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  1. #1
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Looking for a new enlarger for serious work, suggestions?

    I am in need of a new enlarger to replace my old Beseler 45M that has seen better days. I'm looking for recommendations. Here's my situation, I have a Beseler 45s dichro head that I could put onto a new enlarger chassis (45MXT, CB-7, or VX-L) and also all the 45 series negative carriers which could save me money. BUT, I don't shoot 4x5 anymore so I really don't even need a 4x5 enlarger at all. I have no problem with getting a medium format enlarger (I shoot up to 6x6). I have looked into a Beseler 23CIII-XL, but have read numerous negative comments about the enlarger. What are some other options? I'd like to be able to print 16x20" and have an enlarger that is easy to align. My budget is below $1500. Any suggestions?

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    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    I HIGHLY reccomend the Beseler 23C if you are going to be doing under 4x5. I have two of them and they are built quite well. Their alignment, to me, is not that bad. I am very pleased with everything about them and would not consider any other enlarger. I can't really come up with any negative comments about mine
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  3. #3
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    I HIGHLY reccomend the Beseler 23C if you are going to be doing under 4x5. I have two of them and they are built quite well. Their alignment, to me, is not that bad. I am very pleased with everything about them and would not consider any other enlarger. I can't really come up with any negative comments about mine
    I've heard that the older 23C and even 23CII were much better than the current 23CIII. This would require me buying used of course which is certainly an option. Thanks for the response!

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    fotch's Avatar
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    The 23C-XLII that I have is a really good enlarger, yet, since I have the 45M series, regardless of format, I usually almost always use the 4x5. Unless you have a space problem, why not just get another 4x5. Also, even though you may never shoot 4x5 again, did you burn all you old 4x5 negatives?
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    Also, even though you may never shoot 4x5 again, did you burn all you old 4x5 negatives?
    my immediate thought too!

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    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    I have used the 23CIIIXL an even the new enlargers, are even built well. If I could afford it, I would have bought new.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  7. #7
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Since you already have the head, negative carriers, lens mounts, etc., I would look for another Beseler 4x5 chassis. It doesn't have to be new; they are plentiful on the used market. If you are patient, you might even find one for free. In any event, if you pay more than $100, you've done it wrong.

    What is so wrong with the old chassis? Seems they would be hard to wear out.

  8. #8

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    There's been a Durst 609 on Chicago craigslist recently. It's been listed several times & I don't recall it being very expensive.
    Take a look at Craiglook.com they have listings going back several weeks.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  9. #9
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    Also, even though you may never shoot 4x5 again, did you burn all you old 4x5 negatives?
    No, but I really don't have anything good enough to ever print from my collection of 4x5 negatives. Just one negative that I can think of.

  10. #10
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    Since you already have the head, negative carriers, lens mounts, etc., I would look for another Beseler 4x5 chassis. It doesn't have to be new; they are plentiful on the used market. If you are patient, you might even find one for free. In any event, if you pay more than $100, you've done it wrong.

    What is so wrong with the old chassis? Seems they would be hard to wear out.
    The problem with my chassis is that it's the really old Beseler model with the bracing rods that come down from the top of the chassis to the front of the baseboard. I've put up with it for years, it gets in the way of dodging and burning and also the easel hits them. Plus the enlarger itself is almost impossible to align and once aligned it doesn't seem to stay aligned. It's just old and it looks like it's been modified a few times, meaning it doesn't look like the original baseboard, many screws are missing. It's just a mess!! I want a nice new one already aligned!

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