Beseler 45-MXT chasis vs 45-VXL chasis : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I currently use a Besler 45-MXT w/150 Rodagon for 4x5. I can make a 16x20 on the baseboard without a problem but can't quite get enough height to make a 20x24, which I want to start making. I can switch-out just the chasis for the 45-VXL for about $1300 new (and maybe less, if I can find a used one). Has anyone out there used the 45-VXL chasis? How does it compare to the 45MXT? It has a single column but, according to Beseler's specs, I should be able to make a 20x24 with the 150 with a little cropping room to spare. Mounting my current chasis to the wall and building a drop-table of some sort is an option, but due to some physical restrictions of my darkroom will have to be a last resort option. Thanks in advance.

-- Steve Baggett (, February 14, 2001


Steve, I don't have a beseler, but can you remount the column rotated 180deg so it faces the back of the board? This way you can project onto the floor. I don't know if this is possible with your enlarger.


-- Dave ANton (, February 15, 2001.

I think I found a solution. If I can find a used "adjus-table" #8540, that should work. It is a drop-table designed for the 45MXT specifically. The baseboard is 25" wide. According to Beseler's specs, I should be able to get a 24"x36" image (max) by lowering the baseboard into one of the slots below the top. I would still like to hear some feedback on from anyone who's ever used the 45VXL chasis, though. Thanks.

-- Steve Baggett (, February 15, 2001.

Hi Steve,

The AdJus-Table is one solution...If you are only seeking a single level of additional projection distance, you might be able to design the needed slight additional elevation by placing a 'U' frame of 2x4 lumber under the enlarger frame to gain 3 1/2inches of projection distance. The legs would go under the sides and the cross piece across the back of the enlarger frame, leaving the front open. This frame would rest on the table, the enlarger chassis on top of that and your easel would rest on the table directly....may need a bit of adjustment via angel iron or something to make sure you have a clear 20x24 for your paper.

Another option would be to use the horizontal projection position of the enlarger head (I assume the 45MXT has this feature as does the 45MCRX). Given the cost of a 45VXL chassis, seems like this would warrant some serious thought, particularly if you plan to make them routinely. St. Ansel did horizontal projection for his 8x10 enlarger, and, seems I recall, used horizontal for large print projects from his Beseler as well. (Install a track with a hanging easel...affix the paper via strip magnets?)

Of course, possible solutions may be limited by the size and geometry of your darkroom.

Good Luck Fred

-- Fred Leif (, February 15, 2001.

If you are going to be doing this a lot, you can buy a new 135mm Rodagon lens for a lot less than $1300, which will give you the 20x24 coverage with your present enlarger.

-- Bill Mitchell (, February 15, 2001.

I've found a used Adjus-Table locally for $100. This should be the best solution to the problem for now. Thanks for everyone's suggestions.

-- Steve Baggett (, February 15, 2001.

Steve: The best way out is to just buy yourself a used 135mm lens for your present setup. That is the cheapest. I use both the 150 and 135 lenses on my Omega and I can't see a difference in quality.


-- Doug Paramore (, February 15, 2001.

I don't know, I'd have to say a drop table might be the way to go. We have 2 MXTs, and one MXII, all with 135mm Nikkors. Depending on the degree of your enlargement, a 20x24 can be a tight squeeze on an MXT without a drop table. I wasn't going to add anything since you said you'd found one, but they're pretty easy to make as well. We've got the older enlarger set up this way. You can tilt the head back on those ones. This works pretty good as a poor-man's horizontal enlarger for bigger prints. The other nice thing about a drop-table is that you don't have to have the head up so high to make a big print. You know, you can just run it up halfway, and drop the baseboard down, sometimes it's more comfortable this way. Oh yeah, when we were making murals in house (many years ago, before my time), they had a garage door track that ran overhead in the darkroom. They hung a large sheet of plywood off this, and had a sheet of foamcore attached to that. They'd use pushpins to hold s.w. mural paper to this. It worked pretty good from what the other photographer tells me, but processing was a major pain. We've done some last minute murals projected onto walls, but it's so much easier to just pay someone to do this. Good luck with the table.

-- DK Thompson (, February 15, 2001.

I have owned both enlarger chassis. The 45-VXL is a much better enlarger than the MXT in many respects. The most important is that you can align both the negative stage and the lens stage properly. It is also more rigid than the MXT. The ability to make larger enlargements is just a side benefit.

-- David Kaufman (, February 16, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