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Thread: Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 1998
    Fairfield County, CT (near NYC)

    Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX

    I have an ancient battleship of a Beseler 45MX enlarger that I'm sure will outlive me. Especially if I curse any more about the stiff focusing. I've tried WD40,. etc but nothing seems to faze it. One of my most onerous darkroom tasks is focusing precisely on the grain with a knob that almost always overshoots the target. I'm sure there is a magic solution I do not know. Thanks in advance to the wizards that know!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX

    Hi John, From what I have been told, the Beseler 45MX uses a geared mechanism for fine focusing. Are you certain that the overshooting of the target that you are experiencing isn't being caused by the gears jumping? If so, there may be an add-on fine focusing accessory available that will solve the problem. I know that Omega enlargers are designed with a non-geared fine focusing mechanism, expressly to avoid gear jump.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Westport Island, Maine

    Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX

    Some clever person recently told me that if one uses the knob on the raising-and-lowering motor as a fine focus, then all is well. I have cursed my Beseler's clumsy focusing for 20 years and never thought to try that. It seems to work!

    Now that I have a solution I am happy, if sheepish.

    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"

  4. #4
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX

    My beseler's in a box right now, but i think i remember little adjustment screws on the plastic guides that slide up and down the focussing track. you might be able to loosen those a bit to get less grab.

    it the action is uneven, it might be gummed up. get rid of the wd-40 ... it's nasty stuff. it will attract dirt and eventually it will solidify into a sticky sludgy material.

    i'd recommend a good bike lube like finish line, that goes on wet and then dries to a waxy texture.

  5. #5

    Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX

    Facing the enlarger, there is a little knob just left of center that adjusts the tension on the shaft that has the focusing knobs attached to it. Beseler calls it the "lens stage brake." It might be grabbing the shaft and need to be cleaned and lubed. I agree that WD-40 would not be a good choice. The Beseler owners manual states: "...lubricants require replenishment and we recommend that you apply a small amount of LUBRIPLATE to the sliding surfaces of your enlarger frequently." I bought a can of Lubriplate (a light colored grease) when I bought my Beseler 32 years ago and have had no problems. It still focuses smoothly.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 1998

    Sticky focusing on Beseler 45MX


    There is one more thing that you need to check on your 45MX. On the backside of the plate that houses the focussing knob, you will see four set screws and locking nuts (2 on each side). These screws adjust the gear lash with the focusing rack (the geared vertical surface on which the enlarger head moves up and down). If these set screws are too loose, the gears will jump when attempting to fine focus. Adjust these so that when you grasp the focuser housing and try to wiggle it, there is not an excessive amount of play, yet the housing is still able to move smoothly. Hope this helps.

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