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View Full Version : Where to put filters in my new Beseler 45M



TroyG
8-Aug-2017, 07:44
Hi everyone! I just came into ownership of a Beseler 45M enlarger and, after some work, its in good working order! The only thing I can't seem to understand is where to put Multigrade filters. I don't appear to have the Besecolor head, that has a slot for plastic filters of considerable size according to the manual. The only place thats designated for filters is a "filter drawer" right behind the lens. It holds 2-1/4" filters that are round.

So unless I am missing something I can only think of two options:
1) Buy the 6x6 filters and simply rest them on the negative carrier, directly above the negative.
2) Buy the 3-1/2" filter set and cut them down to 2-1/4" to stick in the small filter drawer directly above the lens.

I would think option two would make the most sense but Im unsure about putting a filter between the negative and the paper. Also, theres a metal mesh that holds the filter, but I lose a fair amount of light because of that mesh.

Any help is appreciated!

Jac@stafford.net
8-Aug-2017, 09:36
There are two different kinds of below-lens holder for the Beseler 45, one for the M and one for the turret lens holder. For the M I would consider this one (http://store.khbphotografix.com/Under-Lens-Filter-Holder-for-Beseler-23C-and-45M-series-Enlargers.html). You must drill your own holes (2) or use an industrial adhesive.

I use an under-lens Ilford Multigrade Filter holder and it's just fine. If you find one that clamps to the lens with three screws, there is another way to mount it. Can mention later.

John Dey
8-Aug-2017, 09:39
Your Beseler 45 will have two sets of bellows. One to focus with and the other to adjust the height of the condensors. Above the second set of bellows is a door about 1" by 6" which is hidged and filips up. Late model 45M will have the 45M logo on this cover. Older ones which are dark gray will be blank. 168007

TroyG
8-Aug-2017, 10:41
Jac, Thanks for the suggestions! If the filters after the lens are good, they should be fine just before the lens in the filter drawer, ya? In which case, I'll just cut the filters to fit in the drawer.

John, I do not have that on mine. The light head/condenser lens assemble sits directly upon the first set of bellows on top of the negative stage.
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Jac@stafford.net
8-Aug-2017, 10:47
Jac, Thanks for the suggestions! If the filters after the lens are good, they should be fine just before the lens in the filter drawer, ya? In which case, I'll just cut the filters to fit in the drawer.

I prefer using a filter drawer if the enlarger has one. The reason is the filter is far enough away from the lens to be out of focus. A filter in front of the lens (between the lens and paper stage) must be close to the lens to be out of focus. A filter close behind the lens tends to become part of the optics for which the lens was not designed.

Doremus Scudder
8-Aug-2017, 11:11
Using clean filters in the filter holder just behind the lens will be fine. Just make sure you have good, optical-quality filters. As for the metal mesh or screen: there should not be one. Maybe someone has installed one for some reason or other. Remove it before using filters there; it will degrade the optical quality. There should be nothing in the optical path except the (quality) filter.

Beseler used to make a set of VC filters in black plastic frames to fit this holder. These were convenient and held the filters stiff, facilitating insertion/removal. There are cardboard filter frames available that accomplish about the same thing, but using the filter without a frame works just fine too.

Best,

Doremus

Michael Clark
8-Aug-2017, 12:13
The metal mesh screen was an diffusion add on, for softer prints.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Aug-2017, 12:39
Using clean filters in the filter holder just behind the lens will be fine.

That piqued my interest. I've never disagreed with Doremus' suggestions, so perhaps I have another lesson to learn, but first let us qualify. "In the filter holder" suggests the enlarger designer placed the holder far enough away from the lens, which I would probably agree with the design. However, placing a filter on, or very close to the lens rear element is a mistake.

In the OP's case it appears he has no dedicated filter drawer, so I interpreted his statement to 'place the filter on the lens rear element' which I find disadvantageous.

:) It is good to have gone so long into photography that we entertain nuances. Thank you, Doremus.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Aug-2017, 12:45
The metal mesh screen was an diffusion add on, for softer prints.

Do we focus with the soft filter in place? (I never use them. Forgive my ignorance.)

