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faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 07:10
I have been able to align my Beseler 45MX enlarger side-to-side and front-to-back with respect to the baseboard per the instruction manual, but I still have some un-uniformity in focus. I haven't been able to find any adjustment screws or instructions on how to adjust the lens board and negative carrier so they are absolutely parallel side-to-side and front-to-back. Any ideas.

profvandegraf
24-Sep-2016, 07:57
It has been a while since I worked on one, but try this. On the underside of the lens stage is a nut just behind where your lens is while looking from the front. Take your lens off if you haven't already. Loosen that slightly and you should be able to rotate the lens stage independent of the neg stage. If you have fore and aft sag on your lens stage and or your upper housing it is a bit harder to figure out. There are nylon bushings that slide along the track that can sometimes wear out, there are small screws on each one that can be used to loosen or tighten the grip on the track, if you have play there it will let the enlarger head and or the lens stage sag. It has been a few decades since I did these procedures but this should give you place to start, hope this helped.

T

Alan9940
24-Sep-2016, 08:05
The nut on the lens stage will allow only swivel left/right, if you will. No easy adjustment for fore/aft.

Randy Moe
24-Sep-2016, 09:32
Shim it.

The MX series is a huge downgrade from the older and more adjustable CB7. Everything about the CB7 is better, including larger condensers or diffusion plate.

CB7 also has adjustable speed power focus and shared the power elevation with MX.

The one advantage to MX is it's horizontal tilt capacity for murals.

Bob Salomon
24-Sep-2016, 09:57
Shim it.

The MX series is a huge downgrade from the older and more adjustable CB7. Everything about the CB7 is better, including larger condensers or diffusion plate.

CB7 also has adjustable speed power focus and shared the power elevation with MX.

The one advantage to MX is it's horizontal tilt capacity for murals.
The CB 7 came out well after the MX was available.

Randy Moe
24-Sep-2016, 10:12
The CB 7 came out well after the MX was available.

Good to know, but mine are so old I can't find info on an Agfa color head.

Maybe the difference is commercial vs hobbyist?

tgtaylor
24-Sep-2016, 10:13
This is what I use to align the lens: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/15669-REG/Delta_13310_Bes_Align_4x4_Adjustable_Lens.html It's no longer available but you may still be able to find it or make one yourself.

Thomas

Bob Salomon
24-Sep-2016, 10:31
Good to know, but mine are so old I can't find info on an Agfa color head.

Maybe the difference is commercial vs hobbyist?

No, different design team. I was the Product Manager for both of them.

Randy Moe
24-Sep-2016, 10:43
No, different design team. I was the Product Manager for both of them.

Regardless of age, I prefer CB7.

Some parts interchange elevation motors, drive belts, lens boards, negative carriers, but heads do not

The Adjust-A-Tables are differently sized, yet identical in design. A really good design as it knocks down for shipping and the MX can be setup to enlarge to the lower shelf.

There was a website with detailed info & pics of MX, CB7 but it's gone....

The CB7 had to be way more expensive.

faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 11:24
So, Bob, is there a way to align the lens board and negative carrier? Oh, and it is a 45MXT?

Bob Salomon
24-Sep-2016, 12:09
Not that I remember, I was with Beseler in 1972. Someone made an after market kit after I left Beseler. Doubt that they are still in business. So shimming is the best you will probably do.

faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 12:17
Best as I can tell, the only thing I can possibly shim is the lensboard plate. There does not appear any way to shim either the lower negative stage or the lens stage.

Leigh
24-Sep-2016, 13:23
No, different design team. I was the Product Manager for both of them.
I think that qualifies as an authoritative source to the Nth degree.

- Leigh

Jac@stafford.net
24-Sep-2016, 14:01
May I back-up a bit?

Where exactly is the problem? Do we know that the first cause issue is alignment between the negative stage and the lens board?

We should not assume.

On one of mine I finally made a board that sat on the easel which functionally replaced the easel. It has three adjustable points. Very simple recessed t-nuts with recessed socket screws that allow micro-adjustments. Voila! Problem solved, but perhaps I was lucky because my lens-negative stage was good.

