Can I use a Colour Enlarger for B&W?
Old 09-25-2007   #1
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Can I use a Colour Enlarger for B&W?

Ok potentially a dumb qn, but here goes:

I have been thinking lately about a darkroom, obviously I would need an enlarger, so my question is : can I use a colour enlarger for B&W printing? I only ask as their is an LPL C7700 Pro on ebay that is pickup only, near my work, and fairly cheap with plenty of accessories!
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Old 09-25-2007   #2
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Short answer is yes.

You can use the magenta and yellow filters to change the contrast of multi-contrast paper, or you can take all the filters out of the light to use graded paper.

Colour enlargers generally have a diffused light-source rather than a focussed one, so the result is slightly less contrasty than a traditional black-and-white enlarger - but this is not a problem as such, just different.
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Old 09-25-2007   #3
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Yes you can. Dial in yellow for less contrasty prints and magenta for more contrasty prints. I do that all the time (I use a Magnifax 4A with a Color 3 head). You can actually get much finer contrast control with a colour enlarger, although if you really want to explore that it can get quite tedious with lots of testing.
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Old 09-25-2007   #4
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But if you're using graded papers, set the enlarger to 'white' light setting (some enlargers allow the dichro filters to be pushed out of the light path for focusing) or else set the filter settings to 0-0-0.

As mentioned by Martin, diffused light sources can give less contrasty prints than condenser heads. You may find prints on 'normal' grade paper a bit too flat, so use paper of the next higher grade.
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