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Thread: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

  1. #11

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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    Look for LPL enlargers on Craig's list. I bought my second one there for 1/4 what I paid for my first one. You should be able to find a complete 4x5 one for under $500. You can print 35mm on the Durst with a longer lens on a flat board (105 or 135 mm lens). Otherwise U need a Laratub N so you can see the aperture ring. Good luck finding one they don't come up very often. Regardless, make sure the Durst is complete with lens boards, carriers, carrier plates, condensers and all the other goodies that are necessary. Otherwise, you'll spend a whole lot more trying to find them used. There are a bunch of threads on Durst enlargers on this site, so you can try and figure out what you're supposed to be looking at. Or you could just get an LPL which still has all the parts available new or used.

    http://www.khbphotografix.com/LPL/
    Last edited by Luis-F-S; 8-Feb-2016 at 12:32.

  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    Unless it's utterly trashed, a fifty year old Durst will last another hundred. In a whole different league than Beseler, Omega, etc. You can still buy new Durst if you know where to look. But then you won't be able to afford your stay in the ICU after the heart attack, when you see the price tag. But the true commercial Dursts were largely machined versus aluminum extrusions, hence can be reburbished more successfully. Recalibration was built into them. So spending a few hundred to recondition something that could have cost anywhere from 15K to 75K when it was new isn't unrealistic at all, since even these machines can be found free these days. I'm not criticizing brands like the Omega, which did hold up well. But those of us who use a variety of enlargers certainly know the difference. And I must apologize to my trusty old Omega, since I didn't have space for both it and another Durst. It will just have to be reincarnated after its transition through the scrapyard.

  3. #13

    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    If you buy any of the above in nice clean shape you'll never wear any of them out. All are professional grade and built to run for a lifetime or more. I've used Omega D series and some E since the late 50's and Beseler off and on since the mid 60's. Durst 138's have been a part of my work since the early 70's. In the day of film I used them in my commercial studio darkroom and never had to replace more than a spring or bulb. Enlargers if maintained will never give any problems and theres not much to maintain. You have to abuse them to have a problem and all will break if abused. Back in the late 70's I figured I'd made more than 100,000 prints and most were made on an Omega D. I can't even guess how many I've made by now and I'm still using my D5 most of the time. Other than a spring or bulb I've never seen anything break.

    After you've printed for a few years you get preferences for specific designs. I like the way the Omega machines work but others like the Beseler and others like the Durst. I've never used an LPL. I like the focus mechanism on the omega better than any and really don't like the geared focus on the Beseler. There's alway play in it but that's my personal preference. I don't like the motor lift on the Beseler and like the crank on the Omega. I do however like the way the Beseler flips to a horizontal position for mural printing. I used that feature often where I worked in the early 70's. Omega has a superior color head IMO but Beseler had the best condenser design. Durst is big and awkward IMO but it's precision and does the job very well. I'm tall and have long arms but the Durst seems everything is just beyond arms length from in front of the enlarger. Working from the front when printing I have to stretch to reach the locks on the enlarger to raise and lower it. Everything like focus requires locking down or risk drift. I've not had that happen but I feel everything is more secure if you lock the head in position / at height and the focus. On the other hand the Durst is versatile and has a ton of bellows if needed. Everything for the Durst is expensive and some items are very hard to find. Many of the 138's have no negative carrier which can easily cost $700 or more plus glass at $100 a piece to fit it. Many of the negative carries have broken fingers that hold the glass in place. My previous 138 had about half of the fingers missing but the one I have now has all but one. Condensers are available except the ones you need. I finally found a 160. Condensers can get expensive. Lens boards aren't a problem if you're looking for a 39mm thread but an extended board they're out there but can cost you hundreds of dollars.

    Don't get the idea Omega or Beseler are inferior because they aren't. Either will do the job just as well as a Durst and you're unlikely to every wear any of them out.

