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Thread: Current 4x5 enlarger options

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    Current 4x5 enlarger options

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to the LF forum, researching options before I make my initial purchases. Currently I shoot medium format in a few different cameras. A big part of my attraction to LF is to be able to print in my home darkroom (I have a Beseler Dichro 67s enlarger). So before I buy a 4x5 camera, I'd like to plan how I will print my work. Of course I can make negative scans and crank out images on my Canon inkjet, but my priority is to create prints in the darkroom.

    From what I can tell, my 4x5 enlarger options are:

    1. Watch eBay, Craigslist etc. for 4x5 enlargers, potentially driving several hours to pick up a used unit in person.
    2. On their website, Intrepid Cameras shows that they are working on a "version 2" enlarger kit for their 4x5 cameras. I'm fairly interested in their 4x5 cameras as an entry point to LF anyway, so getting a matching enlarger kit seems like a decent path. Any feedback from those that have used their version 1 4x5 enlarger kit will be appreciated.

    If anyone has additional ideas/paths to being able to make enlarged 4x5 prints in the darkroom, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    I guess it depends on your budget. I don't have any experience with Intrepid. Option 1 likely entails time/work (find something which meets your needs and is in good condition etc.). There is of course also option 3 (new enlarger) but that will obviously be a lot more money than the other options.

  3. #3
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    You might want to tell us or put where you are in your bio.

    Enlarger availability used varies greatly by location.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  4. #4
    Moderator
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    You can still buy 4x5 enlargers new, but they're very expensive - mid-to-high $$$$ - and rarely kept in stock by dealers any more, so you may need to wait a few weeks for product to ship from the factory or distributor.

  5. #5
    Exploring Large Format Exploring Large Format's Avatar
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    Sep 2019
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    I have Intrepid Mark IV camera, and other cameras. Had their version 1 Enlarger for 4x5. Then scored a Beseler 45MXII for free via CL, but after months of trying. Sold Intrepid Version 1 Enlarger here.

    My take: their version 2 Enlarger seems very promising; substantially different from version 1. Version 1 was well-built and designed well for the purpose. Smart for what it was. Just like their cameras. Used with copy stand. Great for my beginning into 4x5.

    But when I did score the Beseler (included scads of negative carriers, paper, chemicals galore--mostly going to dump--bottles, developing tanks for 35mm/120, paper safes, timer, etc.), I could see why a solid enlarger, dedicated for LF, makes sense. Assuming you have space for dedicated Enlarger.

    But if I were to do it again, I'd go for the Intrepid Enlarger Version 1 or 2 for 4x5 (is it coming soon? ) AND keep my eye on CL for that score. No telling when it will come, but eventually it will. Easy then to sell the Intrepid Enlarger down the road, or not.

    Diligence + Luck + Patience = pay off via CL for Enlargers, sinks, expired paper, accouterments. But Intrepid in meantime works!

    Sent from my SM-G981V using Tapatalk

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Canada
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    Finding a copy stand that's tall and robust enough for an Intrepid Camera is probably going to be harder than finding a decent 4x5 enlarger. Using a 4x5 camera on a tripod as an enlarger is too awkward to make any practical sense. I can't imagine anyone would do this unless there was no other alternative. On the other hand, the Intrepid LED light source looks like it would be very useful if it could be adapted to a conventional enlarger, since you can change the color balance without risking "jiggling" the enlarger while making adjustments (for split filter printing).

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    A way better copy stand can be made from an enlarger column itself, as opposed to official copystands. A Durst 130 is especially easy to convert. My present copystand is something I turned into an intergral option to my working L184 enlarger, replete with modern LED rim lights. I threw away my old Bencher stand, and removed my good ole truly hot hot-lighting. ... Not precisely the answer the poster was seeking, but an example of how killing two birds with one stone is often the more economical and space-saving way to go, especially if you get a 184 for free like I did. Scaled down to 4X5/5X7 size, there are plenty of used 138's out there needing just at little TLC to get back another 50 yrs of dependable performance.

  8. #8

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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    Since you're in a city area, you may be able to supplement waiting for CL -- although, you might get lucky and find a perfect enlarger there soon -- by making a few inquiries. There are many enlargers sitting in closets or other storage, because for some it's too muchtrouble to pull out the enlarger to photograph and then post it, but they don't want to send it to the junk yard. You might try calling such places as older photography studios, senior center (retired pros), colleges or high schools, camera clubs. you may get some good leads. A classified as in a local paper -- online or otherwise -- might also work, for very little cost. Either way, it seems to me that, since you apparently have a darkroom already anyway, your best bet may be to give it a little time and wait to get one fairly locally that will handle all your needs.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
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  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2021
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    5

    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    Quote Originally Posted by sharktooth View Post
    Finding a copy stand that's tall and robust enough for an Intrepid Camera is probably going to be harder than finding a decent 4x5 enlarger. Using a 4x5 camera on a tripod as an enlarger is too awkward to make any practical sense. I can't imagine anyone would do this unless there was no other alternative. On the other hand, the Intrepid LED light source looks like it would be very useful if it could be adapted to a conventional enlarger, since you can change the color balance without risking "jiggling" the enlarger while making adjustments (for split filter printing).
    Large copy stands are pretty easy to find, but they aren't cheap... $300+ for one the size he'd need. I've been using a Smith Victor 42" Copy Stand with my speedgraphic/graflarger setup and it's plenty sturdy enough. The Intrepid enalrger is about half the weight of that.

  10. #10

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    Dec 2006
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    Re: Current 4x5 enlarger options

    I have no experience with the Intrepid, but my general bias is that some built to perform a task works better than something adapted to perform a task.

    Put up WTB ads. Monitor Facebook Marketplace as well as CL and ebay. Like Ulophot says, your enlarger is out there. Make the rounds of serious photo stores - even if they don't do much film/darkroom business, there may be someone there that "knows a guy".

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