Brighton based Intrepid Camera are back with a true game-changer for traditional darkroom printing: the Intrepid 4×5 enlarger, an affordable, compact darkroom device capable of printing or helping to scan from 35mm, 120 and 4×5 film.

Starting today on Kickstarter for a 30-day crowdfunding campaign, the Intrepid 4×5 Enlarger is a system, the Intrepid Enlarger comprised of five components:

  1. A digital timer.
  2. A light source (which can also be used as a backlight for hybrid scanning).
  3. A family of negative holders.
  4. A multigrade filter holder
  5. An enlarger lens board.

Here it is in pictures:

You can use your own enlarger lenses and boards, or an existing large format lens if you don’t have one just yet.

The system fits to the back of any 4×5 camera and converts it into a compact, capable photographic enlarger. You can use it to make prints in your bathroom, bedroom, darkroom or anywhere you can squeeze into and make light tight.

 

 

The fundamentals

Intrepid Enlarger with timer, 4x5 negative holder and multigrade filter holder
Intrepid Enlarger with timer, 4×5 negative holder and multigrade filter holder

The Intrepid Enlarger is built around the concept of a simple lightbox attachment that clips onto the back of your 4×5 camera.

The lightbox provides bright, even and importantly, cold light and is connected to a digital timer to accurately control exposure times.

Sitting between the lightbox and camera body is a swappable film holder (choose from 35mm, 120 or 4×5 carriers) and finally, there’s the lens itself. Any enlarger lens can be used, as well as normal large format lenses ideally around the 150mm mark.

Setting up the enlarger is devastatingly simple:

  • Set up your camera and desired lens on a tripod pointing straight down at an enlarging easel.
  • Load the negative holder and slide it into your camera.
  • Attach the lightbox to the camera.
  • Open the lens and turn the lightbox.
  • Focus your image.

Once you’re set, you can make an exposure onto photographic paper using the lightbox timer and develop as you would normally.

Naturally, there will be some “squaring off” of the camera to negate skew, etc., from the projected image but from what I’ve seen of the system in action, this is not particularly time-consuming or difficult.

 

 

Digital workflow

Intrepid Enlarger hybrid workflow
Intrepid Enlarger hybrid workflow

For those of you with a hybrid or digital scanning workflow, the enlarger’s lightbox can be used to provide a bright, even light source for scanning.

Use the lightbox attachment with Intrepid’s negative the film format you want to scan, set up a tripod or a copy stand and your camera and away you go.

It seems to me that it would also be perfect to use with Hamish Gill’s pixl-latr and similar third-party devices.

 

 

The Kickstarter rewards

There are a total of seven rewards for the 4×5 Enlarger and/or kit, ranging from £99 to £399. They breakdown as follows:

 

1. Early Bird 4×5 Enlarger Kit: £99

Everything needed to print from 4×5 negatives. Includes:

1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x Enlarger Timer
1 x Multigrade Filter Holder
1 x Enlarger Lens Board
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier

(Estimated delivery Apr 2019)

 

2. 4×5 Enlarger only: £119

Full production enlarger light source attachment and 4×5 negative carrier.

1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier

(Estimated delivery Apr 2019)

 

3. 4×5 Enlarger + Timer only: £169

Everything needed to print from 4×5 negatives. Includes:

1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x Enlarger Timer
1 x Multigrade Filter Holder
1 x Enlarger Lens Board
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier

(Estimated delivery May 2019)

 

4. 4×5 Enlarger Kit + 35mm Carrier: £179

Everything needed to print from 4×5 and 35mm negatives. Includes:

1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x Enlarger Timer
1 x Multigrade Filter Holder
1 x Enlarger Lens Board
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier
1 x 35mm Negative Carrier

(Estimated delivery May 2019)

 

5. 4×5 Enlarger Kit + 120 Carriers: £199

Everything needed to print from 4×5 negatives and medium format negatives. Includes:

1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x Enlarger Timer
1 x Enlarger Lens Board
1 x Multigrade Filter Holder
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier
1 x 120 (medium format) Negative Carriers

(Estimated delivery May 2019)

 

6. 4×5 Enlarger Kit + 120 Carriers + 35mm Carriers: £209

Everything needed to print from 4×5 negatives, medium format negatives and 35mm negatives. Includes:

1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x Enlarger Timer
1 x Enlarger Lens Board
1 x Multigrade Filter Holder
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier
1 x 120 Medium Format (6×4.5, 6×6, 6×9) Negative Carriers
1 x 35mm Negative Carrier

(Estimated delivery May 2019)

 

7. Full Enlarger kit + Intrepid 4×5 Camera: £399

Everything needed to print from 4×5 negatives, medium format negatives and 35mm negatives plus an Intrepid 4×5 Camera. Includes:

1 x Intrepid 4×5 Camera
1 x Enlarger Light Source
1 x Enlarger Timer
1 x Enlarger Lens Board
1 x Multigrade Filter Holder
1 x 4×5 Negative Carrier
1 x 120 Medium Format (6×4.5, 6×6, 6×9) Negative Carriers
1 x 35mm Negative Carrier

(Estimated delivery May 2019)

 

 

The game changer bit

That wasn’t hyperbole, I really do believe the Intrepid Enlarger will change the way people think about darkroom printing.

Access to brand new or second-hand darkroom enlarging equipment in North America and Europe is still relatively easy – just check out eBay, forum and Facebook listings any given week. However, the ability for film photographers and darkroom alchemists outside of those regions to buy these items at a reasonable price is sadly limited.

Even a cheap second hand 35mm enlarger in London or New York will require shipping costs that double, triple even quadruple its cost when shipped abroad – and that’s without factoring in how it’ll fare in transit. I was recently quoted over US$1100 for a new 6×7 enlarger here in the Far East and that was without a lens or timer and only a single film holder.

The size, flexibility and price of the new Intrepid system make it a complete no-brainer for someone like me and that whilst purists will inevitably scoff at X, Y or Z shortcomings, this isn’t a product for them. It’s for everyone else.

Read the full campaign and support it over on Kickstarter.

I can’t wait to try it out!

~ EM

 

 

Write for EMULSIVE

The driving force behind EMULSIVE is knowledge transfer, specifically creating more of it in the film photography community. You can help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas to inspire others reading these pages.

Take action and help drive an open, collaborative community: all you need do is read this and then drop me a line.

 

Lend your support

Like what you see here? You can support EMULSIVE by helping to contribute to the community voice on this website (see above), or by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and adding financial support from as little as $2 a month.

As if that’s not enough, there’s also an EMULSIVE print and apparel store over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique prints of photographs made by yours truly.

Add your voice

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.