  4. #14

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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    I've used Omega, Beseler Durst, LPL & DeVere. My favorite is the DeVere, followed by the LPL and then the Durst. I bought my Durst complete 20 years ago, and then bought a cold light head for it, extra lens boards and condensers. I HATE condenser printing, but do have all 7 that are made. That's why I recommend the LPL to anyone new to printing, but again, I've made my living as a professional photographer for the past 40 years, so WTH do I know. L

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    Durst had more light source options than anyone else; and you can always adapt still more. What on earth makes you think you're stuck with condensers? At least you used a cold light. But go ask some dude working on a shiny old Indian or Harley motorcyle if he'd want something equivalent made out of anodized aluminum. I've used most of these same enlargers; pick what you like. But honestly, build quality and sheer ingredients, postwar machining like you'll never see again. Same reason I like my Norma camera. It was built to last and be fine-tuned over the long haul. Nothing ever came close in Omega. The carriers and lensboards were a joke unless I machined my own. Sure, you can shim things and this n' that, and make it all work correctly. But no way, Jose, out the gate.

  6. #16

    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    How did I ever satisfy my clients for almost fifty years with that inferior omega. If they'd known what I printed on they'd probably fired me.

    Seriously I still have my Norma I bought new in 1969. I found the book and receipt the other night and new they were $465 for the basic camera. It served me well through my career and I still use it. My Norma, Master Technika I bought in 1974 and my 8x10 Deardorff were the workhorses of my studio for many years.

    We all have personal likes and dislikes. I know other pros that hated the Norma because of the base tilts. I apprenticed under a master many decades ago and he used Calumet monorails and a calumet 8x10 with Ilex lenses. They worked great but of course not as versatile as a Norma but they produced images that satisfied national clients. Many of my accounts were Fortune 500 corporations. I Shuttet to think what they would have done if they'd known what I was printing on ;-)

  7. #17

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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    I think we're forgetting that OP is someone who shoots 35, is thinking about large format and has never set foot inside a darkroom. All he asked about was a light bulb, for a 300 lb enlarger because he read it was a good one. Some of our responses are a little unrealistic, don't you think?

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    What is a 300 lb Durst? Wish I could find one of those instead of the 600-pounder we had to carry up two flights of stairs out of an industrial basement last month.
    But I prefer them even for 35mm because of the precision carriers. But honestly, I generally used my Omega for small black and white work simply because the
    smaller Durst (138) was dedicated to color work. Yes, my Omega wore out. I could have easily fixed it. But it deserved the old folks home for scrap metal. Probably saw 60 yrs of use. I bought it second-hand 35 years ago, so sure did get my money's worth. But when I want something that looks like a machine, that
    deserves some stainless polish... People down the street work on speedboats. I work on enlargers.

  9. #19

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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    What is a 300 lb Durst? Wish I could find one of those instead of the 600-pounder we had to carry up two flights of stairs out of an industrial basement last month.
    Instead of running off at the keyboard, the thread is on a Durst L-138 which from the Durst manual weighs 165 pounds with the condenser head. The L-184 weighs 353 lbs and it comes apart in at least three pieces. My 300 lbs was very generous, don't know what you're moving. L
    Attached Files Attached Files

  10. #20

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    Re: Durst 138s laborator light bulb

    The Durst 138S is fine for 35mm, in my opinion. You need the right lensboard and lens to allow easy aperture adjustments. The condensers are excellent. There are a lot of negative holder options, and some are better than others.

    As far as bulbs go you will find there are a lot of solutions that work. The original bulbs are long out of production and are hard to find (and pricey if you do). I have played with some options and the flood light bulbs work ok with milk glass in the heat absorbing glass holder. You will need a bulb holder that positions it correctly. There were also p/h303 bulbs for cheap a few years ago. They work pretty well even on 5x7, so 35mm will be excellent as far as coverage goes. I finally settled on a home build LED setup, but the various bulbs I tried all worked acceptably with some time put into experimentation (a baseboard meter will be very useful).

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