Which enlarger for 6x7?
Kind of a weird question. What is better for printing a 6x7 negative: a 4x5 enlarger or an enlarger designed for 6x7cm? The reason I ask this is: would a the condenser head in a 4x5 enlarger cover the 6x7 area more evenly? I remember using a Beseler 23c in college with my 6x7 negs and the corners would be slightly darker than the rest of the image. I know there is an adjustment on the 23c, but I remember never getting it to work right. Could it just be the 23c? Are all 6x7 enlargers susceptable to this?
I've never used a 23C, but I would suspect the dark corners were more a function of the lens than the enlarger. I've seen many enlargers capable of taking medium format negatives with lenses that covered only 35mm adequately.
I guess that the first 'rule' to follow would be, allow for growth and change. That being said, a 4x5 enlarger may be a better choice. You may want to go to the older, slower, larger format as, like me, you get older, slower, larger ;)!
Even illumination is a possible problem on some MF enlargers at the extremes. I recall, years past, using a 23C for MF, 6X6 seemed fine, but 6X7 did have minor edge fall-off. Since I typically burned the edges somewhat, this was not a major problem.
Generally, the LF enlargers are built to a more 'professional standard', while many SF/MF are more 'mass market hobbyist' targeted. There are great buys everywhere on Omegas, Beselers, LPL and even Durst. (Let's not forget DeVere across the pond!) At the price of used enlargers today, go large, and don't look back.
Good Afternoon, Ara,
The 23C should have no trouble covering 6 x 7, since it's designed for up to 6 x 9. Either the condenser positioning is wrong, or the lens won't cover properly. If the enlarger is adjusted for 6 x 9, the problem is almost certainly with the lens. For years, I used an 80mm Schneider Componon for 6 x 7 with no problem as long as the negative was properly centered. My newer 75mm El-Nikkor won't handle 6 x 7, so I now use a 90mm for that size. As to a 4 x 5 enlarger, one would be highly desirable for various reasons, but it's certainly not necessary for a 6 x 7 negative.
My Philips/Paterson is still available. PM if interested. Info at:
I agree it is likely to be the lens rather than the enlarger (specifically) that will cause vignetting from inadequate coverage. Normally, from memory a 75mm(?) or 135mm lens is required for Med Format neg enlargements.
75 MM 6X6
80 MM 6X7
The upper bellows of the 23C should be usable for adjustment of the condensers to focus the light onto the pupil of whatever lens you are using. That’s the theory anyway. Beware though – I own an excellent 80mm Schneider lens which covers 6x6 but will not cover 6x7. Another lesser quality lens, a Beseler 75mm, will! Go figure. I use a Schneider 100mm for 6x6 and 6x7 and the 80mm for 35mm. Good luck.