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Ok...ready to take the plunge into darkroom printing. Is this acceptable for an enlarger?

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I'm surfing enlargers and there are a LOT out there. I'm interested in sort of a "turn key" one; aka one that doesn't have issues that I have to solve before I get going.

 

I realize that this one isn't the cheapest one out there but it seems like it's in good shape and it's cheap-ish.

My question is: is this acceptable for a beginner doing 8x10's or smaller and does it look complete for the enlarging part of things?

Any help is appreciated.


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Black-BESELER-Printmaker-35-Dark-Room-Photo-Enlarger-Stand-/231672476980?hash=item35f0c17534:g:-SoAAOSwLVZV5P6y

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Hard to tell from the pictures whether the unit is complete. Makes sure it has a Lens!!!! The squiffy baseboard would be a small concern.

 

I am biased, but - In your position I would try to find a Leitz Valoy II. It is magnificent, and should be about the same price.

 

But generally, this looks like a good and cheap way to start. Printing is both a craft and an art. Your big challenge will be to learn to print. You would do well to get either some help from someone local with experience, or perhaps buy a book (Way Beyond Monochrome is the fantastic best) and read it carefully. Making fine prints is a learning process, but in the end, it is worth the effort. There is still nothing like a fine silver print.

 

Best of luck - keep us posted.

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I use two Leitz enlargers and I have never been disappointed.

 

One is a somewhat unusual Valoy with an extra large baseboard, long pole and an extra lamp cooling bonnet - all to facilitate large prints w/250 watt bulbs. It is as steady as stone; simple. The other is the Focomat IIa which is good for 35mm, and outstanding for real 6cm x 9xm negatives. I don't think it is even possible for either model to go out of alignment.

 

I would not use Leica's Focotar lenses due to an experience with the early ones, and my fondness for Rodenstocks.

 

BTW - I have not used the Leica enlarger shown in this photograph, but the 3D effect at the easel is astounding!

.

Edited by pico

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I suggest that you stay in touch.

 

In my fifty years of darkroom work I have never regretted starting with an affordable, rather inferior enlarger to simply get started. Making prints was good from day one and became better and better for decades. Start with what does not hurt financially! Enjoy. Some of my first efforts with crappy equipment still resonate.

 

Do and enjoy!

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Michael and Pico are right about the Valoy being a very good enlarger. That is so because they have, like the Focomat 1C, an excellent condenser that works together with an excellent negative holder. Totally easy to use and the same quality as the Focomat 1C, which has long been the high standard enlarger for 135.

 

However, the Beseler may be fine too. The fact that the column is tilted forwards will make it easier to use an easel without bumping into the column. It looks like it may have a filter tray inside the head, and one under the lens. These are important details. I see B&H is selling this enlarger new, you may want to ask them a list of parts and prices. (negative holder, filter tray (?) . . See if the negative holder has glass and if yes check if the upper glass is Anti Newton. Also check the 2nd hand market for prices of parts.

 

Should you think Valoy II as well, with that one you need to solve how to use multrigrade filters. There's no filter tray. I have modified the redfilter holder under the lens and find it works fine. But others will prefer the filters to be above the lens. The later Valoy II models (blue-ish grey and light grey) have Anti Newton condensers. The early black one does not, but it is easy to fabricate something from thin black carton to prevent newton rings.

 

Which-ever enlarger you get, there are always small things to solve and that's part of the fun.

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So I got a message back from the seller, he says he's not 100% sure that everything is there due to his inexperience.

 

He did say that it includes the Beslar 1:3.5 F=50mm lens and he included a drop box link to a photo of it.

 

I just want to make sure that it's complete and there is nothing that should be a deal breaker. It's $75.00 and free shipping and others of this model go for a lot more so I'm anxious but I don't want to find that I bought a big paperweight.

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Well...I took a chance and risked $75.00.

 

I'll let you know when it gets here if it seems to be in working order and if it's complete.

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Ok well done !!

 

Just some small remarks: if you find this enlarger is not very stable, you could get a nice piece of wood to replace the ground board. Heavier and a bit larger.

 

For the sizes you have in mind the Beslar should be fine. Try to always close 2 stops.

 

When you know what to look for there are very good high quality 50mm lenses at great prices 2nd hand: Minolta CE 50mm, Computar D 50mm, EL Nikkor 50mm, to name a few

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I've used an Omega B22XL enlarger since the mid 1960s and always got good results with it. It's a condenser type with good contrast, which also give sharp grain in the print. When I re-established my darkroom a couple years ago I picked up a focomat 1. The autofocus is nice, but I need to bump the paper grade up, and it takes me longer to get the range I want in prints.

i guess it pays to stick with what you are used to.

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I used a B22XL and it was dead-on great up to 16x20". I happened upon a very good Rodenstock lens.

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On Ya RP. Go for it.

 

Look at the $75 as a toe in the water. Get a feel for printing. You can for sure do better for an enlarger, but right now, have fun, the rest and better can come later.

Acquire a decent enlarging lens, even if the supplied one looks OK. I have a pair of Apo Rodagons, but the 50 Nikkor is well liked too. And these are not big ticket items. And again, later, when you get a feel for where you are headed.

 

A set of 8x10 trays, and maybe later some that are 16x20 or so, and you're set. OK, print tongs, measuring cups, and an easl, and a timer are about all you need. Maybe find a glazier that will cut you a section of thicker glass (5-6mm perhaps), and bevel the edges. I use such a piece to produce a contact strip.

 

Can't wait to see what you get up to, and if you are at all like me, you will never forget the "magic" of seeing the print "appear" in the developer. I still get a buzz, and it has been "quite a while".

Gary

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