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Tom Sackett , Nov 21, 2008; 10:56 a.m.

I am a total newbe at home processing. I guess i need a short primer on using photo enlargers.I want to buy one on e-bay and make prints at home fron negatives done at a lab.


Michael Howard , Nov 21, 2008; 11:17 a.m.

Are you talking b/w, or color also? If just b/w, you should really consider developing the film yourself as well. It is inexpensive and simple, and gives you much greater control over the end product. Printing the negs is the more complicated part of the process. It is not a bad time to get into, though, considering the equipment is now pennies on the dollar used. I suggest going to the local library and perusing the books on photography and darkroom techniques, this should give you a good basic grounding, and most books have good lists of items you will need and basic processes. One book you should look for, is The Amatuer Photographer's Handbook, by Aaron Sussman. This is an older book which is great for those who want to get their hands wet. I've read it aboout a million times.

As far as enlargers go, I would recommend a Beseler 23C, being very common, well built, cheap, and easy to use. Others I'm sure will mention Omega or other brands, and they are just as good. One thing to consider on an enlarger is what film sizes you will be using, 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, large format, etc. The 23C will handle up to 6x7.

Good luck!

Ishi P , Nov 21, 2008; 11:59 a.m.

I started with a Durst F60. Absolutely fine.

While on eBay you could spend a few pounds on an enlarging book, or you can easily find basic instructions on the net by just goggling “Home Film Enlarging” ect

It is real easy to do and you may also enjoy it a lot.

Brooks Gelfand , Nov 21, 2008; 12:30 p.m.

I agree with Michael, the Beseler 23CII or 23CIII condenser enlarger is just about "bullet proof" i.e. it is a quality enlarger that is very rugged.

When you purchase, be sure it comes complete with enlarger, base board, enlarger head (I like the condenser head. There is very little that can go wrong with it), lens board, lens, negative carriers, and timer. Try to get a good lens - my preference is for EL-Nikkor lenses, 50mm f/2.8 for 35mm and 80mm f/4 for 6x6.

E-bay may not be the best place to purchase an enlarger. Shipping costs can easily exceed the cost of a used enlarger. Check in your local area first.

Jon Shiu , Nov 21, 2008; 01:18 p.m.

I agree, it is best to look in your local area to avoid shipping/assembly/damage. Check craigslist.org for your area, or ask around. There are usually tons of old enlargers sitting around that aren't being used anymore.


Nick Clarke , Nov 22, 2008; 05:28 a.m.

I would take the comment about what film sizes you will be using a little bit further and suggest you buy an enlarger that will accomodate the whole range of sizes you might conceivably use in the future. The reasoning behind this is that in the past it was easy to upgrade to a larger (or smaller) format, but with the reduction in film use, the range of equipment available has plummetted. Look now for the MF or LF enlarger that will also accomodate 35mm that you may need - you may not have the choice in a couple of years or so.


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