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  1. #21
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsmith01tx
    Woohoo! That's the Monster Truck of enlargers!
    What? WAS considering? Come on man, you NEED it!

    Nathan
    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.

  2. #22

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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?

  3. #23

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    [QUOTE=Sean Tang,


    How do you convert it to work with tungsten-halogen bulbs? Would anyone care to tell?[/QUOTE]

    I have a 138S as well. I haven't had to deal with the conversion yet. I still have a 300 watt and a 500 watt Thorn lamp. Eventually, obviously the time will come. What I would do is use a minimum of 1000 watt halogen lamp and use the same principal that Jensen Optical did with their $800 upgrade. I would build a reflector that would be placed to the rear of the halogen lamp. The material that I would use for the reflector is Mirro which has above 90% reflective qualities. The reflector would need to be curved and emulate the radius of the halogen lamp.

    The reason for the reflector is that it utilizes the light radiating off the rear of the lamp envelope and additionally it creates a larger effective light source to the condensor path. My thoughts are that the reflector diameter would be approximately that of the Thorn lamp.

  4. #24

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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

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsmith01tx
    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
    Yes the Thorn bulbs are no longer available. Lee Carmichael has found another bulb that will work. You might message him for the details.

  6. #26

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    Donald, your advice has given me an idea. Essentially, I would look for a lamp, reflector and socket assembly from a Fresnel spot light and adapt it to the L138s or L184! I am sure Mole Richardson, Strand, etc would sell one of these assemblies.

    I think I have found my solution so thank you for your advice.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    I have a 138S as well. I haven't had to deal with the conversion yet. I still have a 300 watt and a 500 watt Thorn lamp. Eventually, obviously the time will come. What I would do is use a minimum of 1000 watt halogen lamp and use the same principal that Jensen Optical did with their $800 upgrade. I would build a reflector that would be placed to the rear of the halogen lamp. The material that I would use for the reflector is Mirro which has above 90% reflective qualities. The reflector would need to be curved and emulate the radius of the halogen lamp.
    Durst built a thing called "LAVAKO". It was used to adapt the Agfa Varioscope color head (made in the '50s and '60s) to the L138. You had to remove the mirror, insert the LAVAKO (essentially just a tin box with sides cut 45deg) and mount the color head on top of the whole thing. The light from the mixing box in the color head went down in the top condensor, you could use all neg sizes when using a 6x9 mixing box (using different condensors, of course). The knob at the front was used to adjust the distance from light source to condensor to optimize lighting.

    I adapted a 100W Meopta color head to it and used it for some time, replacing it with a real Durst color head eventually.

    Martin


  8. #28

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    Interesting...

    I wouldn't want to do this myself since the color head would be a larger diffuse light source then the Thorn lamp. My interest based in my own results is to move more to a point light source condensor ultimately. A point light source condensor would afford the greatest sharpness and local contrast of any light head. Additionally a 100 watt lamp would be too weak for some of my work. I have had 4 minute exposures when using a grade five filter and large enlargements with the 300 watt lamp. My thinking is to be up around 1000 watts.

  9. #29
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    Donald, I recommed you do a side by side comparison with the same neg betweeen a condenser and a diffusing enlarger, carefully adjusting the contrast on vc-paper to match overall contrast from both light sources (e.g. using a step wedge). After I did this, I sold one of my Durst enlargers, gained some money and lots of workspace and never looked back.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by skahde
    Donald, I recommed you do a side by side comparison with the same neg betweeen a condenser and a diffusing enlarger, carefully adjusting the contrast on vc-paper to match overall contrast from both light sources (e.g. using a step wedge). After I did this, I sold one of my Durst enlargers, gained some money and lots of workspace and never looked back.

    I have conducted this test months ago. The Durst condensor will give me drastically improved local contrast at the same overall contrast settings. The enlarger that I used in comparison is my Saunders 4550 VCCE. Along with drastically improved local contrast, I have noticed improved sharpness with the same enlarging lens (150 mm El Nikkor). Both enlargers are perfectly aligned. If I sold anything it would be my Saunders 4550 VCCE XLG that has been modified for pin registration.

    The improved local contrast that I experience with the Durst Condensor enlarger is the difference between a print that glows and a print that doesn't.

    The Saunders is generally recognized as being a very good enlarger. It doesn't compare to the Durst condensor.

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