besseler 45 mx : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am looking at a couple of enlargers in a shop now.They are the Besseler 45M and 45MX.The 45 M are much newer and in better shape whereas the 45MX looks much much older and most likely require fixing the bellows.

My questions are :whether the accesories from current Besseler's stock can be used on these enlargers.and since they are both driven by motors,I wonder how long would these motors are expected to last. and if they finally stop working ,can they be fixed or replaced easily.

I guess because I have only used a relatively newer version of Saunders' enlarger (670DXL) ,it's a bit scary when I see those much bigger 4x5 enlargers.

Any information will be much appreciated.Thanks

-- Robert Choi (, January 09, 1999


I have a Bessler 4x5 ( I think it was called MCRX) that I have had for over 20 years. The motor works as good as new and any accessories that I need are readily available. I am not an expert on other enlargers but I do love this machine. RW

-- Richard (, January 09, 1999.


The Besseler 45 MX (?) was the original Zone VI enlarger. Picker thought it was the best one out there when he first published ZONE VI Workshop. Adams used one with a condensor and a cold light head and Alan Ross went so far as to design an 8 X 10 adapter head for it which Besseler now sells.My wife landed one of her yearly yard sale bonanzas two years ago while I was away. She saw a 4 X 5 enlarger with extras for sale for $500.00. Turned out it was purchased new in 1972 and used very little. The condition was incredible! I bought a 4 X 5 glassless carrier new (mi$take!) and have been very pleased with it ever since. New bellows can be had from Besseler, Universal bellows, Flexible Products and Great Western Bellows.

-- Sean yates (, January 09, 1999.

Current Beseler stuff fits the oldies; that's one of the advantages of buying a clean used old Beseler. Beseler warns that the motor can burn out if the U-shaped column is twisted or if there isn't enough spring tension in the crossbar. If the column is twisted this will show as a dramatic lack of alignment; you would'be be able to get a sharp print so you'd know something is wrong. A loose spring shows up as a the motor slowing down as the head is motored upward, but it's no big deal to tighten up the spring. So although these are two possibilities, I've never seen a dead Beseler motor, and I've seen some really ratty heavily used and abused Beseler 45s.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (, January 09, 1999.

Another satisfied 45 MCRX owner checking in here. Mine looks to be around 20 years old, and the motor still works fine. If it quits working, it can probably be repaired relatively cheaply.

-- Mike Dixon (, January 10, 1999.

Thanks for the quick response,everyone.I have never used something of that size and age ,except a Rolleicord(which I think is wonderful considering the price and the possibilities of use).

It is good to get reaffirmed that good products,though may be slightly more expensive at the beginning, will turn out to be the best investment after 10 or 20 years.

Again,thanks for the help.

Robert BTW.I saw those enlargers in Vintage Visuals in Calgary of Canada (where I bought my rolleicord)

-- Robert Choi (, January 10, 1999.

I adapted mine with an old Ilford 400 Multigrade head and control panel/footswitch (4 Grades is plenty) and it's been great for over 15 years...t

-- tom meyer (, January 15, 1999.

I've used a Beseler 45 M... for almost twenty years. It's had the Beseler Color Computer Head, an Aristo cold light and now a Zone VI VC head. All have worked well. It is truly built like a tank, stable and solid. Assuming it's not been abused, dropped, wacked with a hammer, and in good alignment, it should never wear out. Even if the motor fails you can turn the knob (slow, but it would work) to move it up and down. A classic if ever there was one.

-- Eric Brody (, January 15, 1999.

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