Craigslist enlargers... help me find the best one for me
OK, to start off, I will be printing black-and-white (of course... I'm not hardcore enough to do color printing at home) of primarily 35mm but I will also want the ability to do at least 6x6cm or possibly 645 or 6x7.
There are a few enlargers I'm going to check out tomorrow:
1. A Beseler (45?) It can print up to 4x5 negs, which I almost certainly won't want to do, but I guess it could be cool. The thing is a total beast, though (it's huge). It looks like one of the older models. $40 with a 35mm carrier, doesn't look like a lens comes with. http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/pho/1266363703.html
2. A Beseler 23C (II XL?) This has a blue head which I thought belonged with the series II, but it has the XL column with the reinforcements. This one also comes with a good EL-Nikkor lens. The "adjustment arm" (which I assume to be the elevation crank) is broken, but he says it still raises, lowers, and locks into place correctly. I think I'd try to talk this guy down because of that, but this is probably my favorite. http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/pho/1266254392.html
3. A Beseler 23C II. Older model, no lens, no negative carrier, but very cheap. http://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/pho/1265377166.html
4. An Omega C700 with complete darkroom setup. This is very attractive, as I need trays, a safelight, etc, but it comes with a crappy lens and I haven't been able to find a 6x6 carrier for the C700. Only $100! This would be my choice if only I could find a 6x6 carrier for it. http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/pho/1269721791.html
Any advice guys?
The C700 Omega is actually a current model.
That being said, I would recommend one of the Beseler 23C enlargers - accessories are plentiful in the used market, and parts can still be obtained.
For $40, I'd go for the 4x5.
Once you research the cost of acquiring negative carriers and, to a somewhat lesser extent, lensboards, you'll see that they significantly effects the total cost.
But I'd go first for the 4x5. You can buy a 2nd carrier and a 50/2.8 Nikkor and still be under $100 (if you shop carefully). Note that it is missing the baseboard.
If space is an issue, given that you don't plan to do 4x5, and assuming the seller is flexible on price, I'd go for the 23C. I'd offer no more than $100.
If you need the timer, etc that is with the c700, make the seller an offer for everything but the enlarger.
My 2 cents.
I think they are all a bit high, or at least, in my area (Chicago-Milwaukee) I have seen or purchase at better pricing. Epay may be better as itís easier to tell when someone wants to really sell.
This 45 is missing the wood board although if you are handy, not very difficult to replace. I donít know the age but the real old ones (my first one purchase used years ago) have the struts out front. Not a problem but my first one must be from the 50ís?
Of course, after you look it over, offer a lower price. You may be surprised. It doesnít hurt to ask, all they can say is no or counter. . Note! Your area may be different than mine so local advice from others is more important.
I own, used, or have sold all of those enlargers. My first choice would be the Beseler 4x5, unless you donít have room. I would try to make room. Itís really a great machine. Itís only about 8 inches wider.
The Beseler 23 would be good for if it was a lot lot cheaper. I would be concerned about the broken handle, may be signs of abuse. Donít think these normally break.
The other 23C is closer to a good price.
The Omega, well, I just acquired one of the cheap ones and personally, itís junk. The accessories are worth a little bit, no where near the asking price. Try a lower price for all but the enlarger.
Many people are delusional in pricing their gear, especially enlargers. Some get lucky, most do not.
Be patient, get yourself a real solid enlarger, and watch for the right one at the right price. They do turn up now like never before.
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Get the 4x5 - even if you never move up to the 4x5 size negative, you will be able to do bigger prints than you can with a 23C - also the lens is further away from the supports on a 45 so you have more room to move the easel around. No baseboard is not a problem, you can easily lay a piece of plywood on the supports and remove it for floor projections for really big prints if you want. It is a little wider than a 23, but not that much taller - and built like a tank.
What about this one? A bit of a drive, but that's OK: http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/pho/1238217245.html But no 6x6 carrier!!
It includes a decent timer, too, and I'd probably offer $30 or so. Fotch: why is the Omega junk? I know it's not built like a tank like the Beselers, but I really don't need the 4x5 capability, and don't anticipate ever making anything bigger than a 11x14", possibly 16x20".
Argh, has anyone seen any good deals in the San Diego (or Orange County/Southern LA) area recently?
you can have one of my c700s for $10... i have a slightly bigger omega b66 for $20.
don't know about carriers... i might have a 6x6
Well junk was probably to harsh a word. I have had poor enlargers (old shaky by Testrite) but after looking for info on this Omega that I have to get rid of, I found lots of info on the Omega site regarding problems like the lever that locks the head usually breaks and no replacements. I think any low end enlarger is going to be stepping stone.
Originally Posted by abstraxion
Now that for less than a new low end enlarger, you can buy some really first class equipment and skip the starter level stuff.
Most if not all 4x5 is heavy duty. The 23C is pretty close.