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Thread: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

  1. #1

    Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Last week, a friend gave me a 4x5 Beseler enlarger (I think an MXT) that was sitting in his shed for a decade. He thought it would be too bulky to transport anywhere to sell. I discovered they're fairly easy to take apart and have now brought it home. But when looking it over, I noticed the condenser can be set for all formats down to 35mm. I have 4x5 negatives, but also lots of 35mm negatives, and even some Minox negatives. But I also have Durst 35mm and 2 1/4" enlargers. Is it practical to use the big Beseler to enlarge these smaller formats, or would it be better to use the smaller enlargers also? I'm now setting up a darkroom for the first time in years, so I can go either way, but space will be at a premium.

    Also, my friend sold the lens from the Beseler long ago. How well would the 150 Symmar on my Wista view camera work as an enlarging lens for the big negatives? (I have a 2.8 EL Nikkor for the smaller ones).

    Mike Taglieri

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Historically the taking lens was used as enlarging lens, later specialized lenses became de rigueur

    I use a 135mm enlarging lens on 4X5

    105 mm lens on 2-1/4

    40 mm on 35mm

    prefering to use different enlargers all ready to go

    my Minox negs are long gone, yet I desperately wanted a Minox enlarger 63 years ago, I find Minox enlargers way too expensive now...

    Use what you got!
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  3. #3
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    It will work... You'll lose much of the light that won't be hitting the big film so it will be slower than a smaller enlarger with the same wattage, but that's generally OK.
    I have room for two enlargers so I use a Beseler for 4x5 and a Chromega-B (6x6cm) with 80mm for smaller stuff and contact prints. Since I have room, I think it's easier to use a smaller enlarger (easier to adjust, focus, see the color head settings, etc..)

  4. #4
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    The condenser bellows is adjustable for the format allowing it to focus the beam smaller when running it out to the 35mm end of the scale so you dont lose that much light. Its a very versatile enlarger, you just need the proper lenses, and filters if you have a condenser head. Its handy to have alternate heads, I have a condenser I use most of the time for B&W and a Dichro DG for when I feel like doing color. Some folks prefer the diffusion head tor everything.

  5. #5

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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    The 150 lens you have will work, but a process lens like a Schneider 150 G-Claron would fair better as its optimized for the magnification ratios you'll be working at with 4x5. A 150 enlarging lens would be the next step up, IMO. Don't know anything about the condensers on an MXT as I use an Aristo VC Cold Light head which sits immediately above the negative, regardless of size. I thought you had to have different condensers for each size of film?

    Oops...forgot to speak to enlarging 35mm on the MXT. The only issue I've ever had with 35mm is focusing the negative when making larger prints. I, eventually, wound up getting a focus extension thingy that makes it much easier and more precise.
    Last edited by Alan9940; 30-Sep-2020 at 08:25. Reason: Additional comment

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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Alan9940-"Focus extension thingy"??? Extended lensboard?

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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFujicaman View Post
    Alan9940-"Focus extension thingy"??? Extended lensboard?
    Likely a cable extension for the focusing knob so one doesn't have to reach way above their head with one hand while trying to look through the grain magnifier; a fairly common accessory.

    @OP,

    Enlarging lenses are cheap. You can pick up a 150mm for not to much. I'd recommend you go with a dedicated enlarging lens for a couple of reasons: the shutter on your taking lens will just get in the way. Mounting is a bit of a pain too, especially changing the lens back-and-forth from lensboards for taking/enlarging, and, an enlarging lens will give you better results. Look for good lenses from the big four: Schneider Companon (not the cheaper Comparon), Rodenstock Rodagon, EL Nikkor or Fuji EX lenses. Check out this thread on Photrio: https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...-names.178273/

    And, yes, there are 135mm lenses for 4x5 as well, just make sure they are intended for 4x5 first: they'll enable a larger print on the baseboard, but have more light fall-off at the edges; I prefer 150mm for 4x5.

    Best,

    Doremus

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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Miket, the 45MXT is a reliable workhorse. I use one with a Zone VI VC head for formats up to 4x5. I've got 50, 80, 105, 150 lenses. For large prints from MF as well as 4x5 & 5x7 I use my Durst 138 because it stays in alignment better than the Beseler & I have a drop -bed table. As mentioned, you can get enlarging lenses on ebay for example for as little as $40-50. My lenses are mostly Rodagons, but I have a 210 Componon for 5x7 and a very fine Fuji EBC 75 on Durst boards.

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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFujicaman View Post
    Alan9940-"Focus extension thingy"??? Extended lensboard?
    http://store.khbphotografix.com/Flex...Enlargers.html

    Not cheap, but it sure makes focusing much easier and precise when the enlarger head is up high. When printing 35mm, for example, even at a moderate enlargement size of 8x12" I find it difficult to look through the grain magnifier while trying to turn the focus knob precisely. With this extension, the right hand sits comfortably near easel level and the extension is easily attached/detached; I don't leave it attached when not printing.

  10. #10

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    Re: Use 4x5 Beseler for smaller film?

    Like stated in post #3, if you have room for two enlargers, I'd keep the smaller one, if not then just use the 45. L

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