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Thread: Durst vs Sentinel

  1. #11

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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Stone View Post
    Which head does the Sentinel have?
    Guessing the color. This is what I have found so far:Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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.

  4. #14
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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.

  5. #15
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    Excellent sales pitch , very decent products, absolutely appalling follow through.
    Just my 2 cents.

    Durst is top notch IMO .

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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.

  7. #17
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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.

  9. #19

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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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!

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Durst vs Sentinel

    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.

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