Another possibility is to use the concept of an adjustable lens mount with similar three-point adjustments. I admit that with my three-lens turret it's not feasible, but if things go whacky again, I will make do with one lens and consider making one like (I think) Nikor made one. Research on that is in order.

faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 14:27
Using a grain focuser, if I focus on the left edge of the projected image, the right edge is slightly out of focus, and vice versa. Focus top to bottom is good. Out of focus can be ameliorated by stopping down, but I would prefer to correct alignment rather than just rely on depth of field. May try shimming the base of the easel.

Bob Salomon
24-Sep-2016, 14:32
Using a grain focuser, if I focus on the left edge of the projected image, the right edge is slightly out of focus, and vice versa. Focus top to bottom is good. Out of focus can be ameliorated by stopping down, but I would prefer to correct alignment rather than just rely on depth of field. May try shimming the base of the easel.
Have you rotated the lens to make sure it is not your lens?

The best way to test alignment, and the most accurate, is with a ZigAline or the Versa one. Not your eye and a focusing device.

faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 17:43
I'll try rotating the lens, but I see the issue with both my 50mm and 80mm lens.

I need to figure out how to make the adjustments the Zigalign and Versa might suggest before purchasing them.

Leigh
24-Sep-2016, 17:46
I need to figure out how to make the adjustments the Zigalign and Versa might suggest before purchasing them.
As described previously, you make this adjustment at the lens stage using the thumbscrew behind the lens.

That's a user adjustment. Its purpose is to correct perspective distortion when shooting buildings etc.

Some shooters would use this frequently when printing, others would use it seldom or never.
But it's there for those who need it.

- Leigh

Neal Chaves
24-Sep-2016, 18:00
I have used an MCRX and had to remove the lens tilt with ball detent mechanism and replace with bolt, locknut and washers. Then I was finally able to level the lens stage and tighten it down. End of problem.

faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 18:13
There are two thumbscrews behind the lens and one in front of it. These are the thumbscrews that attach the lensboard plate to the lower bellows assembly. These do no feel like adjustment screws, but I may be able to loosen them and shim the lensboard plate along one side.

Leigh
24-Sep-2016, 18:18
I just looked at a couple of Beseler 45-series manuals.

For front-back tilt they suggest rotating the entire enlarger assembly on its mount using a setscrew as provided.

I'm not at the darkroom presently so I can't examine mine to confirm.
It sounds reasonable since you can rotate the head a full 90 degrees to project onto the wall.

- Leigh

LabRat
24-Sep-2016, 18:51
If the issue is L/R edge issues, usually it involves the lower stage detent setting, as Neal mentioned (and provided a solution)... Replacing the nylon slides (as the Prof mentioned) should be done as the parts are still available, and most are overdue for replacement (this will usually correct front to back sag)... Turn the stage knobs while carefully looking if there is side to side tilt while operating... These will be fixed with the nylon replacements (but don't overtighten the grub screws there, just barely snug)... Also check the sides of the rail for corrosion that can bind up the sliding action... After that, you can get an adjustable square to place on the rail and check each stage against the flats/rule edge to see if there's a tilt/gap anywhere... Also check the flatness of the neg carriers + neg stage to make sure they sit correctly on each other (with no gaps)...

Check your baseboard + easel with a straight edge to make sure they are flat with no rocking... I have found that the best alignment tool is a tall machinist's height gauge (used can be not too much $$$) with a long blade that can reach into the neg stage, and show you if there's side to side or front to back tilt there, then the lens stage... (I think this tool is needed for esp sheet metal based enlargers as it will directly show you what the problems are, where other tools just show that there is an error...) And the base sits about where the easel would sit on the baseboard, so measures the entire system...

Also, with Beseler's lens board holder area, sometimes some models/era's mounting area has an error where the board sits (as in incorrectly tilted), so check if the lensboard sits correctly with no play if you push it up and down...

