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Enlarger/Photo print gear opportunity -is it worth it?

 
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ktm_2000



Joined: 19 Jun 2019
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:50 pm    Post subject: Enlarger/Photo print gear opportunity -is it worth it? Reply with quote

Hi All,

In doing a desktop sharing session for work, a co-worker saw some of my pics and asked if I still shot film, I said I did then he proceeded to tell me about his wife's darkroom which he is getting rid of because he is renovating his house and she hasn't used it in over 10 years.

This is not an ad to sell this stuff... I am trying to figure out if it would be worth getting for me. For the most part I have been converting all my negatives to digital and then printing on a Canon printer. I have been intrigued about making real photo prints but it hasn't been on the top of my list of things to go after.

I do have a portion of my basement I could turn into a darkroom, essentially the garage goes under the house, there is roughly a 8x10 area behind the garage, there are water supply pipes in the area as well as a drain clearout which I could probably use to plumb in a sink, no hot water though....

so here's the list he gave me - $400 ask - is it worth it?

Besler 45MX Enlarger

Besler chassis for 45 MX enlarger

Besler baseboard for 45 MX enlarger

Trays
(9) 14X17
(5) 10X12.5
(5) 7X9

Stainless steel dial thermometer

Negative brush

Negative proofer

(3) Easels (varying sizes)

Grain focuser

Squeegee
9
12

Developing Tanks & reels
(3) Patterson 1 reel & tank
(1) Patterson 3 reel & tank

EL-Nikkor CP-2 Lens
80 mm
75 mm
Vivitar VHE 50mm lens

Bogen wide angle enlarger lens 40mm

(2) black lights

(2) dark room clocks

(2) Bogen 35 mm negative carrier

Matt cutter
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1607
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well worth it, IMO. That Beseler enlarger alone is easily worth double the asking price for the lot. And with those lenses... wow!
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ktm_2000



Joined: 19 Jun 2019
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Henry,

The last time I made a print was in Junior High so I will fully admit I know nothing about making a print.

When I shoot film I typically shoot either medium format (6x6 and 6x9) or Large format 4x5

from looking at the descriptions provided to me, it seems like this enlarger kit is setup for making 35mm prints.

with 45 in the name, I am assuming that the enlarger would be able to handle larger formats than 35mm but would I need to purchase quite a bit more to do the formats that I am looking for? ie different lenses as well as negative carriers
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3981
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First search engine the enlarger:
http://www.jollinger.com/photo/enlargers/beseler-45.html
This link tells the basics about the Beseler line of enlargers.
45 is a 4x5 max negative size enlarger.
Does it have the negative carriers for the formats you use/enlarge? Figure $30 to $50 each for those not in the package.

The trays are OK, ditch the dial thermometer and get a digital thermometer for $10 to $20. Dial thermometers loose their accuracy if bumped.

The lens will be good for 35mm and medium format negatives, you may want to get a 150mm for 4x5.


The other accessories are nice to have. Try to negotiate a better price.
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The best camera ever made is the one that YOU enjoy using and produces the image quality that satifies YOU.
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ktm_2000



Joined: 19 Jun 2019
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems like the package is fairly priced and a pretty good deal but not a screaming great deal.

I am going to pass on this, we have young kids and need to get out of our current house to get into a better school district in the next 2 years. It is probably not worth building up a darkroom only to take it back out so soon.

I'm guessing that I could find a similar setup when I do get into a longer term house.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3981
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wet printing is an art as is photography as is scanning.
One advantage of wet printing is that with B&W one can dial in their exposure/development easily.
Each paper is paper white with no exposure to light and only goes so black with light. Doing a 2 second step at f8 with a given lens will show you where maximum black is for that paper and is called paper black.
Printing a negative at paper black should show where the deepest shadow detail falls and the brightest highlights fall. Too little exposure puts deep shadow detail at lower mid gray while too little development puts bright highlights at upper mid gray.
Too much exposure puts deep shadow detail lost in paper black and over development puts bright highlights into paper white with no detail.

I took a what I thought to be a good B&W negative to a custom lab and the print was horrible as they started at paper black. A little adjustment to my exposure, 1/3 stop more, and a 10% increase in development put the tones in the range they belonged in when printed at paper black. There's nothing like a white flower blossom in bright sunlight with detail in the texture of the the petals without being burned out or muddy light gray when printed at paper black and the dark shadows not competing but retaining some detail.

Such a negative scans well also and little time is spent doing post processing. Color follows suit as well.
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ktm_2000



Joined: 19 Jun 2019
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

at some point I want to learn print making because it is tactile and is more permanent, having something physical after taking a photo is something that has driven me to shooting film.

it is on the list of things to do, just fairly low right now.
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