John Dey
8-Aug-2017, 13:45
Jac, Thanks for the suggestions! If the filters after the lens are good, they should be fine just before the lens in the filter drawer, ya? In which case, I'll just cut the filters to fit in the drawer.

John, I do not have that on mine. The light head/condenser lens assemble sits directly upon the first set of bellows on top of the negative stage.
168014

It looks like you have an aftermarket cold light head or some other type of light source. I do not reconize it, but the old Arista Cold light heads have a plan aluminum finish similar to yours. You should check which type of light source you have. It might have a label on it somewhere. Very old Arista cold light heads only work well with fixed grade paper so using filters is a moot point. Let us know what you find.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Aug-2017, 14:32
[...] Very old Arista cold light heads only work well with fixed grade paper so using filters is a moot point.

I did not know that. Add another super caution to my list. I did luck out by buying a case of enlarging bulbs long ago.

I will learn more about Arista cold heads.

TroyG
8-Aug-2017, 14:39
John, Im not by it right now, I will be tomorrow though and I will inspect. The head is branded Beseler.
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Heres the page from the manual. My head looks exactly like the one pictured here except without the drawer. Its as if it got unscrewed from the drawer segment and that part went the way of the dodo.

The "Filter drawer" I am saying I do have is Item number 10 in the manual. Small slide out drawer for a small filter directly behind the lens.

Michael, interesting! I tried to pry it out and it seemed like it was permanent but perhaps it was just stuck. Ill try to pop it out. Didn't seem right to have it there, but being that this is my first personal enlarger I couldn't say for sure.

LabRat
8-Aug-2017, 16:06
The filter behind the lens is for the red filter, not for MG or color filters...

I'm sure you can purchase another condenser head housing online (with the filter drawer) for very little $$$, so look for that first... The very early units may not have the drawer, as that was earlier before home color printing was common (where a CP filter could be placed)...

You can also make a lamphouse adapter tube where you can mount an inexpensive 6X6 color head at the same height where the old lamp would have been, and you can dial in a full range of colors for B/W and color printing...

Then there's those PC filter holders that screw under/on the lens and a filter set (now probably under a few bucks online)...

Steve K

AtlantaTerry
8-Aug-2017, 18:30
John, Im not by it right now, I will be tomorrow though and I will inspect. The head is branded Beseler.
168032
Heres the page from the manual. My head looks exactly like the one pictured here except without the drawer. Its as if it got unscrewed from the drawer segment and that part went the way of the dodo.

The "Filter drawer" I am saying I do have is Item number 10 in the manual. Small slide out drawer for a small filter directly behind the lens.

Michael, interesting! I tried to pry it out and it seemed like it was permanent but perhaps it was just stuck. Ill try to pop it out. Didn't seem right to have it there, but being that this is my first personal enlarger I couldn't say for sure.

#3A "Bescolor Compartment" is where you ideally want to place filters. This is so the light will be modified before it hits the negative or transparency.

IMHO, you do not want any filter in the image path so I would not use #10. Although when I was a newspaper photographer, that is exactly where we used them. LOL!

If you manage to find a head with #3A try to be sure it comes with a small metal frame to hold the gels. When I owned my 4x5" Omega enlargers, I used gels for color and B&W printing. It was a square metal frame so I assume Besseler used one as well. I believe mine was 5" square. Those Kodak gels were expensive back then and I suppose now they are more rare than hen's teeth.

I have a friend who owns a 4x5" Beseler; I just sent him an email asking if his has a metal frame for #3A.

A few places to look for a Beseler head assembly:
Wing's Camera - Atlanta, Georgia
Quality Camera - Atlanta, Georgia
KEH - Marietta, Georgia
Columbus Camera Group - Columbus, Ohio
There are probably more that others here will suggest...

HMG
9-Aug-2017, 08:26
It looks like you have an aftermarket cold light head or some other type of light source. I do not reconize it, but the old Arista Cold light heads have a plan aluminum finish similar to yours. You should check which type of light source you have. It might have a label on it somewhere. Very old Arista cold light heads only work well with fixed grade paper so using filters is a moot point. Let us know what you find.

