Question about Durst L1200 VLS500 and Colidap

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ~ Andrea ~, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. ~ Andrea ~

    ~ Andrea ~ Member

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    Hi,
    I've recently purchased a Durst L1200 with CLS501 head.

    I would like to get one more head for my enlarger and I've found a Durst VLS-500 (I usually do BW prints).
    This VLS500 is the L900 version that comes with Colidap 905 (I think it's 905 the code on it).

    I need the Colidap 1205 to use the head in the L1200....the question is, can I use the Colidap of the CLS501 head with the VLS500 head?
    I think that my L1200 have the Colidap 1205 (there's no writes on it) but I don't know if it's the same shipped with the VLS 500 or 501 heads specifically made for the L1200.

    I'm also interested in the main difference between the VLS500 and 501 heads.

    Thank you very much for any help!
    Andrea
     
  2. MARTIE

    MARTIE Member

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    Hi Andrea,
    I believe it is possible to swap the L900 version VLS500 head onto a L1200 adapter plate.
    I haven't tried it myself as I've had no need to do it but I have both models and from what I can see the 2 VLS500 heads are identical just on different adapter plates. I'm keeping the L900 version as a spare. *If you do try this please let me know if indeed it works.*

    Regarding the difference between VLS500 & VLS501;
    VLS500 is smaller and less heavy duty and has stepless filters that go from 0-100 below are the equivalent grades that I found somewhere not that they matter or are needed in anyway;
    0=00
    1=27
    2=40
    neutral=50
    3=60
    4=84

    The VLS501 is bigger and heavy duty with stepless filter grades from 0-5.

    Both heads are wonderful and I believe are capable of delivering identical results. If you particularly want to use the split-grade printing technique then I would advise using under the lens filters to avoid unwanted wear and tear on the dialing mechanism especially with the VLS500 model. Both are quite rare to find and hold their price well. The Multigraph is a different beast altogether with lots of electronic wizardry that can be expensive to fix if they breakdown, if they can be fixed at all. The VLS will give you no such problems.
     
  3. ~ Andrea ~

    ~ Andrea ~ Member

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    Martie,
    thank you very much for your very helpful reply.

    I've thinked about the multigraph, it's very rare and fascinating equipment but I'm seriously worried about it's reliability during the time.
    These equipment are old and I've red about a couple of electric failure on this forum....so this choice would be chancy.

    The VLS or Ilford Multigrade System (400H or 500H) is what I'm looking for, I would like to try a specific BW head.
    I've the opportunity to buy a VLS500 with colidap for L900, this is the reason of my request.

    Anyway if you suggest the classic Ilford filter for split grade printing (I've never tried this technique but I think it's can be very good) probably I can use the "under the lens filters" in my CLS501 head.

    Is there an Ilford filter set specific made for under the lens mounting or I have to make a dedicated support to hold the classic squared filter?

    Thanks!
    ~ Andrea ~
     
  4. ciccioder

    ciccioder Member

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    Hi Andrea,
    i'm italian....so if you want contact in MP don't esitate.

    I have the VLS501 Head.....but as i wrote in my previous post...."Durst Laborator 1200 VLS 501 head" (try to find it!), using the head is impossible to use the diaphram mechanism that, ideally, have to regulate automatically the quantity of light according to the grade you are using.
    In fact many forum's members let me notice that the head was probably calibrated for an old Iflord (II) paper, so you have to use it with trials and errors method when you change the grade: no automatic function is possible (or it is so in my case)!

    if you have different experience let me know.
    Francesco
     
  5. ~ Andrea ~

    ~ Andrea ~ Member

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    Hi Ciccio,
    yes this one is another doubt...I think that I've already red your thread where I've understand that the head isn't calibrated for Ilford Multigrave IV paper.

    Sometimes I red that it's calibrated for RC paper, sometimes for other kinds of papers.
    This can be a problem because the main head capabilty should let you change the contrast of a print without affecting exposure time.

    If this function will not work properly probably is better to save money on a standard black and white condensed head (the Variopoint) or maybe an Ilford Multigrade head (but I've red that the Ilford systems are affected from the same calibration problem).

    Actually I've used only color heads in my previous M805 and in this L1200 and I'm pleased with the results but I've red and heared many times that color heads will not give the same contrast and black deep as BW dedicated heads so I'm really interested in trying a dedicated BW system.

    Probably the first thing that I can do is to try the Ilford filters with my CLS501.
    I've thinked to put the Ilford filter over the top glass of my film carrier, so I'll have the film between two glass and the graded filter over the top glass to color the light before the film....do you have any experience with this kind of setup?


