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Thread: best for B&W

  1. #1

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    best for B&W

    as i am looking for a light for my beseler MXT i would like to hear what the forum thinks is best for B&W color head or cold light , type and manufacture of what is belived to b the best.
    thanks
    mitch

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    Depends on the look you want. While you can produce the same print on any head, a condensor head (the cheapest) will give you a different look than a cold light head. Personally I have both, so I can switch between the 2. Now if you are only considering a cold light head and a color head, I'd choose a regular, non-VC cold light head. They are usually faster than a color head, you don't have dials to screw with (both VC cold light head and color head) and they work on all papers. They are simple and less likely to have something go wrong with them. You will need a compensating timer to go with it for stability and predictability of light output each time, but those are just as easy to come by used as the head is, and have some other good features, like drydown control and variable light output (full on or dimmed for slower light output for precise dodges).

  3. #3
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    I have a Beseler Dichro 45S and I think it works very well for both color and variable contrastsplit printing. I keep wondering if there is anything better but nothing else is compelling. The Zone VI LED light source would be close to compelling but I don't think it is available and it is not yet adaptable to Beseler from what I understand.
    Jerold Harter MD

  4. #4

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    On the used market colour heads are normally cheapest. People see the dials and start wondering if they'll even handle B&W. Plus you can use the filters for spilt printing very easily.

  5. #5
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    I am in agreement with Jerold. The 45S is a super head, and is very versatile. A jump up is the computerized dichro version, but this one is somewhat problematic, and can require frequent recalibrations to maintain reasonable accuracy for what the readout says the values are versus what they really are.

    With the 45S, it's possible to follow the steps Steve Anchell describes in the "Variable Contrast Printing Manual" to understand and correlate the values in full and half contrast steps for your head. Very helpful for each paper you use.

    A condensor head is good for some kinds of shots, or to achieve a "vintage" look. Aristo makes several heads for the beseler, all to be found regularly on ebay. Research the differences between the two most common in terms of their light output so that you can match out to your vision and style.
    Patrick

    something witty and profound needs to be inserted here...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by wager123
    as i am looking for a light for my beseler MXT i would like to hear what the forum thinks is best for B&W color head or cold light , type and manufacture of what is belived to b the best.
    thanks
    mitch
    Unless you intend to make colour prints, I would choose a VC module over a colour module for optimum results and convenience with VC papers.

  7. #7
    Ole
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    A colour head and a cheap little Ilford EM 10 meter gives perfwect repeatability in exposure across grades. A colour head with an added dial-in ND filter (like the Opemus one I have) is even better!
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis Neel
    They are usually faster than a color head, you don't have dials to screw with (both VC cold light head and color head)
    True, you don't have dials to "screw with." Instead you get the pleasure of switching filters around all the time. I used an Aristo VCL4500 head. I'll take the ability to change contrast by simply turning a dial over removing and replacing filters any day. When I attended darkroom workshops the filters drove me crazy after being used to the ease and simplicity of the dial on my VCL4500.

  9. #9

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    Beyond the ease of selecting a grade with a VCCE head, there is not one nickle of difference between the heads that you mentioned. Both are diffusion light source heads.

    I have a Saunders 4550 VCCE XLG that I rarely use I prefer the look that I get from a point light source condenser head.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  10. #10

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    Currently I use only one enlarger, which is a condenser-head type. I bought it because it's just more practical to deal with my negs in all kind of conditions. I would have a real hard time printing some of my thin negs with diffuser-heads.

    If you get a sharp light source, you can get it softer, but not the other way around.

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