Worth looking at?
Old 10-29-2019   #1
rbiemer
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Worth looking at?

I've been looking for a 4x5 enlarger for a while now and haven't seen anything local to me until just now.
I came across this ad on Craig's List:

https://syracuse.craigslist.org/pho/...972747053.html

I hadn't seen this before today, the ad is two months old and was updated a month ago. It is reasonably close to me--25 minute drive, and seems to be mostly complete. I think.

I have emailed the seller to ask if it is still for sale and, if so, when I can come look at it.

I am NOT well versed in these but I know some of you folks are. So, what do you all think?

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 10-29-2019   #2
Corran
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That's a perfectly usable enlarger. I have an MXT, a 45XL, and an MX - the MX won't make as large of enlargements (my MXT I have used for years can get up to 20x24 from 4x5). That enlarger has the standard condenser head - not a color head as claimed.

Frankly 4x5 enlargers are not all that common, so the price IMO is reasonable. On the other hand, if you look around, you can occasionally find steals, as in free. Just last month I got a 45MX with an actual working color head free, I just had to drive a couple hundred miles round-trip to pick it up.

On the flip-side, my 45MXT I paid $350 for back about 7 years ago, though it was complete with lenses, film holders, trays, etc. Looks like that one has a cheap 50mm f/4 lens on it if I had to guess, and no film holders. So you'll be spending $50-100 on longer lenses for larger formats, and probably $15-50 for holders depending. So you'll be in for a bit more than $100 after all said and done, but hey you can start working rather than waiting around for some crazy deal or simply a free enlarger. If it's still available, you could maybe low-ball him to $50...
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Old 10-29-2019   #3
Bill Clark
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Do you have a camera that uses 4x5 sheet film?

That enlarger is a big beast. I used them in high school and college. I decided that medium format film and cameras that make either 2.25” x 2.25” (6 x 6) negatives was the largest I would use. I bought an Omega B-22 XL way back in the 1960’s. It has served me well. I have the Chromega color head and glassless negative carriers for 35mm, 6x4.5 and 6x6 negatives. I have a home darkroom and the B-22 is just fine for me.

Just my story and I thought I would share with you.
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Old 10-29-2019   #4
rbiemer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
That's a perfectly usable enlarger...Looks like that one has a cheap 50mm f/4 lens on it if I had to guess, and no film holders. So you'll be spending $50-100 on longer lenses for larger formats, and probably $15-50 for holders depending. So you'll be in for a bit more than $100 after all said and done, but hey you can start working rather than waiting around for some crazy deal or simply a free enlarger. If it's still available, you could maybe low-ball him to $50...
Well, I figured it like this: if they still have it and it's as decent as it appears to be, it is worth the $100 and I won't try to low ball them on it. I will, however, ask if they've got any other bits and pieces that they might include with it at that price.
From what I've seen while looking, Bessler parts are mostly fairly simple to find--some stuff is still available new, even--and so I ought to be able to get this up and running with out too much trouble.
I currently have a couple of enlarging lenses for 35mm and 120 and LF enlarging lenses don't need to be super expensive either.

Rob
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Old 10-29-2019   #5
rbiemer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
Do you have a camera that uses 4x5 sheet film?

That enlarger is a big beast. I used them in high school and college. I decided that medium format film and cameras that make either 2.25 x 2.25 (6 x 6) negatives was the largest I would use. I bought an Omega B-22 XL way back in the 1960s. It has served me well. I have the Chromega color head and glassless negative carriers for 35mm, 6x4.5 and 6x6 negatives. I have a home darkroom and the B-22 is just fine for me.

Just my story and I thought I would share with you.
Bill,
Yes I do shoot 4x5. I've had an Intrepid for year and a half or two now.
Haven't shot much film other than 4x5 for the last year.

