Is the Durst C35 powerful enough

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by North for Short, May 10, 2005.

  1. North for Short

    North for Short Member

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    I am having doubts about my enlarger as it is not as powerful or versitile as the college one I use (Durst M670). I don't know how to do half grades (I have contrast filters) and it seems that for a 10 x 8 I am pushing it to the extreme but I need that size for my work. How can I improve on the quality that I am getting or am I being spoilt for using a more powerful enlarger.
     
  2. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    A few points: The light hitting the negative needs to be even across the whole area of the neg. The negative needs to be held flat and parallel with the baseboard. You need to use a decent lens. The lamp needs to dish out a decent amount of light to keep exposure times down to a sensible interval - under 1 minute at f8 say.

    If all the above apply then the make/model/size etc of the enlarger is largely irrelevant. Better quality models will have smoother movements, handle different formats, have more bells and whistles etc but I would check the above points before thinking of an new enlarger.

    Contrast filters are also available in packs of 12 in half grades: Ilford's for example.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  3. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    I owned that model before my current enlarger. I had serious problems with the light (uneven and dim) and for me atleast, it made printing a chore rather than something fun. There are tons of very inexpensive enlargers out there capable of giving you much better results (or atleast easier to attain), and will allow you to step-up to MF if you so choose down the road.
     
  4. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    I too had a C35. It produced what I thought at the time were reasonable 10x8 and smaller photos, but like you I struggled with its limitations. I used the yellow and magenta filters for VC papers and that often produced times in the range of 40 - 80 seconds. And that was at f/5.6 which isn't the best aperture to use for most enlarging lenses. I also found it not that stable so you had to be very careful that you didn't knock it during exposure. Another problem is that the bulbs are now discontinued. If I remember correctly, it took a 50W bulb. I tried a standard 75W bulb even though it told me not to and it kept on blowing. In the end I used a 50W domestic halogen bulb which seemed to work OK.

    Still despite these failings, I learnt a lot while using it. But I'm glad I replaced it with a decent enlarger and lens, I really noticed the difference with my first print. There's so many cheap enlargers on eBay at the moment that I'm sure you can pick up a bargain. Go for one of the medium format Dursts like the M670, and get a decent lens, (Nikon, Schneider or Rodenstock) and you'll notice a huge difference. Other makes to look out for are LPL and Meopta -- Ole and others here rate the Meopta Opemus very highly. I've now got a Kaiser (another good make) with a Nikon lens and even using the yellow and magenta filters together my average time for a 10x8 at f/8 is 6 seconds! I now have to use f/11 or f/16 if I want to do some dodging.

    Mike
     
  5. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    You can achieve a 2.5 grade by doing 1/2 total time with each #2 and #3. You can make grade 2.9 by 90 % # 3 and 10 % #2
     
  6. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I had one too, but other than longish exposure times (compared to what I have now) it was fine. I didn't use the inbuilt filters as that varies the exposure time if using one filter, or makes for much longer exposures if using dual filtering. I found using VC filters in the tray better. If you have the lense that came with them usually, the Durst Neonon 50/2.8, then keep it. Absolutely nothing wrong with those, apparently they are a 6 element Schneider (mine said made by Schneider on it). From memory I used to have 30-40sec exposures but can't remember if that was at f5.6 or f8. I also couldn't get a replacement lamp (MELAMP 55 I think they were called) so I made up a wire frame to hold a household downlight (just like Mike!) horizontally (the normal bulb pokes up from underneath). That was brighter than the standard setup. I found it gave very even light across the neg. Of the small 35mm only (although you could get a 6x7 conversion kit for the C35) enlargers I've seen and used, I always found it to be one of the better ones. It's no Leitz though!
     
  7. North for Short

    North for Short Member

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    Thanks to every one

    concerning the Durst C35. It seems that the only way forward is to flog it on Ebay and get something with a bit more ooomph with it!
     
  8. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Well, only you can decide what you want to do, but it does sound like you're being restricted by the C35's limitations. Though, it is capable of producing reasonable 10x8 prints especially with a decent lens.

    As for a new one, it depends on your budget. I had a quick look on eBay and the Durst medium format models seem to be going for quite high prices, whereas the Meopta Opemus 6's seem to be the bargain buy. LPL 7700's (nice enlarger, I used to use one at college) are also a bit pricey. Can I put in a recommendation for Kaiser enlargers? They are a bit rarer than the others but seem to go for less than 100 pounds. I brought one after my C35 and it's the classic example of German manufacturing -- nearly all metal, very solid construction. Nice features like spirit levels on the head and baseboard.

    Hope that helps

    Mike
     
  9. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I had one for years and it did fine until I started needing an enlarger that could take medium format. If you are using contrast filters I assume you are doing B&W and there was a B&W version with a condenser head that managed faster exposure times. That said, the M670, which is what I also now mostly use, is a lot faster as well as being more versatile.

    David.
     
  10. North for Short

    North for Short Member

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    That is definately one I have my eye because we use the same model at college. I also like the recommendation of the Kaiser model as well. Kaiser produce quality products.
     
  11. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I got mine 2nd hand. I can't remember now exactly what it cost, but a good bit less than I paid for the C35 new and you can keep using the same lens. I later got the 6x7 condensor set (I don't do colour with it) and lenses to do medium format, but that is very much optional extra country if you are 35mm only.

    David.