Is a Beseler 57MB Enlarger worth fixing? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Recently stumbled into a Beseler 57MB enlarger with several extras. The lamphouse motor works but the lamphouse bulb does not. It came with a Wollensak 75mm f/4.5 lens, a Kodak Ektanon 135mm f/4.5 lens, and a Kodak Ektanon f/4.5 161mm lens, all mounted in lens boards. The enlarger also has a hinged glass 5 X 7 negative carrier and two roll fiim carriers with adapter rings to fit the 5 X 7 lamphouse. Is this enlarger worth fixing up to use? If so will the print quality equal modern enlarger prints? Any information about this old system is appreciated. Clint.

-- Clint Mott (, April 10, 2000


As far as I can see if you've got yourself an enlargerfor little or nothing, an all it needs (given that the wiring is safe and in good condition) is a bulb, then yes go for it. On the point of print quality it, emprically speaking, will be poorer than a fandabbie dozie brand new enlarger, but one of the key elements of an enlarger is the lens. so, all in all it is worth fixing and trying out - if you are happy with it then save up for a new lens if you are not satisfied with the lenses.

-- David Kirk (, April 10, 2000.

The 5x7" Beselers are as sturdy as they come and somewhat rare. The frame design is mostly the same as the present 4x5 models but they have not made the 5x7" version for many decades. It is surely a professional enlarger and was engineered for high volume commercial applications so it can probably still perform as intended. Bulb replacement is easy and a quick clean-up should have it ready, but it won't make great prints without a great lens.

-- C. W. Dean (, April 10, 2000.

I ran onto one of these for a nice sum of under $150, with a functioning cold light head and some accessories. Not a bad deal. I have since run into a half dozen others(kind of like noticing a car brand everywhere after buying the model) priced from $100 to $400. The enlarger I have works fine. Print quality is a function of the lens as light is light, and I have decent lens to work with. If the enlarger works OK, use it.

-- Dan Smith (, April 10, 2000.

Though I don't know this particular enlarger, I echo the sentiments of the others here.

Aristo probably makes a head for this enlarger, since they seem to make heads for every enlarger, especially larger formats, ever made.

Use a top notch lens. If your going to the trouble to use large format, why waste your efforts by using a mediocre enlarging lens?

Beseler seems to support their products. If you need replacement parts, I would check with them first. Also, they can probably supply you with a copy of a manual.

Good luck! Charlie

-- Charlie Strack (, April 10, 2000.

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