When enlarging, let's say the sharpest f-stop on your 135mm lens is f8, but at that aperture you need to expose for such a short period of time, say <1sec, that dodging and burning become impossible. How can you use the sharpest aperture of your enlarging lens (i.e. not stop down to f22 or f32) with a bright image like that?

I am using an Omega D2 that I bought used for printing 4x5 enlargements.

3 Answers 3


When I had this problem a while back I solved it by installing a weaker lamp into my enlarger - 75W instead of 150W it came with. I am not sure if it is an option with Omega D2, but it surely is less hassle than ND filters.

  • This seems like the sane option, to not put another layer in between the light and your image. I wonder why everyone is recommending ND filters? I'm going to see if a longer lens will solve my problem first, but if not I'll try this solution. I much prefer it.
    – steel
    Aug 1, 2017 at 14:36
  • Glad to be of service! In theory the result should be the same, but if you use multiple enlarging lenses with different filter sizes the weaker lamp approach makes more sense. Aug 1, 2017 at 17:55

Using an ND filter is the best option however, if this lash-up is for black & white printing, you can install a common lamp dimming switch. Only do this if the lamp operate at line voltage and only if the lamp is the only thing on that circuit.

  • Alternately, you could put an ND filter on the lamp, if the filter's heat tolerance is greater than the heat output of the lamp. Although, a filter for a lamp is probably larger than a filter for the lens.
    – scottbb
    Jul 30, 2017 at 17:04

It was long time since I used enlarger, but I am pretty sure you can put neutral density filter (ND filter) into the filter drawer.

ND filter is a piece of material that absorbs equally all parts of spectrum, thus attenuating your light source without changing it's color.

This thread seems to discuss options, and also there is this page about how to work with your particular enlarger.

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