Durst Laborator 138s

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Nathan Smith, May 29, 2005.

  1. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I'm driving to Houston in a couple of days to pick up a Durst Laborator 138s that I bought in an on-line auction. One of those classic deals: I don't know what I'm actually getting, but it was such a great deal I couldn't pass it up :smile:

    Now I have a few questions for those who know about these beasts:

    1. How easy is it to take the head off for shipping, how do I do it, and what tools do I need to take along for that?

    2. Are parts available for these? It comes with 3 condensers and 2 negative carriers but the seller couldn't tell me much about them. I'd like to get the full complement of condensers and carriers and use it for everything from 35mm->5x7.

    3. Are parts from other Durst models (G139, for example) interchangeable?

    4. Does anyone have the Durst site URL? Google keeps giving me "www.durst-pro-usa.com" but that never works.

    Anything else I should know?

    Thanks,
    Nathan
     
  2. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Nathan,

    Coincidentally I am going to Detroit next weekend from the Cleveland area to pick up
    1½ Durst 138s. I am told they can disassemble to five major parts and pack compactly. My seller moved them in a Dodge Caravan three years ago and APUG owners think I can bring them back in a Toyota Highlander.

    Go to http://jensen-optical.com/five.html. They don’t have the 138S up yet,
    but there are links to either read on screen or download Adobe copies of both the 138SP manual and the brochure with pictures and drawings. Also go to the site
    index and see what else is of help and interest http://jensen-optical.com/site_map.htm.

    We plan to build one complete unit and modify an existing unit. Keep in touch with your needs. We may have some parts to sell when we get it all together.

    Good luck to us both,

    John Powers
     
  3. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    John,
    I saw that ebay auction. the 138 was a beauty and the discription of the second sounded as if it was vary usable. The people auctioning it live nearby. Pm me if you need a hand or want to hook up.

    john
     
  4. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Thanks for the links John! I'll keep you posted on my progress.

    Nathan
     
  5. TheMissingLink

    TheMissingLink Member

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    Hi,

    I have the same model ... the manufacturers site is http://www.durst.it/

    The only really anoying is the price for spare bulbs ... Just working on it to replace it with halogene lamps.

    Horst
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    The condensers. negative carriers, lens boards and light sources are interchangeble between the 138s.139g,s45,em45. The enlarger can be broken down into three pieces w/o the use of tools. Easy to put back together also.

    You are in for a treat. I have a Dust s45 and I love it.
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I have had three of these. The enlarger can be broken down fairly easily. To answer your question, the head will remove from the carriage by loosening four retainers (this will require tools). Some of these are allen head and some are Phillips head. Lower the table and the head as much as possible befor you begin doing this.

    The column can be separated at the center by loosening two retainers (all that I have seen are knob type retainers) The table is removed from the support by loosening the center knob. The column is removed from the base by loosening knob type retainers.

    Ultimately the enlarger is broken down into five major pieces.

    I would recommend removing the front surface mirror (open the head front access panel). Also remove and securely package the condensors, the UV/heat resistant glass, and the light bulb.

    The Durst 138,138S, and the 139 do share a large number of parts but there are distinct differences between these models.

    Durst does recommend, for best performance, the appropriate condensors matched with the proper focal length lens to accurately collimate and focus the light bundle at the nodal point of the lens. For 5X7 these would be a pair of 240 condensors matched to a 210 mm enlarging lens. For 4X5 these would be a 240 condensor in combination with a 200 condensor matched with a 150 mm enlarging lens. As focal length of lens is changed the condensors should be changed to those that are appropriate. These condensors include the 85, 130, 160, 200, and 240. There are also specific condensors for differing light sources. For instance a point light source requires specific condensors that are different from the more common.

    There has not been any one single change that I have made in the last twenty one years of photography that has materially improved my prints as much as switching to the Durst condensor enlarger. Good luck with your purchase.
     
  8. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    I just returned from Jens Jensen place in Portland and whatever you need for the 138 series, he has or is having remanufactured. He is Durst for 5x7 and larger enlarging equipment. He was a very gracious and excellent host.

    This was the end stage of the Per Volquartz initiated LF workshop along the Oregon Coast. We aslo paid a visit to Christopher Burkett's studio earlier that day, another gracious host. What a production he has there. We also got a nice showing of 20 or more of his prints.
     
  9. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Thanks for all the info, of course that leads to more questions :smile:

    I've noticed that there are several trade names for Durst condensers, am I correct in assuming that the ones labeled "laticon" are for the 138s?

    Thanks,
    Nathan
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The Latico are the condensors for 138, 138S, and 139 enlargers
     
  11. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Just got back from Houston with the 'new' 138s.
    The good news: it's in good shape overall and the price was definitely right.
    The bad news: it has only 2 #130's and 1 #85 condenser, so no LF for a while.
    Actually, I have time since the darkroom isn't built yet anyway.

