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tpatterson
11-Jun-2016, 18:48
I have a question regarding a Durst 1200 4x5 and a Sentinel 4x5 (autofocus I think). I will be picking both of these up but only keeping one for personal use. Can anyone provide pros and cons of each, or which they prefer? I've heard far more about the Durst, but not as much about the Sentinel. I appreciate any input!

Daniel Stone
11-Jun-2016, 19:29
Which head does the Sentinel have?

tpatterson
12-Jun-2016, 09:48
Well, I don't know yet. It's packed away in a crate. From what I can tell looking in, it's brand new. Just can't see the head though. I know the individual referenced it and said it was the autofocus one and cost him more than the Durst. The Durst has the CLS 501 head on it. You'll see why I couldn't tell in the pic. The Sentinel is in that crate with a Durst 8x10 (which has also become mine). 151711

Mark Sampson
13-Jun-2016, 09:22
Durst enlargers are well-known and understood. 30 years in the industry and I've never even heard of Sentinel enlargers, much less seen or used one. I can't offer advice, except to say that overall condition is important, and that whether or not a company is still in business will have an effect on parts & service down the road. At Kodak we had a Fotar 10x10 that was simple and robust, built like a bridge... the company is long gone but whoever has that machine now would have no trouble keeping it going. Higher-tech machinery that becomes obsolete might become unusable due to parts being unavailable.

Drew Wiley
13-Jun-2016, 10:46
Commercial Durst enlargers were designed for very long term maintenance. Since they were very common in pro labs for decades, parts can still be found, though it can sometimes take patience. Autofocus ain't always a good thing. It can be finicky and electronics dependent. I just turned down over twenty free large format enlargers, including six working 8x10 Omega units! I only realistically had space for one more big enlarger. Guess what I took? It was the basic Durst L184 color 8x10 rig. Just right for tuning up using basic shop skills. With all the trimmings, I guess it was about a twenty grand originally; and it took me only a fewweekends to get it looking and working like new, even though it had several decades of pro lab use previously. I turned down the FAR more expensive autofocus Durst unit because it uses unique rare carriers and if electronically fussy - beyond my personal skill level to repair if needed. But if the Sentinel also looks nice, try selling it. It's a shame that this kind of gear gets ever thrown away. Some of these machines were built to outlast a hundred inkjet printers.

tpatterson
13-Jun-2016, 23:20
Durst enlargers are well-known and understood. 30 years in the industry and I've never even heard of Sentinel enlargers, much less seen or used one. I can't offer advice, except to say that overall condition is important, and that whether or not a company is still in business will have an effect on parts & service down the road. At Kodak we had a Fotar 10x10 that was simple and robust, built like a bridge... the company is long gone but whoever has that machine now would have no trouble keeping it going. Higher-tech machinery that becomes obsolete might become unusable due to parts being unavailable.

I'm not sure on the one, as all I can see is Sentinel on the column. I don't know if once I open it all up I'll find something else or not. The owner told me that he actually paid more for it at the time than the Durst. They both look as new, but I was leaning toward keeping the Durst. Thanks!

tpatterson
13-Jun-2016, 23:24
Commercial Durst enlargers were designed for very long term maintenance. Since they were very common in pro labs for decades, parts can still be found, though it can sometimes take patience. Autofocus ain't always a good thing. It can be finicky and electronics dependent. I just turned down over twenty free large format enlargers, including six working 8x10 Omega units! I only realistically had space for one more big enlarger. Guess what I took? It was the basic Durst L184 color 8x10 rig. Just right for tuning up using basic shop skills. With all the trimmings, I guess it was about a twenty grand originally; and it took me only a fewweekends to get it looking and working like new, even though it had several decades of pro lab use previously. I turned down the FAR more expensive autofocus Durst unit because it uses unique rare carriers and if electronically fussy - beyond my personal skill level to repair if needed. But if the Sentinel also looks nice, try selling it. It's a shame that this kind of gear gets ever thrown away. Some of these machines were built to outlast a hundred inkjet printers.

Well, turns out I have the L184 too. It's also in this lot of enlargers. Fantastic shape with little signs of use. Vacuum plate and all. Has the Pavelle head on it and a Rodnestock 300mm lens. It's not the autofocus either and most certainly built like a tank. No idea what to sell it for though...lol.

