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  1. #1
    yeknom02's Avatar
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    Focus Frustrations and Max Print Size

    I know I'm asking a lot of enlarging questions on this forum, but I guess there's no other way to learn in this day and age. So, please bear with me as I ask another one...

    So, I have a Beseler 23C (the old blue industrial-style enlarger) and I just replaced the (very crappy) Beslar 50mm lens with a Nikkor f/2.8 N 50mm lens. The good news is that now my images are a lot sharper!

    However, it seems like my maximum print size is only going to be an 8x10. This is because when I lift the enlarger head higher to make, say an 11x14 or a cropped 8x10, the image goes out of focus... I'm turning the focus knob and it's hitting its limit, bringing the lensboard as close to the condenser head as it can go. So, I swapped the 50mm and the 75mm Beslar I have. Why, you ask? Because the 75mm was mounted in a lens board that had a bit of a counterbore in it, which would (apparently) put it another millimeter or two closer to where it needs to be for correct focusing. It was only a slight improvement, if any.

    So, my questions are: (1) Is this normal? (2) Do I need to start shopping for some sort of recessed lensboard for my new lens? (3) Why did I not have this problem with my Beslar lens if it was the same focal length?
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST
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  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Do you have the condensor stage set to the right position?

    Otherwise I would wonder if the lens stage has been modified in some way.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3

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    Is the lamp house positioned to the match your film format? For example, if you are enlarging 35mm, then the lamp house should be cranked all the way up.

  4. #4
    yeknom02's Avatar
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    Yes, the lamp house is set to the 35mm mark (at the top of its range).
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST
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  5. #5

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    Is the bellows fully compressed? Is there some sort of spacer installed to hold the negative carrier higher than it should be?

    Here is a link to a manual for what looks like a pretty old model. http://blurdotblog.com/manuals/beseler_23c1.pdf

  6. #6
    yeknom02's Avatar
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    Yep, that's the model I have! It's a beauty in person. The lower bellows (the one between the lens and the negative stage) is indeed fully compressed. And my model looks exactly like the picture (except that it's blue), so I'm pretty sure there's no spacer installed.
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST
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  7. #7

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    I don't have this enlarger myself, but the lensboard for 50mm lenses on my Durst is indented. And I see a passage on page 9 in the manual above about inverting the lensboard for short focal lenses. Have you tried this?

    Thor Egil

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Check the play in the bellows when fully compressed, sometimes on my enlargers we have to tighten to get the bellows from slipping, if it is loose and all things are in the right position, you will have a hell of a time getting your images in focus

    Quote Originally Posted by yeknom02 View Post
    Yep, that's the model I have! It's a beauty in person. The lower bellows (the one between the lens and the negative stage) is indeed fully compressed. And my model looks exactly like the picture (except that it's blue), so I'm pretty sure there's no spacer installed.

  9. #9
    yeknom02's Avatar
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    Well, there's no "play" in the bellows, but I can keep rotating the focus knob after it's hit the fully-compressed limit. I'm guessing this is normal and that it's some sort of friction-based adjustment control, rather than a gear like the enlarger level is. Also, another good indicator is that once I set the focus, it won't shift as I let go of the knob, since I've even done this through the focus scope.
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST
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  10. #10
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    On my enlarger the bellows slip only happens when it is fully extended up for 35mm.
    Quote Originally Posted by yeknom02 View Post
    Well, there's no "play" in the bellows, but I can keep rotating the focus knob after it's hit the fully-compressed limit. I'm guessing this is normal and that it's some sort of friction-based adjustment control, rather than a gear like the enlarger level is. Also, another good indicator is that once I set the focus, it won't shift as I let go of the knob, since I've even done this through the focus scope.

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