    It also came with Nega 138, Ladane 138, and a Setoneg negative carrier.
    I've ordered a reprint manual and a 1957 book on Durst enlargers so that will help me ID everything.

    Thanks for the help, I was able to take out the bulb & mirror, and break it down with no problems.

    So, if anyone comes across a great deal on the 160, 200, and 240 condensors ... or any other parts not listed above let me know - right now I'm off to buy wood to frame up the darkroom!

    Nathan

    PS - John: keep me up to date on your 138s project, thanks!
     
  12. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I've handled a 138s, it was awesome. Good luck!
     
  13. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Will do. Happy building. Put in four times as many electrical outlets as you need. It only took me a year to run out of what I thought was two times as many as I needed.

    John
     
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  15. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi !
    I had luck finding "rare" Durst Laborator 1000 items from a Canadian which bought a huge new old stock of spares of that era...
    Try http://www.stonemills.net and look at "inventory lists "on the left.
    Prices could be a bit high... But it is new stuff !
     
  16. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Thank you. That could be very useful down the line.

    John Powers
     
  17. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have seen the condensers for sale on ebay quite often.
     
  18. gordrob

    gordrob Subscriber

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    Hi Nathan

    Here is an additional web site to check to get some information on the 138. It has good descriptions and some history on the enlarger as well as giving you some idea on how it all goes together. I think you will find the prices a bit high for some of the parts though.

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

    Stonemills.et is a good source for parts for most of the Durst enlargers and processors. They also have copies of the 138 operating instructions and service manual. There is also a previous thread on this site from a month ago about the NEGA 138 and the LAPFE inserts for the various film formats. The LADANE 138 inserts into the NEGA 138 to allow you to print roll film from 35mm to 120. As you know by now this enlarger is built like a tank. It is an exceptionally stable piece of equipment. One piece of advice though is not to try and adjust the tensioning springs on either half of the enlarger without the proper instructions or tools.

    Gord
     
  19. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Thanks, I did that and Bob sent me the lists straight away. Pretty extensive inventory of a lot of the little bits that must be pretty hard to find anywhere else.

    Checked it out, great info - but you weren't kidding about the prices!

    Ok, now it makes sense - I kept looking at that wondering how that works. Thanks Gord. I'm dyin' to get this cleaned up and going, but fortunately for my checkbook I have some time to wait for good prices on the required condensers and such while I get the darkroom built.
    I knew the Durst was a great machine before I saw one in person, but I'm amazed at the quality (and size!) of the beast. They were clearly not intended for the amateur photo market.

    Nathan
     
  20. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Nathan,

    That is the small portable one. Look at the next size up, the 8x10 in this auction that I was considering. Durst L184 8x10, 10x10 Enlarger with Dichroic Head (eBay) Item number: 7516404820 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15248&item=7516404820&rd=1

    John
     
  21. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Woohoo! That's the Monster Truck of enlargers!
    What? WAS considering? Come on man, you NEED it! :D

    Nathan
     
  22. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    No, only have a seven foot ceiling in the darkroom. Already on my second marriage, can't afford a third. I really wanted to ride that 500 pounds down the cellar stairs to the darkroom.

    You think that is big. Look up Saltzman. That is BIG.

    All in fun.

    John.
     
  23. Sean Tang

    Sean Tang Member

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    Hello all,

    I am new here although I have been a lurker for a while.

    I have a Durst L138S and it is every bit the amazing machine as everyone has said. I read in an old issue of Camera & Darkroom where Joe Englander said that the condensers of Leica and Durst enlargers were special because they were made of out optical quality 'water-white' glass unlike the Coke bottle glass of Omega and Beseler which was gave condensers a bad rap in the US. As they were too expensive for many amateurs then, not too many amateurs had access to them.

    Pristine Latico condensers can often be found on ebay for about $25.00 to $49.00 each. Sometimes, used enlarger dealers enter the auction and then prices may go crazy for certain focal lengths like the Latico 200. If you're patient, you should be able to find something eventually. The ones marked Latico xxxT are coated condensers meant for point-light sources; these are exceedingly rare and fetch a premium naturally. Last week or so, someone paid over $2000.00 for a Durst L138 with a complete set of seven Latico xxxT condensers. The ones marked Latico xxxR are reducing condensers.

    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 found most of the parts I needed off ebay. I had to be very patient. If you are enlarging 35mm frames, you need the special recessed lens mounting tube called either the Seimar or the Latub. Perhaps both work on the L138.

    How do you convert it to work with tungsten-halogen bulbs? Would anyone care to tell?
     
  24. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  25. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Thanks for the info ... mine is set up for 35mm and nothing larger (85 & 130 condensers), I'll keep an eye on ebay prices - especially the 200 & 240's.
    So, I have one unidentified bulb ... I'd heard something about their being expensive, are they now unobtainable?

    Nathan
     
  26. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Yes the Thorn bulbs are no longer available. Lee Carmichael has found another bulb that will work. You might message him for the details.