Ollinger's Guide to Photographic Enlargers: Eastman Kodak Enlargers
Ollinger's Guide to Enlargers

Eastman Kodak Enlargers

Introduction

Once upon a time, you could go cradle-to-grave with Kodak products. You loaded your Kodak camera with Kodak film. You loaded the film into a Kodak tank and processed it in Kodak chemicals stored in Kodak jugs, measured by Kodak thermometers and clocked on a Kodak timer. You then put it in a Kodak enlarger and projected it onto Kodak paper, then into more Kodak chemicals in Kodak trays, and so on.

By the time I got into it, Kodak still made some darkroom equipment but mostly it was down to paper and chemicals. I didn't realize they had ever made enlargers at all until I saw them in old advertisements, like this unit pictured. This is one of the early "cold light" models, which used flourescent light (which doesn't generate heat as incandesents do), but had other problems as a trade-off. This one pictured also has an interesting baseboard; it's probably for the power supply, but it looks like it would be a nice paper-safe to me.

I'll add information as I gather it, but as usual, information on these enlargers are slim. Unlike a lot of other Kodak equipment, the enlargers aren't very well documented and simply don't have the enthusiast base to share information.


Quick Comparison

Make Model Country Era Format

Baseboard (inches)

Head Focusing Autofocus Column Ref Notes
Kodak Flourite USA Late 1940s 2-¼ x 3-¼" n/a Cold light Bellows No Single post 2  
Kodak Hobbyist USA Late 1940s 2-¼ x 3-¼" n/a Cold light Bellows No Single post 2  
Kodak Precision B USA Late 1940s 4x5 n/a Diffiusion Bellows No Single post 2  
Kodak Autofocus Model E USA Late 1940s 5x7 n/a Diffiusion Bellows Yes Single post 2  

Key

Era: It's nearly impossible to get actual production year spans; I've provided this simply to give an idea of when an enlarger was in production.

Focusing:

Autofocus: not to be confused with what we think of as autofocus today; these enlargers don't focus themselves. What they do is offer a sort of tracking control so that once the image is focused, it stays in focus as you change the elevation of the head for cropping.

Column: all columns are assumed to be vertical unless oblique is noted. Oblique columns (i.e. angled forward) are nice at higher head elevations because the image won't expand back across the column post when the head is at the top of the post. On smaller enlargers this wouldn't be a problem, but at larger magnifications (and with lenses with shorter focal lengths), this can become a concern.