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Thread: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

  1. #1

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    Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    Next week i'm going to go look at a Beseler 57MB with a cold light head. I don't know if there is a negative carrier with it or if any of it even works.

    What should I be looking for, testing, checking or looking out for? I had pretty much given up on a 5x7 enlarger but this one popped up on craigslist so I'll check it out.

    Here's the Craigslist link with pictures (hope thats OK to put in)
    You can't teach an old dog new tech's!

  2. #2
    Bill Kostelec
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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    The struts come out the front beside the baseboard. I have one, and removed those struts to attach the enlarger to the wall. With the struts in place I could not use my bigger easels but with them gone I can use a 20x24. The original cold light head was not very good but I put an Aristo head on and the enlarger works very well.

  3. #3

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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    Quote Originally Posted by photonsoup View Post
    Next week i'm going to go look at a Beseler 57MB with a cold light head. I don't know if there is a negative carrier with it or if any of it even works.

    What should I be looking for, testing, checking or looking out for? I had pretty much given up on a 5x7 enlarger but this one popped up on craigslist so I'll check it out.

    Here's the Craigslist link with pictures (hope thats OK to put in)
    That is quite a phone number.

  4. #4

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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    My Uncle uses one of those with 5x7 negatives and really likes it. Says the light on his is dim and he'll replace the light head with an LED setup one of these days. Other than that it is Beseler all the way. Works nice and is reliable. He wall mounted it so could do larger prints with an adjustable baseboard system he made.

    After looking, are you sure this is set for 5x7? The cold light head on his is flat and a grid. Double check on the size before you commit. Not saying it isn't 5x7, just that the one I have seen and worked with has a different head setup.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  5. #5

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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    You have several things here. Two of them are stamped into the metal "Property of the US Government". You might want to be careful with those. Then, if I remember correctly - it has been 50 odd years, the 303 bulb was tungsten, not fluorescent. And that variac wouldn't work on a cold light head.
    It looks like there are 5" roll film spools in one picture so this could be an enlarger that was used for aerial photography.

  6. #6

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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    Boy, it looks almost exactly the same as my Beseler CB7, but the CB7 only handles 4x5 and smaller. Still, is has a condenser that has a wider diameter than the Beseler 45's. I assume that gives more even illumination or something. Why else would they do it?

    Some, but not all, of my various Beseler heads are interchangeable between the two. Fortunately, my point light source head fits on both, but my 45 colorhead won't fit on the CB7. It's basically that any head designed for the CB7 will fit on the 45's, but not the other way around. I quess they called it a CB7 because the condenser has a diamter of 7", not that it handles 5x7 film. As I recall, the 45's have 6 inch condensers, but I'm not in the darkroom now, and it's been a LONG time since I measured them. I know that the slide-in filters ABOVE the condenser for the 45's are too smallfor the CB7, but several years ago I found some NEW 12 inch variable contrast ABOVE the condenser filters that I cut to size.

    Does anyone happen to know the differences between the 57MB and the CB7?

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    The cold head looks like a graflarger to me. Probably a separate item.

  8. #8

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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    I had a 5x7 Besseler enlarger in my darkroom for a while to decide if I wanted to buy it. The color of the cold light was not suitable for variable contrast paper. I'm sure someone here can explain the reason better than I can. I passed on it because of that.
    The other problem was dry rot of the wiring. The jacket on the cable would crack and crumble if I bent the cable, leaving bare wire exposed. Not hard to fix if you're handy with that sort of thing.
    I hope this helps.
    Chuck

  9. #9

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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    Quote Originally Posted by xkaes View Post
    Boy, it looks almost exactly the same as my Beseler CB7, but the CB7 only handles 4x5 and smaller. Still, is has a condenser that has a wider diameter than the Beseler 45's. I assume that gives more even illumination or something. Why else would they do it?

    Some, but not all, of my various Beseler heads are interchangeable between the two. Fortunately, my point light source head fits on both, but my 45 colorhead won't fit on the CB7. It's basically that any head designed for the CB7 will fit on the 45's, but not the other way around. I quess they called it a CB7 because the condenser has a diamter of 7", not that it handles 5x7 film. As I recall, the 45's have 6 inch condensers, but I'm not in the darkroom now, and it's been a LONG time since I measured them. I know that the slide-in filters ABOVE the condenser for the 45's are too smallfor the CB7, but several years ago I found some NEW 12 inch variable contrast ABOVE the condenser filters that I cut to size.

    Does anyone happen to know the differences between the 57MB and the CB7?
    Obviously one is a 45 and the other a 57. Besides that the CB7 has the controls on the front edge of the baseboard. No other Beseler enlarger had that feature and once the old guy in the East Orange factory died so did the CB7. He was the only one in the factory that knew how to make it and he made every one of them and never trained a replacement, or an assistant. I was Product Manager for the enlargers in 1970 or 71 and that included the CB7.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Going to look at a Beseler 57MB

    You are looking at 2 different things. I think the chassis and neg stage is 57MB, with a CB7 condenser head dropped on it. It won't cover 5x7 as shown.

    The CB7 as already stated is only for 4x5, but with a larger condenser for better 4x5 neg corner projection. It also has many more features than the shown chassis. Power focus for one.

    I have 2 CB7 with 3 heads and I have a working 57MB head without the same chassis as in the third pic. I junked that chassis.

    The first picture does look like the wrinkle paint on a 57MB head, but it's a sorry beast.

    If you can contact the guy, go look, but be careful. CB7's are great and 57MB as originally sold are not.

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