Buying local would be preferred, however, prices may be higher and choices lower. However, if you have any way (friend, relative) of getting something in the USA and transported to you, might be beneficial. Then again, if prices elsewhere are a fraction of local, maybe paying the shipping should be considered.
First is an older 4x5, not much larger, real workhorse, I have the exact same enlarger/head, works as good as the latest model, which I recently acquired. Considering it has 2 Archival print washers and a 4 bladed easel, and other goodies, maybe half asking price might be a good deal. http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/pho/1546748349.html
Second is the 23C, picture also shows a 4 bladed easel. Again, half asking price might be a good deal. http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/pho/1539429009.html
You will have to temper what is a good deal because availability or lack of has a lot to do with prices
You really can't go wrong with the larger machine if you have the space for it. Problem with these big machines is that, well, they are big and heavy. If installing in a spot where you won't have to move it, great. They're built like tanks and will take all the punishment you can dish out and more. They were designed to dependably endure hard commercial use day in and day out. If this is going into a "temporary" darkroom (read blacked out bathroom) that's going to be a problem. How would you like to lug around and set up a machine that weighs easily 50 pounds or more and is around 4 feet tall every time you want to print? Not me. I have a 4x5 Omega D4. The thing is a beast. It just barely clears the ceiling in my darkroom, but I don't have to move it. I'll never be able to wear it out in my lifetime.
The Beseler 23C can print from 6x9 for sure. I have done it many times.
I owned a 23C and loved it. The model name, 23, is a clue to it's max. format. Just like 45 on the larger models. The 23 was built to handle 2 1/4 x 3 1/4, a.k.a. 6cm x 9cm. Omega enlargers built for 4x5 will work too as pointed out with the right lens, neg. carrier & condenser if you are very picky. 45 minutes is a no brainer to pick up good darkroom hardware. I made a trip like that for a complete 35mm & 6x6 darkroom. 500 miles for a complete 35mm & 4x5 darkroom. The lenses alone are worth more than the fuel to get them.
I use a 23C where I teach. Very easy to change between 35mm to 6x9 formats. The enlarger may be an older design but it is well built. Lens boards and negative holders are common and inexpensive. There is no heat build up to pop negatives. The neg holder is heavy. The plastic gear for elevation can degrade with time but replacements are sold as a kit. The alignment can get off if you're not careful but is easy to adjust. I prefer prints from this machine vs my LPL Dichro; but that is more a negative CI issue.
I use a 23C and a 45MX. I use the 45 for all of my black and white. The 23C is set up for colour. I only shoot b&w in 4X5. Lensboards are interchangeable between the two. Also, the 4x4 lensboards are interchangeable with lensboards for my old speed graphic
If you buy a 23C or 45MX, I have quite a few 1/8" aluminum 4x4" sheets that I can bore on my metal lathe for lensboards. They may require a little filing to fit just right. The price is right. Free! Just let me know what the diameter of the threads are on your enlarger lens, and I'll bore the hole to that size. Pm me if you want me to make you one (or two).
Since you were so kind to help, I thought it would be nice from my part, to let you know where I am with it. I will meet the guy with the above enlarger tomorrow night (Monday the 25th), a 45MXT with both heads, dichro and the standard. He started at $500, he is now at $300.00 I will keep you post tomorrow.
Originally Posted by fotch
Thanks for the update and good luck.
Hi Patrick, I was just wondering if you had ever gotten that enlarger, now I know. Thanks for the update.
Got it !!!
I am the proud new owner of a not so new 45MXT (a beast compared to my Durst M600). It includes both heads, Dichro and condenser, a Nikkor 135mm, stainless steel print washer, a print dryer, a light table of 49x15, a brand new contact proofer, 2 brand new easels: a 4 blades 11x14 and a 2 blades 16x20, 3 negatrans, a 4x5 negative carrier, and an upset wife when she saw the stuff all over my darkroom. They are all in near mint condition (including the wife), all that for finally $275 (excluding the wife, after 16 years, she is more expensive). A little cleaning in the next days, and do not search me for the next weekend, I will be on the dark side of the house.