Steve K

faberryman
24-Sep-2016, 19:32
Thank you for the detailed instructions. Unless I am missing something, however, my version of the MXT does not have the rotating lower stage. My version has the straight rather than tapered bellows. I believe only the version with the tapered bellows has the tiltable lens stage.

LabRat
24-Sep-2016, 19:54
Thank you for the detailed instructions. Unless I am missing something, however, my version of the MXT does not have the rotating lower stage.

Beselers don't give you much alignment adjustments except for the front/back screw, as I think that they assume that when everything is working well, enlarger is in OK alignment, (like zero settings on a view camera, they don't allow adjustments to the factory alignment), but when there's wear or abuse, you have to find the suspect issue and fix it...

For the lens stage, a quick/dirty check is if you have some very flat solid block that will be placed on the baseboard that's big enough to almost make contact with the lens outer ring (with the bellows extended) and see if there's any tilt there...

The thinnish neg stages can have a slight warp (and the spring lift creates tension in that region), so check carefully, and repeat checks while opening & closing neg stage...

Some of the newer (and older) Beselers will often have a flaw somewhere, that will throw things off, so poke around...

Steve K

Gary Beasley
25-Sep-2016, 08:35
Have you checked the square of the enlarger using the two mirror technique? That can show you some very subtle misalignments from head to baseboard and if you can cut a glass to set in for the lensboard you can check that as well. That may require adding some unsilvered holes at the corners of the top mirror to let light in but the technique is the same.

tgtaylor
25-Sep-2016, 10:11
LOL...Reading this thread is like reading a Three Stooges plot. Keep it coming!

Thoma

stawastawa
25-Sep-2016, 10:14
where is a description of this technique?

Have you checked the square of the enlarger using the two mirror technique? That can show you some very subtle misalignments from head to baseboard and if you can cut a glass to set in for the lensboard you can check that as well. That may require adding some unsilvered holes at the corners of the top mirror to let light in but the technique is the same.

faberryman
25-Sep-2016, 11:40
After a couple of frustrating days, I have determined that my enlarger is actually in alignment. I finally went out and got a couple of pieces of glass, sandwiched a strip of 35mm negatives between them, and voila, the projected image is sharp corner to corner. Neither the 35mm metal negative carrier nor the 35mm Negatrans were holding the negatives sufficiently flat. The negative carriers are "good enough" if I stop down to f11/16/22, but for the best print, I'll just need to bite the bullet and use the glass sandwich.

Leigh
25-Sep-2016, 11:55
I only use glass carries in my Beseler 4MXT.

The film really wants to curl, and prints don't like that.

- Leigh

faberryman
25-Sep-2016, 12:53
Did you get separate negative carriers for 35/6x6/4x5? It seems like you only really need the 4x5?

Leigh
25-Sep-2016, 13:12
6x6 and 4x5.

The 35mm is usually not a problem when enlarging strips, as the carrier tends to flatten the whole strip.
There might be a problem if enlarging a single cut frame, which I don't do.

I think I have a glass 35mm carrier, but don't quote me.
I haven't printed 35mm in quite a while.

- Leigh

LabRat
25-Sep-2016, 17:38
If you enlarge a number of roll film formats, the "hot" problem is that with thinner roll bases, the IR produced by the lamp heats the emulsion and changes the moisture content unevenly, causing a slight buckle until it "pops" up fairly evenly... Installing a IR cutoff/heat absorbing filter helps a lot, and will help with Newton ring issues with glass carriers...

If you do much 35mm, the Beseler is not the best tool for the job, as the bellows are squeezed to the max to make focus, and the pressure can push it into misalignment depending on minor play in the FS system... (And alignment is more and more critical the smaller the format...) If you do much 35mm, consider getting a dedicated enlarger such as a Leitz, which can hold better than 1/1000" tolerances, great light source, and easier to insert and position a small strip while in the enlarger... A dream to work with!!!

