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Thread: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

  1. #1

    Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    I am setting up my Zone VI (modified to 8x10) enlarger.

    Any tips and tricks for getting perfect alignment? I'm planning to use a Versalab alignment tool but before I get to that step I was hoping to at least have a bubble level on the film carrier show me a good result. It's just a little tricky using the wall mounting bracket at the top and the bracket at the bottom.

    Is there anything on the head itself that can be adjusted?

  2. #2
    Photographer
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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    Both the negative stage and lens stage can be adjusted with Allen wrenches. There are three adjustment points for each. Do you have a manual? There’s probably a pdf on line.
    Keith Pitman

  3. #3
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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    Keith Pitman

  4. #4

    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    I think that with the modification those little screws don't have much of an effect. I will try with shims.

  5. #5

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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    I made a nice enlarging stand for my Type II enlarger. It's crude, but it enabled me to make the negative stage roughly parallel to the easel table. Once that was done, I was able to use the enlargers alignment system to optimize the negative stage and the lens stage.

    Like you, I used the Versalab laser tool.

  6. #6

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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    Absolute the first thing to do is make sure that the shelf or cabinet top that the enlarger's base lies on is perfectly level. I had previously fabricated a "U" shaped unit with runners on each side that allowed me to place a flat countertop at different levels under a wall mounted enlarger. When I moved it from my previous darkroom into my present darkroom, it was a perfect fit between the side of a cabinet on its left and the wall on its right. Before securing it to the cabinet and wall, I checked the levelness of the adjustable countertop and it was a full 1/4" out of level. It rested on the concrete floor and the concrete floor was equally a full 1/4" out of level from right to left. The enlarger was attached to the newly constructed wall and made perfectly vertical. About a year later measured it and had to shim out the bottom of the column... One year after the wall had acclimated to the basement, it was no longer perfectly vertical.

  7. #7
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    For alignment on any enlarger, get a piece of plexiglass or regular glass with a grid on one side and put it in where the negative carrier goes. Check with a grain focuser to see if it's all in focus at the edges and in the center.

    Then remove it and with nothing in the negative carrier stage but still focused where the negative would be, turn the light on, close the lens down to the smallest f/stop you use, and move a white card around on the easel where the paper will be. This checks for any dirt or damage on the condensers, diffusion glass, and heat shield glass that will show up on the print. You'd be surprised how often something shows up.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #8

    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    If I could fully wall mount it I might be able to get it a little more even but the problem is, it's just me. Once it's on the wall it's extremely difficult to feed in the counterweights. My counterweights have an additional piece to compensate for the heavy Kienzle head... I might just have to re-think my mounting somehow...there has to be an easier way.

  9. #9

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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    If I could fully wall mount it I might be able to get it a little more even but the problem is, it's just me. Once it's on the wall it's extremely difficult to feed in the counterweights. My counterweights have an additional piece to compensate for the heavy Kienzle head... I might just have to re-think my mounting somehow...there has to be an easier way.
    Versus wall mounting the enlarger itself, attach the base of the enlarger to piece of wood that's hinged at the bottom to the wall. In this way, you can insert the counter weights and attach the chassis while the column is horizontal, and then slowly rotate it up and attach the rods to the top of the column. For example, you could use door hinges that are strong enough and beefy enough.

    Make sure that the counter weights are as deep inside the column as possible while in the horizontal position, so that they don't come crashing down as the enlarger is lifted to it's more vertical position.

    I don't know if you have the wall mounting kit? I have an extra. It consists of two wall attachments and has rods that extend to the top of the enlarger.

  10. #10

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    Re: Zone VI Alignment Tips!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I let in a 2x12 into the studs, then 5/4 red oak and finally 4x4 anchored to the oak and 2x12. It's solid. I use the 5x7 for 6x17 more than the 8x10. I just used a Saunders enlarger alignment bubble level on the 5x7. Not sure I did anything on the 8x10. I use the plastic table, I shimmed it once. The floor is flat and level.

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