Ollinger's Guide to Photographic Enlargers: Beseler 35mm Enlargers
Ollinger's Guide to Enlargers

Beseler 35mm Enlargers

Introduction

Beseler Printmaker 35The Charles Beseler company began in 1868 making scientific and lab equipment, and began producing enlargers in 1953. Beseler is one of the two dominant manufacturers in the USA. Their enlargers (along with Omega) were frequently found in schools and rental labs; a great many students learned how to print on a Beseler enlarger. While not the least expensive, they are typically rugged, no-nonsense machines that are built to last.

Beseler has a naming scheme for most of their enlargers which describes the features of the machine. E.g. a 45MXC is a 4x5 enlarger chassis with a motorized colorhead and extra support truss.

  • Two-digit number — the max size of the negative it can accept (e.g. 23 is 2cm x 3cm, 66 is 6cm x 6cm, 45 is 4x5 inches, etc.)
  • M — electric motor to raise and lower the lamphouse
  • C — Beseler colorhead (filter drawer type)
  • R — Resistrol unit (variable voltage regulator)
  • X — Rear support truss (extra reinforcement)
  • AF — Automatic focus
  • B — Beslite (flourescent cold-light head)
  • AG — Beseler-Agra colorhead (continuously variable filter type)

I have a few of Instruction Manuals and brochures available for download. click for manual


Quick Comparison

Model Mfg Dates Col. Type Col. Height Head Focus Method Baseboard Price Notes
Cadet [II] Current Single column 23" Condenser with filter drawers Manual 14-½ x 11-¾"   Entry-level 35mm. Meant to be easily assembled and stored
Printmaker 35 Current Single column 39-½" Interchanglable: condenser, variable-contrast, and dichroic color Manual 14 x 19" $165 Smaller sister of the Printmaker 67, with which it shares interchangable heads

Series Comments

This is a catch-all for any Beseler products that were designed strictly for the 35mm format.

Model Comments

Cadet [II]

I haven't figured out the difference between the original Cadet and the Cadet II models. I'll assume for the time being that they're close. This is the entry-level 35mm enlarger. It has a fixed condenser head (as opposed to the modular Printmaker 35), and is typically sold in a package with a lens.

Printmaker 35

The Printmaker series comes in two sizes, this 35mm version and the 67 version, which can handle 6x7cm images. Unlike the Cadet, the Printmakers have a modular, interchangable head system. There's the stadard candenser head, a Variable-contrast head, and a dichroic color head. it's also a bit larger than the Cadet.