With 35mm, the film will handle much better (and behave more) if after processing & dry, the film is "backrolled" into a roll with the base in on one of those black 3/4" dia 35mm film cores and either released into a 100' 35mm bulk film can for a few days until ready to cut/print, or if in a hurry, to heat that spool with a hair dryer for a minute or two, and leave it spooled for about 10 min until it cools, then unroll & cut... This will flatten the curl nicely, and will squirm around MUCH less while printing... Store film in a neutral humidity environment, and on damp nights printing (esp with glassless carriers), allow film to warm up in the enlarger for at least a couple of minutes before focusing (waiting for it to "pop" up), and after loading paper, cover the lens and repeat the heating for a minute, then enlarge... The neg will be more stable while printing...

Good Luck!!!

Steve K

faberryman
25-Sep-2016, 18:04
I am using a cold light head so heat is not a significant problem. I enlarge 35mm, 6x6, and 4x5, so I need a vestatile enlarger and unfortunately only have room for one. My darkroom, a converted bedroom, is climate controlled. I appreciate the tips on drying negatives flat. I am not bothered by using a glass carrier when needed. I only print a few negatives per session. Thanks.

Leigh
25-Sep-2016, 18:22
If you enlarge a number of roll film formats, the "hot" problem is that with thinner roll bases, the IR produced by the lamp heats the emulsion and changes the moisture content unevenly, causing a slight buckle until it "pops" up fairly evenly... Installing a IR cutoff/heat absorbing filter helps a lot, and will help with Newton ring issues with glass carriers...
The Beseler 45MXT has heat-absorbing glass.

The Beseler glass carriers use anti-Newtonian glass, so that's not an issue.


If you do much 35mm, the Beseler is not the best tool for the job, as the bellows are squeezed to the max to make focus, and the pressure can push it into misalignment depending on minor play in the FS system... (And alignment is more and more critical the smaller the format...) If you do much 35mm, consider getting a dedicated enlarger such as a Leitz, which can hold better than 1/1000" tolerances, great light source, and easier to insert and position a small strip while in the enlarger.
My enlarging lens for 35mm is a Schneider 60mm/4 APO-Companon HM, which allows reasonable bellows draw.

The only problems with a dedicated 35mm enlarger are...
1) You have to buy it ($$$) and all its accessories ($$$), duplicating accessories you already have.
2) You have to buy a light source for it ($$$) which is likely not available if you want a good one.
3) You have to find a place to put it and all its accessories in the darkroom.

- Leigh

John Olsen
25-Sep-2016, 18:40
It has been a while since I worked on one, but try this. On the underside of the lens stage is a nut just behind where your lens is while looking from the front. If you have fore and aft sag on your lens stage and or your upper housing it is a bit harder to figure out.

I did this again yesterday. It's the fore and aft sag on the lens board that's a problem. Loosen the 7/16 cap nut at the back of the lens carrier and stuff something in the gap as a shim. I use a stack of old utility knife blades so I can add or subtract easily. It's a hassle, requiring a lot of fruitless experiments, and I redo it every now and then. Good luck.

faberryman
26-Sep-2016, 16:25
Unfortunately, my 45MXT has a different arrangement precluding shimming in the manner you suggested.

brucetaylor
26-Sep-2016, 18:19
This is difficult. I have a Beseler 45MXT with an alignment problem between the negative stage and the lens in the fore and aft position. I have a Versalab laser alignment tool to confirm it. I can't see any way to change this relationship as it appears to be a casting issue. I have a 3 lens turret to make things worse. My "solution" has been to loosen the screws that hold the turret in place and pry the turret down until I get it aligned, and use black camera tape to take care of the light leaks. It works but it isn't pretty. The Versalab tool is worth it. In just a few moments you can confirm everything is straight.

Neal Chaves
24-Nov-2016, 13:43
Here's another possibility for misalignment. I just put an MCRX chassis into service that had been in storage for a while. I couldn't seem to find a way to get the negative stage lined up left to right with the baseboard. It was way off. Finally I determined that the elevation gear had jumped a tooth on one side, which tilted the whole carriage. I removed the stop on the right side, tilted the head horizontally and slowly brought it down by hand, supporting it all the way. When the carriage dropped free at the bottom, I was able to reengage it and start it back up correctly. Excellent L-R alignment now!