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Thread: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

  1. #11
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Tin Can, the L1200 is a top of the line 4x5 enlarger, the largest one which came out of the amateur division, with a largely extruded aluminum chassis, not the true commercial division which made the bigger ones using a lot of much more expensive machining, and which closed down some time earlier.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Stockholm, Sweden
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    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Thanks everyone for chiming in and for advise.

    I ended up winning the auction. I got it for $800 + $150 in gas to pick it up.
    A more than fair price I hope, considering the condition and the completeness. If not I will still have a lot of fun.

    And planing the weekend is not a problem anymore
    Lasse Thomasson | Instagram

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Quote Originally Posted by lassethomas View Post
    Thanks everyone for chiming in and for advise.

    I ended up winning the auction. I got it for $800 + $150 in gas to pick it up.
    A more than fair price I hope, considering the condition and the completeness. If not I will still have a lot of fun.

    And planing the weekend is not a problem anymore
    Congratulations! You won't be disappointed.
    Have you picked it up already?

  4. #14

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    May 2019
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    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyNL View Post
    Congratulations! You won't be disappointed.
    Have you picked it up already?
    Thanks! No I'm driving down on Saturday.
    Lasse Thomasson | Instagram

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    23

    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    I don't know if you wish to have any advice about transportation but it takes 2 people to carry it, 50-60kgs. And depending on whether your vehicle has the height to transport it whole and vertical or horizontal or in parts (tools)?I have 4 in my darkroom, so feel free to ask. The last thing I'd want is for any damage or injury to occur.

    By the way, I paid €1000 for my last enlarger, with a CLS 501 head, it was bought new by just one careful owner now in his 80's. He still had the receipt and it clearly had been his pride and joy.
    In my opinion, you got it for a good and fair price.

  6. #16
    Cor's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
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    Leiden, The Netherlands
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    750

    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    If you remove the head, probably wise for transport, be aware that the reaming part of the head will jump up to the top of the big rail. Better secure the head at the lowest position, and use a good belt or spanner to secure it there. Take off the colour head and transport it separately. If you can, transport the enlarger horizontal. I moved mine just a short distance, and I had a Renault Kangoo, and I seem recall I could transport the enlarger upright.

    But maybe there are other opinions on transporting a L1200

    Good luck,

    Cor

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Austin TX
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    74

    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Not to spam all of the Durst 1200 threads, but I use a VLS501 that came with a faulty EST power supply. Rather than try to repair, I use a modern switching power supply that's been going strong for 6+ years. Just in case this helps anyone with a faulty TRA or EST: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...urst-1200-DIY)

    By the way, I love my VLS head although the changes on the dial are not perfectly calibrated to the current Ilford papers but in practice that doesn't matter to me.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    5

    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cor View Post
    Better secure the head at the lowest position, and use a good belt or spanner to secure it there.
    Sorry, this is terrible and possible extremely dangerous advice.
    Moving a Durst enlarger always set the head at the TOP of the column first.
    Then you can remove the colour head without fear of having your face hit or arm broken by the counterweight pulling the head plate up to the top of the column.

    L1200s aren't that big, if you can transport it complete (obviously take the neg carrier out, and pad everything very well) that's a good idea.

  9. #19
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    6,202

    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    You got a great enlarger!

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Glasgow
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    Re: Is a Durst Laborator 1200 with a VLS 501 head a usable enlarger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Tin Can, the L1200 is a top of the line 4x5 enlarger, the largest one which came out of the amateur division, with a largely extruded aluminum chassis, not the true commercial division which made the bigger ones using a lot of much more expensive machining, and which closed down some time earlier.
    Not really, the only major extrusion on the L1200 is the column, the rest is formed/ welded steel & die castings. It just looks a little different from the older Dursts that used the metal tube column(s) & die castings. Not much evidence inside those Dursts of very high precision tolerances, paint-on-paint surfaces seems to have been accurate enough for them. There were/ are enlargers built with precision ground surfaces at the critical alignment points (De Vere - and other even costlier machines) - but Durst seems to have aimed to get parts accurate enough at the time they were cast.

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