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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : What Do I Need to Build My Own Darkroom?

Photography Question 
Halcyon Neumann

Is This Enlarger Worth Keeping?

Well, goes. A few years ago, my father, in a fit of generosity, bought me a lot of photographic junk, including an enlarger and some other stuff that a woman was getting rid of.

I was just getting into photography seriously at that point and had no idea what to do with it - I wasn't ready to develop my own pictures.

I left it in Texas when I moved to Virginia - got married, etc., etc., getting my apartment into shape, and then I enrolled in the NYIP. Well, I want to start doing some printing of my own. I bought two books, whose titles I don't remember, but they were both excellent, and started familiarizing myself with the equipment I needed, etc.

Short story long, my sister mailed me the enlarger.

Turns out it's a Bogen, dichroic color head. It has three knobs on the head - cyan, magenta, and yellow. On the side, there's a switch that says White - Color. It does have a lens in it - a 50mm one.

The lever to turn it is extremely creaky - the whole thing is somewhat rusty, although more dusty than anything. I cleaned it up as best I could and examined it more closely. It has some screws missing - shouldn't be too hard to replace.

The baseboard is missing all but one stabilizer, so it's wobbly as heck.

Aside from the dust, it seems to be in decent shape. It appears to be sturdily made.

I'm just really wondering... is it worth taking to a camera store (I know a guy who would do a pretty good job) to get this fixed, or would I be better off buying a brand new one?

I was originally looking at doing only b&w printing... but this IS a color enlarger, so is it worth keeping or can I find a good color enlarger for about the same price as it would be for this one to get fixed?

One other question: Another thing that came with it was something called a Uniroller. I have to admit that I'm baffled by this contraption. It says on it - "For unicolor filmdrum and all unidrums" Model 352, picture machine appliances.

It has a switch at one end, and an electrical cord.

I haven't seriously read the color section of my books yet, and I haven't seen anything like this. Can anyone enlighten me? Sorry I got so long-winded here... I really appreciate any and all help given.

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10/19/2001 5:47:21 PM

Vincent Lowe   I don't know much about the enlarger but could be worth asking for an estimated repair cost. The Uniroller is a device for agitating daylight loading print drums for colour printing. There should be two rubber wheels sticking out the top - you load the exposed paper into the drum (in total darkness - needs some practice!) put the lid on and then you can pour in the chemicals in the light. The Uniroller turns the drum in both directions - you only need a small amount of chemicals to cover the paper at the bottom of the drum. Major drawback is that you can't use it in a water bath to maintain temperature so the idea was that you poured in water first at a higher temperature. I found it was all a bit hit and miss - do yourself a favour and buy a decent Epson A3 printer and forget about it! Anyone want to buy a Uniroller?

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10/25/2001 3:40:09 PM

Darleene Finley-Markiewicz   1. You should check the bellows condition on the enlarger; most important issue.

2. The machine you describe is a uniroller base which rolls your color tube when developing color prints. Plugs in a rolls the drum which you can buy at darkroom supply. You will need a drum if you intend to develop color prints as they are sensitive to all light and must be processed in complete darkness. You buy a drum by size, i.e. 8 x 10, ll x 14, etc. You pour in your color chemicals and roll the drum or use a uniroller machine that rocks the tube back and forth to process a color

Also a color head is good for dialing in your contrast levels on
black and white photos and is not necesarily just for color. But you do need a color head for color. Hope this helps.

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10/31/2001 2:50:46 AM

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