Help me choose an enlarger!

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by kirby333, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. kirby333

    kirby333 Member

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    I'm currently looking for an enlarger that does 35mm and medium format in black and white.
    I'm considering a Beseler 23c ii XL, Saunders LPL D6700, Honeywell Nikor and an Omega Chromega B Dichroic, as these are all up for sale within my area on craigslist/kijiji.

    Which one would you guys recommend for a total beginner like me starting to get into the hobby, and how much would you spend on each of these?

    Thanks!
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG.

    What size medium format do you want to use the enlarger for?

    Are you in the US, Canada, or ??
     
  3. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I'd take the Beseler or the Chromega.
     
  4. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I've used Beselers and Omegas and would recommend both. I'd used a 23C in a classroom-type darkroom and they held up very well, so that was what I bought when I built my darkroom. Pricewise, it depends on the condition and goodies that come with it. There's a pile of other stuff you'll need if you're just starting out. Most is relatively easy to find, but some are harder than others (and it seems to be just whatever I'm looking for has suddenly become rare).
    One thing to think about is whether there's any chance of wanting to go to 4x5. I didn't think so at all when I got my 23C. I am now (and lucked into a Beseler 45MX).
     
  5. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    i have an LPL c7700 - its great. does colour and b&w, is readily available and goes pretty cheap. plus it take up to 6x7 negatives.
     
  6. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    I have had beselers, omegas, and now I have an Saunders/LPL XLG 5500. Best enlarger I have ever used. I would go with the Saunders. Don
     
  7. momus

    momus Member

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    I'd buy the one that had the negative carriers, and if possible, a lens or two. It's the extras that will run you more than the enlarger. Any of these, assuming they're in good shape, should be fine. I suspect the Saunders would be the best too, but again, condition and the other necessary tid bits you'll require need to be factored in. Make sure the condenser(s) are in good shape and are actually there! It's craigslist stuff.

    If you can, try and find a photographer that is selling a complete darkroom set up. The trays, film washer, safelight, etc can all run into serious money (for me anyway) if you have to buy them new, or have to pay shipping on individual used items.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2013
  8. kirby333

    kirby333 Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm located in Canada.

    I'm leaning towards the Omega as the seller is including equipment such as developing tank and trays all for a price of $50. It also comes with a 120 negative carrier so I think I'll just need another lens should I decide in the future to pursue medium format.

    How much would you guys pay for a good condition Saunders?
     
  9. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I think $50 is a very good deal if it works and comes with lens, carriers, baseboard, timer, and darkroom developing equipment. Thats an inexpensive start with a nice sturdy machine.
     
  10. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Parts can be a problem for some of the ones you listed. Without hesitation, I would get the Beseler. It the price is to high, I would look for another Beseler 23. The other stuff, trays, tongs, etc. thrown in won't make up for any shortcomings to the enlarger. Good Luck.
     
  11. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    What he said ^^

    If an enlarger is complete, works and has the neg carriers and lenses for what you want it for, and the price is right go for it, especially if it comes with all the other darkroom bits too. Don't worry too much about brands. Everybody promotes what they have and there are perennial arguments about diffuser or condenser, glassless or glass neg carriers, colour heads or filters. Seems everybody makes work what they have. Enlargers are cheap these days. If you really do end up with a dog, move it on.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    +1, unless you intend to shoot 6x7, because I believe that the Omega maxes out at 6x6.

    On APUG, with questions like this, I think it is safe to share the Craigslist/kijiji links, so we can look at them and give you feedback.
     
  13. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I have 14 working enlargers of all flavors, 5 are LPLs and I test all of them with laser alignment. LPLs are aligned out of the box and stay that way.
     
  14. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    that's true. still, I'm a big DURSTfan.on the other hand,6-element enlarging lenses are all good no matter what brand.Look for package deals.they give you the most fror the buck.you can profit from somebody's wish for a convenient sell.splitting it up takes effort and folks try to avoid that.you can turn that into your benefit, because package buyers are hard to get.:wink:
     
  15. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    Be aware that external vibration will compromise image clarity.
    Any enlarger that vibrates like a tuning fork will destroy sharpness no matter how precise the lens/negative/easel alignment is.
    Here's a simple test to illustrate how stable any enlarger is...
    http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=9348


    Reinhold
     
  16. PhotoBob

    PhotoBob Subscriber

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    I use Beseler with good lens that allow for 4x5, medium format and small format - the full-meal-deal so to speak.
    It sounds like the choices you have are fairly good.
    Make sure parts are not worn out or missing!
    The movements should be smooth and I think good ... very good lenses for enlarging are a significant factor to darkroom practice.
    Also think about the amount of work you plan to do in a darkroom versus the cost and what you get for your investment.
     
  17. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I have a Saunders LPL 7700 and love it. I highly recommend it. The universal glass carrier is the only neg carrier you need for anything 35mm up to 6x7.
     
  18. norm123

    norm123 Member

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    Omega D2-V

    Hi
    I don't know if it's too late but I have 2 Omega D2-V, one in my darkroom and one on the floor since 3 years.

    I can sale one for 75.00 with a El-Nikkor 50mm f2.8, a film holder (35mm) and an electronic timer (I forgot the brand).

    You can do 35mm, format 120 and 4 x 5. I can ship it by Purolator.

    Send me an email to photographienormandblais@sympatico.ca

    Normand