VC filters with 23C

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Ken, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. Ken

    Ken Member

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    Greetings,
    I use an older Beseler 23C enlarger with a condenser head. The enlarger has a large filter drawer below the light source for 5.5"x5.5" filters, and has a smaller drawer of sorts between the negative and the lens. This smaller drawer holds filters that are approx 2.25"x2.25". I have an older set of Beseler VC filters that are mounted in a plastic frame with the filters themselves being plastic and somwhat concave (convex?) and I believe they go into this smaller drawer(?)They are very durable. There are no provisions for below the lens mounting of filters. My question: The Beseler filters are okay but limited in their ability to produce varying grades of contrast and besides, the set is incomplete (1-4 with .5 increments). Are there mounted filters available that would fit this drawer? This seems like and ideal situation for filters. Would I be better off using the larger filter drawer with the larger unmounted filters or would it be best to get a mount of sorts and use filters below the lens?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Regards,
    Ken
     
  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  3. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I cannot comment on the merits or otherwise of the filter drawers on the Beseler 23C enlarger but I thought I would suggest that you be careful on the choice of VC filters. Unfortunately not all paper manufacturers provide filters exclusively for the paper they market, generally it is suggested that you use either Ilford or Kodak (at least that's the situation in the UK). Some years ago when Agfa first released MCC they too suggested that Ilford or Kodak filters would be suitable for their paper. At the time I was writing for a British magazine and carried out comprehensive tests on the paper. I used both the filters suggested by Agfa and their published dial in filter factors if using a colour head on the enlarger. The results where significantly different so I spoke to Agfa who agreed, and promptly manufactured the correct filters and asked me to test them. They produced exactly the same result as the Afga dial in factors. I still have the filters although they are no longer made. The reason for relating this story is, I think quite clear, the filters should be designed exclusively for the paper.

    Thankfully I don't have to use filters for I have a Zone VI VC enlarger, a Kaiser and an LPL colour head enlarger in my darkroom. When asked about VC enlarging when I teach workshops I recommend a colour head enlarger rather than a B&W head that requires filters. At least with a colour head you can work out filtration factors that best suit your tastes and when papers are tweaked by the manufacturer you can adjust those factors.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    Roscoe makes filter material for stage lighting and I use the deep blue and green filters to replicate the color of the light sources that Zone VI and the Aristo VCL 4500 heads use. If you can find the real filters Kodak's numbers are Blue 47b and Green 58. I split filter print and before I got the Aristo VCL 4500 head for my Omega D2 I used those very same filters. The gist of the story is you might buy some of the blue and green filter material and cut it down to the 5.5x 5.5 size you need. Just a thought....

    lee/c
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (lee @ Jan 30 2003, 08:07 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Roscoe makes filter material for stage lighting and I use the deep blue and green filters to replicate the color of the light sources that Zone VI and the Aristo VCL 4500 heads use. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    How big are these? I need 7x7 and the only choice seems 12x12 and they cost more then my enlarger-))
     
  6. lee

    lee Member

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    If that is the case I would use filters below the lens. I have never had a problem with using filters that way. Seems to me that the filter material is about 8.5x11 inches. I don't remember what I paid for them but will check in a day or two. One of the professors at the local Jr college will know all about it.

    I will get back to you on the price and all

    lee\c
     
  7. Lemastre

    Lemastre Member

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    I'd think putting a filter between the negative and the lens is inviting distorted or otherwise degraded images. Far better to use the larger filters above the condenser. For this, I'd buy a set of Ilford or Kodak filters -- Ilford for Ilford paper, certainly. They're about 6 inches square and can be easily cut to fit the Beseler filter drawer. I wasn't aware that the 23C ever had a drawer between lens and negative. There is a slider that moves in and out from the lefthand side of the lens assembly just above the lensboard. In my 23C it held a thick red filter, which with some graded papers permits turning on the enlarger with the paper on the easel. I think this slider was not intended for use with VC filters.
     
  8. lee

    lee Member

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    With all due respect, Lemaster, I have used this technique for over 30 years and if there is distortion there, I cannot see it. I have heard this claim over and over but Omega never allowed for above the condenser filter installation and for me it is a non-issue. More to the point that it may be a old photographers tale. Stated but never proved. If you have postive evidence, I would like to see it. As for the red filter holder on the side, that is my understanding also.


    lee\c
     
  9. Lemastre

    Lemastre Member

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    Lee: The concern I expressed had to do with distortion that might result from putting filters between the lens and the negative, not below the lens. I've never put filters between lens and negative and know of no enlarger that facilitates it. I just think that any waviness in or crud on the filter could only be bad for the image, plus there's no need to put the filter there in the first place. I had an old enlarger years ago that required placing filters below my enlarger lenses, and I was not aware of distortion in the images. Then I got a C23, which puts the filters above the condenser, and this seems like the simplest way to color the light without involving filter material in the image formation.
     
  10. lee

    lee Member

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    Sorry I misread your post and thought you were talking about putting the filter below the lens.


    my bad!

    lee\c
     
  11. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    we cut filters all the time to fit the 23c, placing above the condensor. They come in 12 X 12 sheets and i replace grade 3 almost every quarter. Easy to cut. They run about 16.00 a sheet.
     
  12. Ken

    Ken Member

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    Greetings,
    In regards to the sliding filter holder on the 23C, if this were to be used with the red safety filter and not vc filters, then where did Beseler intend these hard plastic mounted filters to be used?
    Ken
     
  13. Lemastre

    Lemastre Member

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    Ken: I expect the small, hard-mounted Beseler filters are to be mounted below the lens on the swing-out filter holder that can be attached down there. I think some models of 23C came with this holder in place. I've not seen the filters or the holder and can't be sure of this.
     
  14. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  15. lee

    lee Member

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    my friend finally came thru with the Rosco filter numbers. The are for blue aan green Rosco Sky Blue 68 and Chroma Green 389 gels I am not sure if Calumet sells them but you can contact this lady and she will sell you what you need. I don't know the price but I think 6 to 10 dollars.

    Nikki Smith can be reached at 817-354-4072, DeShea Designs, LLC
    1220 Airport Freeway
    Suite G, PMB 429
    Bedford, Texas 76022


    lee\c
     
  16. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Just to add my two cents, keep an eye on EBay. All sorts of otherwise hard to find items show up there. As for my preference, I always preferred to put the gel type filters above the condensor. It goes in the drawer, is out of the way and not on the floor (I am a klutz), and if the filter is not in perfect shape, at least it is not in the image path. You can use the hard below-the-lens filters and I have used them, but you have to be more gentle in your handling of them. I did try using "wrong brand" filters for different papers, and the results were less than good. Using Ilford filters with Kodak paper gave me flat, low contrast, "muddy looking" prints. Popping in the Kodak filter, everything was fine. So, if you use Kodak filters, use Kodak paper. If you use Ilford filters, use Ilford filters.
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Thanks. I'm putting together an order of stuff from the US. Trying to decide what I really need and what I can put off. Funny how the list of real needs is always shocking when you're done-))