Durst M700 - a good starter enlarger?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by agenkin, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    Greetings!

    I have what I think is a good local deal on a used Durst M700 B&W enlarger (around US$80 for the enlarger, timer, safe light, trays, tongs, and a Nikon lens). Probably just the 35mm negative holder.

    I know very little about enlargers, and the seller seems to know even less. :smile:

    Is this a decent choice for my first enlarger, to get a taste of B&W processing? I figure that for that price I don't care too much if I'll want to get something different in a year from now. So, the only thing that I'm worried about is whether this model is quirky in some way: I don't want to be pushed away from wet printing. :smile: I tried searching the web for information, but found very little about this model.

    Any input would be highly appreciated!

    Edited to add: I'm interested in B&W printing from, for now, 35mm negatives, and my bathroom will serve as a dark room.
     
  2. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    All Durst enlargers are good. I hear that the M700 is no exception.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I like Durst enlargers a lot. Functionally they are not quirky, and they are well built. In terms of parts and pieces they can be quirky in that everything has names instead of model numbers, and it can be difficult to sort out what fits what enlarger. The M700 is fairly recent though, and it sounds like you won't need to add much to it for the time being.
    Many of their negative holders are multi-format, so if you go up to medium format, you may only need a lens.
     
  4. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    The M700 was discontinued in 1979. Whether that is recent, is a matter of one's point of view.

    There is a bit of logic in the enlarger names though, the L1200 for example was called "Femo", and parts for it began their name with Femo also.
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Oops. I was thinking it was rather more recent than that, my mistake.
     
  6. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    Thanks! I'm picking it up tomorrow.

    Any pointers what to check when buying it?
     
  7. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    Make sure you get all the parts, e.g. lens plates. Also, try out the focusing and the crank for rising and dropping the head.
     
  8. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I couldn't agree more! It could be really bothersome (and expensive) to find the correct lensplates (in 39 mm thread) and negative holders/inserts if something is missing. I am talking from my own experience here.
     
  9. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    The M700 is a great enlarger. The lensplates are findable, but the negative masks are nearly impossible (while I have your attention, anyone know where I can get masks in 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9?
     
  10. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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  11. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    Well, I just got the enlarger. It has a 39mm lens plate with an EL-Nikkor 50/4, and a 35mm negative holder.

    It's missing one obvious part, though: the top cover for the light bulb housing. But I figured I could hack something together to replace the cover, using tin foil or some such. Any ideas?
     
  12. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I don't know what the missing part looks like, but you might be able to make a replacement out of a piece of aluminum sheet metal.
     
  13. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I've never seen an M700, but if they are anything like the Dursts I've been using, it's basically a flat cover with some holes in it, to let the hot air circulate.
     
  14. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    How doesn't it leak light through the holes? :confused:

    Here's what the head of my M700 looks like, with the missing cover:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Sorry for the crappy photo but I hope you get the idea... Mine is an older Durst but in principle they look pretty similar to each other regardless of age. As you can see, there are a few holes in the top, in the upper part of the photo. Light and heat gets out of there, but I have not seen any problems with the light, as long as it doesn't fall onto the easel. Make something with a few small holes to let the heat out and you'll be fine.
     

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  16. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    Not sure I see them. I am guessing that your enlarger also has a mirror compartment in the front, and a light bulb compartment in the back, so we must be talking about the cover of the back compartment. Are the holes that you are taking about round or prolonged?

    Thanks!
     
  17. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Sorry for not answering straight away - I've been on a trip. Yep, the holes are the elongated ones on the left, right and top side in the upper part of the (crappy) photo. See below. And the construction in the lower part is the same as yours with a mirror box and a condensor lens in it. Hope it helps you a bit further along, otherwise get back.
     

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  18. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I have an M600, here are some snaps. Mine doesn't have the red locking tab, but otherwise looks similar to yours. My cover has no holes. The ruler is in cm., divide by 2.54 if you are in the US.
     

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  19. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Forgot to include the shot showing the inside of the cover...
     

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  20. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Aah, well... I always learn something new around here. :smile:
     
  21. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    Aha, thanks a bunch, that's informative. I see that M600's lamp compartment has a "lip" (i.e. a protruding border), around which the cover snaps securely, thus trapping the light. The M700's heat sink that houses the lamp does not this lip, so I can't imagine a cover that would shut the light inside. On the other hand, I'm glad that M700's bulb compartment is squarish: it would be harder making a cover for the irregular shape of the M600.

    I'm having a bit of a problem with making a cover myself. I've made one out of a tin cookie box, using some aluminum foil as a "gasket", to achieve a better contact. It fits pretty snugly, BUT in the total darkness I can see quite a bit of light leaking *down* from under the lid: this light ends up shining on the paper for enlargements bigger than 5x7 (for 5x7 the reflected light is just next to the paper easel, but doesn't reach the paper).

    I wonder if I can use some kind of heat resistant rubber as a gasket between the cover and the heat sink?.. Any ideas what kind of rubber I can use for this?
     
  22. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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  23. Randy Stewart

    Randy Stewart Member

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    I use an M800, which is a later, very slight modificaation of the M700. I found that the best way to have replacement parts for Durst enlargers of this age [mid-1970's] is to shop for another of the same model, often in poor condition at a cheap price.

    Your M700 is not just an "entry" model. I was was the proefssional grade medium format enlarger of its day. You would find that most parts and accessories for the M800 fit the M700. Durst parts are often fairly complex designs with tight fittings, so it may be difficult to make a properly fitting replacement cover. I have a spare M700. I looked a the housing cover, which is just a retangular plate with holes and louvers to block light leaks. Too complex to just make out of tin, so anything you can fit which will provide heat escape and not leak light will work. I would not use an rubber or plastic gaskets to avoid melting.
     
  24. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    In Analog photography, 1979 really is fairly recent :D