Rob
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Beseler 45MX
Old 10-29-2019   #6
randy stewart
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Beseler 45MX

If you need a 4x5 enlarger, you cannot go wrong with this - it is one of the best. The devil is in the details, as usual. Does it come with negative carrier(s) for the film format(s) you plan to use? Does it come with one or more lens boards? These items can be purchased new (still), but the prices are insane. There were so many of these over the years that there should be a wealth of used accessories on ebay and elsewhere at acceptable prices. A 50mm f4 lens implies a lens board at least, but the lens is probably worthless to you. If you get this, look for an el-Nikkor, Fujinon EX (my current favorite), Componon.
Properly set up, this enlarger will outlast you. As someone noted, this is not a color enlarger, in the sense that it does not have a dichroic colorhead. It has a condenser head with a slot to insert sheet filters. This would be practical for VC B&W printing, but a hassle for color printing. (No problemo - a new colorhead is only $1,100 at B&H)
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Old 10-29-2019   #7
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I bought a 4x5 enlarger (Mine was an Omega) years a go for $250CDN- seemed like a lot at the time, but the owner had it since new and showed me the receipts of the original price. Ummm, enlargers were expensive pieces of kit!


Anyway, it only came with basics for 35mm. I spent at least another $200 getting lenses and holders for 6x4.5 all the way to 4x5. Worth every penny. All easily got on ebay.


I say go for it. But don't wait long. I recently moved so had to sell all my kit; I sold it cheap but I had multiple people interested.
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Old 10-29-2019   #8
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Rob, the one other thing I will mention since you are going to be printing 4x5, is to do yourself a favor and find a Beseler Negaflat film carrier. This will give you the benefit of perfectly-flat negatives in the enlarger, without the extreme hassle and annoyance of dust issues inherent to glass carriers. They are more expensive than the regular 4x5 carrier - about $50-100 for it, but worth their weight in gold for high-quality prints. Use a rocket blower to get any remaining dust on the film off before inserting into the enlarger.
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Negaflat
Old 10-30-2019   #9
randy stewart
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Negaflat

Rob, The distinguishing feature justifying the extra cost of the Negaflat carrier is that it has little grippers which grab on and tension your 4x5 film so it will not sag in the carrier. Nice thing to have, but may be hard to find. Like all things associated with kiting out an enlarger, the extra expense can be justified as a "one time only" budget item.
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Old 10-30-2019   #10
rbiemer
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Got an email back this morning and I'll be going to check it out later today.
Hopefully, I'll be coming home with it!

And, thanks for the suggestion about the Negaflat carrier, folks!


Rob
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Old 10-30-2019   #11
rbiemer
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The seller was nice enough to put the enlarger back together so I could see that it works.
A bit of a mixed blessing, though. It just barely fit into the back of my SUV!
Not super heavy but, when set up, it is pretty bulky so I had to disassemble it once I got it home so I could carry it down to my basement.
The bellows seem to be good--I'll check them out again after dark--and the motor works as it should. The lens it has on it is the Besslar 50mm and he didn't have any thing else to go with it so I will be needing negative carriers. The metal frame is in decent condition, no rust and the various screw heads are not torn up or abused.
The baseboard is ok but not great, very slightly warped so fitting it into the frame for it is fiddly.
The alignment looks ok but I will be carefully checking that once I get a short workbench built to hold this--I'll end up using it sitting because my basement ceiling is not tall enough to put this on a "regular" height counter top or work bench.

He also told me he has "a bunch of other film cameras" if I was interested. I'll be getting an email in the next week or so once he decides which, if any, he wants to keep. Abot a year ago he went digital and sold or gave away most of his darkroom stuff and the 45 MX was the last thing he had left.

He was the second owner of this enlarger, I am now the third.

Very happy right now!

Rob
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Old 10-30-2019   #12
Ko.Fe.
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This is common 4x5 enlarger in NA. I have seen them in Canada.
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Old 10-30-2019   #13
rbiemer
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This is common 4x5 enlarger in NA. I have seen them in Canada.
Absolutely! But here in rural, central NY state, not many of them around. So I was/am pretty happy to have got this one.
And, that these are pretty common means that getting parts or accessories for it will be fairly simple.

Rob
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Old 10-30-2019   #14
Corran
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This is common 4x5 enlarger in NA. I have seen them in Canada.
You're right, but the USA is a wide and vast area. Most that pop up will be nowhere near the person looking. A good deal on one nearby is lucky indeed.

The MX and color head I got for free, the owner told me he was getting tons of messages about if he would ship. I was simply the only person close by. For my 45XL I drove 500 miles round-trip, and still paid for it to boot.

If you've got the space and the inclination, and one pops up near, grab it. There is certainly a market for enlargers, they just don't ship well.
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