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Thread: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

  1. #1

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    Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    I have opportunity to purchase a De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger and am just looking for some advice on the head, working with it and general advice.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    Can't help on the Head as I bought mine without a head

    Best 4X5 chassis I have seen

    Can be wall mounted or any table

  3. #3

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    Nov 2019
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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    Fantastic enlarger. Look into adding an Heiland head and you will be set for a long time.
    The light source will fit perfectly into the Cathomag that you have. Then you will have incomparable range.

    I did just that.

  4. #4

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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by Crown-LF View Post
    I have opportunity to purchase a De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger and am just looking for some advice on the head, working with it and general advice.

    Thanks
    Glorious iconic cold cathode blue light ~ my favourite enlarger head!

    Other printers are usually befuddled at the anachronistic love for such a beautiful light and technique. The cathode head contains mercury. It's important if you are purchasing it or getting it posted, not to tilt it upside down. You will need a Transtab voltage stabiliser or equivalent: the cold cathode does not operate instantaneously at warm-up and can confound new printers to this technique using RH Designs start-stop timer switching devices. The light is usually left on during printing with a red safe filter in-situ. Dichromat heads are easy add ons (twice as bulky) for multi-grade printing.

    The cold cathode technique is designed for traditional graded papers and emits a cold blue light. I've never been fond of the Dichromat dial in filter method with multigrade and the ever dimming impossible to focus through a magenta coloration filter as the contrast range escalates. There is an Ilford head if you like Ilford papers more than Eastern European and vintage Seagull papers. The Heiland head may cost you more than the enlarger: it is very bulky and demands much space for the freestanding version although the wall mounted version is very elegant if you can tolerate floor printing and 300mm enlarger lenses.

    You may find you are in the minority of printers using cold cathode light. Welcome!

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    I had a Saltzman Mercury filled Cold Cathode lamp

    At least 5 lbs of mercury in it

    I took to it to Chicago Hazmat, with the very old heavy transformer

  6. #6

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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    I bought De Vere 504 Cathomag recently but like to change the head. I am deciding between Dichromat and Ilford 500. My regular printing is split grade printing with MGFB or MGRC Ilford paper. I am looking for advice on function and longterm serviceability, pro and con of these 2 head. Heiland should be very good but too costly for me.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by viboons View Post
    I bought De Vere 504 Cathomag recently but like to change the head. I am deciding between Dichromat and Ilford 500. My regular printing is split grade printing with MGFB or MGRC Ilford paper. I am looking for advice on function and longterm serviceability, pro and con of these 2 head. Heiland should be very good but too costly for me.
    Split grade printing with a color head would drive me nuts; dialing the filters in and out for every exposure.

  8. #8

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    Nov 2019
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    6

    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by viboons View Post
    I bought De Vere 504 Cathomag recently but like to change the head. I am deciding between Dichromat and Ilford 500. My regular printing is split grade printing with MGFB or MGRC Ilford paper. I am looking for advice on function and longterm serviceability, pro and con of these 2 head. Heiland should be very good but too costly for me.
    I'd go with the Ilford 500. Like ic-racer said, with a colour head split grade printing is no fun. Been there, done that.

  9. #9

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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by oliton View Post
    I'd go with the Ilford 500. Like ic-racer said, with a colour head split grade printing is no fun. Been there, done that.
    Just hope the Ilford 500 doesn't break, or you're SOL. I'd go with the Dichroic head myself! Best 4x5 enlarger chasis made! If you stick with the Cathomag head, get a metrolux compensating timer with probe. There were some new ones offered a while back. Search for them and PM Eric Woodbury for advice and to see if he knows of any new ones. L

  10. #10

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    Re: Advice on De Vere 504 Cathomag Enlarger

    My 504 originally had the cathomag head, but at the time graded papers were common, so using the head was easy. When VC paper became the norm, I switched the cathomag for a ZoneVI variable contrast head. However, there was an interim period, when I used split-filter printing using Rosco #389 Green and #68 Blue filters. Rosco gels are designed for stage lighting, but the large sheets were not expensive (haven't looked at current prices) and it was easy to cut 4x5 rectangles for filters. The difficulty with this approach is you have to put the filters above the negative carrier, and switch the filters without moving the carrier. As others have posted, the 504 chassis is one of the best ever made, I've been using mine for something like 45 years, and still love it.

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