Smaller MF enlargers for limited space.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by imush, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. imush

    imush Member

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    Unfortunately, B&H no longer displays the enlargers on the floor, so I cannot go and feel how they are built. I am most probably looking for a used enlarger anyway, but at least you could get an idea of the newer models there.

    Requirements: an enlarger that can do 6x7, small enough to be stored in a closet (maybe on a utility cart) and taken to the bathroom for printing. I plan to print b&w only, no larger than 11x14. It should be a currently produced model, or should have been mass produced and sold in US in the past, so that parts would be available for some years.

    I really do not shoot 6x7 right now, just 35mm, but I would like to do MF at some point, and would not want the enlarger limitations to dictate the choice of equipment (and rule out Pentax 67). However, an exceptional 6x6 enlarger deal can be considered.

    So to help me choose, I ask for comments from users who print in makeshift home conditions on the following models.

    1. Omega C-700 appeals to me because it is the smallest thing that can do 6x7. I have limited space, and will need to take it in and out of a closet to a makeshift darkroom (bathroom). They are also quite cheap; even when new they go for $300 with condenser, and they can be found used for close to nothing. It is still produced and parts can easily be found. But I am worried about the build quality: will it last, is the column too wobbly, etc. Can any current users (or former disgruntled users) share their experience? Is alignment easy?

    2. The next currently or very recently produced enlargers of more or less "domestic" size are LPL C6600/D6700.
    • Can anybody explain why the VC model can do 6x7 but the condenser can only house 6x6? LPL site seems to indicate that the only difference is in the light source, so the column and chassis are the same? Does it mean that if I buy the condenser model, I can then still use a dichro head to print 6x7?
    • Does it clip on and off the baseboard (for storage), or is it screwed on more or less permanently? If it is, how does the column reversal work?
    • Are there alignment screws? I cannot see it in online descriptions.

    3. There are used Omega models of reasonable size, but I also want something that is still produced, or has recently been mass-produced, so that parts will be available for some years. I was looking at a nice used Omega B8, but its neg carriers and lens cones are unique, and are apparently not even the same as other Omega B series. It's somewhat bigger, (it can print 6x9's) and part availability is a concern.

    4. Then there is the Beseler line. The flagship 23C seems too large and heavy for makeshift bathroom use, and the option to consider is the Beseler 67X line. Like this one. Of course, parts for these are also plentiful. Any current users to comment? What is the weight of the thing?
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Omega C-700 will handle 35mm up to 6x7, and is fairly sturdy, yet on the light weight side. I have three of them set up for different formats, they all function the same so no surprises when operating any one of them. It is a current production machine,so parts and accessories are readily available.
     
  3. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    The weight difference between a Beseler 23C and a 67S isn’t great. The 67S is a bit lighter, but not by a great deal.

    The 23CIII XL dichro is 60.0 pounds while the 67XL dichro is 52.2 pounds.

    See “Specifications” here:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/70017-REG/Beseler_6796_67XLD_Dichro_Color_Enlarger.html

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/105697-REG/Beseler_8011_03_23CIII_XL_Dichro_Enlarger.html

    The weights vary depending on column length, whether the condensers or diffuser units are installed, and what head you choose.

    The 23C handles formats up to 6 x 9cm.

    Of the two brands, I find the focusing smoother on the Omegas.
     
  4. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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  5. largely

    largely Member

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    I have a Beseler 67C XL that I bought (used) in 1978. It's been used steadily since then and the only part it's required is one light bulb. Parts remain readily available. These enlargers can be acquired used at very low cost. Fairly easy to move and set up.
    Diffusion heads are available also.
    Highly recomended.

    Larry
     
  6. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    Dunco II 67, Kaiser, Kienzle or Durst M670, M805. The Dunco II is very compact and bright and has the combination of condensor/diffuser system. recommended. Dunco, Kaiser and Kienzle are still in production so parts are available too.
     
  7. lns

    lns Member

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    I move a Beseler 23C on a wheeled cart to and from my temporary darkroom (in a bathroom). I used to carry it in and out. I'm a 5 foot 3 inch 45-year-old woman. If I can do it, anyone can. :smile:

    The advantage of that enlarger is that it is readily available used, as are the negative carriers and other accessories.

    -Laura
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    This sounds like me - although I did acquire a colour head a couple of years ago and used it until I switched to an Omega D6.

    The Beseler 67 is currently in storage, awaiting room for a two enlarger set-up.

