wanting to start a small darkroom

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by gray5547, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. gray5547

    gray5547 TPF Noob!

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    I've been in a photography class and have loved it and want to start a darkroom of my own. I've been looking around for a fairly cheap enlarger and found the Beseler Cadet II which after some research decided wasn't very good quality.

    My question is, what would be a good (again, fairly cheap) enlarger to look for. I have no problem with, and would actually prefer used. I only plan to do this as a glorified hobby, being that I'm also a musician as well and a majority of my time and money goes towards that.
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For what you're planning, it's pretty hard to beat a used Beseler in good condition. I was taught on a 23 C III and really enjoyed it. You should be able to pick one up for a song off places like eBay. Just make sure you can trust the seller and examine all the supplied photos of the equipment very carefully. You were right to walk away if the quality wasn't there. If the seller can't answer your questions, don't buy. ;) There will be another one listed. But overall, they are excellent enlargers and will do medium format, too.

    Good luck on your search! It's really fun to assemble a home darkroom, and the prices these days make it easy.
     
  3. gray5547

    gray5547 TPF Noob!

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    I was actually looking at the 23 C's. I found a few on ebay for pretty reasonable prices. Could you, or anyone else recommend some other enlargers to check out?
     
  4. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are in the USA the Beseler 23C-series and 45-series and the Omega
    D-series enlargers are all well built and they all have an important advantage:
    finding accessories for them (like negative carriers, lens boards, heads etc.)
    is fairly easy.

    There are other good enlargers made by Beseler, Omega, Saunders, Durst,
    LPL and others but the ease in finding these important accessories and parts
    for them is a huge plus for the above enlargers in my opinion.
     
  5. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    There are a number of good brands of enlargers as others have mentioned, but it is far more important that you use a good lens.

    In my experience only Leitz (of Leica camera fame) ever sold an enlarger with their own brand lens that was good for anything other than a paper weight. The house-branded "kit" lenses are otherwise universally poor. In fact, many of the bad "reviews" of some entry level enlargers are actually only a bad review of the inexpensive "kit" lens used and not a reflection of the capability of the enlarger itself.

    Really good lenses include Nikon's EL-Nikkors, Schneider's Componons (note: all vowels are "o", no "a"), & Rodenstock's Rodagons.
     
  6. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's a Lucky 60M Enlarger on EBAY. $49 + s/h. I have one. It's basic but great for a beginner. I print everything on it that gets enlarged.
     
  7. cblkdog

    cblkdog TPF Noob!

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    An Omega B22 or any of the B series,are great enlargers to start with. Get good lenses, like el-Nikkor.
     

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