In Market for New Enlarger....

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by SilverGlow, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Guys & Gals, coming back to film (from digital) after being away for 8+ years....I've not stopped digital shooting but I have added 35mm film...black & white.

    So I want the best enlarger new for under $1,000. It has to be able to enlarge up to 11" x 14", and it has to provide a razor sharp projected image, with no fall out, so that the enlarger will not cancel out the awesomeness of my premium lens collection.

    What do you suggest? Do they often come lense-less? Can the lenses be exchanged? What does a very good lens cost? What focal length are they in mm?

    What Say You ;-)
     
  2. eric

    eric Member

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    Can one even buy new enlargers?
    I have a Beseler 23C for sale. And I'm in Orange County. And a box full of 'stuff'
     
  3. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Eric, I might be interested in your enlarger....would you please email or PM me specifics? And you being in OC would be an easy transaction if I buy...thanks.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Quite honestly, there is no point in buying a new enlarger. They are expensive new, and will need additional expensive parts to be used. They are so common on the used market that all you need is some patience for the right one to turn up locally. The "right" one will come with a nice lens or two, a carrier or two, and a nice timer. I also feel that it may be worth it to get a medium format enlarger right off the bat, even if there is only a slight chance you may try medium format some day. This local 23C sounds perfect location wise, plus it can do color. Hope that it has lenses, carriers, and a timer.

    I am also gonna write a response now to your lens question on the other post.
     
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  5. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I agree with buying used. Also, it sounds like you are just starting out so better off starting with something replaceable once you learn your preferences. The Beseler 23C(?2) is a good enlarger for 35mm and medium format. However, I don't see a lot of used color heads for it. I personally don't like condenser enlargers, so I would buy something with a dichroic color head. Should be well within your budget including lenses. Buying locally is always better because you can inspect before buying, make sure everything works and the lamp works, etc. I bought a Beseler 45MXT off Ebay. It was poorly packaged and the frame bent during shipping. I just ate it because I paid so little for it that the return shipping would not have made sense. For lenses, a 6 element Nikon, Schneider, or Rodenstock should be great.
     
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  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I am not in the U.S. but given that most comparable darkroom equipment seems to be more expensive in the U.K then I'd say that if your budget is $1000 then the sky's the limited in terms of quality.

    The best should be available to you for this kind of money.

    I'd normally say "good luck" but for $1000 you won't need any. I'll leave it to my U.S APUGers knowledge to guide you.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Subscriber

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    Search ebay for enlargers near you. There is always a few nice ones in Orange County for sale. It is a buyers market for darkroom equipment. Also, check Craigslist. If you are patient, you can get a very nice enlarger for next to nothing.
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The best enlarger & lens for under a grand new is going to be a pretty cheesy affair. If you want top-drawer equipment new figure $5K and up.

    Buy used. Use the savings to buy a really good timer (cough).

    It sounds like a Leitz V-35 would fit your bill.
     
  10. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Everyone, thanks for your help...It seems I'm going to look at used equipment...I feel so ignorant about wet processes...
     
  11. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If you're near Costa Mesa check out "Used Camera Store" near the end of the 55 freeway. Last time I was in there he had a nice collection of decent enlargers along with other darkroom stuff.
     
  12. John W

    John W Member

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    I'm in a similar position; that of putting together my first darkroom. I'd strongly recommend taking some time to do some homework on enlargers. Consider the film format(s) as well as the print format you'll want to work with (btw, 11x14" is a pretty modest print requirement). Also start building a roster of non-enlarger equipment. The New Darkroom Handbook by DeMario, Worth, and Curtin is a great resource for planning everything from a temporary bathroom darkroom to a full professional setup.

    Then keep your eyes peeled for a deal; sites such as Craigslist regularly have screaming deals on darkroom equipment. It's worth being picky and a bit patient. For example, I recently picked up a pristine LPL 7700 enlarger for <gloat>$30</gloat> recently. (Adorama lists it new for over 1200 USD, for example.)
     
  13. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I've used an Omega B22, Besslar 23c, and Omega D2v (still use). If you are sticking to 35mm and have a $1000 budget, get the best Leitz V35 (color or variable contrast head) you can find. I bought one to suplement my D2 and it is much nicer to use. Make sure you get the Leitz lens comes with it and it has the negative carriers with it (usually does). You won't be disappointed.
     
  14. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Buy a decent second hand enlarger - they are very good value for money.

    Enlargers are simple devices that have very few things to go wrong with them.

    The most common things that go wrong are:-

    Go Rusty
    Get dropped and bent slightly
    Cracked/split focusing bellows
    Worn (sloppy or sticky) head and focus movements

    Like most things they are best seen before you buy if possible.

    Think about the likelihood of you ever moving up in format sizes - most of us started at 35mm moved on up to 6x6 and possibly then on to who knows where

    Most decent 35mm enlargers will also cover 6x6 or possibly 6x7 or 6x9

    Colour or Black & White only - only you know?

    B&W enlargers are generally cheaper than colour.

    I only do B&W printing and use a under the lens Multigrade Filter set for both my B&W AND Colour enlarger.

    Then think about whether the money you have saved on a second-hand enlarger should be put into buying a brand new Enlarging Lens.

    May be I have been unlucky but I have bought a couple of second hand enlarging lenses and they have not been up to scratch.

    Having been caught out twice, I finally bit the bullet and bought the new Enlarging Lens I should have bought the first time round.

    Enlarging Lenses are the prime lens in your system - all your prints go through this one lens - don’t have a high quality camera system and a sub-standard enlarging lens

    Good Luck

    Martin
     
  15. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    What happened to everyone saying we need to support the traditional photo industry all the time aroud here!?

    You should buy a new enlarger, and take pride that you are supporting analog photography.

    By the way, I have both a Saunders 4500 and a Beselar 67C, both bought new to show my support. I got my lenses new too.
     
  16. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    Silverglow
    I agree with all the others regarding buying used, but will toss in a few other thoughts:

    Look for someone who is closing down an entire darkroom so that you can get not just the enlarger but all the other goodies that you are going to need/want: trays, print washers, timers, grain focusers etc ad nauseum. All these little things can bankrupt you if you want to buy them new or separately, but will often be tossed in for little or nothing when you are picking up a larger item. I have bought out a couple of local darkrooms this way, in each case because there was one signature item that I was after (in one case a Beseler 45MX enlarger, in another a Jobo CPP processor), and some of the additional stuff I used in my darkroom, other times I have sold the surplus stuff, sometimes for as much as I paid for the entire load.
     
  17. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Lots of great info...thanks everyone!
     
  18. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Kirk,

    You make an important point about supporting analog photography equipment makers. I purchased one of my two enlargers new, and have also purchased other new darkroom items.

    Tom.
     
  19. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    In Japan, you can buy new enlargers and other stuff from the manufacturers like LPL and Fujimoto, but they have raised their prices quite high in the last year or two. Especially Fujimoto/Lucky, when it was merged by Kenko, has doubled the prices for their enlargers (for one popular model, from around 1,000USD to 2,000USD!).

    I mean, it's pretty ridiculous now...
     
  20. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    A new LPL/Saunders/Whatever it's called enlarger will last you a lifetime. You know it's been taken care of, and you can also have satisfation that you've done your part to support analog photography.

    If we don't keep the market for enlargers going, where are the schools going to get enlarger 2, or 5, or 10 years from now when they decide they want to put their analog darkrooms back to use?