Beseler 45*** Enlargers Question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by wilsonneal, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    Are you familiar with the 45M*** series of Beseler enlargers? I own a D2V, but am redesigning my darkroom and always wanted one of the Beselers (Used one in HS and College).

    What are the differences between the 45MCRX and others from the period when they were blue to the later 45MX and 45MXII? What are the advantages to buying the later models?

    Thanks for any information.
    Neal
     
  2. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Neal-I have what I believe to be McrxII and works fine. Probably 20 years old now. The latest design incoporates a single column and what I see to be a different bellows design. It seems to be better thought out. On the other hand the older ones are going for a song. I actually prefer doing my 4x5 work on my 5x7 Burke and James modfied enlarger that has a glass carrier. On the other hand the beseler is just great for my medium format negatives. You live in northern NJ right? Why not take the time and go to B+H to have a looksee at the newest model. It's sitting there in the darkroom section last time I remember.
    Best, Peter
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I can't remember that much of a difference between the blue and the later black models - I have the MXII model and it seems very similar to the blue model they have in the school darkroom here at work. I haven't been in the actual darkroom here (due to a fear of gang darkrooms) but I think that they are basicaly the same with very minor changes until you get to the really modern models. Mine is great and was really quite inexpensive.

    - Randy
     
  4. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    Thanks Peter on the B&H suggestion. I would not ever buy a new piece of equipment with the way these prices are falling.

    The newer ones are the 45V series, and they are all that and a bag of chips...beautiful enlargers. But even on the auction site the newer 45V's are darn expensive (these are the ones that allow conversion to 8x10).

    I read earlier in my search that the 45MCRX do not have the lens stage alignment provisions of the later 45M*** enlargers. So far that is the only difference I've been able to identify.
    Neal
     
  5. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I have two 45Ms. There must be 15 years between them, but I can't tell the difference. The older one has the 8x10 conversion on it and this is the one that gets the most use. I use it for 6x6 to 8x10, mostly 57. I have modified it so that all the stages can be aligned in all axes. I don't know that this is necessary, as my pix weren't out of focus before, but it is a nice touch.

    My friend has the 45V, but I prefer the 45M.
     
  6. RJS

    RJS Member

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    I have used the 45 series for years. My most recent one (an old one) had the tapered lower bellows which does not allow for lens stage alignment. So I purchased a "conversion" kit (over $300) to enable alignment; this consists of a much larger non-tapered bellows and provision for attaching a lens turret. Badly designed and manufactured. So bad that the bellows was so thick I could not focus a 50mm lens. The tech guy at Beseler said they had changed suppliers and the new ones are too thick. I wrote the Beseler co. 2X about this, but they don't bother to answer. I had a new bellows made to replace their too heavy one - it set me back even more money. There are lots of light leaks I have pretty well fixed so now it is a very solid machine - with somewhat limited height compared to others. If I sound pissed at Beseler, I am. It is a rather crudely made pieceof equipment which works fine if you you spend enough time fixing it. But then most enlargers unless you spend really big amounts of money are crappy!
     
  7. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    RJS-you have not by the way ever owned a Wisner View Camera? Then you would belive your Beseler is a RollsRoyce!! I think all enlargers except for maybe the Leica ones (which are useless to me) are generally ill-defined pieces of equipment. Tolereances could be so much better on something like this etc; etc. As photographers we have always let the mfg'ers get away with way too much...
    Peter
     
  8. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Can you elaborate? Are you referring to the quality of Wisner cameras, customer service, or both?

    I have both Wisner cameras and Beseler enlargers which have served me well over time. What's your experience?
     
  9. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    There is one chassis variation that you may want to consider. I don't have the model numbers to hand, but older chassis had the support struts forward, either side of the base board. This limits the lateral positioning of large masking frames. Later chassis have the support struts at the rear, but this makes the overall depth of the unit greater.

    You can see what an older model looks like at http://www.gapatterson.org/photos/darkroom.html

    The picture at the bottom shows the Beseler, complete with old cold-light. It has a 45S colour head in it now.
     
  10. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    I have both the older tapered "Blue" and the later 45 MXT enlargers and have made excellent prints on both but for $300 you could purchase an entire late model 45 MXwhatever enlarger with the square bellows along with a lens and negative carrier or two. The "Beseler Tech guy" has always been very helpful and honest with me regarding their products.
     
  11. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    I have a 45MX, though it is currently in storage. For my last installation, I removed the baseboard channels and mounted it on a shelf which I built and attached to a concrete block wall in my basement darkroom. This allowed me greater height when I needed to make larger prints. I never had any real problem with getting the lens stage true, and the enlarger worked well.
     
  12. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Does anyone know if 8x10 conversions for Beseler are still made?
    Mark
     
  13. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Still in the catalog:

    http://www.beselerphoto.com/lightsources.php

    If you need one, a friend has one that is about to hit ebay. PM me.
     
  14. Shmoo

    Shmoo Subscriber

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    Last year I bought a lovely blue 45 MCRX and it works perfectly with 2 lenses (135mm and 75 mm, both older Schneiders), 3 neg holders (4x5, 6x6, and 35mm), some KRST and a bunch of misc items (trays, tanks & reels, etc.) for $350 off Craig's list. You might want to check there...some great deals can be had there.

    S
     
  15. RJS

    RJS Member

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    To elaborate a bit. It certainly is true I could have purchased another enlarger for the price of the conversion. Probably should have, exceept I did not see any of the late models; maybe on ebay where sometimes (often?) sellers are not quite accurate in their descriptions (I am being quite charitable) and shipping on an enlarger can be prohibitive. As to Wisner cameras; I have read of the problems with Wisner not delivering etc., and I understand the cameras are the same as the Fred Picker Zone VI which I never much liked. At present I have an Arca, which seems a good machine; had Sinar, Technikardan and Linhof - the Arca by a small bit seems preferable to the Norma Sinar I had, and the later Sinar are either too big and heavy to go outdoors, (P etc.) or not too solid I think (F etc.) I should add that the tech rep for Beseler has always tried to be helpful, although communication is not always the best and it takes quite a bit of time. My real complaint is with the president of Beseler (the tech rep gave me his name and address) who can't be bothered to answer my letters. Enlargers are just simple projectors, and it would seem possible to make one that could be aligned and not leak light all over a darkroom. And for the money they have charged the stuff should be decently made. But it is all over now, what with the arrival of digital. I just hope the few decent suppliers (not Beseler) don't disappear!
     
  16. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have what I believe to be an MCRX. It's black, support struts on the rear and taper focusing bellow. It works fine for me and doesn't have any more light leak than other Beseler I have used. Two 23CII and a 67CS. I currently have the computerized dichro head on it.