Newbie - Need Advice on EQUIPMENT

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Focus No. 9, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Focus No. 9

    Focus No. 9 Member

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  2. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Tanks are cheap, even new. A plastic tank with two adjustable reels can be had for less than $25 from Freestyle or any other large retailer of darkroom gear. The Beseler and Omega enlargers are both first rate machines, and the Vivitar enlarger isn't even in the same league. To put it bluntly, the Vivtar is a piece of crap compared to either the Beseler or Omega units. Yes you can use it, but you'll outgrow it fast. I had the same enlarger with a Bogen brand plate on it and it was just awful. I gave it away to a friend who wanted to try his hand at the hobby. He's since passed it on to yet another newbie in favor of a better machine. Of the other two offers, I think the Beseler is the better of the two. It looks used and dusty, but it's a solid machine if it's in good shape. The safelight is worth as much as a tank, and you'll need one of those too. The Omega is very nice and almost the same as an old B600 that I"m using to make small prints from 35 mm negatives. I like that little enlarger - a lot. When all I want to do is make 4x6 or 5x7 prints from 35 mm negatives, it's so much easier than cranking up either the Beseler 45MX II or the Omega D4 that I have in the darkroom with it.
     
  3. kerrpanda

    kerrpanda Member

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    I'd go for either the beseler or Omega (partial to Omega's). Wasted too much time with a condenser, finally got wise and got a diffuser (color) enlarger head. Nice to have each option, but if pressed to only own one, it would be a diffuser enlarger. Nice to not have to worry so much about dust spots!
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    All three enlargers have condenser lamp houses. The Vivitar is still a piece of junk.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I think that the Beseler is the more substantial of the two. (I am also ignoring the Vivitar) It has a cheapie 50mm lens, which will get you started with printing 35mm negs. I think that the Omega is a little higher than you should need to spend for a starter enlarger in the current market. One thing to consider, however, is that the Beseler is going to be more of a hassle if you need to move it in and out of the bathroom each time you use it, it is likely to weigh a lot more than the Omega.

    One thing you might want to do is check garage sale listings too, I found my Beseler 45 that way, and it was only $25 including a bunch of trays, a timer, and lots of odds and ends.
     
  6. dehk

    dehk Member

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    Check out enlargers that comes with a 50mm and also a 75mm lens, and both 135 and 120 negative holders.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'd bet that the "35mm to 110mm" reference is in error, and that it is actually a 35mm to 120 reel and tank.

    The Beseler is the best deal, assuming it is in decent shape.

    The Omega is very usable too.
     
  8. David William White

    David William White Member

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    That's a cherry Omega, and I use a Beseler myself, but that said, the Vivitar could be a good first enlarger. Especially if you need to stow it away often and if funds are at a premium. You might take the difference in costs and put it toward paper, chems, and a good second-hand book on enlarging. When you get a more permanent setup, you might step up if you feel the need. But that Omega looks real sweet....
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The Beseler by a landslide. Solid proven designed. Best deal price wise also.