Which New Enlarger?

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I am curently using a 5x4 enlarger which leaves much to be desired. Every time I put the neg. carrier in, it grinds off a small layer of metal. I guess you could call it a 'snug' fit. Even though it's rated as a 4x5 enlarger, it will not let me print the edges of the neg, which bothers me as I like to set the edges of my pictures on the ground glass. I would most appreciate hearing people's views on a new enlarger. I have always used a condeser enlarger. It seems to work for me and I've become quite adept at spotting over the years. However, I've read the praises of cold light and might be persuaded to change. I will probably be visiting the States in a few weeks and would like to pick up an enlarger and bring it back on the plane. It seems to me that I will be encountering serious excess baggage (and a probable hernia) by doing this, - but I don't see an alternative. All help is very much appreciated Yaakov Asher Sinclair

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (sinclair@actcom.co.il), May 15, 2000


I like the Saunders/LPL series. It works smoothly & has even illumination. Nothing really to complain about. It is diffusion, available with standard (no filtration), color, or VCCE (variable contrast, constant exposure) head,

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), May 15, 2000.

Never underestimate the potential of the old Omega D2.

With a few added accessories the D2 is a very capable machine! -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), May 15, 2000.

I have used the Beseler 45MXT for a year or so now and am very happy with it. Sturdy, smooth movements etc. The glass neg carrier cannot print all the way to the edges which is, at times, irritating. Pretty good value for money also and is easily (if expensively) coverted to an 8x10. I use an Aristo cold light which, in my mind, is a must.

Good luck, Alan

-- Alan Barton (cherylann.schieber@worldnet.att.net), May 15, 2000.

By all means, go with either a cold light or diffusion enlarger. My personal preference being the cold light. Not only will you eliminate much of the spotting you are now doing but your black and white prints will have a glow to them that you can't get with condensers. Any of the three enlargers the previous posters mentioned are excellent. Good luck getting it home. The vibration from the aircraft may loosen some of the screws. I would check all screws, bolts etc. once you get it home. Also align the enlarger before use.

Good printing, Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), May 16, 2000.

I use a Beseler 45MXT with an aristo D2 cold light head and am pleased with this combonation. I particularly enjoy the motorized head and also find the enlarger to be well built. Don't think I'd change to a different enlarger. The 45MXT is quite large and heavy. It does break down into separate components which may facilitate transportation.

-- brian jefferis (bcjjr@udel.edu), May 16, 2000.

Hard to go wrong with the Saunders/LPL, Omega D, or Beseler as suggested above, but:

The LPL is faster & easier to change the head height than either of above. You loosen a knob, and just lift it in place. It's perfectly counter balanced.

And I agree, difussion is the way to go: either straight or cold light. Condensers add weight, extra heat, and require more spotting.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), May 16, 2000.

Are you going to wall-mount or leave it on it's base? Many of the older monorail enlargers will require a special (and very rigid) platform to attach to a (very solid) wall. The Bessler 45M series will easily mount just about anywhere. This feature might enable you to leave the base and lighten your load....have a good trip.

-- Bruce Wehman (bruce.wehman@hs.utc.com), May 16, 2000.

I use a DeVere 504 with Multigrade 500S head.It is a superb instrument with front of baseboard controls for adjusting head hight and focusing.Its glass negative carrier has an aperture of 5,3/8inchx4,3/8inch which will easily print 4x5 with rebate,even Polaroid 55 negs. with fuzzy boarders which I like.It has colour,condenser b/w,cold cathod and variable contrast heads available for it. It is a British enlarger now made by Odyssey Sales(www.Odyssey-Sales.com),they always have reconditioned models available and will ship to most parts of the world. The North American supplier is Devcan Photo Systems Inc.(Canada) email:devere@inforamp.net . Regards,Trevor.

-- Trevor Crone (trevor.crone@uk.dreamcast.com), May 16, 2000.

I'm going to vote for an old Beseler 45MXII. I'd leave the condenser head behind and pick up an Aristo VCL-4500 variable contrast light source. The enlarger will come apart, but unless you get one from a source that has original packing, you'll need to do a careful job of crating it. If you do some internet investigation prior to travel, you may be able to identify a source that can package for you in advance. If considering a cold light, you may want to double check the power requirements. You can't just screw in a different bulb! Good luck.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (razeichner@ameritech.net), May 16, 2000.

If you have the money, go Durst.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), May 16, 2000.

News models available in the US include Beseler, Omega, Saunder/LPL, Zone VI and Durst. They are all good machines. The Beseler & Omega are older American designs. The Saunders/LPL is Japanese. The Zone VI is a 5x7 enlarger. The Durst is European--it is more expensive but in a different class than the others with regards to precision.

You might consider buying a color head. The obvious advantage is that you could do color work someday. For B&W, the head functions as a diffuse light source and you can use the color filters to adjust the contrast of variable contrast papers.

If you go to a really large city (esp. New York), you could look at the different choices.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), May 21, 2000.

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