View Poll Results: Omega D2 or Bessler 45 MXT

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  • Omega D2

    8 28.57%
  • Bessler 45 MXT

    20 71.43%
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Thread: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

  1. #1

    Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    Hi,
    I have been out of photography for a long time and might get started again. I have some basic questions.

    1) In this day and age, is trying to tool up to do film processing and printmaking worth it and viable with digital being allbthe rage?

    2) I have found locally an Omega D2 and Beseler 45 MXT in equal condition, either are $200.00, but the Beseler comes with a Beseler Universal 20 Easel, so the ad says. I have experience with similar, if not the exact same model of Omega, and I once bought new an Omega C 760 Dichro (which is another story), but no experience with any kind of Beseler enlarger. Which is the better one to get?

    Thanks,

    Danny
    Last edited by kaiserschmarrn; 9-Nov-2020 at 18:42.

  2. #2
    Eric Woodbury
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    Dec 2003
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    1,466

    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    Question one) Consider analog and digital print making to be two different art forms that are non-competitive. When photography matured long ago, painters didn't stop. When TV was invented, the radio didn't go away. When xerography was invented, the printing press didn't stop.

    Q2) I don't know much about Omega, but I've owned 6 Beselers and still have 3 of them. They are easy to modify to your liking.
    my picture blog
    ejwoodbury.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    15,390

    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    I gave away 3 Omega and paid real $$$ for 5 Beseler

    Then gave away one MX and regret that mistake

    Hate the Omega design
    2022

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    1) You should think of analog and digital work as two different things. I've enjoyed crafting B&W silver and pt/pd prints in my darkroom for 40 years. IMO, nothing beats a finely made B&W silver print! However, I don't do color in the darkroom so it's the desktop and digital workflow for that output.

    2) I've owned a Beseler 45MX for 40 years and it's a great tool that I still use to this day. Built like a tank! I've never owned an Omega D2, but my photo mentor had one and, according to him, you have to mount the Omega to a wall to ensure true stability. He thought the Beseler was better (ergo, why I bought one.)

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Wassenaar, NL
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    120

    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    I have had two serious enlargers in the past, a Leica V35 and a Beseler Mxt45. Sold both in 2008 and recently bought a Beseler MXT45 again, but with a whole darkroom with three lenses for all formats, etc. for 800€, which I found reasonable because I could start rightaway, even with papers.
    Your first question cannot be answered for you by others. It may depend on your history with wet printing, your curiosity, your eyes: do you see the value of a wet baryta print, do you prefer a darkroom workflow above sitting behind a computer screen, etc. If you have to ask others about this, I wonder what drives you to consider this. Although $200 is not the end of the story (films and good papers are not cheap these days), it is not such a lot of money that giving it a try will harm dramatically. You seem to ask: is it worth the trouble. Well you will get trouble for sure. Personally I find the results worth the trouble, and I prefer the kind of busy-ness above clicking a mouse.

  6. #6

    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    Does anything look obviously missing on either, particularly the Bessler? That looks like a lot of bellows on the D2. Is that correct?

    https://imgur.com/a/BSoGXTb

    https://imgur.com/a/u1QTApG

    I don't plan any digital photography, except for taking purposefully amateur looking shots from my cellular phone. Even though I have used the Omega 4x5 enlargers quite a lot, I am sort of hesitant to get one based on having bought a brand new Omega C760 many years ago. I did not have the best luck in getting it optically aligned. Maybe today, with my ability to do machining, I might have a bit more luck if I were to try that enlarger again.

    I have done color film processing and printing at home. I might be inclined to do it again.

    Danny

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    I started out with an Omega D and colorhead, used it for years, even when I also had much fancier enlargers too. I didn't see any Beselers in labs, but lots of Omega, at least for their garden variety enlargers. Some of them had far more expensive enlargers too. Nothing REAL $$$ is either Beseler or Omega. Big boy darkroom toys cost as much as big boy sportscars. But either brand is perfectly competent to make excellent prints, whether black and white or color (if it comes with a colorhead). Whatever you decide, get a 4x5 model instead of something smaller; it will prove way more versatile. Omega D 4x5 units are way more solid that the little C670, so don't worry about it getting out of whack once it's properly aligned. $200 isn't risky provided everything still works reliably. If not, it's not worth anything.

  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    When the counter-springs go on the Omega, they'll be difficult to find. I have a soft spot for Omega D5-XLs -- I kept a bank of them operational and aligned for a couple of decades. Also a bank of 23CIIs. I found them easy to keep aligned, as the students gave me plenty of practice...they had a habit of letting the head of the D5s drop hard on the negative stage. We had a couple Beseler 4x5's also. Of the two pictured, the Beseler would probably be my choice.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #9

    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    When the counter-springs go on the Omega, they'll be difficult to find. I have a soft spot for Omega D5-XLs -- I kept a bank of them operational and aligned for a couple of decades. Also a bank of 23CIIs. I found them easy to keep aligned, as the students gave me plenty of practice...they had a habit of letting the head of the D5s drop hard on the negative stage. We had a couple Beseler 4x5's also. Of the two pictured, the Beseler would probably be my choice.
    In looking back at a list of Omega models, the best that I can figure that I used a lot was the D-6 and possibly the D-5, by noticing the different rectangular filter drawer. There were two types in the lab at that time.

    Danny

  10. #10

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    Re: Some Darkroom questions, mostly on enlargers

    @: “That looks like a lot of bellows on the D2. Is that correct?”
    The bellows on the Beseler aren’t shorter, only one is folded on this photo. If they are both 4x5 printers, which they are, the total length is the same.
    If you want to work with variable contrast papers, I would check if there’s a drawer/tray for your filters (behind the part where the title is: 45 condensor etc.). I can’t see that very well on this photo. Otherwise you would need to put small filters under the lens, which is not ideal. Let alone if you want to start color printing.

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