DURST 138S Questions

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by 36cm2, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Hope you're all well. I've been offered a Durst 138S for an unbelievable price and have a few questions that I hope you can help with.


    1. I read the following in a posting from 2005 on how the 138 can be broken down for transport:

    "When you disassemble the L138, please be careful that you do not release the head counterbalancing spring accidentally. I did and it nearly took a huge chunk of flesh out of me! The top column shot out from under the head and grazed my lower leg. It shaved off the skin and left a huge bloody patch where it bounced off the bone. It is that strong and it was painful as hell. If it had hit me square on, it may have severed an artery and I would be dead for sure. So, please be careful dealing with it."

    I have transported a Durst 1200 in the past, so I'm aware of the spring issue, just not sure how exactly the spring is released (and how not to release it when removing the head). Can anyone clarify this for me exactly so I don't maim anyone?


    2. If you shot 4x5 and smaller formats, which would you rather have in your darkroom, the 138S (condenser head) or a Durst 1200 (color head)? To the wiseguys that are going to answer "both", yes, I'm afraid you may be right. :wink: To confuse things even further, I have a Durst M70 (condensor head) that I was going to keep for 35mm, but I'm thinking it's going up for sale.


    3. Has anyone ever found an off-the-shelf replacement bulb that can be used for these enlargers? I've been poking around, but haven't found an answer that doesn't require an engineering degree.

    Many thanks to you all, as always.

    Leo
     
  2. matti

    matti Member

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    I have an 138 and one L1200 (that I havn't used yet) and one Durst M70. Since I don't plan on enlarging anything larger than 4x5 at the moment, the 138 goes up to the attic. And since the L1200 seems to be able to deal with 35mm really well, compared to the 138, the M70 will stay in the attic as well. Actually, I only have space for one enlarger in the darkroom...

    The spring on my 138 is more like a wire that helps holding the head up. I didn't have any problem dismounting it and transporting it in my Volvo V40.

    /matti
     
  3. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Sorry to all. I just realized I should have posted this in the equipment section.

    Matti, thanks for the insight. That's great. May I ask, does the spring/wire holding the head up detach when you remove the head from the chassis, or does it stay intact unless you do something?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. matti

    matti Member

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    If I remember correctly, the head is disconnected from the pillar but the spring and connection stays on the pillar. You disconnect the foot and board as well. So you have four main components. The spring was never a problem, but I don't really remember what I did.

    Also, maybe the 138 is different from the 138S in this respect.

    /matti
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use a huge 27W low-energy "lightbulb" in my L138S. It takes some time to stabilise, so I turn it on as soon as I enter the darkroom and don't turn it off until I'm finished. I time the exposure with a lens cap!
     
  6. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    If you do not have the very hard and almost impossible to find original bulb lamp for a 138, this might be a valuable alternative (see attachment, the 3 th. picture), considering that your Durst has the right bulb holder.
    The bulb you then need is something like an OSRAM CONCENTRA R 125 of 150 watt, do not use a heavier one, like a 250 Watt or the PAR model, it might blow the heat absorbing filter.

    Dismount the lamp head like Matti said, do not touch the spring loaded lamp head mounting system, it might hurt you, I am NOT kidding!

    Good luck,

    Philippe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2009
  7. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Thanks Ole. I had seen that suggestion in an earlier post and it's definitely a creative one. I'd like to use an exposure timer, though, and was hoping that someone had figured out an incandescent solution. This site:

    http://www.glennview.com/durst.htm

    suggests that there is a solution. I don't begrudge anyone from profiting from their own ingenuity, but I'm already stressing the patience of my Treasury Department (i.e. wife) and $100 for two light bulbs is tough to get through a line item veto. Hopefully there is a more inexpensive solution that doesn't require me giving up on the timer. Thanks again.

    Leo
     
  8. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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  9. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Picked up the S138 the other day. Since I've always found a lot of useful information in old threads, here are my thoughts on my original questions for posterity sake now that I've dismantled the enlarger and gotten more info on it.

    1. When dismantling the enlarger, the key to the warning in the original quote above is to ensure that the enlarger head is at its highest position before you release the lever that connects the top half of the column to the bottom half of the column. If the head is not at the highest position and you separate the two halves of the column, then you risk inadvertently pushing the lever that is used to move the head up and down while on the column. If you do this, the spring will shoot the top half of the column away from the enlarger head until it reaches its end position (as opposed to slowly lifting the head up to the top as it would if the entire column was assembled). Even though the column would only move a few feet it would definitely injure you if you were in its way. Hopefully this will help someone in the future.

    2. Based on my discussions with a few people, I'm pretty convinced that the Durst 1200 is a better choice than the 138S for someone working in 4x5, 120 and 35mm. It seems that for 35mm, the 138S is a bear to work with.

    3. Many thanks to Philippe. I don't have the right type mount to do what he suggested right off, but I'm pretty sure I can fashion one.

    All the best,
    Leo
     
  10. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Yes, using the 138 to print more than maybe 2-3 35mm negs is quite cumbersome. Just about anything smaller would do better. Unless of course if I want to blow my prints up really big, as I can slide the table down close to floor level in a few seconds.
    I've done quite a lot of 120 on my 138, which was again, a bit cumbersome compared to what I normally use for roll film (35mm and 120), a Focomat IIC. But as I used a decent (Rodagon) lens, the results was just as good as with the Focomat.
    (A very off-topic note on the Focomat: This enlarger is of course very quick to work with as it has a reliable auto-focus in its normal working range. But if I want to enlarge to more than about 12" on the short side of the print, I have to rise the head along the column and all of a sudden it's a very slow enlarger to work with.)
    In my mind the 138 is a close to the "perfect" enlarger for 4x5", as long as you have the space for the machine (given the nowadays very little money you pay for it). Again it's very easy to just slide down the table if you want to blow up the whole or part of the negative.
    You can also lower the table a bit and have it there more permanently if you want to work with the head a bit lower. Again, this adjustment is done in a few seconds.

    //Björn
     
  11. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    I use the Durst 138 for a good deal of 35mm and 120. For those film sizes, I use Carlwen negative carriers, which to me take as much effort as medium format enlargers I've used (LPL, Omega, Beseler). With the Durst carriers, I found 35mm and 120 quite cumbersome to enlarge.

    I use an 80mm lens for the 35mm negatives which keeps me away from the Latub lens board that the 138 requires for a 50mm lens. I tend not to enlarge 35mm negatives as much as 120 or larger negatives, so using the 80mm lens isn't an issue. I found the Carlwen carriers on ebay a few years ago.
     
  12. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    I love my Durst 138 (cold light head) ... the head cannot quite make it to the top due to the lower ceiling in my current darkroom ... but I swear, I'd rather cut a hole in the roof before I ever discard the 138!! I had a 'short' in the circuit recently and my friends father (who was once a specialist electrician in the Antarctic) fixed it for a 'slab' (24 cans of beer in Australia) ..... he did it in an afternoon and as it was a Saturday he couldn't source high voltage cord until he realised the local motor-mower shop stocked miles of it. This story is probably not so related to the thread but nevertheless part of the 138 story! I also replaced the old tram wheels it originally had and replaced them with some good quality castors which did compromise the total height of the enlarger, hence now I can't jack it up to it's maximum.
     
  13. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Don't get rid of the 138S. Get a larger camera.

    I use a Saunders 4550XLG/VCCE enlarger for 4x5", 6x7cm and 35mm.
    I use the 138S for 8x10" enlarging and 7x17" contact printing. See my gallery for two shots of the 138S with an Aristo 12x12 cold light head and 8x10 negative holder.

    John Powers