Advice on buying an enlarger

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by cinetango, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. cinetango

    cinetango Member

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    Hi everyone,

    This is provably a common thread....

    I am going to be setting up a darkroom in my house to do B&W prints from 35mm and 120mm negatives.

    I am looking for a small enlarger that can be set in a cart and store away when done printing.

    Looking at:

    Beseler - Printmaker 35 Condenser Enlarger with Lens Kit
    Beseler - Printmaker 67 Condenser Enlarger

    Will these ones do the job? I'm not sure if these ones handle 120...

    Any suggestions, advise or comments

    Thanks in advance for all the help.
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    What size 120: 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8, 6x9 cm... ?

    Durst M600's are probably the nicest small, easily stowable MF enlargers. They made series for 6x6 and 6x7, not so sure about 6x9.

    Look for what's available on ebay. If you get a Durst make sure it comes with negative carriers and lens boards - advice for all enlargers, really.

    I would stay away from the Printmakers - they are a poor value compared to what else is available in used enlargers.
     
  3. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    The Printmaker 35 is 35mm only. The Printmaker 67 will also do 120 film up to 6x7. You don't say where you are (country), so that will make a difference in people's replies/advice.

    If in the US or Canada, I would recommend the Beseler 23C over the other two. It is a heavier duty machine and will take all 120 formats up to 6x9. Parts and negative carriers are common and readily available. It is heavier than the other two, however.

    If weight and size is critical, and your 120 is 645 or 6x6, I would look into a Omega B22. Same factors as the Beseler 23C, but lighter and smaller.

    The Durst is a fine machine, just harder to find and get parts and accessories for IMHO.

    Yes. :smile:

    BTW, "120" is an arbitrary size designation for the film. It's just "120", not 120 millimeters (120mm).
     
  4. nexus757

    nexus757 Member

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    I'm kinda partial to the old Omega D2's with the variable condenser. Solid construction, widely sold, and suitable negative carriers/lenses out there for just about any format from 110 pocket films up to 4" x 5" sheet films. I started as a kid with the inexpensive Omega B-22 (which itself will handle 120 negatives up to the 6x6cm square format) but the D2 is the last B/W enlarger I'll ever need.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The predecessor to the Printmaker 67 is the 67C, and is a better choice. Most of the accessories are interchangeable between the two versions. I used a Beseler 67C for decades as my enlarger, and still have one in storage in case circumstances permit setting up a two enlarger darkroom.

    Many of the 67 series enlargers have colour heads installed. They are an excellent option for black and white use, if a diffusion head meets your needs. In the last couple of years of use I installed a colour head on my 67C.

    I've attached a photo of my 67C with colour head, showing the cart I used and the bathroom I used it in.

    There are also variable contrast black and white heads available, but they are less frequently found used.
     

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  6. jeff786

    jeff786 Member

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    I really enjoy my 67. I use a Minolta 50 and 80 lens for 35 and 6x6 with great results. Ive picked up most size film holders for a few bucks on eBay. It's easy stable and durable. Good to buy a spare light bulb before yours burns out t
     
  7. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Are you dead set on a condenser setup? Do you mind the trade ofd of keeping the surfaces clean and using filters in a tray?
    Dichronic enlargers can usually be had for a little bit more and offer the advantages of less effects from dust, and dial in filtration.
     
  8. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    This is what I use as well. It covers all of my formats, is mechanically simple, and was very inexpensive.
     
  9. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Dichro (i.e. colour head) enlargers also give you the option to try RA4 printing at some point. For a small(ish) enlarger that will handle both 35mm and 120 (up to 6x7), I'd pick the LPL C7700.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Do you live somewhere in TX? I have a nice enlarger I need to get rid off.
     
  11. cinetango

    cinetango Member

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    Great advice from everyone. Thank you so much. Once I am done with my darkroom I'll post some pictures and specs.

    Thanks again!!
     
  12. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I would buy used and buy the largest format I could afford. You might try larger formats later. Omega and Beseler are two top brands. I have a 30 Beseler I bought new and never regretted the purchase. I do like Durst Laborator 1200 too.
     
  13. scheimfluger_77

    scheimfluger_77 Subscriber

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    May I ask what you are using for the table? I need something similar that's roughly 24" x 30" but is transportable.

    Steve
     
  14. scheimfluger_77

    scheimfluger_77 Subscriber

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    I second the advice on the D2 or similar. Even though it may give you problems with your storage availability it's a big, solid device that will resist movement during exposure, even if you only use it for 35mm. Many 35mm only enlargers are suspect in their stability. Second to that the Beseler 23C II or III is a good medium format choice and I think those handle 6x9 sized negatives.

    Steve
     
  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another bid for a Beseler 23C. I had an older one (blue and gray) which had a cold light head in it, and the shorter column. I would wheel it in and out of my bathroom on a kitchen cart, and I could store my vertical slot processor underneath on the bottom shelf of the cart. It was a fantastic setup. I had to get rid of it when I moved to California, so when I moved back to DC, I replaced it with a more modern 23C II XL which had the longer column and a dichroic head for variable contrast printing, and used it the same way. Given what these things sell for on the used market, it really doesn't make financial sense to go with a lesser enlarger because you don't really save very much money, but you gain a lot from rigidity and flexibility. In fact, I've still got the 23C with the dichro head, but I've moved to a 45MX for the rare occasions that I do enlarge now. If you're interested, I'd be willing to sell it, along with an appropriate lens and a couple of negative carriers to get you started. PM me if you're interested.
     
  16. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If you are buying an enlarger and it is your only enlarger, then I think the main question you must ask yourself is do I want a condenser or diffuser. This decision will impact on the way you expose and develop your negatives.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  18. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    You didn't mention where you were based, and used enlarger supply varies quite a bit around the world. If you are in Europe, especially in UK or Ireland, you may be able to pick a used De Vere, those are built like a tank, and they are still being serviced and supported by Odyssey Sales. I use a De Vere 504 for all of my printing, mainly 4x5 and 120.
     
  19. cinetango

    cinetango Member

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    I just moved to Miami from LA and most likely will be getting a condenser enlarger. I am thinking of a good condition Beseler 23C II...
    Thanks for all the help!
     
  20. cinetango

    cinetango Member

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    Thanks everyone. I bought a Beseler 23c II. Now I am waiting anxiously for it to arrive. Now more questions:

    What paper developer for RC and Fiber, Stop, and fixer do you guys recommend for me to start with? I prefer to keep it simple at this stage until I get a handle on everything, so if it is liquid concentrated or pre-mixed will be better.

    Thanks!

    ~Raul
     
  21. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    For general purpose developing, Ilford MG developer, for cheapness and ease of use, any one of the Dektol recipies mixed from raw chemicals.
    Stop bath, a teaspoon or two of citric acid in a litre of water - Citric acid is available from most chemists, home-brew shops or decent supermarkets along side other baking ingredients.

    Fixer - Champion Amfix is probably the cheapest in these parts and 5l doesn't cost much more than a leading brand 1l bottles.