affordable 4 x 5" enlargers : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Encouraged by the answers to my last question, I would like to post another one: does anybody know about a place from where to get an affordable 4 x 5" enlarger? I have a tight budget in these days, and the enlarger I am currently using is not working well. (The light is spread unevenly, and I cannot fix it.) So, if there are new or used enlargers or kits anywhere, or a recommanded way of building one (although I feel a bit hesitant abut that, having no experience), I would be grateful for suggestions.

-- Lukas Werth (, February 22, 1998


You could probably pick up a used Omega D2 for $150 to $250, depending on condition and age. In most cases, the condition is cosmetic. I have purchased one or two in that price range and they work fine. You can even diffuse the condensers with opal glass or find an available cold light head. Omega made cold lights for them, but there are others available as well. I used my Omega D2 and D2V enlargers for many years before moving on to a color head with my D5. Omegas are quite numerous and parts easy to find. They show up frequently at camera shows in the NY,NJ,PA area. Rob

-- Rob Rielly (, February 22, 1998.

I don't know what you consider affordable, but I recently bought a Beseler 45MXT with condensor head and negative carriers from 35mm to 4x5 glass for $600. Add a cold light head ($200) and a 135 lens ($200 used) and you have an excellent 4x5 enlarger for $1,000.

-- Darron Spohn (, February 23, 1998.

I got in a hurry before going to a meeting and forgot to answer your question with my earlier post. My point is: look around and don't buy the first enlarger you find. Used enlargers are plentiful and cheap. The one I bought for $600 is in mint condition except for a few inconsequential marks on the baseboard.

Check out the classifieds on, and try some of the reseller links on the Yahoo photography pages. I bought my enlarger at Keeble & Schuchat in Palo Alto, CA. I also saw some good deals at Seawood Photo ( Scrounge around used camera stores in your area and poke around on web sites. You'll run across the right enlarger in a matter of weeks.

-- Darron Spohn (, February 23, 1998.

I would like to dissuade anyone from buying a Bessler enlarger. I find the evenness of illumination of my 23C Dual Dichro to be very poor, and I have no reason to expect their 4x5's to be any better. In all my years of professional printing in NYC, you can count on one hand the times I came across anything but good ol' Omega D2's and Chromegas, and those exceptions were Dursts, not Besslers.

-- Peter Hughes (, February 23, 1998.

Peter, I agree the dichroic head on the 23c is not good, but with a cold light head the 23c makes an excellent black-and-white enlarger. Ansel Adams used a Beseler 45 enlarger with cold light, and I haven't heard many complaints about his photos. I know several very good professional photographers who use Beseler 45 enlargers with dichroic heads. Omega and Durst make excellent enlargers too. The main thing is to find one that works the way you want it to work.

-- Darron Spohn (, February 24, 1998.

To get completly off the subject, if you are talking about true quality in an enlarger look no further than the zone 6 for the best in everything !!! no questions about it, the quality is far beyond the competition.

-- MARK (, March 23, 1998.

I've found the LPL (Saunders in USA) to be great. The best thing is there are drop in modules for colour, black and white and Variable contrast black and white. The quality of the product seems great too.

-- Chris Bitmead (, May 08, 1998.

You might want to check the online auction site, Ebay. I recently picked up a Beseler 45 MCRX for $300, in very good condition.

-- Bob Eaves (, May 24, 2000.

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