View Full Version : Setting up a Beseler 23C-Series II
My resolution for the new year is to be developing and printing on my own, I hope some time before December '08, but we'll see.
So my first step is to see if I can salvage my grandfather's 1958 23C enlarger. It's been transported a few times between relatives' houses and stored in the dust for too long, but it's cleaning up pretty well. It's missing negative carriers, though. Drat. And the last work it looks like my grandfather was doing was medium format, so the current lens on the board is a 75mm (Iscora f/4.5). I'm doing 35mm film for now, so I'm not going much of anywhere until I get a carrier and a lens.
I've done the leveling I know about (negative stage and lens stage). But I've got one question with what I'm seeing so far. With the condenser set to the level for medium format but without a negative carrier, I'm seeing a blur on the back side of the light cone (next to the frame) with this 75mm lens. I'm wondering if this aberration is normal, or easily explained, or if there's some flaw in the machine. I've rotated the condenser and the lens, but the blur hasn't budged. (Picture attached to thread.)
Ignorable? Regrettable? Any observations appreciated. And the promise of more stupid questions in the near future.
Don't pitch that 75mm lens unless it just does a terrible job for some reason. I often use my 75mm lens with 35mm negatives and smaller prints to keep the head height manageable. Printing 5x7's with a 50mm lens puts the enlarger head so low it is hard to see what you are doing or open and close the easel.
I'm not sure what we're looking at with the image you've attached. Is it important, being as how it is not anywhere an image could be formed anyway?
Get a neg carrier and see what you get!
Kenmore Camera has a couple of lens boards for sale at the moment by the way, though no neg carriers.
Thanks for the clarification on the 75mm, Bryce. I had only seen references to 50mm for small negative work in the materials I'm reading. I'll keep my eyes out for a negative carrier, doesn't seem like they're growing on trees right now.
In the picture, I'm referring to the slight blur at the top of the circle. As I drifted off last night after making this post, I thought, "Hmm. I wonder if that's just an artifact of the bulb mount." It's mounted horizontally in this model lamp housing (socket to the rear pointing forward) rather than vertically as I think it is in later lamp housings (socket on top pointing down). That would account for a slight fluctuation in the light source at the base of the bulb, where the blur shows up on the circle.
And as you say, it's outside the image area, so why worry? I just wondered if it was a typical or exceptional artifact. I'll ignore it.
My kingdom for a negative carrier ... though I'll start some tests with cardboard in the meantime. Thanks!
An excellent enlarger you have there (I have the same!)
First off, I would suggest an alignment. It's dead simple to do, and is contained in the Beseler 23C series manuals. Go to Legacy Photo here: http://www.legacy-photo.com/pdf/enlargers_index.html
and you'll find the manual. Just follow the instructions for alignment. I'm willing to bet that your aberration is a product of misalignment of the base, the lens-board and the negative stage. Further, once you get a negative carrier in there, you won't notice such things. The instructions will also tell you how to get at the condensers and clean out the dust which seems to fall inside. It'll make a huge difference.
eBay is an excellent source for negative carriers, just make sure that you get Beseler 8053. I also found a couple of superb El-Nikkors on eBay for peanuts. Hunt around for Multi-grade filters. Again, mine came from eBay. I like the massive 6x6 Ilfords which go above the condensers.
As far as the 75mm lens, I use one quite often for 35mm, especially when doing 4x5 proofs, just because it gives me more room to manoeuvre.
If your interested I'm sure we can work something out. I have a 23CII XL and I'm sure the Beseler stuff is universal.
I have an extra Neg carrier, it looks like the previous owner wanted to enlargen it a bit maybe to see the sprocket holes, but it works fine. I also have an extra lens board and EL Nikkor 50mm 2.8 for it.
I purchased a Schneider for it so had to borrow the nut from it to fit the Schneider on but from what I hear you can pick those up anywhere.
Once you achieve alignment, make sure everything is very tight. This enlarger, and the larger 4x5 Beseler tend to go out of alignment quite easily because of inherent design flaws (compared to other enlargers).
Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions and offers. I got a hold of the manual, and am in the process of cleaning top to bottom. I've done some initial alignment work on the lens board and negative stage with a large T square, and it worked out all right. I'll try to keep it tight.
Poking around, I found a used 8055 (full frame) carrier at Adorama, and a local shop had a Minolta C.E. Rokkor-X 50mm f/2.8 for a very nice price, so I snapped that up.
Any suggestions on what lubrication to use on the plastic gears on the height rails? (And pointers to other important lubrication points on a 50-year old enlarger?)
1. the 75mm lens will be juts fine for 35mm
2. Get also a spare lightbulb, since after so many moves it may go without notice
3. As per lubricant for plastic gears? I used orange food grade lubricant for those, but the one used in printers and such may work as well.
4. negative carriers, you can make some temporary ones with black cardboard until you find some in used stores or from nice people here. Cut holes with Xacto knifes and use gaffer tape to keep both halves together
5. The dark spot on light cone maybe fine without the neg carrier, it may however, also note some lack of alignment, dirt, etc.
so have you printed with it yet? i just got one as well and am in the process of cleaning it and such.
Yes, I have, a couple dozen 6x9s. Very fun. I made a new post a few weeks back describing the whole darkroom setup, and attached this sample (not a very good scan at all, sorry). Note that I also have heat absorbing glass below the lamp, not sure what difference that might make in your experience.
Note that I also have heat absorbing glass below the lamp, not sure what difference that might make in your experience.
Personally, esp with MF negs, I found the heat-absorbing glass to be a huge help. Before putting in the glass, I got negative 'pop' after only a short time in the negative stage.
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