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  1. #11

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    David, all I can tell you is what I know...I have a Beselar 45 and like it very much. That said, if money was not an issue, I would have gone with one of the Saunders, but we do what we can. Have no knowledge about the Durst so could not make a comment about them. If I had the chance, I would like to see each enlarger side by side and most important to me is the ability to fine focus....but that could come from my days working in a hospital lab and using microscopes (even then there were great debates over which was better AO, Nikon, Leitz). Most of all consider cost, availablityh of parts, etc. Good Luck and keep us posted.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  2. #12
    harveyje's Avatar
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    Back in 1980 (+/_) my wife presented me with a Beseler 45 MRX as a Christmas present. (That's another story!) We have moved several times and I have set up 4 different darkrooms since and it still works very well. Alignment has not been a problem. I have the early model color head which I use for both color and VG B/W. I have had no complaints.
    John Harvey
    Colorado Springs, CO
    harveyje@usa.net

  3. #13
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harveyje
    Back in 1980 (+/_) my wife presented me with a Beseler 45 MRX as a Christmas present. (That's another story!).
    Still got the wife Harvey? LOL. I figured my post would bring all you closet Beseler misfits out!

    Just as a comparison to what others are using, in the lab where I have my enlarger setup there are about 13 pros printing. I would say 90% use Omega, some Durst and 1 Beseler. I must abmit however the chap with the Beseler puts out some stunning stuff. Although I do hear some very weird noises coming from his darkroom!

    Alas our numbers are dwindling as one by one they get sucked into the digital vortex.
    www.ericrose.com
    yourbaddog.com

    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricR
    Alas our numbers are dwindling as one by one they get sucked into the digital vortex.
    Ah - all good! Leaves a surplus of equipment for us! There is a Durst 4x5 enlarger with 3 lenses for sale in a photolab a few miles from my house. He wants $500 for it. It was pretty ratty, so told him it was too much for me, given the condition it was in. 5 yrs ago it was $10,000+ ......

  5. #15
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    Hi David,

    I have used an Omega DII (not the same model as the D2). And I am now using an Omega D5XL. The D5 has been thought through a bit better than the DII, and has some features that make working with it easier. But both are excellent enlargers, built like a tank, and still reasonably small compared to a Durst (which are excellent too) and a lot cheaper. I would buy another Omega anytime.

    Gilbert
    Wilbert
    http://www.photovergne.com
    Cours photo en Auvergne

  6. #16

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    As others have noted, most any of the available 4x5 enlargers will work well. Shipping can be a bear and most sellers don't want to. Try to find something locally. And try to find something in clean condition. It's a buyer's market for enlargers, so don't settle for something which needs work unless you have a good reason.

    General philosophy aside, Omega D2's and D5's are a dime-a-dozen but good solid enlargers which can be fairly easily aligned. They also have lots and lots of parts and accessories available. My personal favorite enlarger, however, is the Durst 138. If you find one, make sure it has all the parts (negative carrier, condensers, etc.) as finding those items individually can be both frustrating and expensive.

  7. #17

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    I had an Beseler 45 (earlier version, bought used), a Zone VI-II, and finally a Saunders/LPL (I guess now it's Omega LPL).

    No question, the LPL is the only one I'd buy again. It operates beautifully & smoothly. The chassis is spring balanced, so you can move it up or down with a single finger, and it just works right. At around $1500 new, discounted, for the 4500-II version, it's also the cheapest one. By the time you've added a condensor or diffusion head to the Beseler or Omega, they are $100 to $700 more.

    If you get one the LPL, get the focusing extension so you can focus when doing big enlargements. Consider, too, the masking negative stage, as it reduces the chance for flare when cropping. I don't think Beseler nor Omega offer this.

    As for the Beseler: this is a fine chassis, and the only one I know of with a focus lock. That's a nice feature. Motorized lift, but I don't miss it with the spring balanced LPL.

    Zone VI had some problems for me: I had the VC cold light head (very nice) but it was hard to focus and compose, as the light is all blue & green. Big problem: there is no easy adjustment to tighten the focus friction, and on mine the lens stage wouldn't stay in place if the bellows were compressed too much. Finally, this is really a 4x5 & 5x7 enlarger only. It does not work well for medium & 35mm formats. For example, with 35mm you are wasting 96% of the light which falls on the negative carrier, but not the negative. Also the bellows don't compress enough to do small prints from 35mm. The enlarger has some good ideas, but on the whole isn't thought out thorougly.

    You'll need to consider what light source you want: condensor, cold light, or diffussion. I've used all 3, and all work well. I've settled on dichroic color diffusion. Most color heads are diffusion, and these work fine for me for B&W printing, too. There are heavy opinions for diffusion (cold light) and others for condensor--I say ignore those opinions. Any of the heads make fine prints if you've adjusted your negative density to the light source.

    If you're getting a new enlarger, go for the LPL if your funds are limited. If you're buying used, get the cheapest of them in the best condition.

    The absolute BEST advise is: go to a photo store and operate the enlargers to see how they work for you. Some photo equipment, like cameras and enlargers, just seem to fit individuals differently--like clothes and cars. You really won't know until you try different ones. For example, LPL has 2 medium format enlargers. I like the cheaper, because the more expensive one had filter readouts that were much harder for me to see.


    Good luck with your decisions.

  8. #18
    jd callow's Avatar
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    I've used Omega not sure of the model, Bessler 45 and Durst L1200. The Omega and Bessler are a little easier to operate, but the Durst is, I think, a bertter system. All are excellent, hardy machines.

    All are available on ebay for dimes on the dollar.

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  9. #19
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCallum
    Ah - all good! Leaves a surplus of equipment for us! There is a Durst 4x5 enlarger with 3 lenses for sale in a photolab a few miles from my house. He wants $500 for it. It was pretty ratty, so told him it was too much for me, given the condition it was in. 5 yrs ago it was $10,000+ ......
    I was tasked with selling photo stuff on ebay. I sold 3 vertical Auto Focus Dursts (2 elite L1200 and an elite 960[i think] AF) that were lightly used relatively new, had ALL of the options and a combined price new of over 40k. Each was sold separately withe lenses. We got less than 6k on ebay. We also sold a horizontal 10x10 Durst 2501HL for substantialy less than what its condition (excellent) and original purchase price (kings ransom) should have warranted.
    Last edited by mrcallow; 08-05-2004 at 09:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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  10. #20
    Fintan's Avatar
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    I use a DeVere 504, theres one in your area on eBay
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...829415154&rd=1

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