    You can see it in operation here - complete with cart:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=730908
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    The omega and beseler are both high quality and rugged. I have a beseler 4x5 enlarger and an omega 35/120 enlarger. I've had an omega chromega-B (for upto 6x6cm) for 20+ years and have only had to change the bulb a couple times.

    The omega c700 or c760 will probably be among the more compact choices for medium format. They are very sturdy, well made, and have plenty of parts available online. Beseler also has good qualifications, but the omega is probably lighter and easier to manuever with it's single column.

    You or a person handy with a sewing machine might want to fabricate some sort of cover to keep your enlarger head from getting all dusty when stored, as the dust will make its way into the negatives and be immortalized in print.
     
  10. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    The Omega B22 has a very small head, a filter drawer above the neg stage for VC filters, and will work with 6x6, but I don't think 6x7. It is a great enlarger, small and light and well machined. You can adjust the level of the neg stage which you cannot on the smaller Beselers (at least not the 23c). I used one for years till I got the 4x5 and always liked it. You can get them used for $100 or less - there are some on ebay right now.
    If you get one be sure it has the suplimental condenser (a single convex/flat piece mounted in a thin aluminum ring) which you slide in with the double condenser to convert to 35mm, or 6x6 - I can't remember which.
    Also, there was an XL version made which goes to 16x20 from 35mm on the baseboard.
     
  11. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Light weight is not really the best quality for an enlarger, in my opinion.
     
  12. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Durst made a very compact enlarger. Excellent little thing. It even has a glass negative holder.
     
  13. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    The 6600 cannot illuminate a 6x7 film area. It is a 6x6 enlarger. It is simply how the head was designed. I believe the heads are interchangeable--I had the 6600 and it was a very nice enlarger that took up little space. It was very solid.

    For column reversal, you loosen the four bolts attaching the column to the bases and turn the column around and reattach it. The bolts screw into a metal plate under the baseboard and so disassembling it for storage should present no problems.

    I have also had an LPL 670 series enlarger. A little larger than the 6600, but fairly compact. The column is easily removable from the base. But it is a longer column.

    You cannot collimate/align the LPL enlargers. They are fixed, but also square, which means alignment is not required. (You don't expect to align your cameras, why do you expect to do it for an enlarger?)

    I also have a Beseler C23III. A very much larger machine--ideal for a permanent darkroom. For printing up to 11x14 (or even 16x20 [with the 670 series]), I do not see any advantage to it over the LPL enlargers.
     
  14. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    I have a nice Durst M800 that will do up to 6x9 and is quite compact. I'd let it go for $120 including a couple of condensors, a 50/2.8 El Nikkor and some other bits and pieces.

    -Ed
     
  15. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The Omega C700 is a capable machine that should fill the bill. I used one for years in a bathroom set up. Just use a (homemade) foot switch and let the machine "settle down' after you are done focussing, etc. With the head all the way down, and a dust cover, it will fit in the bottom corner of a clothes closet.
     
  16. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I don't see any reason to mess around with an average enlarger these days. Also if you are putting it on a cart, you will probably be more limited by the size of the cart than the enlarger. There are a lot of good enlargers out there, but there are far more mediocre ones. I personally would avoid the 23c and the Omega. Get either a Saunders or a Durst. The Saunders 670 VCCE is a really nice enlarger. Whatever you do, don't get chintzy on the lens! APO's are going for under $200 now. Heck, there are two Orthoplanars on fleabay right now for $600 if you really want a good lens. Don't forget the alignment tool either. Preferably, you could borrow one from someone nice and save a couple hundred bucks.
     
  17. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    Minolta Color Enlarger II. Lightweight, well built, takes 6x7 and has excellent carriers. Bought it from the very first user for $90 with four carriers. Did many 16x24 prints with it.
     
  18. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I recommend a LPL 6600/6700 over the C-700. LPL products are modern, available used, and sturdy. The base board impacts the footprint and final print size. If your enlargements are limited to an image on 11x14 in paper, the LPL 6600/6700 will meet your needs. 6x7 should be considered for enlargements larger than 11x14. People consider using medium format but never follow through. Therefore, for small format, a Leitz 1C enlarger is a great choice if you want quality but a small footprint. Use a tripod, ISO 100/125 film, and great glass. At viewing distance you may seldom see much print quality difference viewing a 8x12 image printed on 11x14 in paper. That said, if your printing for an album and put your nose in the print or printing landscape MF is better.
     
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