    THANKS!
     
  6. MARTIE

    MARTIE Member

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    Andrea and Francesco,
    From what I've read, ALL of the 4x5 enlargers we're talking about Durst, Ilford etc. will perform equally well and give comparable results. (Wish the same could be said for the operators!)
    But what's far more important than calibration in my view, is consistancy, reliability and experience in your darkroom with your enlarger and with your materials and processes.

    The VLS500 & VLS501 are fine heads extremely reliable, much more so than the Multigraph or Ilford MG500 in my opinion. I've just turned down an Ilford MG500 simply because with all of the electronics, too much can go wrong. And when the Multigraph goes because it's probably only a matter of time, it won't be getting replaced.
    I'm convinced I'll still be using the VLS, CLS and Femokit (condenser) enlargers long, long, long after the electronically sophisticated enlargers have died.

    The filters I'm talking about are the Ilford under the lens type. They are fine for most lenses but I don't think the system works with all size lenses, I've not measured the holder but I can if you're interested. They come with a holder and the filters can easily be put in and taken out making them ideal for split-grade printing. Some people have modified the holder so it accepts a Cokin filter ring that screws into the lens! Although you could always use the above the lens filters in one way or another.
    And if you want electronics you can always add a RH Designs Analyser Pro!
     
  7. MARTIE

    MARTIE Member

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    Francesco, your original post that you're referring to is absolutely right. BUT it also says that no enlarger is calibrated or can automatically calculate perfect exposure and filter grade across the full range. Your VLS501 head is a superb piece of kit. I'm not totally convinced of your problem with this model. ONLY use the white light in non-automatic mode when focussing the negative. For EVERYTHING else use the automatic mode. There is a small but visible difference in exposure when making BIG grade changes but as you get to know your negatives and equipment you can do your teststrips close to the final grade that you will be using. So in my case, most of my negatives print beautifully at 65 with the VLS500 head (so around grade 3 VLS501 head). Then just begin your test strips at that filter grade and any adjustments will be pretty much unnoticeable.
     
  8. ciccioder

    ciccioder Member

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    I can assure that with any modern VC Paper is impossible to use the automatic position: from Grade 3 to Grade 5, in AUTOMATIC position, if you chose a time with a test strip to grade 3 and change the grade, using the same time, the image darken: don't doubt that! I try many times and is all the same.
    Putting the Durst Compulux under the light i try to measure the densitometric value for any change of grade and i saw that there are 30 D value (1 diaphram) from grade 3 to 5, so with the automatic mode the light double and time go down of an half. In the middle there are obviously different value.
    Knowing this situation you have three choise: 1) changing the diaphram; 2) changing the time (remember you can know the D value and my Compulux can adeguate the time according the D value); 3) make test strips for any grade.....
    I'm sorry if is not clear; in the beginning i thought that could possible use the automatic position but it's not so.
    if there is any other member that use the VLS501 in AUTOMATIC mode, please post some reply
     
  9. MARTIE

    MARTIE Member

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    You are right. Technically there is a difference when changing filter grades. But in my experience doing a test strip on or near the correct grade solves this issue.
    Consistency in materials and processes means you can judge fairly well which filtration to use and adjustments from this are then only minor.

    Do you no longer use the VLS501 for this reason and use a different enlarging system or do you only use the VLS501 in non-automatic mode?
     
  10. ciccioder

    ciccioder Member

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    I actually use the VLS501, but i set the enlarger with the 4x5 mixing box, to have a more controlled light and than i operate as said before. I usually prefer to use MANUAL mode so that i have to increase the amount of time proceding from grade 3 to 5.
     
  11. ~ Andrea ~

    ~ Andrea ~ Member

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    Hi Martie,
    thanks for your reply.

    I've already saw this filter kit and I'm thinking to buy one to use with the CLS501.
    I completely agree with you regarding the darkroom experience with a specific equipment but I've never tried a black and white head and I really would like to cop are it with my CLS.

    Regarding the electronic heads you're right, they'll fail one day, so I'll get a VLS or the classic variopoint.
    The variopoint should be the cheapest but it's a condensed head (the CLS and VLS are diffused from what I know) and I've red different kind of comments about condensed VS diffused.

    Cheers!
    ~ Andrea ~
     
  12. skahde

    skahde Member

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    If the VLS needs factors to be detremined with modern papers, why not do the same thing with the CLS that is already on the enlarger using M and Y filtration? Most papers come with tables for that in their data sheets which make nice starting points. This would safe a lot of money, trouble and time to make prints.