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The Beseler is a good mid-size enlarger, if not abused it will take some
punishment. The college I attended had several of them as well as the bigger 45MX,
the only problem the 23's came down with was a nylon roller wearing out. I have a
1960's model 45 at home that's great, and at work we have both a 45MX (converted
to 8x10) and a couple of Omega 4x5 enlargers, and I'll take the American-made
Beselers any day.
I love the K1000, but the Pentax lenses are pretty pricey, and the cameras are not
built for abuse. My wife has a K1000 her parents bought her in college, it's 15
years old and we still use it for the kid snapshots; OTOH, at work we bought three
K1000's for field use by non-photographers doing architectural surveys, they were
tossed in cars etc, and have developed problems.
Look into the brand new Nikon FM-10, this is their new all-manual camera. I'm a
Nikon user for my pro work, and everything they make is durable. I have Nikon FM's
at work that are 20 years old, still use them occasionally, including loan to
other staff members. Mail order, you can get some good prices, and Nikon has some
reasonably priced lenses. Also look into Sigma or Tamron for decent lenses at
Best catalogs or mail order: B&H Photo-Video in New York
(http://www.bhphotovideo.com) and Calumet Photographic in Chicago
(http://www.calumetphoto.com/). Both have 800 #s (Calumet is 1-800-calumet). I've
dealth with both, VERY reputable and geared toward pro's, but both also take gov't
contracts and POs. Also pick up a copy of Shutterbug Ads at your newstand. Looks
cheasy, but has better ads and raw info than a Pop Photo mag.<g> And if you can
buy used, that's your Bible.
What kind of darkroom do you want? How many students do you want to accommodate?
Do you want to have several enlarging stations and one gang sink? Can you develop
film AND print at the same time? Is this an art class or a journalism/yearbook
kind of darkroom? Are you buying EVERYthing from scratch? If so, do you need a
suggested gear/supply list?
Happy to answer any Q's. I'm not a teacher, just a photographer for a state museum
for the last 18 years. Altho I am teaching a kid workshop in pinhole cameras in
> To you veterans of B/W photo developing,
> If any of you can suggest what enlarger or other supplies to order for our
> school's new darkroom, I would really appreciate it. This is all new to me.
> I was thinking about the Beseler 23CIII-XL "voted #1 by students and
> What kind of cameras would you recommend? I have been told that the Pentax
> K1000 is THE student camera, but it has been replaced by the Pentax ZX-M.
> I have a Freestyle catalog, recommended by a friend. Does anyone have a better
> source for photographic supplies?
> I am desperate!
> Mary Jane
-- Michael Keller Old and New Media