Luis-F-S
14-Jun-2016, 09:43
Mercedes vs Ford

Drew Wiley
17-Jun-2016, 16:17
A Pavelle head on a Durst is a bit like a flat tire on a Ferrari. Otherwise, the L184 chassis is an excellent thing to refurbish. It just needs at least a nine foot or ten
foot ceiling above it with a colorhead mounted. If it's in good shape it's worth a lot more than either of the 4x5 units. But these too simply get hauled off to the
dump from time to time. Just depends how bad someone wants one, and more important, what shape it is in, especially the carriers and glass, since these can be expensive to replace. Do you personally have any interest in 8x10 photography? Or do you want to limit yourself to 4X5? Autofocus is not necessarily a good thing, because it can be dicey to operate and repair. The more mechanical something is, the better in the long run.

tpatterson
18-Jun-2016, 06:44
A Pavelle head on a Durst is a bit like a flat tire on a Ferrari. Otherwise, the L184 chassis is an excellent thing to refurbish. It just needs at least a nine foot or ten
foot ceiling above it with a colorhead mounted. If it's in good shape it's worth a lot more than either of the 4x5 units. But these too simply get hauled off to the
dump from time to time. Just depends how bad someone wants one, and more important, what shape it is in, especially the carriers and glass, since these can be expensive to replace. Do you personally have any interest in 8x10 photography? Or do you want to limit yourself to 4X5? Autofocus is not necessarily a good thing, because it can be dicey to operate and repair. The more mechanical something is, the better in the long run.

No real interest in 8x10 at the moment. My background was always in 4x5 and I now use the Speed Graphic / Aero Ektar Burnett combo. Not sure if I'll even return to darkroom work, but thinking I'll keep the Durst 4x5 in the event that I do. I'm actually picking all of this up today, so once I have it home I'll have more access to exactly what I have. I know the 8x10 has the vacuum plate and appears to have everything, but will know more later.

tpatterson
21-Jun-2016, 21:04
Which head does the Sentinel have?

Guessing the color. This is what I have found so far:152049152050152051152052

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 08:30
OK - here's the short story. ZBE, the outfit who marketed the Sentinel, designed the most sophisticated feedback circuitry ever for enlargers. They are also known for the Chromira laser printer, and also came up with a little "black box" for my own unique big enlarger, which keeps the separate hemispheres of the colorhead coordinate, or more correctly, allows me to diagnose any potential difference before I integrate the two independent feedback circuits. But that's a different story. Around the same time I was working on that project, they marketed their Starlight enlarger, which like the Durst color mural units, suffered from excessive heat and needed routine filter maintenance. These guys really knew their stuff, but are no longer around for maintenance issues. The Sentinel was a lower wattage unit that should hold up fine if someone knows how to do their own tuneups. The only person I can think of who might be able to answer questions is Jim Browning, though his project was really the Chromira. This was pre true computer controlled light management, so basically a bunch of guts that any
serious solder gun addict could understand. It was built to last, so you might not encounter any problems at all. Mechanically, the chassis is not in the same league as true commercial Dursts like the 138 series, but it is a better machine than the L1200's, which of course are still themselves coveted. In other words, DO NOT toss something like this. And yes, they were very expensive new.

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 08:38
OOps ... just noticed that in another shot you posted that it is the Starlight head. That's serious lab stuff. It will punch big prints, though not from 8x10 film. Ship it to someone like Bob Carnie (are you listening in, Bob?) People like us know where to get replacement filter glass if needed, down the line. Or the wattage of the
main bulb could just be reduced for longer life. My advice is otherwise the same, DON'T TOSS IT. Somebody in that half of the country will pick it up if they know
what it is. It might not be a Ferrari like the Durst, but it is the Rolls Royce electronically.

bob carnie
22-Jun-2016, 08:38
I had a Starlight and a ZBE coldhead , both units lasted combined 12 months, they started Chromira and lost interest in maintaining either of my units, without a large maintenance contract. Left a very bad taste in my mouth about anything these folks made.

bob carnie
22-Jun-2016, 08:39
Excellent sales pitch , very decent products, absolutely appalling follow through.
Just my 2 cents.

Durst is top notch IMO .

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 08:50
Tell you what, Bob. ... I'll pick up another Durst for you here. You pick up the Starlite. We'll meet halfway across the continent, say, right where the golden spike
was driven at the completion of the transcontinental railway, somewhere out on Salt Lake, and exchange enlargers there. Otherwise, ZBE was completely up front with me about the maintenance issues due to heat, and was crucial in solving my own technical issues designing my own 8x10 additive head, along with certain other fancy lab instruments is still routinely use. That was during the heyday of Cibachrome, when labs needed very bright enlargers. But if nothing else, somebody is going to want the lenses on that rig reeeal bad. Those weren't cheap either. Otherwise, for me personally, the Durst 138's and 184's fit in quite nicely with my own shop skill set. Those machines will long outlast me.

bob carnie
22-Jun-2016, 09:06
Drew- though the prospect of meeting you would almost make me want to do this, someday I will be on the west coast and this will happen.

