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Ilford Multigrade 500H head + enlarger help?

Eddie O'Bryan , Nov 22, 2006; 04:05 p.m.

Heya guys,

I've been an NYC based photographer but unfortunately I've recently had to move, and my present location (just outside of DC) doesn't really have any darkrooms that compare to the one I was used to in NYC. So, I've decided to build my own.

I am very comfortable using darkroom equipment, just not building darkrooms from scratch! The biggest dilemma I'm having presently is choosing an adequate enlarger/head.

The NYC darkroom that I've been using for years uses Ilford 500 Multigrade heads, which I absolutely adore. So, that is definitely what I want to get. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find one -anywhere- for sale, used or new.

My second problem is, finding a really nice enlarger to go with the Ilford 500 head (assuming I ever find the damn thing!). I'd like to go with either a Beseler or Omega enlarger. I primarily print 6x6 and 4x5, generally on 16x20/20x24 paper. Just like the head, I'd be willing to get a new OR used enlarger.

If anyone here can help me out, I'd be forever greatful. If anyone has any idea as to where I might be able to purchase the Ilford 500 Multigrade head, or can recommend to me a nice Beseler/Omega enlarger (anywhere in the $700-$1500 range) that would go along nicely with the Ilford 500, please let me know!

Thanks again. Eddie http://www.photo.net/photos/eddieobryan


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Eddie O'Bryan , Nov 22, 2006; 04:59 p.m.

As an addendum to the previous post, a good friend of mine just recommended I purchase a used Omega D5-XL Enlarger as being 'perfect for my situation'. Anyone have any thoughts?

Michael Axel , Nov 22, 2006; 05:40 p.m.

I've used both the Omega D's and Beseler 45s. I like both, but currently own a couple of Beselers for large format and Omega B for medium and small format.

I too have tried for a few years to get a decent Ilford 500 head. They are wonderful, but very elusive. Everytime I've bid on one, I get out bid. I'm just not willing to pay enough I guess. In the meantime I've settled on using the 12-filter Ilford filtration system. Someday I will find a 500 though.

For some reason, I was thinking Minolta made a similar head, if not a re-badged version of the Ilford 500. Since Ilford is so big in the UK, you might want to include fleabay.uk.co in your search as well.

Eddie O'Bryan , Nov 22, 2006; 05:51 p.m.

Thanks for such a prompt response, Michael, albeit it was bad news about the Ilford 500! I will check out the Minolta alternative, as well as the UK as an alternate source.

Gilbert Acevedo , Nov 22, 2006; 06:45 p.m.

Hi Eddie,

I agree that the Ilford 500 head is a great system. You should keep this in mind when you decide to pick a Beseler or Omega enlarger. I would buy the Ilford head first before buying the enlarger, the reason being that the Beseler and Omega use different size light boxes. Most of the Ilford 500 systems that you see for sale have light boxes that are for the Omega enlargers. The light boxes for the Beseler are taller in height and very difficult to find. The 500 system is the same for both (500 head, 500 power supply and 500 controller), I'm just talking about the light mixing boxes that go inside. Also, make sure that they come with the light box adapters that holds them in place. (Only the 35mm box and the 6x7 box need adaptors. The 4x5 box doesn't need one.) If you go with the beseler enlarger there is one more item you would need, which is a metal plate that holds the 500 head to the enlarger.

I myself have the Omega and Beseler enlargers both with the Ilford 500 system. I like both of these enlargers. One issue I have with the Omega enlarger is the way the 500 head sits on the enlarger. Every time you insert the negative carrier, as you lift the arm the head also rises. Over time the head might move in a slightly lopsided fashion. However, with the Beseler enlarger you won't have that problem because the head stays stationary when you insert the negative carrier.


Al Durer , Nov 23, 2006; 04:50 a.m.

Hi maybe try these in Germany. They ship world wide. http://www.used-minilab.net/ They?re listed as Fotoservice Jungkunz. Under Angebote they have some Durst stuff listed. Give them a bell they speak English, I met them at Photokino they have had Ilford gear in stock.

You could also try www.odyssey-sales.com they?re in Britain and used to do used Ilford. Best to ring them.

Kim Hurup , Dec 01, 2006; 12:45 p.m.

Hello eddie,

I have a complete Durst laborator 1200 and ilford 500 for sale. The system include besides the durst, ilford 500H head, 500c control unit, 500s transformer and fodswith. Feomask 35, feomask 66, feomask 67 and feomask 92 (4x5?), lenses and lensboard, rodenstock rodagon 50, 80, and 105 plus 135 Schneider componon.

Contact me if interested.

But I live in Denmark, so maybe the shipping will be to expencive.

Best regrads

Kim Hurup

Gavin Cottrell , Dec 03, 2006; 11:31 a.m.

Hi Eddie This may be of no use to you at all because I am based in London. Check out item no 260058810369 on Ebay, I am selling an Ilford Multigrade 500H enlarger. thanks Gavin

Sean McCall , Dec 12, 2006; 10:38 a.m.


There is an Omega D5 XL with an Ilford head, timer, and controller on ebay right now. It is located in Bethesda, MD and it is ok to pick up to save on shipping. I think the bidding is starting at around $500. Just do a search on 'omega ilford enlarger' and as of now it will be the only one on the list.

Hope this helps,


Sean McCall , Dec 12, 2006; 02:36 p.m.

For whatever reason, the listing title has changed to an alligator mini skirt. Do the search for 'Ilford Omega Enlarger' and then check the box to search titles and descriptions. You'll see it in the list.

I've alerted the seller and hopefully he'll correct the listing.

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