Rough Week in the Darkroom

And I didn’t even print! Well it all started with Photostock (which was awesome!). See I got this enlarger from the Bannows, an awesome film photography couple who were moving and downsizing their formidable enlarger collection. I got free-to-a-good-home an Omega D5. Originally I thought they said it was a D2 but after some research, no, it’s definitely a D5. I stuffed it an a bunch of other spoils in my Jeep Cherokee and headed home. Upon arrival I brought everything in the house and dumped all my darkroom stuff either in my darkroom or just out side it. I got the enlarger mounted to its baseboard and swapped it out with my old FED and all was good. Plugged everything together and it worked. Yay! Then I tried to put my 80mm El-Nikkor on the turret and could not get it to focus. Put it on the single board and it worked fine though I did notice it was a little dim. After some time I discovered a locking lever that raises and lowers the lens platform sort of setting the stops for the bellows. Weird, but the 80mm now worked on the turret.

Once I finally got this working I took a sip of Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, looked back and no light. None, and everything was on and set to focus. I thought the bulb might have died so I pulled it out. The bulb looked fine so I grabbed my multi meter and there was no voltage at the socket. Uh oh. After tracing wires out I figured it wouldn’t hurt to pull this “voltage regulator” box off the back of the dichro power supply (it’s optional). Plugged it all back up and it worked and was brighter.

For years now I’ve used a foot switch to expose paper on the enlarger. I went on ebay and found one for this piggyback timer that came with the power supply. Dang it was expensive. Pretty much anything for an Omega D5 is waaay more than for a Beseler 23C. I got the foot switch, hooked it up to test, it has a rather unique and goofy connector that only goes in one way. When I powered everything up I heard this sci-fi, jacob’s-ladder-type of sound and smelled that horrible burnt electronic smell. The light was still on but the timer didn’t time. Pitched the timer. Guess I’ll have to try to return the foot switch. I plugged the power supply into my Gralab 535 and it worked wonderfully, so now I’m looking for a second timer. Preferably a digital Gralab.

On the plus side while I was reorganizing my paper stash I found a bunch of 16×20 fiber base paper I’d forgotten about. I also found a bunch of fogged paper I might as well fix and toss. Had to reorg to make room for the stash of 16×20 paper I bought at Photostock from a fellow photographer Mark O’Brien.

All in all it’s not that bad, it’s just the learning curve of a very different enlarger. I will get it printing but it might be another week.

Before and after of my messier-than-normal enlargers:
Enlarge upgrade before and after

Expired paper to add to the stash!
Newly acquired expired paper

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  1. The Omega turret is a bit wobbly so it works against precise alignment of your enlarger. The single plates are much better. Also, the thickness of the turret limits the size of print that can be made from 35mm with a 50mm lens should you want to do that. Hopefully the dovetail piece behind the lens stage is brass. Omega made them in plastic for a while.