Right now I have two large enlargers and about 8 4 x5 units.. the last thing I need is another enlarger. Once I figure out the timer issue on the Durst I have enough bulbs
to keep me printing for the rest of my time.

There was a dude who designed these ZBE units, never able to talk to him, he was considered nothing short of genius when it came to these electronic units., just really bad at running a business.

I seem to remember the issue with the cold head light was getting bulb replacements, otherwise it was a great unit.

Bob

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 10:01
Agreed. Wonderful electrical engineering, but too temperamental for my own modest soldering iron skills. Gosh - I could even have gotten a Chromira on the cheap when the huge lab down the street liquidated everything, along with a free drum scanner. But not the kind of thing I could ever service on my own. It was another big lab, downsizing services more slowly headed into retirement, that offered me all its enlarging gear, along with processing machines. Can't use any of the latter, so there went hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of perfectly functional equip to the dump, and only had space for one more 8x10 enlarger, so there went about two dozen large format enlargers to the dump, with the exception of a 75K Durst being reserved for sale, and a huge tricked-out 138 that he's hoping I'll still take for free. But my tendonitis-tortured fingers have had it, and it's a helluva difficult location to haul heavy gear out of. I wouldn't mind just a naked 138 chassis to turn into a dream copystand. Otherwise.... back to that golden spike thing. I did get an awfully nice shot way out on the salt pan right at
sunset a couple years ago, just by dumb luck. The fellow traveling with me on that backpack trip had to pee real bad, so I found a turnout, then while I'm waiting
see something strange about the sky. So I say what the heck, and grab a tripod and my 6x7. It was getting too dark to use the view camera and loupe - one of
the rare instances where I applied hyperfocal theory. And incredible sunset with the light cutting under deep black clouds and reflecting off the salt pan and it
saltwater pools, then just then, a full moon arises above those incredible cloud formations. "Moonrise over Urination Turnout". An instant classic, at least once
I was finished triple-toning the MGWT. Never did find that golden spike.

tpatterson
22-Jun-2016, 11:35
Well, your feedback has been quite an education. Thank you! Really interesting stuff. I guess one thing that would help me now is this: I have a guy wanting to buy the ZBE, but won't tell me a price. I'm pretty much decided I'm keeping the Durst 4x5 for my use. Any idea on what a fair price would even be for the ZBE as is? As is meaning looks like a new unit actually...little to no signs of use. Immaculate. At this point, I'd like to start freeing up room now in the garage. Since my cost was rather low ($0), I don't mind passing along a good deal, but don't want to give it away either. I hate to ask for a value as I know it's frowned upon, but really at a loss with the ZBE. I'm figuring things out on the other items as I go. Thanks for any input on it!

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 11:51
Since it is a specialized unit with a limited number of people in the "know", it is very hard to put a price on it. It was around 16K new, direct from the mfg
(no retail markup), so for all practical purposes about four times the price of a Durst L1200, but about equal to the going rate for a new L138 back then. I'd be more concerned about it just receiving a good home - someone who will actually use it - than squeezing the last dollar out. Since official mfg service is now nonexistent, bagging a thousand bucks or two is about all you can expect at most from a casual buyer. In such an instance, don't turn down any reasonable offer. But it sounds like you are potentially dealing with someone who knows what this thing actually is, and what it can do, so let him make an offer first. In any event, you can't store something like this forever and speculate on it. The next generation won't have a clue. ... But those lenses are a different topic. If they actually include Apo Rodagon N's, along with one Schneider Apo HM, you've easily got another thousand bucks of something truly still in demand, unless you want to keep those lenses for yourself. It's a bit hard to tell from the view you posted. The latest "APO" Componons and Rodagons don't go for cheap like the ordinary enlarging lenses, even on the used market. You've got a wonderful find. But Durst gear will be much easier to maintain.

bob carnie
22-Jun-2016, 13:25
I would not take this unit from you for free.... for reasons above, I think let the person interested give you an offer and if you feel its fair price go for it.



Well, your feedback has been quite an education. Thank you! Really interesting stuff. I guess one thing that would help me now is this: I have a guy wanting to buy the ZBE, but won't tell me a price. I'm pretty much decided I'm keeping the Durst 4x5 for my use. Any idea on what a fair price would even be for the ZBE as is? As is meaning looks like a new unit actually...little to no signs of use. Immaculate. At this point, I'd like to start freeing up room now in the garage. Since my cost was rather low ($0), I don't mind passing along a good deal, but don't want to give it away either. I hate to ask for a value as I know it's frowned upon, but really at a loss with the ZBE. I'm figuring things out on the other items as I go. Thanks for any input on it!

bob carnie
22-Jun-2016, 13:26
regarding lenses a buck a millimeter is what I have paid in the past for APO Rodagons.


