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Thread: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

  1. #1

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    Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    Hey LFP crew,
    I am a total beginner on print making but because I am fascinated with the work of Alexey Titarenko, the Russian photographer who shot long exposure images on his home town of Leningrad I want to start to print my negatives. I have a Besler 23C ll but that won't do 4x5 unless there are some drastic modifications done on the unit. I am looking at a few enlargers this weekend in the DC - Balt area, an Omega B-8 for $95, Omega D2 black & white enlarger w/ lenses & accessories asking $100. With the Omega B-8 the guy wants $95 for the enlarger and lens. The enlarger has been refurbed by Classic Enlargers. The caveat is that he has a bundle of timers and trays, and other items that I don't need. He wants to sell it at a package for $160 which means I'll be stuck selling all the extras to get back to somewhere around $95. To me the fact that it's been refurbed is huge. Am I placing too high an emphasis on that? He can't recall when it was refurbed. If it was 5-7 years ago then great. If it was in 1993 then it's not a big deal. The fact that he can't recall when it was refurb leads me to believe it was quite some time ago. I like the idea that the B-8 takes up little real estate.

    Wondering if I should get either, wait for something else, or make prints of my 35mm & 120 and just scan my 4x5s.

    Note that the person with the B-8 included the following in their ad: "converted to use regular D series negative carriers by Classic Enlargers - entirely refurbished w/ new baseboard"

    Thanks to the generosity of all of you who contribute.
    Last edited by Mike Ratel; 5-Nov-2021 at 20:46. Reason: added "converted to use..."

  2. #2

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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    Both good deals, just make sure everything needed for operation is there, as missing parts can be hard to find... And make sure condensers or diffusers are there, and not damaged... Some models use lens cones for proper extension and scarce these days, and lensboards/carriers/turret parts etc are a big plus... Check locks, lifts, bellows, how head moves on column, and try to see under locks/rollers if plastic parts are not crumbling... Avoid any of the electronically based heads, as the electronics/switches are getting old and possibly problematic...

    Probably a better bet with the one that has been restored, as other can be much older without replacement plastics and possible upgrades... If you take the one with the extra stuff, he might throw in even more useful lab stuff, maybe even lenses, good easels if they just want to clear things out...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  3. #3
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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Ratel View Post
    Note that the person with the B-8 included the following in their ad: "converted to use regular D series negative carriers by Classic Enlargers - entirely refurbished w/ new baseboard"
    The B-8 is of course a 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 enlarger, not 4x5. So you should ask some probing questions about what the "conversion" actually is.

  4. #4

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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    The first enlarger that I actually purchased new was a B-8...and I loved it! Very simple, to the point, and also quite rugged.

    But reading over your original post...it does look like you are at least thinking about 4x5. If this is the case, my thought is that you owe it to yourself to look over that D-2...because in the long run you stand to be much better served by this model.

    Also, while I agree that a refurb can be "huge," a well kept Omega that has otherwise not been overhauled can basically be in the same functional condition as a refurb - although I'll admit that I've seen loads of D-2's that have been hammered on mercilessly over the years.

    My own example of the D-2 (the very last model, sold as a "special edition") I'd also purchased new many years ago (1974?), and while I now mostly use my Zone VI series 2 enlarger, (and while I still press the D-2 into service on occasion), that D-2 and I have a long history together...and after having pulled many thousands of prints from that machine, in formats including 35mm, 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, and 4x5 - it basically still looks and behaves as it did when new.

    Finally, refurb or no, that B-8 has been...modified to accept 4x5? I would be extremely cautious of this...and also know that if somehow both the refurb and modifications were "flawless," the chassis of the B-8, while very rugged, is really not spec'd out for 4x5...and you might find yourself, especially with any head elevation, with a very heavy lollipop on a very thin stick...waiting forever for vibrations to cease prior to exposing a print - with any false moves on your part during this process only creating more vibrations.

    Hey...if you want to print from 4x5 - get an enlarger designed and built for this purpose!
    Last edited by John Layton; 6-Nov-2021 at 06:10. Reason: grammar/clarity

  5. #5
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    Omega D-2 is built like a tank. Both in high school and college used to make prints.

    Another consideration, if you’re only going to enlarge 2&1/4 square negatives is a B-22. I do own one, it’s the XL girder, that I bought new in the 1960’s and I use it with the chromega color head which allows me to use variable contrast black and white paper, dialing in the grade I want with the filters.

  6. #6

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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    The B-8 is a fine enlarger but it's not for 4x5.
    Which format do you want your enlarger for?
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  7. #7

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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    I passed on the B-8. Just too many questions regarding the refurbishing and what was done to make it ready for 4x5. I pinged a person up by Baltimore who has a D2 for $100 but the ad has been up a month. If the person still has it I am sure they are ready to deal. A guy up by Philly has a D2 for sale who states "complete Omega D2 with two cones, many negative carriers, condenser and cold light heads for $150" but that's 3 hours away. I drove nearly that far to buy my cello but that was a super deal and worth every minute on the road. I am sure every weekend several more will pop up.

  8. #8

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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    D2 is a fine machine. I have both a Dll and a D2. Look for one that comes with as many of the goodies you can find. Buying accessories piece by piece can add up quickly!
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  9. #9

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    Re: Thinking of buying an Omega B-8 enlarger

    I have had 2 D2s, the second one still going strong, never refurbed, just cleaned up by me a bit as needed. I used some metal polish on the brass focusing rails last year, which seriously needed it -- it took a while, but they barely squeak any longer. I have no shop or shop skills; if I can do it, anyone can. I paid about $150 for the first in 1974--well used older model back then. The newer one I got for free around 1982, probably a '70s model (?). Adjustments can be made with screw driver (flat or Phillips) and wrench or pliers. Along with some metal polish and lubricant, all systems should be go unless there's a (probably) obvious problem.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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