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Thread: enlarger

  1. #1

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    enlarger

    My trusty old B66 doesn't produce even lighting. In fact it's quite bad how you can see the condensers, concentric circles etc on the baseboard. There is a very pronounced hot spot off center, which I measured to by approximately a full stop. I'm fed up with all the additional burning and dodging I need to do on any print just to counteract these problems.

    So I have decided to buy a new enlarger in 4x5 format, and get a VC head. It seems there are basically two relatively comparable choices here. The Beseler 45MXT and the Saunders 4500 II (or XL) VCCE. I know John Sexton uses the Saunders, so that's a pretty reliable vote. I don't know anyone who uses the Beseler. Are these both of the same quality?

    Are they equally solid in construction?

    Are they well aligned and adjusted right out of the box? or will I have to do all kinds of work on them?

    Is one or the other more or less prone to alignment issues, or is one easier or harder to align if necessary?

    Will they both produce even illumination with their respective VC heads right out of the box?

    Are the negative carriers better one way or the other?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    Can you find a color head?

    I have the B-22 & I bought a Dichro Color Head the early 1970's. Works great, however, I never experiened your challenges with the condenser head.
    Bill Clark

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Try a new bulb. Those 'white' bulbs can darken with age.

    In terms of 4x5, don't forget the Omega/Chromega enlargers/heads.

  4. #4

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    A friend of mine who wore out a Beseler 4x5 when he operated a pro lab has told me that if he were choosing today it would be the LPL.
    The LPLs are supposed to be in alignment out of the box, and are not adjustable. I've not checked mine, but haven't seen any reason to do so either.

    Even illumination should not be a problem with either one (nor should it be for your B-22 for that matter). I'm not sure about the availability of a VC head for the Beseler. They are available for the LPL, but are a bit rare, and are quite pricey. The LPL with a color module is much more common, and is almost as good.
    Since the filter module is interchangeable you could start off with the color one then switch to a VCC when you find it.

  5. #5
    fotch's Avatar
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    Well, this is sort of like the Ford vs. Chevy argument. That said, I think the Beseler is very good, very available, still making product, and has always served me well. The 45MXT is suppose to be improved over the previous models (isn't that always the case?) or, if you can find one in good condition, a CB-7.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  6. #6
    36cm2's Avatar
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    I own the Saunders 4500 II VCCE. It's very good. I agree that you're comparing a Ford with a Chevy. If, however, you could be tempted to move up to the Ferrari, then I would highly recommend a Durst L1200. I have that as well and greatly prefer it to the Saunders. In fact, I'll probably sell the Saunders at some point.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Try a new bulb. Those 'white' bulbs can darken with age.

    In terms of 4x5, don't forget the Omega/Chromega enlargers/heads.
    I tried a new bulb. Same story. You can still buy new Omega enlargers?

  8. #8

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    I thought you can't buy a new Durst anymore. I'm confused as to what enlargers are still being manufactured. Durst would be great.

  9. #9

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    The Dursts aren't made any more, but they are around, and probably available re-conditioned from Durst-USA, assuming you're in the US.
    4x5 enlargers in good working condition are fairly plentiful on the used market, for most purposes there is little advantage to getting a new one, and several hundred disadvantages (if you measure in $'s).

  10. #10

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    What about a Beseler 45VXL? Anyone have any experience with that? It looks more comparable to the Saunders, with the single column etc.

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