View Full Version : Need advice on an enlarger
I will be moving to a new apartment in the next few weeks and am looking at setting up a darkroom. I was hoping someone could suggest a good black and white enlarger for 35mm and medium format (6x4.5, & 6x9). I am somewhat clueless about the various types of enlargers. Anyone willing to offer a crash course or point me in the right direction for info?
All help is appreciated,
I have a complete darkroom, I've been thinking of selling.....
If you're interested I can put together a list of items and a price.
It's everything you need to develop and print B&W 35mm & 120, complete with chemicals and paper. I used it less than a month ago, but I'm migrating to shooting analog, printing digitally!
Let me know!
Sure tell me what you have, although it will be months before I recoup from this move.
Wayne R. Scott
I would recommend a Beseler 23C in one of its variations. I would look for one with a Diachroic (sp) head, so that you can use the built in filters to change your contrast when printing on VC paper. It wiill handle 35mm and medium format. I would look at getting a negatrans carrier for 35mm, it is very handy for running strips of 35mm negatives.
you can google for an overview on enlargers. i like those from durst.
Enlargers come in several different flavours. The variables include maximum size of film (larger enlargers can handle smaller format films as well with the proper neg carrier). The biggest division is colour head (with built in dochrotic filters for colour balance) and black and white only. In the B+W group, there are variations in the light source: Condensor, diffusion, point source, and cold light head. The first 2 are the most common. I use an enlarger with a colour head, but I only print B+W, using the colour filters for contrast variation when using MC paper. Time do do some research and reading!
I had a Bogen and then a Durst enlarger before getting an Omega D5. Built like a brick silo and in every way a classic. You can probably get a good deal on one used, because enlargers have slid hugely in price.
After reading a bit, I am leaning towards a Variable Contrast enlarger. I used to print B&W with a color enlarger, and it seems that the variable contrast ones are a bit easier to use. Any suggestions for a used VC enlarger??
Wayne R. Scott
Check out this one:
There are some enlargers that will handle up to 6x6, but not larger. But I think any enlarger that will do 6x7 will also manage 6x9. Beyond that, it jumps to 4x5. I've had a Beseler 23C (6x9cm) since 1966, and it's been great. Don't skimp on the enlarging lens; get a good one. Some makers like Schneider offer different quality levels, but I think it's a false economy to get less that top-grade. I have a Nikkor 80mm f/5.6 for 6x7, a 50mm f/4.5 Leitz Focotar for 35mm, and a Minolta 30mm f/2.8 for 16mm including 110. Good gear tends to give good service and less frustration. Fortunately, now is a great time to get it at bargain prices. :)
If space is a problem, Durst m600's are pretty small, and I have been very impressed with mine.
The Omega D2V or D5 enlargers are excellent. But some of the older ones have a funcky slide adjustment. The better ones crank up and down. And I would not opt for a diffusion head unless it has variable contrast.
I'm not a Beseler fan, but they are easy to find.
Don't go near a Durst -- no spare parts any more. Great when they work: heartbreak when they break. Seriously consider a Meopta Magnifax. I have two, both with Meograde (variable contrast) heads. They go up to 6x9cm: some so-called 6x9 enlargers are really only 6x7. De Vere are good but you need 4x5 inch to do 6x9cm.
Take a look at my website, www.rogerandfrances.com, for quite a bit on the evolution of my own darkrooms, pictures of several of them, and general darkroom advice. From the home page go to Photo School and then Our Darkrooms.
Wait, there are no spare parts for Durst? Uh oh...did they go out of business or something?
Durst simply lost interest in the big professional enlarger market -- I don't know about small amateur ones, but I've never been impressed by those anyway -- and concentrated on digital paper writers and the like. For sheer long-term customer support at that end of the market De Vere is unbeatable. They recondition old De Veres (and Dursts, cannibalizing scrappers) and resell them, as well as making new ones.
Do you know if De Vere works on M70s?
I'll third the suggetion of getting a Beseler 23C. It will do all the way up to 6x9 and the negatrans 35mm carrier is excellent. I got the one with the color dichroic head with the filters for variable contrast. You can still order parts for it from the Beseler website too.
Thanks for the advice everyone. I am definately interested in a Variable Contrast or color head enlarger, but am also looking for something that can be used to project against a wall for large prints. I read somewhere that some enlargers swing out to do this. Do any of the Beseler 23 C's have this function????
And there are parts available. But I can't imagine what parts you would need, the thing is built like a tank!
I Suppose it depends on where you are and availability but in the UK my experience with the Meopta system has been fine for the past three years using Durst Neonon (Japan) and Nikkor lenses on a Opemus (good for 6 x 6 ) Built like tanks.
I am definately interested in a Variable Contrast or color head enlarger, but am also looking for something that can be used to project against a wall for large prints. I read somewhere that some enlargers swing out to do this. Do any of the Beseler 23 C's have this function?I believe it does, but I've never tried that. You'd have to have a nice plane solid wall at a handy distance, and a way to hang the enlarging paper in a repeatable location. I don't know that I'd want to be sliding the enlarger closer/further from the wall without some aid to alignment.
I think I'd be more inclined to remove the enlarger's baseboard and bolt it to either a table or wall bracket so that the table top can drop away to support the easel at positions closer to the floor.
In either case, the longer the extension, the more bothersome vibration will be. One way around this is to choose a relatively wide-field enlarging lens. For instance, my EL-Nikkor 80mm covers 6x7 and allows for sizable enlargements with the stock arrangement. I've never had the easel and trays to do larger than 11x14, so I clearly haven't strained the limits!
Wayne R. Scott
Yes, the Beseler 23C's do allow for horizontal projection. But just as Doug suggested remounting the frame allows for more vertical height. I have reversed one of my 23C's on the base board and then screwed the base board to the counter top. This allows the enlarger to project an image on the floor. I have done up to 16x20 this way.
I used a single tray for the 16x20 development. I just poured the developer into the tray onto the paper. Then after the alloted time in the developer, I poured off the developer, then added my stop bath (water) then poured it off, added fixer and after the allotted time I poured fixer off. I think the tray I use was used in a commercial bakery for making bread dough. $2 at our local commercial outfitters, they sell used office and restraunt equipment.
This may be more than you wanted to know.
Great tips, thanks!!!!
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