The American made Beseler 23CIII-XL Enlarger is one of the world’s most popular medium format enlargers. Well over half a million have been purchased since. Hey everyone! I was wondering what your thoughts on this enlarger are? I am looking to purchase it, it comes with EL-Nikkor 75mm lens f4 – f I have an offer from someone who is selling a Beseler 23C II that is in VGC. It includes a Beseler 50 mm EL (I plan on getting a nikkor, Rodagon, etc at a later .

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Save Cancel Drag to set position! Overview Discussions Photos Members Map. Two years ago I was fortunate to acquire this enlarger from a friend. It’s been mounted in my darkroom for a year and I’ve tinkered with it here and there but have yet to produce or try to make a print.

The reason for this being that the emitting light is quite dim and also out of focus. The enlarger is physically setup appropriately, things adjusted according to the manual, etc.

I have it set to height for 35mm negs. The problem I’m ui is when I move the paper further than a few inches from the lens the image loses all focus and contrast.

Beseler 23CII Enlarger

Seems it may be a bit too dim as well, but having never used an enlarger before is probably not helping matters. The goal here is to print an 8x I’ve scoured the Internet for hours but alas I’m at a loss of what to do. Any tips on how to get this ticking would be great! Focus depends on 2 things 1 – The focus knob on the enlarger to focus the image. If this does nothing to the image, check if the lens is moving at all. If it is stuck, you need to service clean, lube and adjust the focusing mechanism.

If the lens is too far from the lens board, then you cannot focus at any distance. To focus you need to open the lens to its brightest setting. Then close down to the setting to expose the paper. Check that you are using the proper light bulb, and that the bulb and lamp housing are clean, and not coated with dust. Check that the heat absorbing glass is clean.

Dan Grenier Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Dan Grenier member 6 years ago. Based on your description, it sounds like you are just moving the head up and down via the ‘elevation handle’. This sizes your enlargement in conjunction with your easel. To focus, you move the lens stage, attached to bellows, up and down with the focus knob. As mentioned above, it’s easiest to focus with your lens wide open. Again, based on your description it appears that you are sizing, but not focusing.


It’s a nice enlarger. George in Georgia USA 6 years ago. The 23c can enlarge several different negative sizes by changing the lens and adjusting the condensor placement. You’ll see an adjustment knob for that above the negative stage. This might be part of your problem. This link should give you a pdf of the manual for this enlarger: I hope it works, if not google beseler 23c ii manual.

The manual tells how to use it, how to align, etc. You really need it. The 23c is a fine machine! Many years ago as I struggled to use lesser gear I lusted after it, but couldn’t afford it. Recently I found one second hand at a good price. Nice to have a dream realized. With any care it will last “forever.

AtlantaTerry 6 years ago. I’ve seen 4×5 Beselers and Omegas with dichroic color heads going for a couple hundred bucks. AtlantaTerry Posted 6 years ago.

Beseler 23C II Enlarger Thoughts? | ThePhotoForum: Film & Digital Photography Forum

Edited by AtlantaTerry member 6 years ago. You then turn off the light and stop down to about f8 beeeler so to make the actual enlargement.

Look under where the negative goes near the lens and beselrr should see a small black knob which when turned causes the lens to move toward or away from the film carrier and thereby focuses the image on the paper easel. BTW, for 35mm negatives you want a 50mm or longer lens.

What is the focal length marked on your lens? A 60mm or 75mm lens would also work for 35mm film, you will just have to raise the head a bit higher. But there are advantages to using a longer focal length lens: Hey Atlanta Terry – I was just reporting the facts!

I bought my “Precious” second hand a couple years ago 2c far, far less than a new one. I didn’t make myself clear on that, but Ii glad that we “filmsters” watch out for each other. George in Georgia USA: Thanks besfler for your tips and information, I highly appreciate it! I have opened the aperture fully, the problem seems to lie in the condenser mechanism not focusing. Can’t wait to get it working, it’s been set up such a long time. On a side note, does anyone have experience playing with halftones using this enlarger?

I have an old Kodak halftone screen lying around that would be fun to play with. This is below the enlarger. The condenser is above the negative, just below the lamp. You have to adjust this based on the lens you use. But this is not focusing the image, you do that with the focusing knob to move the lens. bseler

Beseler 23C II Enlarger Thoughts?

I wish I was in the Atlanta area. I browse Craigslist Atlanta sometimes and have seen some really nice bargains. I’m up here in Charlotte and the same crap is listed day in and day out. People don’t get the hint that it’s either over priced or nobody wants it. Iii you, I will play with that tonight! Haven’t had a chance to tackle it yet, darn back spasms!


Maybe if you check the free sections you’ll have better luck? Sometimes people here will list their old equipment just to get rid of it because it’s taking up space, and they think that because it’s somewhat antiquated that it’s worthless.

Also if you have a dump or landfill with a recycling center you can find some great stuff there, il stores as well. At the center here I pulled out a light box, bunch of 4×5 film backs, 4 dev tanks, cameras and a ton of other cool stuff!

Make sure your using a grain magnifier to insure its in focus! It will look out of focus to the naked eye period! Look at the manual and it will explain the lense focus adjustment. Ill make you a great deal on a very good used one I have two! I also scored a new old stock 23d f 2. This can still be bedeler new for For future reference to anyone with a similar issue: Figured out the focuser on the Beseler was jammed so popped the lid off the back of the knobs.

It wasn’t moving when the knobs are turned, the gears aren’t grabbing the shafts for one reason or another. For now it can be beselwr manually by pushing up or pulling down while spinning the knobs though not easily or precisely, but better than none.

Maybe a greasing issue Didn’t know such a thing existed, strangely it wasn’t mentioned in the places I’ve researched enlargers all the wrong places apparently! Edited by ac12basis member 6 years ago. CLEAN the focusing rails. It could be so coated with hard dry grease that it is stuck. Old grease can be piled up here. Sometime it takes a bit of rubbing to remove the old grease.

Change paper towels often, so you remove the old grease, not besele it around more. Then let it air dry so the cleaning solvent is gone when you lube. Some focusing rails connect the focusing shaft to the vertical rail by friction, rather than a rack and pinion gear arrangement. If you grease that part of the rail, the focusing shaft could slip beselre the rail, and you have to clean the rails again. As for the focusing shaft. Clean the part that engages the vertical focusing rail.

A friction engagement will slip when lubed. A single drop of oil where the shaft goes into the frame.