First Darkroom: Omega B66 Enlarger?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ula_mv, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. ula_mv

    ula_mv Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I recently graduated from college and have been feeling the sting of not having an all hours darkroom something fierce. I'm trying to assemble a bare bones darkroom for myself for print-by-print installation in my thumbnail of a bathroom. I am on a shoestring budget, and I know I'm not going to be developing anything larger than 35mm b&w into 8x10 prints anytime in the next few years. As you might guess, size and weight is a bit of a concern.

    I've been trawling Craigslist, and finally found an common brand enlarger. I didn't want to get anything replacement parts might be difficult for. It's an Omega B66. The owner inherited it and doesn't know what I mean when I ask about negative carriers and dichroid heads and light leaks. He says he thinks it's never been used, and when he got it, it was still in the original box. He described it as looking like it's literally never been touched. Point being it sounds like I might have a mint condition enlarger on my hands but I'm not sure. He's asking $75 for it, and I was wondering if you all had any thoughts on what sort of flaws should be deal breakers, and what I should be looking for. Does an out of box Omega B66 even come with a lens carrier? A timer? Is $75 a reasonable price to pay? I kind of know what enlargers in good condition should look like, but not in any detail. I've mostly taken their presence and functionality for granted. Shame on me, I know.

    Guidance on this matter would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    If it's nice enough in your opinion, the I suppose 75 would be OK, although you can find enlargers for free quite often. A lot of times, whole darkroom outfits for free.
     
  3. ula_mv

    ula_mv Member

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    Yeah, I got that sense from some more established friends/teachers... I moved to the LA area recently and just saved enough to start thinking about my own darkroom. I've only been looking for a couple of weeks, but I think there's more demand out here or something because very little gets posted, and even less is priced at a level I can justify. If there are any SoCal natives reading, is this just a lull in availability I should wait out?
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I used my father's B66 for years. He bought it new in the early-mid 70s. Still have it.
     
  5. momus

    momus Member

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    Make sure that it has the negative carriers, the condenser(s) is there and not scratched, that it has a bulb, etc. All these goodies together can easily cost more than the enlarger if they're missing or need replacement. In general, unless you're buying from a photographer, craigslist is what it is. I would be very careful, having bought a few enlargers that cost me an arm and a leg to get going. The lens boards for the Durst enlargers are priced pretty crazily. I have an old, but in excellent condition, B600 w/ a 35mm negative carrier, spare bulb, etc if you are interested. Just PM me. It makes excellent prints of 35mm and 6x6, and can print up to 11x14. Not the highest end enlarger, but it's straight and works fine. I can throw in a 50mm and 75mm lens too. It's a small enlarger. I replaced it w/ a B22, and now my bathroom/darkroom is full!
     
  6. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    In todays market, $75 is a bit steep, especially since the seller has no idea if the enlarger is complete or not.
    And I will second the others about the additional cost of missing parts. I got an enlarger for what I thought was a great deal...well after I replaced $$$ all the missing parts, it wasn't a deal at all.
    The best would be someone selling a kit with all the stuff; enlarger, trays, tongs, safelight, etc. Basically the entire darkroom.
    I would keep watching Craigs List, or put out a WANT ad yourself.

    Check the local cameras shops and ask if they have anyone coming in asking about selling their darkroom stuff. My local camera shop has people that come in asking if he would buy or sell their darkroom gear. But that stuff moves so slow that he no longer does that. He had old enlargers that he could not give away.
     
  7. ula_mv

    ula_mv Member

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    Hmmmm... I told him I wouldn't buy it without a chance to try the bulb/check for parts and he said fine. Luckily it's not too far flung so it might be worth the time to check. But yeah, I just heard from a friend that he purchased an entire setup for 150 last month, so barring total perfection I'm starting to feel like $75 might be a bit much, barring total perfection. I'll definitely ask the local guys if they know anything about people trying to sell, and try my own wanted ad though. Silly that I didn't think about it!
     
  8. peteyj10

    peteyj10 Member

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    I bought a complete enlarging system a few years ago for $40. Enlarger, lens, timer, negative carriers and easel. Beseler 23Ciii with dichro head. If the guy isn't even sure if it's complete, $75 is too much.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I agree with others that, in this market, $75 is a bit much unless it comes with a decent quality lens and both negative carriers. Or it has the dichroic head.

    A suggestion if you do go to see it. Let the seller know in advance that you think $75 is high unless it is unusually well configured (and truly in excellent condition). Let him/her adjust to the idea that a lower offer is probably coming.
     
  10. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    In the LA area, there should be camera shows where someone might be selling enlarger gear also.
     
  11. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Way to much. If your in a populated area, you should be able to get a better enlarger for less. If you in a hurry, you will always pay more. JMHO
     
  12. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Go there with $30 if its complete. What he wants and what you will give him are 2 different numbers. I had a hard time giving away my B66 it was a decent enlarger but not worth $75.
     
  13. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I had two inexpensive enlargers that I picked up, a Omega C-67 Enlarger which I got for free, and a Minolta Color Enlarger Mod-III that came with some other items for a total of $10. I ended up parting them out since could not find anyone who wanted them. Look for a deal, you will find one.
     
  14. ula_mv

    ula_mv Member

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    Mkay, sounds like the consensus is that it's too much. I emailed him and he replied saying that he doesn't want to budge too much on price. I think I'll pass on this one. Momus has offered an enlarger in good condition, and I also managed to find someone selling an entire darkroom setup with an Omega DII for 150, so if that's at all decent, I might have another great option.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  15. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Probably just as well. A free one will probably pop up in 2 days. Seems like it always works that way.
     
  16. kreeger

    kreeger Subscriber

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    Before you leap for cheap, consider buying an enlarger that has the biggest neg format you ever expect to want. It should be the last enlarger you need for life, if you buy Beseler, Omega, Durst. Those brands also have tons of used carriers, lens boards, upgrades and spare parts available for them on Ebay and here.
     
  17. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    In the US Beseler and Omega, but NOT Durst.

    Spare parts for Durst in the US is difficult to find and when you do they tend to be EXPENSIVE.
    IF you get a Durst, you want it as complete as possible, because the missing parts will be hard to find and expensive.

    I got a Durst L1000 for $50...such a deal...
    ...NOT....By the time I finished getting most of the missing parts it was NOT a good deal.
    And I still have not found all the parts I need, and may have to have some of the negative masks fabricated for me.

    Even with Beseler and Omega, you want the enlarger as complete as possible, or you will be spending time and $ looking for the missing parts.