PDA

View Full Version : Omega2 vrs Beseler45MXT



arca andy
28-Mar-2017, 07:48
What ho knowledgable folk.
I have the opportunity to purchase either of the above enlargers. Both seem complete and are going for roughly the same price.
I have used neither in the past, so know not much about them. I am looking for easy of use, relative portability (bathroom darkroom fun!) and longevity of product etc. I tend to use ilford multigrade but easy or lack of filtration isn't a deal breaker.
Let me know your thoughts and thank you in advance for your replies.
Andy

Randy
28-Mar-2017, 08:02
I have an old Omega D2 that will handle up to 4X5 film. I have used a Beseler 45mxt but it has been many years. I believe the Beseler is considered to be sturdier, but beyond that, I don't know. Both will last a life time, though the bellows on my D2 is in need of re-gluing.

photog_ed
28-Mar-2017, 08:29
I have an Omega D2V that I bought almost 50 years ago. It still works fine. I also have a Beseler 45MXT with 8x10 conversion head that I bought a year or so ago. The Beseler is sturdier and less prone to vibrating after moving the head or focusing. It is also a lot heavier than the Omega, so not as portable. With the Omega you need to give it a half minute or so to completely stop wiggling after adjusting focus or magnification, especially when the head is all the way up. Either that or make a brace from the top of the column to the wall to keep it steady. I am content to wait.

Ed

John Kasaian
28-Mar-2017, 09:50
I have a D-II and they are excellent as I'm sure the Beseler is as well.
Far more talented people than I have printed on both with great results.
FWIW I'd go with the one that comes with the most accessories and attachments.
Enlargers are cheap, but those little parts tend to have expensive price tags!

John Layton
28-Mar-2017, 11:43
I have both…two MX-T’s (one which I’ve converted to a horizontal 8x10 enlarger) and one D2-V. Both are highly capable, versatile, well conceived/executed machines - which will last forever with only minimal maintenance.

Basically, if I were doing high volume production printing with a number of film formats, I would prefer the MX-T for its overall sturdiness, larger (standard) base board, and convenient, quick-change variable condenser mechanism. But in meeting the demands of my own darkroom, both for myself and in doing individual tutorials…I prefer the D2-V.

By its overall design (mostly because of its large, strut-supported U-bar) the MX-T is inherently sturdier, arguably more convenient and versatile, and theoretically more adept at directing bright, clean light to where it needs to go, for formats up to 4x5.

The MX-T’s variable condenser head is really convenient in terms of changing its configuration for different lenses/formats, and having this setup continuously variable also helps to ensure maximum efficiency for those lens focal lengths which fall between the “standard” FL’s. Plus, when the condensers are switched out for a cold light head, the variable condenser mechanism now, rather ingeniously, allows the user to vary the distance of the cold light head from the negative plane, which affects very slight changes in contrast (great for fine-tuning) - due to the fact that increasing this distance moves the diffused light source, albeit very slightly, towards a theoretical point. I appreciate the larger standard baseboard of the MX-T, although one could easily affix a D2-V to a larger baseboard as well. The MX-T’s bellows are slightly larger and less tapered, which arguably means less of a tendency to introduce bellows-induced flair. I also like the motorized carriage transport, and the transport motor’s knurled flywheel doubles as a nice fine focus adjuster.

…which is a good thing, because (getting to my complaints) the main focus mechanism on the MX-T is, IMHO, quite coarse and rather crude. The teeth on the focus rack are (again, IMHO) really too large, and in production situations a distracting amount of free play can eventually develop due to wear of these teeth. Furthermore, even when the little dovetail adjustment screws are carefully tweaked, I find that while it might offer good smoothness/tightness within a small range of movement, this characteristic often changes over the length of focus travel. And the lens stage tilt feature on the earlier version of this machine, while ostensibly advantageous in offering some provision for “correction” of converging lines in an image, has become, at least in my experience, a big pain as I find myself needing to constantly check it and (possibly) over-tighten its lock in hopes that the lens plane does not wander out of parallel. I highly recommend that if you decide to go with the Beseler, try to find a more recent vintage that does not feature this lens plane adjustment…at least if the large percentage of your work does not involve needing to correct converging verticals - which will not be an issue if you use a view camera with the appropriate corrective movements.

The Omega D2-V, while it is slightly less sturdy overall, and while it lacks the motorized carriage transport, does not feature a continuously variable condenser (condensers are changed manually), and does feature a more tapered bellows which might introduce more flare…is still, of these two enlargers, my preferred machine, at least for my needs. It just feels smoother and more precise, and this matters to me. The D2-V’s grooved brass, double cylinder/circular steel cam focus mechanism, when properly adjusted and lightly lubed, is a joy to use…and I’ve only needed to adjust this once or twice in the forty years I’ve owned this machine. Plus, despite the MX-T’s slightly greater overall sturdiness, the D2-V’s lens board carrier is actually more difficult to deflect. The D2-V is also, basically, a “simpler” machine, in terms of mechanisms/moving parts, than is the MX-T - and I, for one, truly appreciate this simplicity.

