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Thread: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

  1. #1
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    I'm in the process of expanding our unused kitchen pantry to create a dedicated darkroom space. I've recently acquired a "like new" Beseler 45V-XL enlarger with many extras. The extras include Beseler's wall-mounting hardware, which I intend to install. My darkroom has a maximum ceiling height of 8' (96") - I measured it this morning. I have a friend in the cabinet business who has offered to build me an enlarger base cabinet that will no only allow me to have a solid base for my easel, but it will also incorporate a paper safe and storage of the various Beseler enlarger accessories.

    Here is the $64 question: What height (floor to cabinet top) should I have my friend build the enlarger base cabinet so I can make 16"x20" prints from 120 and 4x5 negatives?

    As I've never used a Beseler 45V-XL before, any comments or suggestions are sincerely appreciated.

    Thank you;

    Jeff
    "I have this feeling of walking around for days with the wind knocked out of me." - Jim Harrison

  2. #2

    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    I fully extended my big enlarger and raised it to -almost- touch the ceiling. Then measure the distance to the floor.
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  3. #3
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Unkefer View Post
    I fully extended my big enlarger and raised it to -almost- touch the ceiling. Then measure the distance to the floor.
    Daniel - Unfortunately, my enlarger is not installed yet. So making such a measurement is not currently possible. I'm in the process of constructing the expansion of our unused kitchen pantry and I'm trying to get this measurement to my cabinetmaker friend so he can build the cabinet and have it ready to install at the same time that I install my enlarger.

    Also, what would I be measuring from to the distance from the floor and how would that measurement information help me determine the appropriate enlarger base cabinet height?
    "I have this feeling of walking around for days with the wind knocked out of me." - Jim Harrison

  4. #4

    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    I used a couple of adjustable sawhorses to raise the baseboard (with the enlarger fully extended) and raised it until the enlarger head was within an inch of the ceiling; then I measured from the underside of the baseboard to the floor.

    Not easy to do but it worked for me

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    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
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  5. #5

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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    You can get to 16x20 with a 45vxl using normal counter height (30"?) so I'd just go with whatever is comfortable to use, height-wise. Agreed it wouldn't hurt to mock something up in the meantime. Part of it will depend on which lenses you are using. Try with a 150mm for 4x5 and maybe a 90-105mm for 120.

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    It also depends on how big you want to print with what lens

    My Darkroom/old bedroom has 11' 6" ceiling.

    I wall mounted mine with base at 42" high, XL column bottom front 12" from wall with a removable base table so I can print huge if desired.

    I can also sit down in a normal chair with the table in place and print to 36 X 36", but never have.
    Tin Can

  7. #7
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    You can get to 16x20 with a 45vxl using normal counter height (30"?) so I'd just go with whatever is comfortable to use, height-wise. Agreed it wouldn't hurt to mock something up in the meantime. Part of it will depend on which lenses you are using. Try with a 150mm for 4x5 and maybe a 90-105mm for 120.
    Thanks Ed for your reply. I've got two 150mm enlarger lenses. An El-Nikkor f/5.6 (latest version) and a Schneider Componon-S f/5.6 (latest version). I'm looking for similar lenses for my 120 work. If I'm reading you correctly, I should be able to print 16"x20" with a 30" counter height? Please correct me if I've misunderstood.
    "I have this feeling of walking around for days with the wind knocked out of me." - Jim Harrison

  8. #8
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    It also depends on how big you want to print with what lens

    My Darkroom/old bedroom has 11' 6" ceiling.

    I wall mounted mine with base at 42" high, XL column bottom front 12" from wall with a removable base table so I can print huge if desired.

    I can also sit down in a normal chair with the table in place and print to 36 X 36", but never have.
    Thanks sir for your comments. I'm want to print up to 16"x20" with a 150mm lens for my 4x5 negatives.
    "I have this feeling of walking around for days with the wind knocked out of me." - Jim Harrison

  9. #9
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    Wall-mount the enlarger so the head when full raised goes to about 6" below the ceiling. Then have your cabinetmaker make a base cabinet with an adjustable shelf instead of a top, so you can set it high or low enough to make the size enlargements you want. Just make sure you can reach the focus knob on the head. It helps if the base is generous in size so you can position the easel if necessary for cropping at large sizes.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger Base Height - Beseler 45V-XL

    Bigger is always the American way

    16 X 20 is my favorite size, not too big and not too small

    Have fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    Thanks sir for your comments. I'm want to print up to 16"x20" with a 150mm lens for my 4x5 negatives.
    Tin Can

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