Enlargers, enlargers everywhere...

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stephanie Brim, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I'm in a pickle. I've been offered enlargers at good prices or free in about every shape and size, but the one that takes the cake is a Beseler 45MX. I just don't know what to do! Space is a consideration, but that enlarger would allow me to print 4x5 when I get to that size. I had my eye on a 23C Series enlarger before everyone started offering me other ones since the largest I'm doing is 6x9, but this would allow me to grow into 4x5 and also make the medium format panoramic pinhole camera I've been wanting to do. I already know the thing is huge...

    So let's say you were me. You don't shoot 4x5 yet but you're thinking about it in the near future. The largest you shoot is 6x9 and you plan to aquire better cameras in that format. Most of your enlargements will be made from 35mm negatives, but you expect enlargements from larger negatives to become more and more prominent as time goes by.

    What would you do?

    I want to get this decision made before my boyfriend's vacation comes around at the end of this month so that I can go get whatever enlarger it is that I choose. I'll also be getting my printing supplies at the same time. Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. wfe

    wfe Member

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    I picked up a 45MX with a Saunders 11x14 four blade easel, timer, two lenses and an assortment of negative carriers for $125. I don't do 4x5 either and ended up selling it minus the easel. It was too big for my darkroom.

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The 4x5. When I got my 4x5 I didn't have a 4x5 camera yet. I did plan on getting one but I got the enlarger first.

    If you go the other way you'll soon start having an enlarger collection. Or at least you will when you decide you really need a 4x5.
     
  4. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Yeah, I've kind of decided that.

    I'm going to ask him what he has for negative carriers, etc...and then browse lenses. Crap, guys...I'm going to start printing by the end of this year. I'm so excited.
     
  5. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I had the same delima a few months ago. I passed on the 4x5 enlarger because I don't have the space for it. The way I see it, I found several good deals on 4x5 enlargers this past summer. If/when I do step up to 4x5, I don't think I'll have a problem finding another good deal.
     
  6. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I second getting the 4x5 if you can. If you have the space available, I think this is the right solution. And in the mean-time, until you get an LF camera, you can always print anything up to 6x12 cm in 120 format... :smile:
     
  7. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I got my 4x5 enlarger a while ago but I still don't have the room to set it up. I've never even considered that it was a bad idea. The space issue will pass, but the good deal may not come around again for a while. Then again, I already had a 4x5 camera and I have some ideas for making the space. These things are really big, so be prepared to dedicate some space to it. The baseboard is significantly larger than the one on the 23C, in both length and width. For what it's worth, I ended up with an enlarger collection anyway (2 23Cs and 1 45MX)...

    - Randy
     
  8. pandino

    pandino Member

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    Stephanie,
    If you think you might go to 4x5 someday, believe me, you will! :tongue:

    I would suggest getting the 45MX. They are very versatile, even if you don't shoot 4x5. It's very easy to switch from 35mm to 6x6 to 6x9 to 4x5 without having to switch out condensors. There are also many used and new parts available to increase its versatility.

    I have a dedicated 35mm enlarger so I can print at the same time as my kids, but use the 45 for everything else.
     
  9. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    If you have the room, and if you think you'll get into 4x5 eventually, I think you should get the 45MX. I used to own a Omega DII. It's a 4x5 enlarger, but I don't think it was much larger than a 23 series.

    If you do end up with more than one, I'm looking for an enlarger for 35mm only.:wink:
     
  10. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Well, the 23C series stuff is my second choice because it will at least do 6x9. If I can't get this one (and he may be having second thoughts because he's not getting back to me on it, even after the first note I sent) I'll start looking 'round for a 23C II or III.
     
  11. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Oh, Matt. Know anyone who does wet printing in Iowa who would be able to do a print for me for the World Toy Camera Day exchange? I'm not going to be able to come up with the supplies and print that quickly.
     
  12. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    The title sounds like our store's condition, we got maybe close to 20 or more enlargers in the store that are taking up space, but people don't seem to buy them locally anymore, got a few small Praxidos, upto a Bessler 23C or whatever that model is, and even upto a large 5x7 enlarger lol.

    But I know how you feel, I was given a Kindermann 6x9 enlarger for free with a glass carrier. The lens doesnt change out with any other lens I know of , nor does it have an adjustible condensor to do 35mm. But I assume thats why the original owner had it attached to a drop table which is now in my walk in closet, now that I'm shooting 4x5 on occasion kinda wish I had a 4x5 enlarger lol.
     
