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Thread: Durst Laborator 1200 question

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Durst Laborator 1200 question

    I'm new to 4x5 photography and am looking for an enlarger. I may just get myself an Omega D2, but considering others.

    What about the Durst Laborator 1200? The one I'm looking at has the cls 501 head (color). Is this head suitable for black and white? I'm not planning on using variable contrast paper and will never do color.

    I read an online manual for this enlarger and I see that the filters can be eliminated from the light path, but it didn't say if that'll make it suitable for black and white.

    Anyone know if the cls 501 is suitable for b&w?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2010
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    SF Bay Area, California
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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    Where are you located?
    If you are in the US, I suggest Omega or Bessler enlargers.
    The reason is parts.
    I am putting together a L1000. Replacing missing Durst parts is difficult and expensive.

    You can print with a color head. You simply dial in the filtration equal to multi-contrast filters.
    The color head is a diffusion head, a bit lower contrast than condenser enlarger but you simply compensate by exposing and developing for a bit more contrast.
    So yes it is usable for B&W.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Ottawa, Canada
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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    I use a Durst L1200 for BW variable contrast paper. It is wonderful. Dial in the filters and away you go.
    If I were not using VC paper, I think I'd just set the filters to "0" and use it for BW

    You can buy a different head for specifically BW; see the Durst site.

    Vick

  4. #4

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    Mar 2013
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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    Thanks for your replies. There's a interesting looking Durst 1200 on Ebay right now, but I decided to go for a newly listed Omega D5 on Ebay. Less loot, and as ac12 said, getting parts for it will be easier and more economical.

  5. #5

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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    Ebay prices for L1200 are silly.
    I got mine through a kijiji ad (similar to Craiglist) and after accounting for all the "extras" that were thrown in, the enlarger was essentially free.

  6. #6

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    Reykjavík, Iceland
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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    L1200 is worth some money and trouble. I have had an Omega and a Besseler and a Fujmoto. Those are OK enlargers but none of them can be compared to the Durst L1200 which is absolutely the very best 4x5'' enlarger ever made, period. That's why I have bought two! One for color and one for Varycontrast. This was twenty years ago and they are still as new after heavy usage.

  7. #7
    Steven Nestler's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    Coral Springs, FL
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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    I'll second that. I've owned many enlargers, and nothing I've ever used compares to a Durst. Durst-Pro-USA offers excellent service.

  8. #8

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    Montreal
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    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    Siamese,

    There is the 1200,
    and then there are other 4x5 enlargers.

    I have never used a Devere, but I have used just about everything else.
    but I have never used anything that comes close to the 1200.

    The best enlarger is the one you have if you are actually printing with. So if it comes to something else or nothing, get what you can and enjoy the wonderful experience of printing a large neg.
    But you will you never regret the 1200.

    I almost passed on the 1200 when I was considering getting mine. IC, Blair and few others here suggested I try it before passing it by.
    I would never be without it now. It really is a great piece.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    298

    Re: Durst Laborator 1200 question

    Quote Originally Posted by Siamese View Post
    I'm new to 4x5 photography and am looking for an enlarger. I may just get myself an Omega D2, but considering others.

    What about the Durst Laborator 1200? The one I'm looking at has the cls 501 head (color). Is this head suitable for black and white? I'm not planning on using variable contrast paper and will never do color.

    I read an online manual for this enlarger and I see that the filters can be eliminated from the light path, but it didn't say if that'll make it suitable for black and white.

    Anyone know if the cls 501 is suitable for b&w?
    The filters can indeed be eliminated from the lightpad, with a simple handle. Normally, you would use that to have max light for focussing. The cls 501 is an excellent head.

    I can't imagine any better enlarger then the 1200 and 138 (for 5x7), but of course, I don't know them all.

    Stefan

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