Today my new (for me) 80mm enlarging lens came in for my Beseler Dichro 35s. I got it used and turns out it already had the 67s condenser upgrade. Anyways I am still waiting for a 6×6 negative carrier, but thought I’d try mounting the 80mm lens with the 35mm carrier just for fun. Turns out it may actually be well worth it because it puts the enlarging head high enough I won’t bump into it in the dark. However, it also accentuated the fact that my enlarger was way out of alignment. After taking most of the thing apart, and damaging a screw pretty bad (it still works but I should probably replace it), I figure out a very simple solution.
The issue is my enlarger misaligned back to front by what appears to be 7mm (or about two washers worth). That’s a lot – more than you can adjust for with the built-in adjustments on the Dichro. While I didn’t notice it with my 50mm enlarging lens, checking negatives with my grain enlarger with the 80mm definitely showed some softness wide open. Corey had commented a few days ago that part of one of my 5×7 prints looked a little soft as well and chances are this is probably why. I am not sure what caused the enlarger to get so out of sorts – it doesn’t look abused or damaged anywhere and likewise the left-to-right alignment seems pretty good.
In any case, shimming it up with some washers seems to have done the trick for now and thought I would share my findings in the rare case someone finds this. I didn’t find anyone with a similar situation, at least with this specific enlarger, while searching around. Now that things are aligned-ish, hopefully I can start making some prints from my 6×4.5 negatives soon! (For the curious I plan on masking the 6×6 carrier for now though am also pondering switching to the Broncia SQ system).