  13. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Okay, time to stop thinking about anything bigger than 5x7" right now! :D
     
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  15. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I'd help you out, but I don't own an enlarger. Ivy Photo in Des Moines still has a darkroom and they do B&W printing. I know a few people around Des Moines that have darkrooms. The Octagon is a community art center in Ames. They have a community darkroom that you could use. They might have a small fee.
     
  16. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Being that this is my first enlarger and my first time printing, I wouldn't want to send ANYONE one of my first prints. I'm not a perfectionist, but I know that they're going to suck for a while. I'll check out Ivy Photo and see what they charge and maybe see if I can be there when it's printed.
     
  17. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Stephanie,

    If the price is attractive and you have the space, get the Beseler 4 x 5. The only reason I can think of to bypass it would be a fantastic offer on a 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 enlarger.

    Konical
     
  18. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    the 45 will give you more stability.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    IMHO, it boils down to two questions, assuming there aren't any quality "gotchas:"

    1. Do you have the space to use the 4x5 right now?
    2. Just how good a deal is the 4x5?

    If you don't have the space and the deal is good but not spectacular, then chances are an equally good or better deal will roll around by the time you've got the space and the need for that size, so I'd pass. OTOH, if the answer to question #2 is "it's free" or "it's a once-in-a-lifetime deal," then you might want to get it now even if you can't currently use it; tuck it away in storage (even at a friend's house) until you've got more space. On the third hand, if you acquire the 4x5 now and find it's too big to be useful, you could put it in storage and pick up something smaller. Overall, I'd say it's hard to go badly wrong unless the 4x5 will cost you enough money to prevent you from acquiring a replacement if it turns out to be too big.

    Plenty of people have two or more enlargers, one for smaller formats and one for larger formats. You could plan on becoming one of these people after you've acquired the space for a "real" darkroom.
     
  20. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Heya,

    Keep in mind, it isn't like there is going to suddenly be a run on used enlargers. In the past couple of years, I have purchased a 23C and a 67 for $35 total. I got a 4x5 and a 5x7 enlarger for the cost of picking them up.

    I gave the 6x7 enlarger to an Ape-Hugger, the 4x5 to my brother....so I only have the 23C and the 5x7. The 5x7 is a beast. I can't quite make it fit on my workbench, so it is on the floor. Not-ideal.

    There will be good deals down the line. Don't stress it too much.

    Matt
     
  21. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    I have a 23C, which I acquired first, and later picked up a 45MX. They share lensboards, but I had to rebuy film holders (fortunately I found a great deal for several on eBay). The 23C has been a real trooper, I wouldn't have bought the other enlarger if I didn't start shooting 4x5. The 45 is a big beast; fortunately I got it with the specialized table, or figuring out what to do with it would have become a real problem. The 23C has never posed a space problem, by contrast.

    Honestly, go for the enlarger with the best deal that you can find soon, if you have the space.
     
  22. pandino

    pandino Member

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    Stephanie,
    If you want a wet print for WTCD, I'd be happy to make a few prints for you.

    I have 35mm, 6x6, 6x9 and 4x5 negative holders. Any other size and I'd have to make a cardboard holder. The 6x9 is actually closer to 6x8, but standard print sizes require cropping on 6x9 anyway.

    I'm not in Iowa, but not far away. PM me if you're interested.
     
  23. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Okay, this is interesting.

    I found an Omega 4x5 15 miles from me. This may be easier yet to get. Comes with a 150mm Rodagon which I won't need yet and can sell, and also comes with an easel, holders, and Ilford filters.

    Stay tuned...I emailed the seller. :wink:
     
  24. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Go for the 4x5. The natural progression of serious photographers is from 35mm to MF to 4x5 to real cameras. A 4x5 enlarger that will handle the smaller films should suffice for a while. When you move up to the big gear, you can sell the enlarger and get by with a printing frame. It it was good enough for Weston, . . .
     
  25. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The only reasons I can think of not to get a 4x5 enlarger are lack of space and deciding you really need a 5x7. That being said, I use my 5x7 Solar down to 6x7 and an old Chromega for 6x6 and smaller. The Solar does take a lot of space, though.
     
  26. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Think in terms of buying one set of neg. carriers only one time.
    The Beseler has the edge in changing neg sizes because 23C & 45 use the same lens boards. Depending on which Omega you're talking about you may need different lens mounting cones and condensers to change formats.
    If you get the one with the 150 Rodagon, keep the lens for 4X5 & 6X9. You can also use it for making smaller prints from 6X6 & 35mm.