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The Intrepid 4×5 Enlarger – print & scan 35mm, 120 & 4×5 film (possibly compatible with pixl-latr!!)

October 5, 2018

This little beauty has been on my radar for a little while now, but as of yesterday it’s now live on Kickstarter. I managed to speak to Max from Intrepid this afternoon, but I’ve been trying to catch up with him about it for a while. What with launching a Kickstarter campaign, he has been a bit busy… a feeling I am now acutely aware of… The main reason I wanted to talk to him was actually about the potential compatibility with pixl-latr, but I shall get to that in a mo.

You can, of course, read all about the Intrepid Enlarger on their Kickstarter page here, and indeed on their website here, so I’m not going to go into huge amounts of detail about the product itself. What I do want to talk about a little is the intention behind this product. Myself and Max chatted a little bit about this earlier today, as I think it is something we have in common.

The wonderful thing about the Intrepid cameras, and I would argue even more so their new enlarger, is that they both work to remove barriers, hurdles, friction – whatever you want to call it – within the process of film photography. More specifically they they remove barriers to entry in the world of large format photography.

This was exactly my early motivation when I started down the road of designing pixl-latr. The great thing about the Intrepid enlarger, at least in my view, is that it does this two-fold. For one, it’s really not that expensive at all – especially compared to some used 5×4 enlargers! And for two, it doesn’t take up much room. Cost is one thing, and is always relative, but the space we have in our homes – for most people at least – is limited. A dark room in my house would be out of the question. I tried to build one at work once a while ago, but it took up too much room and was impractical. I still have my enlargers, but they’re in storage – to labour the point, they just take up too much space, and even if I did have space for them they are still only designed for 35mm.

The Intrepid enlarger is designed around the purpose of enlarging 5×4, masks for 35mm and various 120 formats will be available too, but the fact that it works with 5×4 and looks to be small enough to stow in a shoe box is pretty damned convenient.

All you need in addition to what can be bought off Kickstarter is a tripod with a head that will tilt 90 degrees and a 5×4 camera. Obviously there is a whole load of other trinkets needed to set up a mini-darkroom in a bathroom, but if you think about the minimum you could get away with, none of it is as difficult to store as a full size enlarger.


Compatibility with pixl-latr

Now to the really exciting bit, for me at least! One of the pieces of the puzzle for using pixl-latr really effectively with a digital camera is some sort of light source. Until now, I have been using the screen of an iPad, and latterly a Kaiser lightbox. Both work a treat, with the Kaiser being a little more consistent. The problem with both is that they are bigger than the pixl-latr, and if you are trying to get the best results, ideally you want to cut out any other light apart from what is shining through the negative. With this in mind, it struck me that the light source for the Intrepid Enlarger would make a perfect light source for pixl-latr. Me and Max are still comparing notes, but early indications, and indeed common sense, dictate that there might well be a really good match between their product and mine! More on that soon!


Back the Intrepid Enlarger on Kickstarter

I am, probably fairly evidentially, a big fan of what Intrepid are doing here! I am also a big fan of the company and the ethos behind the products. I did curse Max today, for the fact that he released his camera after I bought my much more expensive 5×4 field camera, so I don’t have one myself. I have just backed this enlarger though, and I hope you will too – here

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  • Reply
    Adrian Rose
    October 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Hamish, as one of your pixl-latr backers this does indeed seem like a great companion. Thanks for posting and I hope that the end result is an opportunity to buy their lightbox only, without the extras.

  • Reply
    Ashley Carr
    October 5, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Kudos to Intrepid for all their work on this.

    One of the reasoms I’ve not got back into large format shooting/printing (after a 10 year absence) is the rising cost of large format enlargers. My current enlarger maxes out at 6×9.

    One thing that isn’t mentioned on their site is ‘alignment’ and it’s very important. Now I know this is meant as an entry level item but it really is important to have a correctly aligned enlarger, regardless of format.

    I don’t know how easy this is going to be to align especially considering every time it’s packed away and then used again it’s going to need at least some form of rudimentary alignment.

    Aligning a purpose built enlarger can be a stressful task in and of itself so we’ll see how this fares.

    Like said at the start though, Kudos to Intrepid.

  • Reply
    Adrian Rose
    October 7, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Hi Hamish, thanks for posting this. As one of your pixl-latr backers I find it very interesting, but hope that the lightbox will be made available on it’s own at a lower price.

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