Whats The Best Enlarger

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by ThornleyGroves, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. ThornleyGroves

    ThornleyGroves TPF Noob!

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    im making a darkroom at my house, and was just wondering what the best enlarger to get is? money is no issue, just want lear cut crisp photos!!

    thanks
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Colour or B&W? What format (35mm, MF, LF)? The quality of your prints will mainly depend on the lens not so much the rest of the enlarger (although you get different looks with different types of light sources).
     
  3. pete_6109

    pete_6109 TPF Noob!

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    I would agree with Steph. The lens and type of light source is more important than the actual enlarger. I personally like Beseler. You can get them on ebay very cheap and you can usually find tons of accessories for them on ebay too. I have a Beseler 23C that handles up to 6x9 negatives and a Beseler 45MCRX that handles up to 4x5. I have condensor heads and dichro heads for both of them. Both are old, but extremely rugged enlargers and still going stong after many years of service. If money is no object you can look at the newer Beseler 45VXL or 45MXT. Regarding lenses I recommend Nikon, Rodenstock or Schneider.
     
  4. ThornleyGroves

    ThornleyGroves TPF Noob!

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    wow thanks for your help, its just for simple B&W pics!
     
  5. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Assuming it is just for 35mm film, the Leica Focomat V35 with a Focotar 40mm f/2.8 lens is highly regarded. You'll have to buy used and it will cost you.
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't have a wide experience with many enlargers but mine was a bessler 23C with a schneider lens. Great results. A good grain magnifier will help with focus.
     
  7. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    For many years, the enlarger I've used is the Calumet Zone VI variable contrast with cold light head. Before that I used the Beseler. The Zone VI is a far superior in my opinion. I found that it gave me much greater control and capability. Fred Picker developed this enlarger just before he sold his company to Calument. He's the guy who made all the great tools for serious black and white photographers -- and this enlarger was a big leap forward in printing capability.

    The sales clerk at Calument promised me this enlarger would save me a lot of time in the darkroom. It would have, if I hadn't become crazed with the infinitely superior control the Zone VI afforded me. Once I was able to do much more with the enlarger, and thus make much better prints, there was no stopping me in the quest for the gorgeous print... Until a bad back and PhotoShop stepped in.

    You might be able to find one of these used out there. I'm not sure if Calumet still makes them, since there is so little demand for the "old ways" now.
     

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