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  1. #1
    omaha's Avatar
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    Well, I own an enlarger...

    My Craigslist find came through. I now have a Beseler 23C II sitting in my "darkroom".

    Its a silver anniversary model from 1981, if the label is to be believed. It appears to be in good shape overall.

    Got a few questions:

    - The panel in the front that says "23C" flips up. Isn't that where the 'heat shield' goes. Mine doesn't have one. Do I need one? Can I make one from hardware-store parts?

    - Two lenses were included: A Schneider-Kreuznach Durst Componon 105mm f/5.6 and a Vivitar VHE 50mm f/3.5. I'm guessing that the Vivitar is worthless. I the Schneider something I could start with for 6x7 format? Is it a decent lens?

    - I got three negative carriers (#8074, #8060 and #8053). Unfortunately, none are sized for 6x7. I think I want a #8328. Is that right? Also, Is glassless vs glass a big deal?

    Thanks for helping a beginner out!!

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    The panel that flips up is a place where one can put filters. The heat absorbing glass can be inserted there as well. Heat absorbing glass can be useful if you are using glassless carriers.

    Subject to condition, the Componon is an excellent lens. It will work with 6 x 7, with the qualification that you might be limited in your enlargement size on the baseboard. I would guess that 11 x 14 might be the largest you can do, but others may correct me.

    The Vivitar lens may very well be quite functional for 35mm and moderate enlargements. Use it until you get something better.

    My reference indicates that you have a 35mm glassless carrier (#8053), a 6 cm x 6 cm glassless carrier (#8060), and a Universal Glass Carrier for all formats up to 6 cm x 9 cm (#8074). The latter should be fine for 6 cm x 7 cm (and other sizes) but if you would prefer a Glassless carrier for 6 cm x 7 cm I believe the part number is #8070.

    I have a pdf format manual for the 23CIIXL. If you would like a copy, just pm your email address to me.

    Have fun!
    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
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    I like glass negative carriers. But many hate them because they require more cleaning. The guarantied film flatness lets you keep the lens open wider and still be assured of good focus. Without glass you sometimes get a wavy negative (especially for 35mm and 120 film) that isn't fully sharp without stopping the lens down more. Glass also means you don't need to worry about buckling from the heat.

    I don't have any experience with either lens. I have 100mm Componon S and it's a good lens. I don't know if it's better than what you have; but the Componon is an older lens compared to the newer Componon S. I suspect the Vivitar is bargain lens based on the slower speed for a 50. I have used a few different 50s and like the Nikon 50mm f/2.8 the best. They are also easily found for not much money. But try the Vivitar out first - it may be good.

  4. #4
    omaha's Avatar
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    What's your thinking on glassless vs glass carriers? What I've read says that the tradeoff is Glass=flatter negs but possible dust where glassless = less dust issues but possible negative warping.

    That all makes sense to me, but what does it MEAN? I mean, is the amount of warping in a glassless carrier really a problem? Is the dust in a glass carrier a problem?

    (Already found a PDF for the manual, but thanks all the same. This is the most awesome group ever!)

    Edit: OOps! I see that Larry and I cross-posted. Thanks for the info.

    Does that mean that my universal glass carrier will work with the 6x7 negs off my RB67?

  5. #5
    agnosticnikon's Avatar
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    Don't be too quick to dismiss the Vivitar VHE lens. I have a Vivitar VHE 100mm 5.6 lens that is a very good performer. I believe, if it is marked "made in Germany" these lenses are made by Schneider, and are the same as the Componon series of lenses. Give it a serious try before looking to replace it.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omaha View Post
    What's your thinking on glassless vs glass carriers? What I've read says that the tradeoff is Glass=flatter negs but possible dust where glassless = less dust issues but possible negative warping.

    That all makes sense to me, but what does it MEAN? I mean, is the amount of warping in a glassless carrier really a problem? Is the dust in a glass carrier a problem?

    (Already found a PDF for the manual, but thanks all the same. This is the most awesome group ever!)

    Edit: OOps! I see that Larry and I cross-posted. Thanks for the info.

    Does that mean that my universal glass carrier will work with the 6x7 negs off my RB67?
    Without a glass carrier, the negatives may start to curl due to the heat from the lamp. When they do, it can be hard to end up with the entire negative being in focus. As the amount of enlargement increases, the problem increases, but a larger glassless carrier may have more trouble holding the negative securely.

    Your universal glass carrier should work with your 6 x 7 negatives.

    And your 35mm negatives too.
    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

  7. #7

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    Congrats on the enlarger.

    The Vivitar VHE lens is supposed to be a GOOD lens. I think it was made by Schnieder. Do a google search on it. The VHE was the high-end lens, not the cheap lens I used in high school.

    Get the manual and STUDY it.
    Some enlargers are querky, and the 23C is one of them. You adjust the condenser position with the upper bellows. Querky but less expensive than having condensers for each format.

    Glass or glassless negative carrier, each person has their preference. I suggest starting with whatever you have (probably glassless) and then determining if you want to go with a glass carrier.

    The filter drawer is where you would put the Multi Contrast filters and a heat absorbing (HA) filter. Although you don't really need a HA filter. If you want a HA filter, you can order one from Beseler or find a company that sells HA glass and have them cut a piece for you.

    I recommend that you get 2 spare bulbs for the enlarger. That way if the bulb burns out, you can immediately replace the bulb. With local photo shops disappearing, if the bulb in the enlarger burns out, you will have to wait DAYS for a new bulb to be shipped to you.

    Enjoy your new toy.

  8. #8
    clayne's Avatar
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    Dust in glass carriers is pretty overrated. Sure there's dust, but usually a single cleaning at the beginning of a session is enough. Feeding negs in and out tends to get rid of the dust I've found.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  9. #9

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    I bought a medium format Vivitar VHE lens because it is really a Schneider Companon and your 50 is too -- it is a wonderful lens, top notch. Don't dismiss the name -- if it says "made in germany" on it , it is a Schneider.

  10. #10
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    A 50mm 3.5 is probably not a six element type as found on the 2.8 lenses. That 105 componon is a highly rated lens and can take you to 6x9 if you wanted to print negs of that size.

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