Help with Beseler 23CII XL enlarger

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by cherryhill, May 7, 2008.

  1. cherryhill

    cherryhill Member

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    I think I have figured out why some people have more than one enlarger in their darkroom.

    I want to be able to print both 35mm and 6x7 negatives with my enlarger. I have a Beseler 23CII XL which I bought used with a 50mm Nikon lens mounted to the lens board. I've since started MF photography, and so I bought a 90mm Besler lens. It fits in the same lens board, and the jam nut/retaining ring is the same. But heck if it wasn't a chore to change the lens out. Now, I'm a complete novice, so maybe I just don't know what I'm doing. Let me know if this is the proper procedure:

    The lens board is held in place with two brackets, each with 2 Phillips head screws. I unscrewed the bottom bracket to remove the lens board, and out popped a piece of metal that was there to apply pressure to the lens board to hold it in place. Changing the lens on the lens board was easy. Putting it back together was a nightmare. I finally had to tape the lens board to the stage so it wouldn't slip out, then tape the metal pressure piece in place in order to get the bottom bracket in place to screw it back in. Without tape, I would have needed at least 5 hands to do the job. Seriously, is this the only way to change the lens on the enlarger? Next time, I will remove the top bracket, at least that doesn't have the little pressure piece to have to put back on. Any hints on a better way to change out the lens? I will be switching between 35mm and 6x7 very often... possibly a few times a week. I can't see going through all this every time I change formats.
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The lens board mount is spring loaded. All that is necessary is to push the lens board toward the rear of the enlarger and the board will pop out, front edge first.
    It wouldhelp to buy a second lens board on which to mount the second lens.
     
  3. cherryhill

    cherryhill Member

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    Unfortunately, I don't think it's spring-loaded anymore. Since that spring popped out when I took it apart, it keeps popping out of the bracket.
     
  4. cherryhill

    cherryhill Member

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    Well, I finally figured it out. I was putting the spring back in the wrong direction. Geez... an entire night. But, now I see how to properly insert and remove that lens board. Thanks, Jim. :smile:
     
  5. Davesw

    Davesw Member

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    One other cool thing; if you ever want to go to large format the 23c lense board is interchangable with the Bessler 45 series.
     
  6. cherryhill

    cherryhill Member

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    Well, I just bought a second lens board and retaining ring, so now switching back and forth should be easy peasy. :smile:
     
  7. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    You can make your own lensboards out of 1/8" hardboard. I have a 23C and a 45MXC. I use the 23C for colour, and the 45MXC for B&W. Not only are the lensboards interchangeable between the two enlargers, the lensboards also fit one of my speed graphics. Some enlarging lenses are surprisingly good when used as a taking lens. Most are so-so, and some are just plain terrible. Make yourself some lensboards and buy some cheap enlarging lenses and have fun!
     
  8. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    This is exactly the same situation I had! I got a second lens board and life was considerably easier! Then, I found a second enlarger, just like the first, and life was a dream! :D
     

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  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    While lenses ARE interchangeable,
    they are not necessarily aligned when you have changed them.

    Furthermore, fine focussing with the 23c is not as accurate with a
    50mm lens as it is with a 75 or 100. The focus gears are too coarse
    to fine focus a 50, and most folks have to adjust the enlarger pretty carefully
    to get the most from it.

    On the other hand, you can probably get really good 6x8 prints from 35 without knocking yourself out.
    11x14s will be a bit of a trial. BUT if you put just a touch of lapping compound on the gears,
    work it gently, and clean it, you'll improve its personality a LOT.


    Old timers often used an adjustable lens board to fully align the lens on a Beseler enlarger, and Fred Picker used to sell them. Cap screws work well. I made lots of them, and either 3 or 4 screws work well.

    It looks like this:

    .
     

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  10. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I've never heard this one before, the 23C is simple and easy to focus with any lens, maybe you need a better focusing aid, or your printing with the lens wide open. Light fall-off is a bigger (real) issue, and larger film (4x5) requires more care in keeping it flat and aligned.

    Not that there is a specific lens board for 100mm lenses - with extension - to correct the focusing range for that lens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2008
  11. cherryhill

    cherryhill Member

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    Wish I had room for a second enlarger! I would love to be able to just set them up and not have to change anything out. But, I am working in a VERY small area.

    df cardwell and ricksplace... you are talking to a girl who couldn't even figure out how to change the lens board in the enlarger -- and I HAD the manual and still couldn't figure it out. I think making my own lens board is way over my head. And I don't even know what "lapping compound" is. Maybe someday I'll come back to this thread when I know the enlarger better. In a way, spending the entire night taking that thing apart and messing around with that spring taught me a lot about the equipment, so it wasn't really a waste of time after all.
     
  12. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    "...so it wasn't really a waste of time after all"

    NEVER a waste of time. Make pictures, have fun, repeat.