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  1. #1
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Beseler 45V-XL anyone?

    I think it's time to upgrade the enlarger that first got me through the entry in the darkroom years ago, a very old Beleser 45. It's a great piece of equipment, but has a drawbacks that seem to get more annoying the more experienced I get. There's supporting rods on the chassis that run down to the baseboard which get in the way when dodging and burning. Its a pain to align, I've only tried it once. When I have the head up high it's bot super sturdy. And I'd like to have more height available as I'd like to eventually get into printing 16x20.

    I've checked out all the Besler enlargers and the 45V-XL seems to be the big daddy of enlargers. This is ideal as I have the 45s dichro head which I would plan on using with it and also Beseler lens boards for my lenses. I also like that you can mount it directly to the wall... excellent!

    My main question is, would I be nuts to buy this new? For the chassis only I don't think it's outrageously priced, especially for the most important piece of equipment in the darkroom. I've been looking on ebay for months and they never come up.

    What are your suggestions and opinions?

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that jeroldharter uses a 45V - you may want to pm him
    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
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that jeroldharter uses a 45V - you may want to pm him
    Good memory. I have a 45VXL and a 45MXT. the VXL is more of a beast and you need a high ceiling or a low cabinet to accommodate the column. 16 x 20 or 20x24 is no problem. Alignment is only slightly better than the 45MXT and it has the usual light leaks that can be patched with black masking tape.

    I think it is great that anyone buy new gear. If you can afford it, go for it. Used enlargers are a crapshoot and I have bought one off eBay that arrived mangled (45MXT with bent frame in shipping). The 45VXL is much more of a beast - I consider moving it a 2 man job. Be sure to get the extension rods for the focusing mechanism for big enlargements unless you have very long arms. They do make a wall mount for it or the heavy baseboard. Negative carriers are the same as the 45MXT.
    Jerold Harter MD

  4. #4
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    Good memory. I have a 45VXL and a 45MXT. the VXL is more of a beast and you need a high ceiling or a low cabinet to accommodate the column. 16 x 20 or 20x24 is no problem. Alignment is only slightly better than the 45MXT and it has the usual light leaks that can be patched with black masking tape.

    I think it is great that anyone buy new gear. If you can afford it, go for it. Used enlargers are a crapshoot and I have bought one off eBay that arrived mangled (45MXT with bent frame in shipping). The 45VXL is much more of a beast - I consider moving it a 2 man job. Be sure to get the extension rods for the focusing mechanism for big enlargements unless you have very long arms. They do make a wall mount for it or the heavy baseboard. Negative carriers are the same as the 45MXT.
    In your opinion, is it worth the extra money to get the VXL over the MXT?

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    I used to have a VXL. I did not find it to be a precision machine. Check out the Fujimoto 450M. I think they are having a fire sale on them at JOBO. I paid close to 2000 for mine a few years ago and now they are closing out, it appears for 1/4 of that price. A truly precision machine and a total joy to work with.

  6. #6
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    In your opinion, is it worth the extra money to get the VXL over the MXT?
    I don't think the price difference is huge, but yes, I prefer the VXL. It is less fiddly and much more of a tank. No standard motor for focusing though. I have my 4x5 MXT adapted to 8x10 now and the VXL for 4x5 and I kind of like the motor on the MXT to raise the carriage but no big deal. The VXL has an accessory motor which is expensive an unnecessary for personal work.

    The other poster was correct - none of the Beseler's are not "precision" incarnate but very American if you know what I mean. And used parts are easily available. Someone mentioned Fujimoto - good luck finding negative carriers or alternative light sources for that. No doubt a good machine but you might spend more than a new enlarger for accessories or die waiting for them to materialize. I bought my VXL new years ago for full price and don't regret it.
    Jerold Harter MD

  7. #7
    fotch's Avatar
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    How about the CB-7? Glenview statement: "The CB7 is the only Beseler I would consider for my own darkroom."

    http://www.glennview.com/beseler.htm
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  8. #8
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    How about the CB-7? Glenview statement: "The CB7 is the only Beseler I would consider for my own darkroom."

    http://www.glennview.com/beseler.htm
    All the Beselers are good enough. But the CB-7 is really old precursor to the 45MXT so getting one in good shape might be hard.

    The VXL is all mechanical and a new one is unlike to wear out in a lifetime of personal use. It is built like a tank and meant to be put someplace and never moved. My only complaint is that alignment is not more elegant. The 4x5 Negaflat carrier is a great piece of equipment also.
    Jerold Harter MD

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    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies all. It sounds like the VXL is what I'm looking for and really my only option considering I have a Beseler head, neg carriers, lens boards etc. ready to adapt to a new enlarger. And I really really like the idea of mounting to the wall.

    Jerold, what do you mean by alignment not being elegant?

  10. #10
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    ...

    Jerold, what do you mean by alignment not being elegant?
    I believe there are 4 set screws which use a little allen wrench. 3 screws with a flexible gasket would be better. Delta and long ago Zone VI made a "Bes-Align" lensboard which included the gasket and 3 screws for easy alignment but it accommodates only lenses with 39 mm, not 50 mm. I emailed Delta to see if they could make a 50 mm and the guy was reassuring that he would give me a quote and then never responded to follow-up emails.

    So with the 45VXL you have 4 screws in a rectangle so it is a little fiddly.

    I think my lens stage might have been slightly bent when movers tried to lift the beast and grabbed what was available (the lens stage). Not sure, just a theory, so mine might be worse than others.
    Jerold Harter MD

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