From: Ken Hart on

"G.T." <getnews1(a)> wrote in message
> I've been poking around on Ebay and Craigslist and there are some
> reasonble enlargers available at the moment, several Beseler 23c series.
> What's the most basic enlarger that I can do 35mm, 6x4.5, and 6x6
> negatives, and up to 11x14 prints?

I really like my Omega B-22. It will handle 6x6cm and smaller. If you are
going to use it for 35mm, be sure it includes the supplemental condenser
lens-- a small lens that lays on top of the regular condenser lenses to
concentrate the light over the smaller neg size.

(Omega's model numbers tell the neg size: "A" series is 35mm only, "B"
series is up to 6x6, "D" series is 4x5, "E" is 5x7, "F" is 8x10 and "G"
series is for 11x14 negatives. I'd love to have one of those, just for the
heck of it!)

From: Thor Lancelot Simon on
In article <mo8ao3dv85kuov73c6mr22tbch4npg9o8n(a)>,
Andrew Price <andrew.price(a)> wrote:
>On Tue, 8 Jan 2008 23:13:28 +0000 (UTC), tls(a) (Thor Lancelot
>Simon) wrote:
>>The canonical answer is the Beseler 23. The Beseler 67 is smaller, cheaper,
>>and will also work well.
>>If you're in or near New York you can have mine.
>Replaced it with something else, or just giving up printing?

I replaced it with something else almost 10 years ago, but I haven't ever
managed to get anyone to take it away from me.

Thor Lancelot Simon tls(a)

"The inconsistency is startling, though admittedly, if consistency is to
be abandoned or transcended, there is no problem." - Noam Chomsky
From: Rod Smith on
In article <13o7rl4n8jafc19(a)>,
"G.T." <getnews1(a)> writes:
> I've been poking around on Ebay and Craigslist and there are some reasonble
> enlargers available at the moment, several Beseler 23c series.
> What's the most basic enlarger that I can do 35mm, 6x4.5, and 6x6 negatives,
> and up to 11x14 prints?

The Beseler 23c you mention seems to be popular, although I can't comment
on it from personal experience. Durst, LPL, and Omega are other popular
brands that spring to mind. In Europe, Meoptas are also well-liked,
although they're rarer in the US.

Personally, I've got a Philips PCS130 with a PCS150 light source/control
unit, so I'll say a bit about it. This enlarger will handle up to 6x7
negatives, although the condensers needed for 6x7 are fairly rare (up to
6x6 is common). The Philips is a nice unit, although it's long since
discontinued and it was never all that common, so getting spare parts can
be a problem. The PCS150 light source uses three somewhat exotic (and
therefore expensive -- about $15-$30 apiece) 14V 35W MR11 bulbs, which is
definitely a minus. The PCS130 was available without the PCS150 light
source, but most I've seen on eBay pair the two of them. The PCS150 is
unusual because it uses a single-exposure additive color system -- those
three bulbs are associated with red, green, and blue filters, and
"filtration" for VC B&W papers or color papers is done by varying the
brightness of each bulb. This is logically equivalent to using the more
common cyan, magenta, and yellow filters in front of a single bulb.
Another unusual feature is that it's a color enlarger that uses condensers
(most color enlargers use a diffusion design).

In any event, the Philips is a well-built enlarger with a decent set of
features, such as a rotating head for wall projection, a fine-focus knob
(optional, but most units I've seen on eBay have it), and a perspective
control head. A more popular unit, such as a Beseler 23c, would have the
advantage of easier-to-find parts and less expensive bulbs; however, if
you stumble across a Philips PCS130/PCS150 (or the PCS2000, which is a
diffusion cousin to the PCS130/PCS150) at a good price and with all the
parts you need (ideally including a couple of spare bulbs), it'd be a fine

FWIW, I used to have a Durst C35. This was the bottom-of-the-line Durst
model, and it could only handle up to 35mm, so it wouldn't be of much
interest to you -- except that Durst once sold an optional diffusion box
to let the enlarger handle up to 6x6. Although the C35 is a compact unit,
I recommend you avoid it. It's just not very sturdily built. Also,
although it's sold as a color unit, it includes only magenta and yellow
filters. This is fine for B&W, and even for most color enlargements; but
you may need slide-in cyan filters for some color enlargements. Higher-end
Durst units are apparently much better than this one, although I've never
used one.

More generally speaking, I recommend you get a color enlarger. You can use
the color filters to control the contrast of VC B&W papers. With a B&W
enlarger, you'll need separate contrast control filters. My impression is
that most people prefer using color heads (or the somewhat rarer VC heads,
which have just magenta and yellow filters) to separate filters, although
there are definitely exceptions to this rule. Also, if you get a color
enlarger you'll be set to do color enlargements, even if you don't plan to
do so now. In today's used market, color enlargers carry little or no
price premium over B&W enlargers. Note that some enlargers (mostly fairly
old models) were sold as color units just because they had filter drawers,
so watch out for that. I'd call such units B&W enlargers, even if they've
got the word "color" in their names. The main reason to avoid color
enlargers is if you prefer condenser to diffusion enlargers, since color
condenser enlargers are pretty rare.

Rod Smith, rodsmith(a)
Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking