Looking for a new enlarger for serious work, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by brian steinberger, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I am in need of a new enlarger to replace my old Beseler 45M that has seen better days. I'm looking for recommendations. Here's my situation, I have a Beseler 45s dichro head that I could put onto a new enlarger chassis (45MXT, CB-7, or VX-L) and also all the 45 series negative carriers which could save me money. BUT, I don't shoot 4x5 anymore so I really don't even need a 4x5 enlarger at all. I have no problem with getting a medium format enlarger (I shoot up to 6x6). I have looked into a Beseler 23CIII-XL, but have read numerous negative comments about the enlarger. What are some other options? I'd like to be able to print 16x20" and have an enlarger that is easy to align. My budget is below $1500. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I HIGHLY reccomend the Beseler 23C if you are going to be doing under 4x5. I have two of them and they are built quite well. Their alignment, to me, is not that bad. I am very pleased with everything about them and would not consider any other enlarger. I can't really come up with any negative comments about mine :smile:
     
  3. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I've heard that the older 23C and even 23CII were much better than the current 23CIII. This would require me buying used of course which is certainly an option. Thanks for the response!
     
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The 23C-XLII that I have is a really good enlarger, yet, since I have the 45M series, regardless of format, I usually almost always use the 4x5. Unless you have a space problem, why not just get another 4x5. Also, even though you may never shoot 4x5 again, did you burn all you old 4x5 negatives? :confused:
     
  5. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    my immediate thought too!
     
  6. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I have used the 23CIIIXL an even the new enlargers, are even built well. If I could afford it, I would have bought new.
     
  7. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Since you already have the head, negative carriers, lens mounts, etc., I would look for another Beseler 4x5 chassis. It doesn't have to be new; they are plentiful on the used market. If you are patient, you might even find one for free. In any event, if you pay more than $100, you've done it wrong. :wink:

    What is so wrong with the old chassis? Seems they would be hard to wear out.
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    There's been a Durst 609 on Chicago craigslist recently. It's been listed several times & I don't recall it being very expensive.
    Take a look at Craiglook.com they have listings going back several weeks.
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    No, but I really don't have anything good enough to ever print from my collection of 4x5 negatives. Just one negative that I can think of.
     
  10. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    The problem with my chassis is that it's the really old Beseler model with the bracing rods that come down from the top of the chassis to the front of the baseboard. I've put up with it for years, it gets in the way of dodging and burning and also the easel hits them. Plus the enlarger itself is almost impossible to align and once aligned it doesn't seem to stay aligned. It's just old and it looks like it's been modified a few times, meaning it doesn't look like the original baseboard, many screws are missing. It's just a mess!! I want a nice new one already aligned!
     
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    If you are only looking for up to 6x7, I highly recommend the LPL6700VCE. I've had a 23c and this is much nicer to use. The VC head and optional glass carrier are particularly nice. I got mine for around $350 on eBay and that was probably top dollar.
     
  12. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Mark, I've been looking around that those. Any place you can buy those new? I couldn't find a site.

    I did find this on ebay though:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...akeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:top:en

    Any idea if they have 6x4.5 and 6x6 glass carriers for these enlargers?
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Brian:

    Adorama has the LPL6700VCE on their website:

    http://www.adorama.com/SD670VCCE.html

    Glazer's in Seattle had one in stock the last time I was there (I think it was that model).
     
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  15. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    The Saunders 6x7 glass negative carrier has masking blades, so you can use it for smaller sized negs.

    Jon
     
  16. marco.taje

    marco.taje Member

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    Firstcall Photographic has all the carriers for lpl/saunders in stock. I own a LPL6600C and it's serving nicely with my 6x6 negatives. It feels like it's very prone to stay aligned for good.
     
  17. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    I have an Omega B-22 XL. The Omega B-22XL enlarger is identical to the B-22 but is the extra long column version. I bought it, as I remember, late 1960's. It originally came with the condenser light however I upgraded to the color head in the early 1970's when I started to do wedding photography. Back then photography was an economic sideline as I was involved in another field. In 2002 I started doing photography full time for income.

    At any rate, I've never had any problems with my Omega Enlarger.

    Suggest checking into one for yourself. It will accept up to a 6x6 medium format negative. I've got 35mm, 6x4.5 & 6x6 negative carriers. As I recall the 35mm and 6x6 originally came with the enlarger.

    Recommend getting the color head as it works for vari contrast B&W paper.

    Here is a spot to check out:

    http://www.classic-enlargers.com/omega_b22_enlarger.htm
     
  18. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    The LPL is really a great enlarger. It is easy to align. As mentioned above, get the glass carrier and I would recommend getting anti-newton glass for the top. I have also used the carrier with the a/n glass on top and an insert on the bottom.
     
  19. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Jon, so I could use the 6x6 glass carrier for 6x6 and 6x4.5?
     
  20. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    It seems the LPL enlargers are very well received by fellow APUGers. Now the question is whether to buy used or new. A new one is right on the edge of my budget, plus I will need to get the negative carrier. Any suggestions on buying new or used?

    Also, a few other questions, will I be able to print up to 16x20? And what's the difference between the VC head and the color head? I'm used to using a color head.

    Thanks so much guys!
     
  21. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    The 6x7 glass carrier works fine for 6x6 and 6x4.5. If you want to print full frame with a black border, you can, but need to modify the carrier slightly by filing the stops for the masking blades. The enlarger works fine for 16x20's, with the exception that the easel can run into the column when doing 6x4.5. The solution to that is to insert the negative carrier from the left side, instead of the front.

    The VCCE head is nice because you just dial in the grade or fraction of a grade that you want and the exposure remains approximately the same. If you are use to using a color head, then the color head would be fine also. If you can find a used one in great shape that would be a good bet.

    Jon
     
  22. chioque

    chioque Subscriber

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    There's a few LPL7700 on ebay at the moment. Two I can find from searching from a same guy are here LPL VC7700 with both 50/2.8 and 80/5.6 Nikor lenses and another here a cheaper one with 50/4 Nikor lens. Problem I can see is the item is in the UK, so shipping will be expensive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2010
  23. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Jon, any idea if the color head or VCCE head is better for split grade printing?
     
  24. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I have the VC head on the LPL and a color head on a Leitz V35. I am finding myself using the LPL for 35mm due to the convenience of the VC head. The VC head acts just like filters, but better. The exposure stays constant with changing grades. For split grade, it probably makes less difference since you would use full yellow and full magenta anyway. For conventional grade printing, you can work that out the a color head, but it is a pain. Personally, I'd hold out for the VC head if you can especially if you don't do exclusively split grade. The other source for LPL enlargers and accessories is:

    http://www.khbphotografix.com/LPL/index.htm

    Also, you may be able to get a 4x5 version used within your price range and that may be another option.

    FYI - the glass carrier I have has the masking blades making it usable down to 35mm and it has AN glass on top. That carrier is enough reason for me to get the enlarger.
     
  25. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    The Saunders/LPL 670 VCCE is a pleasure to use with its ability to dial in small changes in contrast (I have 2 of these). However, I don't do split grade printing and find it not needed for the most part. One issue is that it may be hard to see the grade numbers with the enlarger off, as they are illuminated when it's on. Depends on your safelight brightness. If using different filtration on a print, I usually just block the light with my hand or a card to change filtration.

    Jon
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2010
  26. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Thank you Mark and Jon for the great explanations. Seems the VCCE is the best choice for me!