What's worked for me: (but there's more good stuff out there)
Omega or Beseler enlarger
El-nikkor or Componon-s lens (I like the schneider componon-s for it's backlight dial)
some plastic trays.
some formulary chemicals.
ilford and foma paper.
red LEDs for safelight.
watch on c-list for good stuff at lawnsale prices.
In the US, would look at either Beseler or Omega enlargers, simply because parts are easier to find in the US. My personal preference between the 2 is Omega, only because that is what I started on in high school and am familiar with.
If you have the vertical clearance, get the taller XL chassis. That will let you print bigger prints on the baseboard.
Download the manuals and study them. When you look at an enlarger, you want as many parts as part of the package. Buying individual replacement parts can get expensive, turning a good deal into a not so good deal. Things like; negative carrier, lens boards, lens adapters, condensers, etc, etc. all add up and increase the total cost. The more formats you want to set up for, the more the total expense because of the need for format specific stuff like negative carriers, lenses, separate lens boards/adapters.
I have found that the recommended lens for a specific format sometimes differs based on the manufacturer. For 6x7, some say 80mm some say 90mm some say 100. You should check the manufacturers web site for that specific lens. If you get an XL chassis enlarger, then using the slightly longer lens should not be an issue.
As for prices, if you are patient and SHOP well, you should be able to find a good 80mm lens for about $60 USD. The 90mm lens is harder to find so you may have to either drop down to a 4 element lens, or spend more time and $ looking for the few 6 element lenses. The 100/105 would be about $75 USD. If you did your enlarger shopping well, the lens would be part of the enlarger package.
The "big 3" lens manufacturers are:
- Schneider: Componon-S 80, 100mm (caution, Schneider has several models where the names are confusingly similar; Componon-S (updated 6-el), Componon (older 6-el), Comparon, and Componar (4-el))
- Nikon: EL-Nikkor 80, 105mm (not the 75mm lens as that is a 4 element lens)
- Rodenstock: Rodagon 80,105mm (caution, some of the Rodenstock lenses have similar sounding names)
However, none of these make a 90mm 6 element lens.
Here are the only 90mm 6 element lenses that I know of:
- Besler ColorPro
- Fuji-Fujinon EX and EP
As others said, watch Craigslist. I have seen entire darkroom packages for attractive prices, or even free where the seller just wants to get rid of the stuff.
For accessory items; department store and dollar stores are a good source for some of them at low cost.
Last edited by ac12; 06-17-2013 at 04:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The Beseler 23C can do medium format as well as 35mm and is a great enlarger, imo. If there happens to be a Beseler 45MX or such available, it might be better to get it because using MF and hanging out on APUG will eventually lead to large format in many cases. I have two enlargers now because of this.
I use Schneider Componon-S lenses for 35mm and 120.
Once you start using it, you'll have a better idea of some of the little things you'll need, but I swear some things breed if you leave them in the dark long enough. Somehow, I started with two enlarging lenses and have at least 7 now. I have no idea how many trays are down there (I think I only bought 7) See what you can get with an enlarger and then trade that for something else later. In your early attempts, it won't likely be the lens that causes issues. Once you get the issues worked out, you can move up if you need to.
Thanks again for all your help, everyone! This has been enormously helpful.
Turns out one of the craigslist Beselers is close by (next suburb over). I emailed them, they say they have TWO of them, which suggests to me there may be a complete darkroom setup lurking out there. The husband is out of town for a couple of days, so I'm supposed to hear from him mid-week.
Might be the perfect setup!
When the husband gets back, have a talk with him. As you indicate, you might get the entire darkroom setup in one deal.
Hey a 2 enlarger setup is nice to have.
That is my plan
#1 - Omega C67, for 35mm and 6x6
#2 - Omega D5 or Durst L1000, for 6x6 to 4x5
The smaller enlarger (C67) just being easier to use, because of less bulk.
Although a friend of mine is arguing that I should select both 4x5 enlarger (D5 and L1000) which would give me the most flexibility.
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I own a couple of Beselers at the moment. If you are going to do the multiple enlarger thing I would get two from the same company. The lens boards are interchangeable between the Beseler 23C and the Beseler 45. Make sure you get as many assessoires with your enlarger as possible (lens boards, different format negative carriers, large developing trays, contrast filters, safe lights, timers, grain focuser, easels, etc). Lenses can be bought in mint condition on the used market for not much money. An EL-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8N can be had for $40 or less. It is good for 35mm film. The Schneider 80mm f/4 Componon-S can be had for $80 or less. It is good for up to 6x6 negatives. Unlike some other 80mm lenses it is not ideal for 6x7.
Originally Posted by omaha
What I found is buying things in a package deal is a lot cheaper. The only thing I really went out of my way to buy separately are my lenses. I actually ended up with multiple enlargers because I needed a particular negative carrier. It was going to cost me over $50 to get one. So I bought a whole enlarger with the needed carrier and tons of other stuff for less than $40.
I too would suggest a 4X5 XL enlarger. Either LPL Saunders or Beseler.
For 6X7 a 105mm FL uses the center of the lens and no worries about vignetting.
The Beseler 23C came in gray, blue or black. Gray is the earliest, Black the latest & blue in between.
All will do 6X7 but the later ones can be had with longer girders(taller).
For the large prints, any of them can be mounted on a wall or a table with movable shelves for bigger print size.