Beseler Enlarger focusing Issues

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by RyanDunn, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. "The main difference between the two is a slight drop in contrast with the condenser head when printing silver-image negatives."

    - That should, of course, read "..a slight rise in contrast..". Sorry!
  2. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    the ones I have used on the 23 were for the 45mx. round body.

    there are newer heads that have 2 bulbs in them... one bluish the other greenish. same zone maker puts m out.

    to use vc filters on my setup, 6x6 gels cut down to fit the filter drawer. that's why I did my mod... to keep the above neg holder.
  3. AJG


    The color temperature of the light source matters for VC paper. When I had an early Zone VI cold light head in my Omega D2 I used a 40 cc yellow filter to get the color temperature closer to a tungsten bulb and then used Ilford Multigrade filters below the lens to control contrast. This worked very well. Without the yellow filter, contrast was higher than it should have been. I also found the dry down control to be very useful. Paper does dry down, and delicate highlights can gray out if you don't take it into account.
  4. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

  5. Thanks AJ.
    Yeah, I'm starting to get some good idea's Paul. Using a RGB LED light, wire it up and build a diffusion filter or chamber to scatter the light. I keep reading the best source is a RGB LED light when building a cold head. Why is that? Does the combination of the RGB mixture light temp best match what the sensitivity of the emulsion requires? Or does it have more to do with being able to dial in the color temp best matched for graded or VC paper, either "white" - yellow - magenta, etc.?
    - Is this another setup that is common? A cold head using the condenser, wouldn't that just be a cold head but not a cold diffusion head, which seems like another option to keep in mind.
  6. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    they make a 2 bulb cold light... vcl4500... . it allows you do dial in the amount of blue vs green from each lamp to get the grade you need.

    I saw that about using condensers with the cold light. mmmmm... I wonder?

    the rgb led is another option. lots of DIYers are doing it, so plenty of info out there.

    either way, you still need to adapt them to your enlarger.
  7. I'm researching as we speak. Whichever I go, homemade or bought, the head is mounted like in your modification, as if I were printing the largest negative capable for the enlarger, with no need to adjust the head like in a condenser system - correct?
  8. AJG


    As long as the diffuser is close to the negative stage, no changes with different film sizes will be necessary--one of the reasons I put the Zone VI cold light head in to replace the condenser head in my Omega D 2.
    RyanDunn likes this.
  9. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    right, no need to adjust the condenser height. my mod just needs the light to sit on top of it. the light has to cover the entire neg evenly.
    RyanDunn likes this.
  10. The Ferrante system required the condensers. When using the Zone VI or Aristo cold light, the housing is as close to the negative as possible; the lamp housing bellows is collapsed completely. The Aristo or Zone VI lamp that fits the Beseler or Omega 4X5 enlarger is the same unit; the Beseler needs a special collar. The condensers are replaced by the Beseler collar and the lamp housing sits into the collar. And notice the seller does not indicate which lamp this is; Hi Intensity, balanced for variable contrast, graded papers.

    The Zone VI Stabilizer requires the "photo cell" in the lamp housing to read the intensity of the lamp. The photo cell plugs into the stabilizer; the stabilizer sits between the enlarger and your timer. From the picture on ebay, it appears the cold light is in the Omega housing. It should lift out; ask the seller if it separates or is a permanently sealed unit. You are aware it is too big for the Beseler 23C?

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    RyanDunn likes this.
  11. I tried messaging the seller 5 days ago for more details about the head, seeing they have the paperwork included, but I have not heard back! I'll send another message, maybe I'll get a response this time***knock on wood***. The plan is if I can get it at a good price I'll retro-fit one of my enlargers, cutting off the head right above the filter drawer. Paul Ron showed me how he had modified one of his 23c enlarger's to fit a cold head designed for a 4x5 type enlarger.
    Regarding the housing, were certain models of those head's made specifically for certain enlarger's, where the housing collar was manufactured permanently to the head? Thank you for those details! Much appreciated.
  12. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    my zone light has a collar to fit the 45m series. it makes it 1\2" more in diam.

    the arista is straight sides and fits nicely in the 45m. but for that mod on your 23, it doesn't matter. its just a hole you gotta fill with light. my light just sits on top of the mod. the mods hole is just shy of the lights diam.
  13. AJG


    Models were made for specific enlargers--with the Omega enlargers, you simply removed the condensers and dropped in the cold light head in their place. I am less familiar with Beseler enlargers, but I do remember that the 4x5 head that fit 4x5 Omegas required the collar to mount on a 4x5 Beseler. It wasn't permanently attached, but was sold separately by Zone VI. If this seller is uncooperative, I would wait for one who is. You might even find a cold light head that will fit your current enlarger without modification.
  14. Thanks you guys! You have given me a lot of fantastic advice & a new perspective on a topic I've read about but never contemplated pursuing. I thought it was a little curious why I didn't get a response. Usually I've received quick response's. It clearly states "new in box," but still, Ebay purchases can be a gamble. So I'll see, if the price is right I might go for it. If not I'll keep an eye out for one here & Apug as well. My heat absorbing glass is arriving in a couple days, which will help out immensely.
    Patience is a virtue.... still working on that one. :)
  15. To check the alignment of a 23c running 35mm use a razor blade

    Put the razor blade in your neg carrier and observe it's sharpness wide open. Then flip it 90 degrees or rotate your carrier. The blade should be sharp symmetrically and not sharper closer to an end. 23cs can get out of alignment easily and the razor blade trick gives you a target that's solid.

    Get a piece of 1/8 milk plexi and mount it above the neg stage. This gives you the same physics as a cold light or dichro with a $5 piece of plastic. It will also eat heat. Instructor who taught me this trick learned it from either Adams or Sexton given he worked with both.

    35mm negs that don't hold flat can be fixed with a glass carrier, or letting them sit in a sleeve under a flat weight for a few weeks. While I always wanted to print my negs fast after they dried they are much easier to handle when sleeved in tight contact pages for awhile.

    If I still had my 23c I'd retrofit it to LED immediately. No more heat.
  16. I recently was given a Beseler 23 C enlarger, and a Negatrans came w/ it. First one I've seen. I am absolutely sure that thing will hold the neg flat, but probably won't use it because it introduces 4 additional surfaces to catch dust.

    This is pretty late in the game and may be a dumb question, but are you sure your negs are sharp in the corners in the first place? Most of mine aren't. I generally used good to excellent lenses on my cameras, but seldom shot w/ the aperture way stopped down, so don't expect things to be tack sharp w/ large prints at the very edges. The only negs I have that are sharp at the edges came from a Rolleiflex w/ a Planar lens. That thing had amazing sharpness all across the frame.

    Some people look for that, not me, so it has never been an issue. My experience is that if an enlarging lens is stopped down to f8 or f11, then a small misalignment is going to be moot and covered by DOF.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018

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