Beseler Dichro 45S

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by SamStauffer, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. SamStauffer

    SamStauffer Member

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    Recently my variable contrast head failed. The manufacturer no longer makes or supports this unit, so I am looking for an alternative. Since my enlarger chassis is a Beseler 45 MX II, I am inclined to go with the Beseler Dichro 45S color head and use it to expose variable contrast paper.

    My two major concerns with this light are: (1) whether it produces even light from edge to edge over the 4x5 image area, and (2) whether the light is bright enough for reasonable printing exposure times.

    Before making a purchase, I would appreciate hearing from current users with either assurances that it is good in the above areas, or alarms that I should avoid this light source.

    Thank you in advance for your comments.

    --Sam Stauffer
     
  2. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Hi Sam,

    How much are expecting to pay for the head and where do intend to purchase it?

    Curt
     
  3. SamStauffer

    SamStauffer Member

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    I assume from your question that you have one to sell. My answer to your question is "I'll see..."

    I have been a fine art photographer for over thirty years and I hope to continue for another thirty or so. I am only interested in traditional darkroom work and am willing to buy equipment that I need and pay what I have to to get it.

    Right now I am trying to determine if the Beseler Dichro 45S will meet my needs. If so, I'll buy it somewhere. If not, I will move on to some other alternative.

    --Sam Stauffer
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Sam, mine 'failed' and it turned out that all I had to do was remove the computer cards and clean the connections. The front LED display came right up and everything was fine.

    PE
     
  5. SamStauffer

    SamStauffer Member

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    The Beseler Dichro 45S has no front LED displays - just some knobs and analog dials. I am confused about what you are describing.

    --Sam Stauffer
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Sam, my Dichro 45S has C/M/Y LED displays on the left and 3 knobs to adjust the color. Inside is a maze of wiring and the removable light chamber for each size from 35mm to 4x5. There are computer cards on the left that can be removed just as in a computer and the light is on the right.

    I have 2 of these beasts that are identical.

    PE
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Sam, I don't sell equipment, there are several heads for the Beseler 45 enlargers. Sometimes the circuit boards can be pulled and cleaned and most times they are just shot. You can buy any one of the shot heads on eBay or buy a new head from, say, B&H. They are very reasonable. Not in cost but in use.

    Curt
     
  8. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Ron, must be a couple variations on the 45S. Mine has the three knobs with analog dials just above each knob.

    Has 45S on the front panel.

    Mike
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Thanks Mike. You are right. Mine says "Computerized Color Head" and "Microprocessor Controlled" on the next line.

    Sorry Sam.

    PE
     
  10. SamStauffer

    SamStauffer Member

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    PE:

    I just looked again at the picture of the current Dichro 45S on the Beseler Photo site. The picture shows knobs for C-M-Y on the right side with little analog dials above the knobs and a switch on the left with an orange light above it. Maybe this latest model is different from yours.

    Since you have two of them, I assume you must like them. Is the light output even across the picture area? Is the light output strong enough for a reasonable printing time? These are my two concerns.

    --Sam
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The light output of my head which is in use is superb. I have printed up to 16x20 both B&W and color and the exposure times are quite reasonable. With the right chamber in the head, I can print 35, 120 and 4x5 at about the same exposure. There is about 1.5 stops difference between the 3 light chambers.

    IDK if you use interchangable light chambers in yours. One of mine is over 10 years old, and the other ditto, but bought about 2 years ago second hand. I have 4 chambers as each head came with one, and I had the other 2.

    PE
     
  12. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Yup you have the computerized color head and not the 45s. I like it better than the 45s as I can have consistent output but the 45s doesn't suffer the problem with the cards as you describled.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

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    Yes, I was having one of those senior moments which caused the error.

    PE
     
  14. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have the Dichro 45 S. My understanding is that the computerized versions often fail and sell for less on Ebay. The one I use is over 10 years old and works perfectly. It has a lot of light leaks that I fix with black tape. the light is very even across the print. I have used it to make 20 x 24 Cibachrome prints but now do B&W only.

    I do mostly split contrast printing and my complaints are that it is tedious to dial in maximum yellow and magenta alternately. Also. The light source is very bright with the 4x5 mixing chamber, even when I enlarge 6x7 negatives. I certainly wouldn't bother with smaller mixing chambers. I wish it had neutral density adjustment.

    I wish someone made an oversized LED lightsource with digital controls for intensity and control of Blue/Green like the CalumetZone VI for Beseler.
     
  15. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I'm surprised that Calumet doesn't offer adaptors permitting people to use that head with Beseler and Omega enlargers. There are a heck of a lot more people with those enlargers than with Zone VI enlargers. Maybe if enough of us requested the adaptors, they would listen?
     
  16. Photo Engineer

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    One of my enlargers is an old Omega D2V with a converter for the Beseler Dichro 45 head. At one time, conversions were very popular.

    PE
     
  17. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    I have had both, and much prefer the totally mechanical 45S. The microprocessor board is the most likely to fail on the computerized version, and the original components have long since been consigned to the bin of obsolete history. There is one service agent that produces a replacement board with a more reliable processor. A search of the threads here will turn his contact info up.

    The dichro filters on each are identical, as is the mechanism for adjusting them. The only real difference is that the mechanical model approximates with a fixed division dial, whilst the computerized model purports to measure and deliver an accurate rendering of each CYM filtration value. In theory...

    The problem is that once "zeroed" the readout will often wander as one value is brought up or down in the other values. Sometimes the difference between an empty carrier, a BW negative (and ones of varying density) will cause a change in the reflected light value in the mixing chamber and skew the values again...

    The mechanical version remains "accurate", once calibrated to a known set of production or metered values, as the dichro filters themselves are very stable and fade resistant. Using dual value filtration (as opposed to single filtration) it is relatively easy to maintain a consistent exposure value while changing contrast grades. The cyan filter value can be used to great success as a neutral density filter...

    Now if you want to go computerized with your Beseler and really want the "edge", go with the Minolta 45A. This is what I have on my other 45MX chassis...
     
  18. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I have the Computerized version, but the light chamber and controls are virtually identical with the 45S. I've been using it for variable contrast printing for many years with excellent results. I don't have the computer control cards; I use it as though it were the 45S. Since I use the split filter technique with variable contrast paper (full magenta exposure and full yellow exposure) I turn my knobs a lot, and after 20 years or so, they're beginning to get a little loose, but still opearting fine. Using Bergger, Forte, or Agfa papers, my exposures are usually in the range of 10-12 seconds (each M and Y) at f11 for a 120 neg.

    I do not have the light chambers for 35mm or 120. I print all formats using the 4X5 light chamber, and it works just fine. Exposures are slightly longer for 35 mm, but still under 30 seconds at f11. The only time I wished I had the other light chambers is when I used to print Ciba/Ilfochromes which were very slow.

    Larry
     
  19. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Forgot to add... Edge to edge illumination is quite equal, due to the engineering or the light mixing boxes. The larger 4x5 will work with any smaller format, albeit more slowly than the correct size mixing chamber. There are only two others; 6x7 and 35mm. They are used in both the computerized and fully mechanical versions. The only difference is that there is a sensor plug for the computerized version that connects to the pins on top of the chamber. For the chambers, make sure that the upper bellows is fully collapsed and the opaque bottom is close to the negative stage...
     
  20. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    This is true of my computerized head also. Even if I have the Cyan dial set all the way to 0, as soon as I turn either the M or Y dials, the Cyan readout drifts up to 7-10. However, after worrying about it initially, I discovered that it's only an apparent problem. In reality, the C dial was really at 0 despite the readout. So I learned to live with a lying colorhead and just ignore what it claims the C dial is doing. It works just fine.

    Larry
     
  21. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    That is why I like the computerized version better (although it has the problem of the circuit boards). What I get on the display is the actual color filtration and not and estimate. The reason for the cyan display to wander because when you change the other filters they do introduce some neutral density thus making the cyan reading going up.