This is the most important tool in the darkroom after the enlarging lens. With this in mind you need to consider the following:
1. The number of negative sizes you may wish to print. It is a good idea to get a multi format enlarger even if you are only going to use 35mm.
2. The most appropriate lens size and quality.
3. What type of negative illumination. Diffuser or Condenser.
4. The maximum size of print you are likely to make.
5. Whether you may want to do colour at a later date. Colour headed enlargers can be used with multigrade papers.
As mentioned in “3” the type of negative illumination you choose is worth a lot of consideration - there are positive and negative points to both. Here are some of the pros and cons:
|Diffuser light box|
There are tonal differences between diffuser and condenser produced photographs because of the way light passes around the silver particle's. This is negated when using Chromogenic monochrome and colour films as they rely on dyes to capture the light.
|Condenser light box|