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Enlarger base/stand as a "copy stand" -- Is this a bad idea?

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brg5658
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United States
452 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2012  7:05 pm Show Profile Check brg5658's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add brg5658 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I have been trying to find a reasonably priced copy stand that gives me enough height to use a 135mm Rodagon Enlarger lens, and also, to use one of my other enlarger lenses to photograph full slabs. I looked around for quite a while, and everything seemed to be in the $200 or higher range. So, I started thinking, maybe I can use an old Enlarger Stand, remove the projector, etc. and have a very sturdy copy stand.

I looked for a while, and decided that it wasn't going to get much cheaper than one I saw for $20 with $28 shipping (for a total gamble/investment of $48). That total is about $15 less than I even paid for my low-end copy stand.

Well, the stand arrived today, and it's a sturdy thing. The height is much more than I imagined at about 3 feet, and it's a very simplistic and unobtrusive design. The enlarger that it belongs to is the Fuji N670 MF. Some of the things that worked out well.

1) It has a screw on the back that allows me to adjust the focus plane using the "mirror" method.

2) A turn knob on the side makes large adjustments up and down very fast and easy, and it's pretty steady at a given height. There is a spring like ribbon of metal that is coiled up in the top of the stand, that adds upward tension to the whole mount mechanism.

3) The construction is all metal, and very sturdy. It is solid, has a very nice working size base, but at the same time it is easy to move around and my bellows mounts to where the enlarger mounted with the same size screw.

My question for you all: IS THIS A GOOD IDEA? Is anyone else using an enlarger base as a copy stand? What are the pros and cons of this setup (besides the obvious one that it requires that you have enough space for this kind of stand)? Is this a disaster waiting to happen that I'm not thinking of?

I'm attaching a few pics I snapped so you have an idea of what it looks like.

The original eBay auction picture:



The enlarger stand with my Canon 50D and bellows attached:


Some of the knobs and settings:

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United States
1494 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2012  10:29 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Only issue with these enlarger stands is the "tilt" of the main post. This pretty much eliminates the possibility of using the height/focus adjustment for critical focusing since every time you move the knob the Y position changes. However, since you are using a bellows that has a built-in focus rail, you can use the enlarger stand height adjustment for "coarse" tuning, then the bellows rail for "fine" tuning, stacking, etc. It should work...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Valued Member
United States
261 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2012  10:56 pm  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I like what you've done. Learning on a budget.
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United States
5938 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2012  11:20 pm  Show Profile Check oih82w8's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add oih82w8 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Seems like it could be a good idea, give it a whirl and let us know, photography on the cheap seems to be a really good idea!
oih82w8 = "Oh I Hate To Wait"

"I tell her coins keep me off the streets and out of the bars." Moe145

"WOO-SAA...WOo-SAa...Woo-Saa" (calm down)
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3027 Posts
 Posted 02/14/2012  12:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add aladinslamp to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I like the Idea very much as long as one remembers as Ray has mentioned, the Base in general is not perpendicular but rather slightly slanted.....with the adjustments you have at your disposal, I think you have a trememdous ability to be quite close and ....far above the coin, for adjustments with quite an array of lens's sizes in MM..., as long as you can be square with the coin to keep the focus and depth of field correct....

one point to remember is usually most use enlarging type lenses on a bellows, for Macro and EXTREME Macro,
but one can also use normal lenses(which require a greater length to the object)
with a bellows...it just depends upon what one is attempting to do...
Valued Member
United States
452 Posts
 Posted 02/14/2012  01:26 am  Show Profile Check brg5658's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add brg5658 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While the main post is tilted, the camera mount is also angled to account for this angle. Thus, as the camera goes higher up the main post, it remains perfectly perpendicular to the base board (and thus the coin). What Ray was saying (I believe) is that as the camera traverses the tilted main post, the higher it gets, the deeper on the baseboard it focuses (the part of the baseboard on which it is focusing is farther toward the back).

As Ray pointed out, the hand crank on the main post is not useful for fine focusing or for stacking shots, but I had no intent on using it for that. His description was best, the hand crank is used for "coarse" tuning (e.g., the height difference between a 75mm lens and a 135mm lens), whereas the focusing rail of my Pentax Auto Bellows will be used for fine focus adjustments and for taking multiple shots for a focus stack.

One thing I did do tonight was molded a small piece of polycaprolactone (thermal plastic) into a thin wedge so as to keep the camera mount from creeping up during imaging. Because there is constant tension from the spring-type metal ribbon at the top of the main post, the mount wants to creep up instead of down on occasion. This little "doorstop" type wedge keeps the height fixed for multi-shot imaging. I'll keep playing and let you all know how it works.
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 Posted 02/14/2012  5:52 pm  Show Profile Check oih82w8's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add oih82w8 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The higher up the camera goes on the stand, the focal spot moves forward on the base. You should still be able to take parallel images, you just have to move the object to center the camera at the focal point.
oih82w8 = "Oh I Hate To Wait"

"I tell her coins keep me off the streets and out of the bars." Moe145

"WOO-SAA...WOo-SAa...Woo-Saa" (calm down)
Edited by oih82w8
02/14/2012 5:52 pm
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