Three Negatives Making a Positive
Wonderful news! At last, after many months and years of waiting I have new negative carriers for my enlarger (an LPL C7700). When I first bought my enlarger it came with a 35mm carrier and something called a universal carrier. The universal carrier takes up to 6x7 negatives and has black strips of metal which you adjust to mask off the negative. In theory - ideal, in practice - not so much. I have found that the sliders are difficult to keep straight so when masking the negative the sides end up a bit wonky and, obviously, a wonky square isn't going to look good on a print. The universal carrier also uses ANR glass to hold the negative flat and little metal stubs to keep it straight and in place. The problem I have found with the glass is that whilst doing longer exposures under my enlarger e.g. when burning in for prolonged periods, I am ending up with denser edges to the image due to refraction of light around the glass which is no good at all. Also, there are only 2 metal stubs on the carrier to hold the negative in place and keep it straight, whereas most carriers have 4 which you can easily slide the negative between and know it is true. These stubs are placed so far apart that if you are printing the last frame on a negative strip there's no hope of getting it straight.
A few days ago whilst doing my daily Ebay check I spotted someone selling some 6x4.5, 6x6 and 6x7 carriers for this enlarger at a mere £10 buy it now. Needless to say I purchased right away! I haven't had chance to print using them yet but from a provisional look the negatives are masked off nicely and flat despite the lack of ANR glass. Hopefully these should stop the issues I have been having. I'll keep you posted of course!