What enlarger should I buy?greenspun.com : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread
I'm presently looking at purchasing another enlarger from B&W printing only. I presently own a Meopta Opemus III, which was my first enlarger. I was just starting and bought it brand new in 1977. I feel very limited with this enlarger and am ready to move on to something bigger. I have found a used Beseler 23CII and it seems to be in excellent condition. The lens on it is a Nikon F2.8. I'm very tempted by it except I find the price they are asking is a little steep ($825. CDN). I also find that LPL has nice enlargers and I could buy a new one from them. My question is the following. Is Beseler a better quality enlarger for what I want to do or are my chances better going with an LPL? Could someone help me with my decision?
Thank you for your help.
-- Richard Gingras (email@example.com), December 14, 2001
I'm no enlarger expert, but that price sounds rather high to me. Does it have a solid gold lamp housing?
-- Ed Buffaloe (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 14, 2001.
If you're in the market for an expensive enlarger, now is the time to weigh the advantages/disadvantages of getting a film scanner and inkjet printer instead of an enlarger. It's another option for making good quality prints from your negs (and slides), so you owe it to yourself to at least compare. Apologies in advance to those darkroom folks for whom these are fighting words--no offense intended.
-- Tim Nelson (email@example.com), December 14, 2001.
That price does seem high for a 23CII depending on the head that is included. I like the 23C and do most of my 35mm work on one. You may find that the Bessler 4x5 is a better deal these days. In either case you should be able to get a better price than the $425USD.
-- Ed Farmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 14, 2001.
I own Saunders (LPL) enlargers now, but I've used Beselers. No problems making fine prints with either.
The function of an enlarger is extremely simple: create an even light source for the negative, then project it onto the paper. Differences are more in the area of stability, ease of alignment, ease of use. You can make any enlarger more stable, with proper brackets, etc.
Pick one that's affordable, and that's easy for you to use. You won't go wrong with a Beseler in good conidition, though that price is rather steep for a used one. You'll also find the LPL a fine machine, though I recommend a wall bracket to stabilize them.
In any case, get a really fine enlarging lens.
-- Charlie Strack (email@example.com), December 14, 2001.
That price for a 23C, no matter how configured, seems very high. One suggestion: Don't limit yourself yet again, but go for more enlarger for your money. I strongly suggest a 4x5 set up, even if you never use a negative larger than 35mm. As your enlarging skills increase, you may want to use some techniques such as masking or dye dodging that are far more easily accomplished using a 4x5 enlarger, and of course with the 4x5, you can do all formats up to that size. Beseler is a good brand as is Omega. They seem to be the most plentiful on the used market. I paid under a $1000 for an Omega Super Chromega D XL 4X5 with three Rodenstock lenses, five carriers, and other goodies from a guy going all digital. A great deal? You bet, but there should be a large used inventory out there. Keep looking!
-- Arden Howell (Serenisea@aol.com), December 14, 2001.
I prefer the European or Japanese enlargers; but each to his own. In B.C. Canada I can find a Beseler 23c with dichro head & a couple of good lenses for about $600 CDN. I know of one for sale somewhat locally, if you are interested contact me. For what it is worth I prefer the negative carriers of the European/Japanese enlargers they are very light tight! A good Durst could be an alternative to the Beseler & I must admit that the LPL looks good too. Whatever you buy make sure it is something you cannot outgrow & that parts & accessories will likely be available in the future. If the Beseler has anything going for it it is that it will never be obsolete as most of the new accessories will fit the oldest of enlargers.
-- Melvin (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 14, 2001.
If you can get the LPL 4x5 enlarger, although I have a zone VI the LPL would have been my second choice. My medium format enlarger was an LPL 6700 dichoric and I absolutely loved it, easy to use, controls well placed, EASY TO ALIGN which is a very important feature to me. All in all I think the LPL is the better choice, besides I feel the LPL is better made than the Beseler. As to the lens in the Beseler, it probably is a 50 mm f-2.8 which is not an exceptioanlly great lens, is good for 35 mm but obviuously there are better (and more expensive) lenses, over all the price of $511 USD for a USED Beseler is way high, you can get a better one for that money.
-- Jorge Gasteazoro (email@example.com), December 15, 2001.
Try e-bay and be patient. You can get an enlarger package with a lot of accessories (lens boards, carriers, focusing aids, timer, maybe even trays, developing tank, etc.) for much less. Do a search for completed items with the models you are interested in.
-- Jim Rock (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 15, 2001.
I managed a public darkroom for 6 years, we mainly had Beseler 23's and 67's. I am currently building my first darkroom in the basement of my home, and it should be finished in a couple of weeks. I decided to buy a Beseler 45MXT, even though I currently use only a medium format. I discovered the MXT in my father-in-law's darkroom, and coupled with a cold light head, found that my prints increased greatly in quality. I strongly suggest buying an enlarger with a cold light source - your prints will have a much more solid scale of grays and whites, and they will glow like a jewel. I never could achieve the same results with a condenser. The MXT is very sturdy, you can buy one new for about $1200 at Calumet, and used for probably half that price.
-- James Webb (email@example.com), December 15, 2001.
The price does seem high. Regarding films scanners and digital printers, research this very carefully. I am an amateur photographer, but information technology is my business. I found that going digital once the film is developed still can be quite expensive when you consider hardware and software overhead. I scanned a 4x6 print at 2800 resolution last week and the resulting file was 1.1 gigabyte. There are smaller file formats, but even after you have a developed neagtive, the IT processing, storage, and output, not to mention learning curve, can be quite costly.
-- Jeff Polaski (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 17, 2001.