Older Aristo heads (don't know which ones you're referring to by "very older") will work with VC paper if you add a CC30y or (preferably) a CC40y filter. There has been discussion of this on this forum. May not be perfect in terms of the contrast range, but still very usable.

Doremus Scudder
9-Aug-2017, 11:15
The small filter drawer (#10 in the illustration posted above) was indeed intended for VC filters along with the red filter. Beseler made a boxed set of VC filters that fit this drawer. I have a set still, nicely packaged in an old blond Beseler box with the Beseler logo all over it. The filters are of optical quality and in black plastic frames. Slots in the box hold them from touching one another. Ilford makes VC filters in optical quality nowadays and these could easily be cut to fit and/or put in frames to fit in the #10 filter slot. Sure, the ideal case would be to have no filter in the optical path. That said, no one worries about putting a quality filter on a camera lens; nor should they worry about using one when enlarging. Heck, VC filters in front of the lens in a clip-on or swing-arm holder are very common and they are in the optical path. A filter behind the lens will add no more degradation than one in front. One caveat: since the filter is behind the lens in this configuration, focusing should be done with the filter in place for the most exact results.

Best,

Doremus

MrFujicaman
10-Aug-2017, 10:01
What I did was find Series VI slip-on adapters for my enlarger lenses and then I epoxied a series 6 retaining ring to the filter holder. When it stops raining her, I'll wander out to the darkroom and take some pictures.

MrFujicaman
11-Aug-2017, 12:36
Okay, I got out to the darkroom and took a few pictures of my Polycontrast filter holder setup. I glued a series 6 to 7 step up ring to the filter holder. The series 6 lens adapters screw on to the series 6 threads.168184168185

I use series 6 slip on adapters for my lenses. FYI- a 37mm slip on will fit both a 50mm f4 El-Nikkor and a 80mm f5.6 El-Nikkor.

For larger lenses, you might have to glue a series 7 retaining ring to the filter holder and use series 7 adapters on the lens.

Jac@stafford.net
11-Aug-2017, 13:05
That should work!

Bob Salomon
11-Aug-2017, 14:05
That should work!

Unless you want to do split grade filtratin. You can have a lot of vibration, not to mention possibly focus changes, handling the lens to change filters.

Jac@stafford.net
11-Aug-2017, 14:08
Unless you want to do split grade filtratin. You can have a lot of vibration, not to mention possibly focus changes, handling the lens to change filters.

Oh, Bob! Have we not adopted the one beer between filter change regime?

esearing
20-Aug-2017, 05:51
Ilford makes a filter set with filter holder that fits under the lens. Easy to swap filters for split grade printing. It can clamp onto the lens with 3 thumb screws or can hang from the lens board.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/24675-REG/Ilford_1762617_Multigrade_Filter_Set_with.html

eberry_tapes
31-Aug-2017, 19:59
I use the #10 slot with Ilford filters that I cut to size. I don't love it, but it works just fine for me.

TroyG
1-Sep-2017, 17:06
Hey, gang, just an update! I did end up just cutting the filters to fit in the drawer I have. It works plenty and doesn't affect image at all. I made little paper holders for them that work sufficiently. Thanks for the input!

xkaes
1-Sep-2017, 18:02
Although I have a set of the rigid resin (?) Ilford filters for UTL (Under The Lens) filtration -- both my MXII and CB7 have the swinging filter holder -- I try to use the BTC (Between The Condensers) filter slot for the reasons mentioned.

The MXII has a filter holder/cradle for the BTC filters -- 6" filters -- which are easy to get.

The CB7, however, does not have a filter holder/cradle for the BTC filters -- and takes 7" filters. The next largest size of Ilford filters I could find was 12" -- I guess they are for 8x10 enlargers. I got a "good enough" price on a set after searching forever, but they work just fine. Maybe when I find some time, I'll make a filter holder/cradle for the CB7, like the MXII model. Who knows why Beseler never made one for the CB7.

However, I am going to stick with the UTL (Under The Lens) filters when I use my Point Light Source since it "melts" anything in its path in no time at all -- even when using heat absorbing glass!!!