View Full Version : Durst L1000 vs Beseler 45MLX

27-Jan-2017, 18:52
Right after I bought my 1st 4x5 camera there was a large format enlarger on craigslist. It was a Durst L1000, knowing nothing, I asked a few questions on this forum, I wound up buying it. It was almost complete no lens, lens board or negative carriers. After a few years of searching I finally have enough bits and pieces (including a color head) to put it in the darkroom.

In the meantime I was given a Beseler 45MLX that I have been using. I'm not a good printer by any stretch of the imagination, but should be able to spend more time at it a little later this year.

So my question to those of you who have used both is: Am I better off staying with the Besler that I already know, or switching to the Durst?
Or is there not enough difference between the two in actual use to matter?

27-Jan-2017, 20:07
Since you already own the Durst I'd use it. They're great enlargers. If you don't like it go back to the Beseler.

28-Jan-2017, 00:31
Imagin Durst as Mercedes and Beseler as Fiat: in the seventies :)

28-Jan-2017, 06:10
I had an old 4x5 tin can head + bellows of an enlarger made by Federal that did a fine job. It used below lens filters for VC paper and had one size 4x5 glass negative carrier so was always flat. I could never find any other negative carriers for it so it was not very useful for smaller than 4x5.

I was recently given a beseler 45MX with a dichro head. The beseler takes up more space and leaks more light around the film holder. I like the color head for split grade printing and fine adjustments. I need to find the glass negative carrier for 4x5 .
I have adapted to the beseler but it has quirks and needs adjusting.

Moral - all enlargers have quirks and usability issues. Try the Durst if you don't like it, keep it as a back up or sell/give to someone else.

28-Jan-2017, 16:39
I have a Durst SM-183 (5x7 head on an 8x10 frame) that I've used for 20 plus years. Still have it stored, only replaced it with a Dichroic DeVere 8x10 enlarger. Dursts makes great-if over engineered- quirky enlargers. No comparison with Beseler or Omega. If you only do 4x5 & smaller, you can also use an LPL, have two of those, one set up and one store. L

28-Jan-2017, 17:40
Both are great enlargers. In the darkroom of the College that I taught in they had both. If my memory serves me right... In the Durst everything is solidly aligned. As for the Beseler, get an alignment tool. With the Durst the column is vertical and if properly mounted, will stay true. With the Beseler you have in effect 2 columns and a much more chance of mis-alignment along the travel of the head. All that being said, I've seen superb prints made by my students from both enlargers.