View Full Version : conversion of Beseler vs Zone VI

Herb Cunningham
10-Jul-2006, 05:39
As my motto is "nothing in moderation" I have a durst 184 and a Beseler 45 condenser


I find that most of my 8x10 work is contact printing, and the style of my prints will be an occasional 11x14. In the year the darkroom has been up and running, I have yet to be interested in a 16x20 print.

The durst takes up a ton of space, and I was curious about converting the Beseler to say 5x7 or picking up a smaller 5x7 enlarger, like a Zone VI.
I would either get rid of the Durst or store it.

The question: how do conversion kits work? I beleive they are all cold light, something I have never used, being a fan of condensers.

Also, how difficult is it to switch between condenser and the conversion?

Louis Jensen
10-Jul-2006, 06:01
Sometime you need to make some 16x20 prints. They are a pleasure to your eyes. A digital print cannot compare to them.

Eric Woodbury
10-Jul-2006, 09:11
To convert a Beseler 45 to 810 requires adding a 12x12 box above the negative stage where the condenser is now. It is really pretty simple. To make it possible for the head to clear the stand as you raise and lower, the entire assembly is offset (away from the stand and closer to the operator by about 2.5") on the motor bracket that moves. Otherwise, the head will not clear the top of the stand where the sides are connected. Yes, a coldlight is added to the top of this. The one I have has the transformer outside the head so that the enlarger doesn't have to raise and lower the weight of the transformer. And if you are using a coldlight, you will need an integrating timer for consistant exposure.

It would be a real pain to go back and forth between condenser and coldlight with this setup. I run one enlarger with the 8x10 head that does all the work except 35mm. Then I have another for 35mm that has the condenser in place. One could print 35mm with the coldlight if necessary; it's just not as bright as I'd like it.

Didn't Beseler make a 5x7 version of this enlarger? Maybe Omega. Zone VI are rare and hard to find parts.