Beseler 23C questions...dichro head, negative carriers, condenser mode

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by BetterSense, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have a Beseler 23C enlarger with Dual Dichro colorhead. I haven't used it because I have no negative carriers for it. I'm debating making it replace my beloved Omega 6x6 condenser enlarger because it does larger formats, which isn't important right now but I want to get rid of one of the two for space reasons. But I can't try it out without spending money on negative carriers only to test it out, so I have some questions.

    First of all, I have Illford under-lens contrast filters that I now use. If you have ever used a Dichro head to print B&W, do you find it a great advantage over using gel filters? How do you arrive at filtration values for the different grades; use the paper manufacturer's suggested values?

    Is the exhaust fan in the color head noisy or cause vibration? It seems very iffy to me from a vibration standpoint, to have a fan in the enlarger head.

    Second, I guess this 23C can be set up as either a diffusion or a condenser enlarger, and that either one can be used for B&W but only diffusion can be used for color (I guess; I don't do color). In order to convert the enlarger to condenser mode, I need to install the "conic light integrator" which I have. Do I need any other parts? Is it worth converting to condenser mode if I plan on printing only B&W?

    Second, I have a 2" slide negative carrier. I could use this as a 35mm negative carrier by just stretching the film across the 2" opening. Does this sound like something that might work?
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The dichroic filters are very nice to use for contrast adjustment - flexible and convenient. The paper manufacturers' recommendations are somewhat useful, but you will find that you will soon stop thinking in terms of discrete grade numbers, and start thinking in terms of fine adjustments.

    Don't discard your under the lens filters - sometimes they are convenient when used in conjunction with the dichroic filters.

    The dichroic head itself is a diffusion light source. If you remove it and replace it with the condensor head, you will have a condensor enlarger, which you could then turn around and insert some diffusion material to make it more of a diffusion source.

    You can do colour prints with a condensor head and individual colour printing filters, but the dichroic head is much easier.

    You can make usable negative carriers from mat board - at least for the purpose of trying the enlarger out.

    I can't help with the question about the fan, because my Beseler is a different model, and the dichroic head on it doesn't have a fan.

    Matt
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    So there's no way to have my colorhead AND have condenser optics? Lame. I don't know why I want a condenser enlarger but that's what I have now and I like my pictures. I heard that diffusion enlargers were less sharp.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    First, you will not get better enlargements from the Beseler compared to the Omega.
    Second:, you gain a tremendous amount of flexibility with the Beseler set up you have acquired.

    I went with dichroic color heads many years ago and have never looked back. I really like the diffusion light source compared to the semi-diffusion of the Omega so-called "condenser."
     
  5. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    This old can of worms can be re-opened quite quickly. The old rule of thumb was that a neg which printed well with a "consenser" enlarger would print the same using one grade more contrasty paper and gave equally "sharp appearing" prints.
     
  6. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Well now that I have the ideas about making negative carriers out of matte board, maybe I'll do that and start using the dang thing. If it will fit in my dark-closet it will do everything I can do now and more. I'll miss the paper-safe in my Omega enlarger's base, though.
     
  7. fotch

    fotch Member

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    "Duel dichro capability allows the use of either diffusion mode or optional condenser mode" from the Beseler web site. If I recall, this was a selling feature. I found I liked the difusion better.

    No vibration. Just a rock solid printing machine. Have fun.
     
  8. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I use a 23C with a dichro head with condensors. Attach the conical light integrator to the dichro head and use the condensors. It's as simple as that. The conicallight integrator focuses the light prior to passing through the condensors.
    The fan does impart some vibration, so I turn it off when actually printing. It runs when I'm focusing. If the lamp gets too hot, a thermocouple will shut it off. To test for vibration, put a tray of water on the baseboard and watch for ripples.
    I have a 45MX that I use for b&w. I use the 23C for colour. I just like the look of prints made with the condensors rather than diffusion. Your printing times will be significantly shorter using the condensors.
    As Mat says, make your neg holders out of mat board. You may want to check out ebay for neg holders. They come up regularly for very reasonable prices. I even found one for 2x3 sheet film (smaller than 6x9 roll film negs)! You should be able to pick up used neg holders for the 23C for less than $20 each.
    The 23C is a great enlarger. Built like a tank.
     
  9. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Well, now the colorhead doesn't seem to be lighting the main lamp. The fan spins, the lamp appears fine, and the front WHITE LIGHT and DIFF lights work, but the main lamp doesn't light. I'm positive the lamp was lighting earlier. Is there a trick to it, or do I have a bad connection somewhere?
     
  10. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    If the bulb pins and sockets have surface corrosion (sometimes not real obvious, either), these tend to burn out bulbs quickly. If you have more bulbs, try doing a little clean up at those spots.
     
  11. RellikJM

    RellikJM Member

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    Check to make sure that the chrome lever on the side of the colorhead is pulled towards you. If the lever is back for white light focusing and left there after focusing the enlarger bulb wont come on until you pull the lever forward. It saves you from making a white light exposure. It's saved me lots of color paper!
     
  12. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Both the Omega and the Beseler are excellent enlargers and are the subject of frequent "religious wars." My personal feeling is that the Beseler is a bit easier to use, but the Omega may be a bit more rugged. These issues aren't great enough top make a whole lot of difference. I use the dual dichro in diffusion mode, but it is easy enough to set it up for condenser mode. I don't know what difference it makes in the print with this equipment. I use the dual dichro head for contrast adjustment, and it is easy to get the exact contrast you need that way. The down side is that the exposure may need adjustment as you change contrast. This is not really much of a problem. (There are listings for combined yellow and magenta filtration for each grade that keep the exposure more or less constant. But these may still need exposure adjustments for in between grades or for papers by different manufacturers than that for which they were originally calculated.) I also have a Beseler 35 enlarger with a dichro head. Interestingly, I use Ilford filters below the lens on that one, using the dichro head just to tweak the contrast adjustment. It just seems to work better that way on the smaller machine. Sometimes I have used the dual dichro the same way, placing fixed filters above the lens in the filter drawer. Below the lens filters are difficult on the larger machine. There are a lot of ways of doing it. They all work.
     
  13. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Yes, there is a trick to it. Beseler wants to protect you against forgetting to move the lever from white light to filtered. If you focus with the white light setting and then turn off the lamp power, forgetting to move the lever, the lamp will not light when you attempt a timed exposure. If you move the lever back then the lamp will light, or it is supposed to do so. On my 23C this circuit fails most of the time and the lamp will not light. Flipping the lever a few times with more force usually but not always resets the "safety" feature.

    I leave the lever set to filtered light all the time because the lamp always comes on when it is powered either for focusing or for timed exposures. There is enough light in the filtered position to focus using my grain magnifier. If I do need more light I set the filtration to zero. Only Beseler knows why they decided to make an enlarger that is smarter than the photographer.
     
  14. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I never did get the colorhead to come back on after switching it to "white light".

    So I removed it and it looks like there was a sheet metal top that originally went on top and held the incandescent bulb. I don't have it but it looks like to convert the enlarger to regular incandescent all I need to do is get a socket and a bulb (already have a bulb) and lower it down into the top of the lamp housing. The only matter is how far down to suspend it. Being a diffusion enlarger I guess it probably doesn't matter exactly where the bulb goes.