But again, if I were doing large volume, multi-format production work, potential focus free-play aside…I would actually prefer the MX-T.

My larger experience, from many years of both working and teaching in a number of MX-T and D2-V equipped darkrooms, is more or less consistent with what I’ve described above. But again…these are both great machines!

Finally, given (and despite) what I've said above...in terms of purchasing something like an enlarger, which may have seen years of hard, sometimes neglectful use...the more important consideration might be that of the overall condition of the machine in question. Neglected, dirty, corroded, beat-on D2-V vs. clean, well-maintained MX-T? Then, MX-T, no question!

arca andy
28-Mar-2017, 15:23
Yeah the Breseler seems to be the best equipped and cleanest...buy that one and then convert my loft into a darkroom, maybe.
Thanks for the replies chaps, it looks like they are both worthy machines...you lot really know your stuff!

Robert Bowring
29-Mar-2017, 07:17
Either will work fine. Get the one in the best condition. I have used an Omega for a long time and it still works fine. One of the advantages or either of these enlargers is that they were produced over a long period of time and there are a lot of them around for sale. Accessories are plentiful and inexpensive on places like craigslist or ebay. I have even seen them given away for free on craigslist. Just make sure that the one you choose is in good condition and is straight (aligned). If they are bent or out of alignment they may be difficult to get straight again. It amazes me when I see equipment for sale that is so beat up. It looks like it has been dragged behind a truck. I can't figure how anyone would beat up equipment like that while working in a darkroom.

xkaes
29-Mar-2017, 07:31
Either will work fine. Get the one in the best condition. I have used an Omega for a long time and it still works fine. One of the advantages or either of these enlargers is that they were produced over a long period of time and there are a lot of them around for sale. Accessories are plentiful and inexpensive on places like craigslist or ebay. I have even seen them given away for free on craigslist. Just make sure that the one you choose is in good condition and is straight (aligned). If they are bent or out of alignment they may be difficult to get straight again. It amazes me when I see equipment for sale that is so beat up. It looks like it has been dragged behind a truck. I can't figure how anyone would beat up equipment like that while working in a darkroom.

What? You've never had a drunken party in your darkroom? You don't know what you are missing with a bunch of drunks stumbliong around in the dark! What is amazing is that they don't do MORE damage!!!

Eric Woodbury
29-Mar-2017, 09:31
I've had both. Ended up with a 45 MXT and a CB7. Sort of. The CB7 is pretty much stock and I use it for smaller formats. The 45M I have heavily modified, both for 8x10 and 5x7, and special preferences. [I prefer an oversized lightsource.] The 45M is easily modified and lots of them are available. Lensboards are easy. You can use Beseler or Omega neg holders. If I had another CB7 for parts, I'd add the motorized focus to the 45M. Go with 45M because you can make it yours. Check that the up/down motor is strong and that the lower bellow is tight. I just changed my lower bellow (easy), but I've never had an issue with the motor and it must be 40 years old.

Robert Bowring
30-Mar-2017, 07:12
A drunken party! Never thought of that. Any party in my darkroom would have to be pretty small but I suppose they could do significant damage.

jose angel
30-Mar-2017, 11:10
Arca Andy, after using quite a few enlargers I really appreciate ease of alignment and the ability of keeping this adjustment.
John Layton explained it pretty well, based on my own experience I have to agree with him (although I don`t exactly have the mentioned models, but others based on the same design).

Michael Clark
30-Mar-2017, 12:44
The OP mentioned the Omega D2, which does not have the the variable condenser for use of different formats up to 4x5 and I think the D2 or DII does not have the filter drawer (you would have to use under the lens filter set up for V.C..The omega D2V does have these things mentioned above, as does the Bessler 4x5 MX.

Duolab123
31-Mar-2017, 21:06
If the price is right buy both! Both are great. I have accumulated a lot of Beseler stuff. I have one 45MXT set up with a VC head, and one with a dichro 45S color head. I bought my first one new in 1973, $400 US. I haven't used the condenser head for quite a while, but the Beseler has a nice filter drawer, you just adjust the condenser to film size. Lens boards are 4x4 inch and can be found cheap or made.
Best Regards Mike

arca andy
6-Apr-2017, 23:27
Again thanks for your excellent replies...though I am not sure about parties in my darkroom! I think I'll go for the Omega, I mean Beseler, no ...maybe I should get both?