Darkroom Enlargers

Two key machines of photography are the camera and the enlarger.
The enlarger is the central component of a darkroom. It is used to make prints from your negative. Most darkroom work has been monochrome, black and white (B&W). An enlarger is simple complexity.
A light source, a film carrier, and a lens are the points of the enlarger system. Each enlarger maker solved the problem of holding a piece of film in the light path in few variations. Common enlargers in the US were Omega and Beseler.
Other companies: Durst, DeVere, Kaiser, LPL, Saltzman, ZBE.


Beseler 45 Enlargers

The Beseler coding is….

  • M= Motorized elevation.
  • X= X shaped reinforcing rear struts.
  • C= Originally came with condenser head, with filter drawer.
  • R= Originally came with Resistrol (an adjustable dimmer for the enlarging lamp)
  • T= Turret ready (the newest lens stage & untapered square focusing bellows) These are improved for focussing & more adjustable for alignment.
  • D= Originally came with a Dichroic color head.
  • The CB-7 was the chassis with power focus, elevation and  built-in timer; controlled from the front.

Beseler made 1) condenser, 2) diffusion, 3) point light as well as the 4) tricolor 45A light heads. The other brands also had the first 3 head styles. The Beseler 45A was a product of Beseler-Minolta with Minolta doing most of the production.

Beseler 45 Colorhead

Two versions: the dichro 45 with LED readouts to the left of the switches and dials. It is labeled “dichro 45 color computer.” This is the one that has problems with turn-on time delay in many production units. The other unit is the 45S, a manual operate unit without LEDs. The display/readout is above the dials. It is still listed for sale ($2,300) but is often “out of stock.” Repairing the dichro 45 is dependent upon electronic technician’s diagnostic skill and ingenuity with replacement parts.

Error symptom of the dichro 45 head: doesn’t light immediately. You start the timing cycle, and the lamp doesn’t start. Eventually, it will not light. Upon examining the enlarger bulbs they seem good; maybe you’ve even replaced them with known good bulbs. This is the reason most units are scrapped. A part on the board is defective. That part is a “vactrol,” an optical isoloator with a neon bulb in it. This neon lamp has burned out. Since it is in a sealed can, you won’t see it. A small fix for a technician. One giant pain for the average darkroom printer.


Beseler Negative Carriers


1 5/8 x 15/8″ 4×4 127 film


6×6 120 film


2-1/4 x 3-1/4″ Film Pack


2.25″ x 3.25″ (6×9) 120 film


2.25″ x 3.25″ Sheet Film


2.25″ x 4.25″ Roll film


3-1/4 x 4-1/4″ Film Pack


3.25″ x 4.25″ Roll film


3.25″ x 4.25″  Sheet Film (H 3


9x12cm Sheet Film


4×5″ Pack FIlm


4×5″ Sheet Film (H54CN)


Minolta 16 – 12 x 17mm


126 film 28mm x 28mm


6×7 roll film


Hasselblad 70mm 2 1/8 x 2 1/8″


35mm Negatrans (4×5 enlargers only)


2-1/4″ x 2-1/4″ Negatrans (4×5 enlargers only)


645 120 film


110 film


Kodak Disc Film


Negaflat 4×5


4×5″ Sheet Film Glass carrier


Universal Glass carrier


4×5 Universal Anti-Newton Glas


3-1/4″ x 4-1/4″ Glass Lantern Slides


2″ x 10″ Glassless Carrier


2.25″ x 2.25″ Glass Carrier


2.25″ x 3.25″ Glass Carrier


Polaroid Type 665 73x95mm


XPan 24x65mm 35mm film Panaora

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