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Thread: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

  1. #1

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    Exclamation Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    Hi, I recently bought a house and there is a Durst Laborator SM 183 in a darkroom in the basement. I am not familiar with this type of equipment or any types of enlargers/developing equipment. Could someone tell me if this has any value? Is there a good place that I could go to learn more about it? Should I try to part it out, sell it as an entire unit, or just throw it away?

    From what I can see it seems to all be working - both motors and the worm gears, the bulb turns on, stuff rotates and slides as it seems like it should. It also seems like there are (2) slots for (2) small drawers or filters or something to slide into in the "head", but I don't have them.

    Like I said, I don't know anything about this so any information would be helpful. I'm based out of PA if that is useful info. I have a few pictures attached.

    Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Attach21594_20170403_120746 - Copy.jpg   Attach21595_20170403_120754 - Copy.jpg   Attach21599_20170403_120808 - Copy.jpg   Attach21597_20170403_120803 - Copy.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    This is the Cosmos telling you that you need to pick up large format photography. There's nothing you can do to prevent it. Go with the flow.

    In all seriousness: that's a very valuable piece of equipment. However, it's only valuable to those who need and want it. Market/economic value, sadly for you, is an entirely different matter. If you can find someone to take it off your hands, you may be able to fetch a couple of hundred dollars for it at most. But the if at the start of the previous sentence is a big IF. You might be able to sell off the individual pieces, but that won't make you that much more money, and you'll have to be patient.

    Your best bet is probably just to put it on something like Craigslist and see if anyone bites.

    These enlargers are nice pieces of equipment and very usable. I probably would have been prepared to pay for mine had it not been given to me for free. And despite the apparent modest revival of analog photography, it seems that these things change owners for a nice bottle of wine about as often as for hard cash.

  3. #3

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    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    I have an SM-183 that I bought 25 years ago. This is a 5x7 Durst enlarger that consists of a 5x7 head (like the one in the L-138) on an L-184 8x10 base. There is an extension arm that raises the head some 14" or so inches above the attachment shaft which you can see in your second photo. It can also lower the head if large enlargements are not needed. The SM part of the name stands for Spec Micro and the enlarger was made to enlarge microfilm on cards to a large size. You do have the negative carrier which I suspect will be a Nega 138 MC for use with microfilm cards. The two slots in the head would each hold a condenser. Mine came from Government Surplus in Utah, and I had it shipped to me. All in all, I think it's the finest 5x7 enlarger that Durst made.

    This is a pretty rare Durst enlarger as far as those things go. Unfortunately, unless you want a very good steady 5x7 enlarger, it's probably not worth more than the scrap value of the aluminum. As suggested above, you can put an ad in Craigslist or eBay and hopefully someone within driving distance with have an interest. The issue with these large enlargers is always delivery. I drove 2,000 miles round trip to get my 8x10 enlarger a couple of years ago. Being in PA, you're close to the Northeast and a very populated part of the Country.

    Just pls don't scrap it or throw it away, sooner or later someone will want it, or in 30 days you can post it in the For Sale section of this forum. Large Durst enlargers are getting to be pretty rare and disappearing as so many were scrapped years ago with the decline of film. Does it have any lenses in the lens turret? Other than for mine, Id not heard of another SM-183 in the States. You are welcome to private message me if you need any more info on it.

    Best, L

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Luis-F-S; 3-Apr-2017 at 19:25.

  4. #4

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    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    Wow, thank you both for the quick and thorough responses. I was expecting it to take a lot longer to get a response and wasn't expecting answers quite so informative. Still not sure what I'll do with it quite yet, but for now I'll post it on craigslist and see what happens.

    To answer your question, Luis, the lens turret holds 3 (as I assume you know), but it only has 1 in it. I don't have a closeup of the lens at the moment, but I could get one if you'd like to know.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5

    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    I also have an SM-183. It came with the manual, a box of assorted condensers, several film holders, spare bulbs, a few other bits and bobs, but no lenses. Luis, please tell me about the extension arm and lowering the head.

  6. #6

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    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    If you loosen the two bolts on the arm at the two shafts, you can rotate the head to the left so that it is below the attachment point. You will then have to re-align the enlarger. This allows you to make smaller enlargements and you don't need as much "ceiling" that way. You can then raise the head to the top position when not in use to lessen the tension on the springs. Enlarger heads should always be raised to the top position when not in used so the springs are not as tensioned.

    This shot is with the CLS 301 head installed. I no longer have this head, just the condenser head. You can see in my post above, how the head is raised all the way to the top, and the top of the condenser head is still below the top of the column. If you have a scan of the manual, I'd love a copy, I can send you my Email address. L

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  7. #7

    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    Luis, I found the folder with everything that came with my enlarger and the manual is just the standard one for the 138. There are little multilingual folders for the neg carriers and installation instructions for an arc light source. There is a 1971 catalog and some worksheets for the user to record the various settings used for specific printing jobs. Dylan you might be interested to know that in 1971 your enlarger with the motorized drive was $2995 or a little over $18,000 in today's money.

  8. #8

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    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    I would be pretty happy finding a darkroom in the basement with that SM183 sitting there in a house I just bought, that hardly never happens, all I got was cracks on the garage floor.

  9. #9

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    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Walden View Post
    Luis, I found the folder with everything that came with my enlarger and the manual is just the standard one for the 138. There are little multilingual folders for the neg carriers and installation instructions for an arc light source. There is a 1971 catalog and some worksheets for the user to record the various settings used for specific printing jobs. Dylan you might be interested to know that in 1971 your enlarger with the motorized drive was $2995 or a little over $18,000 in today's money.
    I was afraid it would be the standard L-138 manual. I don't think they ever made one for the SM-183! Did the reverse arm to lower the head make sense? L

  10. #10

    Re: Durst Laborator SM 183 - Lamot 110 Questions

    Luis, yes, I see how that would work now but at this point I'm not sure how useful it would be. The column itself is too high for my darkroom but I'm figuring how to darken my storeroom and carry the paper in a safe box to the darkroom for processing. going with an LED panel is probably easier and less expensive than finding a suitable piece of heat absorbing glass.

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