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  1. #1
    RoBBo's Avatar
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    Budget 4x5 enlarger

    This year my school (Columbia College Chicago) decided to let a large group of 'extra' students in, more money for the school and all that.

    Seems they did not anticipate how crowded our darkrooms could already be.
    It's not even midterms yet and there are already daily waiting lists for enlargers, even though each of the 4 darkrooms has about 20 or more.

    I live with 3 other photo majors in a small apartment and we've decided to sacrifice one of the bedrooms to use as a darkroom so we don't get completely screwed this semester, but we only have a 23CII and need to print 35 to 4x5.
    I've been looking on ebay a lot but I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking at/for.
    The only 4x5 enlargers I'm familiar with are the Omegas (I think they're D2s?) at school, and the way the condensers are set up in those sometimes leaves you with 'hotspots' on your prints.

    Anyone that could give me any information on the resale value (Not worth...) and quirks of some common 4x5 enlargers, would be greatly appreciated.
    Or anyone looking to sell one for pretty cheap...

    EDIT: This probably should have been in Darkroom equipment. Moderator?
    Last edited by RoBBo; 03-05-2007 at 01:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    All 4x5 enlargers are budget today. Basically it's more an issue what you can find in good condition and reasonably complete.

    Beseler made various models over the years. They all use the same neg carriers and for the most part the same light sources. The CB-7 is bigger and would take a small amount of work to fit one of the more common light sources to it. But it uses the same carriers and lensboards of the the other Beselers.

    If you surf over to the KHB website you can check out their info on the Omegas.

    http://www.khbphotografix.com/omega/

    IMHO look for something

    1) Complete. All the neg carriers and lensboards you might need.

    2) Of course working.

    3) local so you can pickup.

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    This thread is fine under enlarging.

    Another source for info on Omega enlargers is www.classic-enlargers.com.

    Omega D-II and D-2 enlargers, as well as other models are plentiful and cheap, and you can find lots of neg carriers and accessories for them. Lots of Beseler 4x5's out there too, and they are upgradeable to 8x10".
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  4. #4
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Classic Enlargers are pretty extravagant.
    It took me a couple of years watching ebay before I found a very nice D2V XL with Componon lenses, boards and carriers for formats from 35mm to 4x5 and a few extras. I paid $170. The reason it took so long is that I wanted to find one close enough to pick up and avoid packing and shipping costs.
    Good Luck in your search.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  5. #5
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    On the one hand, I'm glad to see that there is so much demand for traditional darkroom work, but on the other hand, that does present you with a problem!

    Any 4x5 enlarger made in the last 20 years or so will probably suit you well. Apart from Beseler and Omega, there are also LPL, Durst and (much less common in the US than the UK) DeVere; all good makes. If at all possible, make sure the enlarger has all the negative carriers and condensers (or mixing boxes if it comes with a colour head) for the formats you need as these can be expensive and possibly difficult to find later. You will need lenses for all the different negative sizes too of course.

    The auction site is the obvious place to look at prices. I do not know about the US, but UK dealers do not seem to have noticed that prices have fallen through the floor and are still trying to sell enlargers for several times the price they fetch on the auction site, so by all means check out the retailers, but be aware you may be paying over the odds there.

    These are all heavy items and sellers may not be willing to ship so a local pickup (and someone with a car) will probably be needed.

    Good luck, Bob.
    Last edited by Bob F.; 03-05-2007 at 02:32 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    I use the Beseler 45MX - Agree with most of the others posting here that virtually any 4x5 can be had for cheap, and will be solid. Look for a local sale - either Craigslist (i.e. http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/for/288408556.html) or the auction sites. Try to find someone liquidating the entire darkroom so that you get all the little things you need - focusing scopes, measuring beakers etc...

    One thing that I like about the Beseler with condenser head is that to change formats, you just turn a knob and move the upper bellows - no changing condensers. If you are shifting from one format to another frequently, changing mixingboxes or condensors can be a PITA.

  7. #7
    RoBBo's Avatar
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    Ah, and another question is raised...
    How well do the filters on a color head translate to the standard filters of B/W printing?
    Seems like it might even be cheaper to get one with a color head...
    Too bad I couldn't have grabbed that Hope in the classifieds a few days ago.

  8. #8
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Some papers and some heads cannot quite reach Grade 5 between them, but other than that, it is arguably easier to use a colour head than keep faffing about with individual filters, but that's largely a matter of personal preference.

    For me, I would not buy a condenser head, preferring a colour diffuser, but others swear by them for their perceived greater sharpness. Yer pays yer money, and yer takes yer choice... See if your college has a requirement - the teaching staff may have a preference; not likely, but best to check first: lecturers can have weird ideas sometimes...

    Cheers, Bob.

  9. #9
    athanasius80's Avatar
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    They're not so common anymore, but there was a Federal enlarger called the 450 that could accomodate 4x5. I have one, its smaller than an Omega or Beseler, and mine fits perfectly between the toilet and the shower.
    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    "The only 4x5 enlargers I'm familiar with are the Omegas (I think they're D2s?) at school, and the way the condensers are set up in those sometimes leaves you with 'hotspots' on your prints."

    When using 4x5 negatives, remove the adjustable condenser completely and see if this solves your problem.

    I am very pleased to learn that the school wet lab program is very well enrolled. We are having the same experience here.

    Jim
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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