I would not take this unit from you for free.... for reasons above, I think let the person interested give you an offer and if you feel its fair price go for it.

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 13:43
There are plenty of 50's and 90's out there, Bob. Damn few 105's or 150's, unless you pay full pricing for remaining 105 new inventory, which run around five bucks a millimeter! It all relative. The folks that use Apo El Nikkors instead think of us as cheapskates. I just sacrifice that one extra stop of speed and use ordinary Apo Nikkors to the same effect, meaning for those larger film sizes the Apo-Rodagons don't cover. But that Starlite should do fine with reference to overheating if just used intermittently for common papers, which expose quickly. It was specifically engineered for slow Ciba. Reminds me of my bad ole hot Durst color mural unit which would punch a 30x40 Ciba with a .60 mask in about 15 seconds. That would equate to less than a blink of an eye to punch the same sized RA4 paper, almost like hunting quail with battleship artillery.

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 14:02
... But back to your grudge, Bob... The Chromira was a very complex machine. A number of them are still in use. I never cared much for the slight salt n' pepper
look of the prints; but it was better than the banding that comes with improper laser printers. I forget the name of the main ZBE engineer/owner. But it seems his skill caught the attention of Hollywood etc and very high pay incentives, so the company's time got divided. Then for analogous reasons his best engineers pulled away too, into their own projects. So it wasn't a failed business model. Had the same thing happen down the street when our successful local chem supply house was passed along to two employees who regrettably closed the business because they simply couldn't refuse the relatively enormous pay Silicon Valley offered for their specific educational niche. They had both done phD theses in gallium, a seeming arcane element that suddenly became the new frontier in chip mfg.

Bob Salomon
22-Jun-2016, 14:29
There are plenty of 50's and 90's out there, Bob. Damn few 105's or 150's, unless you pay full pricing for remaining 105 new inventory, which run around five bucks a millimeter! It all relative. The folks that use Apo El Nikkors instead think of us as cheapskates. I just sacrifice that one extra stop of speed and use ordinary Apo Nikkors to the same effect, meaning for those larger film sizes the Apo-Rodagons don't cover. But that Starlite should do fine with reference to overheating if just used intermittently for common papers, which expose quickly. It was specifically engineered for slow Ciba. Reminds me of my bad ole hot Durst color mural unit which would punch a 30x40 Ciba with a .60 mask in about 15 seconds. That would equate to less than a blink of an eye to punch the same sized RA4 paper, almost like hunting quail with battleship artillery.
There were lots of old Apo Rodagon 50 and 90mm lenses sold but they were quite inferior to the newer Apo Rodagon N lenses that replaced them. The N series were made in 45, 50, 80, 90, 105 and 150mm. The 45 and 90mm Apo Rodagon N lenses were quite rare. So you must be referring to the older ones that were not, among other features, multi coated.

Drew Wiley
22-Jun-2016, 15:34
It's hard to tell from the posted image, but my guess that that his are N's, esp since the Schneider of allegedly the same vintage looks like an HM. Can't imagine
someone putting down that kind of money for a specialized enlarger and equipping it with anything less than the best. Mine own are N's, and yeah, they perform
wonderfully.

tpatterson
22-Jun-2016, 20:51
Here's what I can see: Rodenstock 50mm f/2.8 G; Rodenstock 50mm f/2.8 N; Schneider 90mm f/4.5 HM

tpatterson
22-Jun-2016, 21:01
Also, on the Durst 4x5, the lens is the Schneider 4/45 HM. Now, my hopefully last question would be this: If I opt to keep the Durst, would this lens alone be all I need if I mostly print 4x5? Wasn't sure if I need to keep a lens from the ZBE also. Again...you guys have been a huge help!

Erik Larsen
22-Jun-2016, 21:26
Also, on the Durst 4x5, the lens is the Schneider 4/45 HM. Now, my hopefully last question would be this: If I opt to keep the Durst, would this lens alone be all I need if I mostly print 4x5? Wasn't sure if I need to keep a lens from the ZBE also. Again...you guys have been a huge help!

Hi, you'll need a 135mm or 150mm in order to print 4x5 negatives

Drew Wiley
24-Jun-2016, 11:12
The Rodenstock 50 G is for especially large prints from 35mm film, so not a general-purpose lens, and potentially valuable to someone seeking to do that specific
kind of printing. The Schneider 90 HM is their expensive offering for general medium format enlarging, a distinct keeper if you plan on enlarging roll film. The
45 HM is obviously their higher end general-purpose lens for 35mm. Nothing you've listed so far would be of any use whatsoever in printing large format film.
But you have a few bargaining chips to horse trade for a nice 150 or whatever.