easily, but otherwise it should be roughly the same experience.

    Long story short, the LEDs are great. If you have the cash go for it. If you don't, don't feel like you 'have' to upgrade or anything.

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    Beseler 45V-XL with the Dichro 45S head. I've been considering going to an LED light source (i.e. Heiland)
    Additive vs Subtractive printing. The paper does not know the difference, but the workflow of making the exposure is different.

    Moving a magenta filter over a white light source removes green and causes the highlights to print lighter.
    Increasing green LED intensity causes the highlights to print darker.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    However I have (as of yesterday!) a modified Zone VI 8x10 enlarger with a Kienzle VC diffusion head.
    That would make a good thread!

  5. #5

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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    The Heiland LED light source is a diffusion source. It may be brighter/more efficient/give you better contrast control than the 45S head, but they are fundamentally the same as far as rendering of the image is concerned. Diffusion is diffusion is diffusion...

    Doremus

  6. #6

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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    The Heiland LED light source is a diffusion source. It may be brighter/more efficient/give you better contrast control than the 45S head, but they are fundamentally the same as far as rendering of the image is concerned. Diffusion is diffusion is diffusion...

    Doremus
    Yup reminds me of the old saying that a fool and his money are soon parted!

  7. #7

    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    Yup reminds me of the old saying that a fool and his money are soon parted!
    Eh, I can think of more “foolish” things to spend money on. Watches, guns, fast cars, anything with a red Leica dot. With the Heiland at least you can reasonably assume you will have a working enlarger lamp for the rest of your natural life, with no decay to the filtration strength and completely consistent output. Plus there have been at least 2 Splitgrade firmware updates just this year to add and refine paper calibrations.

    It’s all relative to what you can afford and how much interest you have in it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    I think I'll just keep my DeVere 5108 Dichroic heads-have two. After all, like Doremus said, it is a diffusion light source! FWIW, a new DeVere dichroic head is more expensive than a Heiland LED head!
    Last edited by Luis-F-S; 12-Aug-2020 at 11:53.

  9. #9

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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    Eh, I can think of more “foolish” things to spend money on. Watches, guns, fast cars, anything with a red Leica dot. With the Heiland at least you can reasonably assume you will have a working enlarger lamp for the rest of your natural life, with no decay to the filtration strength and completely consistent output. Plus there have been at least 2 Splitgrade firmware updates just this year to add and refine paper calibrations.

    It’s all relative to what you can afford and how much interest you have in it.
    Living in farm country with a lot of coyotes and such - having a few in different calibers is a lifesaver in many ways.
    We shoot geese with a .243 - crop depredation. Lots of ponds and sloughs and one pair of geese can cost $800-1500 in crop loss come harvest time. When they produce a brood the loss goes double or a bit more. So, we get permission to take them to prevent the loss. Shotguns are good but we're not hunting for meat - shoot and move the carcass so it doesn't get into the machinery later.

    Then the darned Coyotes. Take more dogs and cats than cattle but they can do a lot of damage to farm animals. Lose a couple of cows and it is a few thousand dollars as well as no calves from them next season.

    Raccoons in the corn - especially the gardens. So we shoot them. Odd thing is that high powered pellet rifles that are silenced and legal are very effective within 100 yards or so. The sound of the pellet hitting is louder than the shot. Raccoons can open gates and take some lids off trash cans as well as chew and claw through plastic cans.

    Blackbirds in murmerations of thousands descend on corn and sunflower fields. Some neighbors buy shotgun shells by the pallet - a lot more than a case - and have their kids and hands carry them to shoot the birds and keep them from decimating the crop.

    There is always the good side that we can photograph our rifles, shotguns and pistols.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  10. #10

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    Re: Diffusion v Condenser v LED

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    This morning I enjoyed watching Greg Davis' video (https://youtu.be/VQ-9Ch5biKc) regarding the differences between diffusion and condenser enlarger light sources. I have a Beseler 45V-XL with the Dichro 45S head. I've been considering going to an LED light source (i.e. Heiland) and wondered what the difference would be compared to my 45S?
    The visible difference in your prints will be extremely difficult to see, if it's there in the first place.
    If you prefer the level of automation and ease of use (although seeing the Heiland in action, I had my doubts about user friendliness, but one can get used to it I suppose) of the Heiland unit, then go for it. So the impact will be on your workflow, not so much on the end result.

    Btw, I use a LED light source myself for both B&W and color and find it quite convenient in use. But I did have the 'advantage' of being able to build the thing myself, which means that it does pretty much exactly what I want it to do (i.e. it fits my personal workflow) and it cost me relatively little money in comparison with a Heiland unit. Of course, it did cost me many many hours engineering and building it - time I could also have spent making images.

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