View Full Version : help-Beseler 45H enlarger

20-Nov-2016, 10:37
I was given a Beseler 45H enlarger, it having been in a basement for 30 years. It appears to be a 45 series head on a 23C-like frame. I have the manual. It has a 135mm no-name (Echo E.)lens with haze. I have cleaned, lubed, aligned, replaced the bulb, cord, heat absorbing glass, etc. The condensers are nice and clean, and are the Beseler adjustable type. I thought I would use this machine to do 35mm, and use my cold-light converted Omega D4 for 4x5. I got a nice EL Nikkor 50mm on a Beseler illuminated lens board. So far so good. Today I tried 35mm and can't focus! I set the condensers for 35mm, put in the 35 mm negative holder and -argh! The bellows can't close enough to focus! They seem fully collapsed, and I need perhaps a cm more to focus a 35mm for 8x10. So-where am i going wrong? Do I need to make a recessed lens board? Help! Thanks in advance!

20-Nov-2016, 17:44
I'd print 35 with the cold light enlarger and look for a cold light head setup for this one. Might want to contact someone like KHB Photografix in Canada as they sell and service Beseler to help with your setup. I suspect your condenser placement/setup are not correct for the 50mm lens. L

20-Nov-2016, 18:05
A 50mm should just work with the Beseler, but it is squeezed pretty close together for focusing... Unscrew the lens from the board, and hold it inside the stage cut-out area and make sure it focuses somewhere in there to make sure everything is right with the lens + enlarger first... You might need a 60mm with your set-up for that extra 1 cm, or maybe that recessed board...

If you have to do a lot of 35mm, the hot tip is to use a Leitz enlarger, with great alignment and very nice illumination, and easy/fun to make VERY nice enlargements with!!!!

Steve K

21-Nov-2016, 05:31
Thanks for the replies--I think I have found the answer, but maybe not. The new lens is a EL Nikkor f2.8N. My D4 Omega has a Componon 50mm that came with the enlarger, and I can focus with that one, hand held in position. As LabRat said, it is squeezed pretty tight. I'll make a lens board for that one, although it is a much older design, and at least 45 years old. I think it may be the lens design that is different. I don't really use 35mm for B&W anymore, so the 35mm setup is mainly for printing old "family" negatives. Maybe I'll make the recessed board if I can really measure the needed offset. I discovered I don't need the illuminated board as the Nikkor -N has built in f-stop illumination. And yes, the Focomat is a really nice enlarger! Maybe I could swap with someone for the Beseler?

21-Nov-2016, 05:53
If you are interested, I have several Focomat parts enlargers that can be assembled into one nice, restored unit... I would need a little time to do the restoration, and no trades at this time (as I need YET another enlarger like a hole-in-my-head)... And I have some modifications/upgrades that allow bigger easels/even better alignments/color heads, etc... PM me when/if you are interested...

Steve K

jose angel
22-Nov-2016, 02:42
Looks like it is a common problem with 23C enlargers; at full compression the bellows is too tight to focus with a 50mm lens. Sometimes you can focus it but the bellows tend to expand and loose focus gradually. Not an issue with longer lenses, you can also print 8x10" out of 35mm film with a 75-80mm lens.
I solved this by using a homemade recessed lens board. BTW, I made it with three axis adjustment capability.

22-Nov-2016, 05:23
Thanks for that info. I find Beseler makes several "special" lens boards. Front recessed by 2mm, rear recessed by 2mm, Recessed by 5/8", forward by 5/8". Prices are outrageous. I can make one myself. 3 axis adjustment is interesting. I understand fore-aft tilt (pitch), and lateral tilt (roll). What does the third axis do?

jose angel
22-Nov-2016, 06:03
Oops, my excuses. I was thinking on three screws, not three axis. You actually don`t need to rotate the lens (well, just to put the aperture window in the right place).
Something like this one (http://www.argraph.com/cat-sect/Sect-E/wE-13.pdf) (#13310). The problem with the linked one is that it puts the lens even further, unless you modify it to use it reversed (don`t know if it is possible). I had to build my own recessed version. Good with longer lenses, anyway.