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  1. #1
    cvik's Avatar
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    Just bought a Durst AC800 Elite

    Hi,

    I have just little darkroom experience as I've only borrowed a darkroom from time to time and used completly manual enlargers. I figured it was time to buy myself a darkroom at home and when a friend called me to ask if I was interested in an enlarger i said yes.

    Anyways, I ended up with a Durst AC800 Elite enlarger with some 80 mm Rodenstock lens - it costed around 230 USD including transport to my home (will get in a day or two).

    I have no idea if it is any good but it did look impressive. I wonder if anyone can tell me anything about this enlarger as I don't even have a manual for it (anyone who has a pdf-version?). Is it any good or just a clumsy featurebloated thing with bad optics and horrible light? I have always been interested in the Leitz Focomat IIc - I figured however that enlargers are probably like cameras where the optics is what really matters and that durst will be able to print something similar if i update the optics. Will I be able to produce similar high quality prints on this enlarger if I change the lens to a Leitz Focotar-II or a Schneider APO-Componon HM lens?

    I think the enlarger has something called paper channels. What is that for?

  2. #2
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    You are the proud owner of an enlarger that will have cost in excess of 10,000 USD (probably a lot more) when new. Forget the Leitz: it's a toy by comparison... The high end Durst enlargers (of which this one most certainly is) are among the best there are. If you only do B&W it is a bit over-kill but you don't have to use all the features.

    I think there may just be someone around here who may be able to answer your questions... http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/8426-split-second-decision-left-me-durst-ac800-elite-enlarger-seeking-info.html ...

    Cheers, Bob.

    P.S. Make sure it has all the mixing boxes and negative carriers as these are not cheap to buy new or used.

    P.P.S. If you can't find a free manual, you can buy an English one here:http://www.oldtimercameras.com/stock...ModelPage=true (it's where I got the manual for my AC1200 - not a terribly good quality copy but it did the job).
    Last edited by Bob F.; 09-17-2005 at 10:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    Mongo's Avatar
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    I can only think of 2 things to say...

    1: $230 including shipping? Wow!
    2: Congratulations! You own an enlarger that most of us dared not dream about owning just a few years ago. (I'm quickly becoming the greatest fan of digital photography in the world...it's made the stuff I want so cheap!)
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  4. #4
    Sean's Avatar
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    I ended up selling mine, I just couldn't work out how to use it. I now have a used Durst Pictocrom 4x5 which is much more intuitive and easy to use.. Sorry I can't be more help, good luck, I hope you have better success with it than I did. Worst case scenario just use the lightsource with a filter set I guess..

  5. #5

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    I have one of these enlargers and they are an incredible but complex piece of equipment. My first piece of advice is that when you get it don't get carried away trying it out until you have the instructions. Calibration of this enlarger requires some work for both colour and B&W and the instructions are necessary. You can get a good copy of the manuals from http://www.stonemills.net/inventory.html. The operating manual is a must but you shouldn't need the service manual unless there are serious problems with the electronics and then you better have a good knowledge of that field if you are going to service it yourself. Also when getting a manual make sure it is for the right model. If this is the AC800, the ELITE or the AF model make sure that is the manual you get. The enlarger is for printing 35mm to 6x9 colour negs, B&W negs and transparencies. To do all three you will need 50mm, 80mm and 105mm lenses and the appropriate lens boards, neg carriers and light boxes. These are not hard to come by and Stonemills should have some parts in their inventory. They also show up on Ebay often for a decent price. B&H also has some of the negative masks on their site. If the enlarger didn't come with any of these you will probably spend more on the parts than you did on the enlarger but it will be worth it. There is a remote command unit for it as well that makes using it in the dark a lot easier.Once you have calibrated the enlarger using it will be pretty straight forward. If you can get a hold do of test/calibration negatives for the film you normally use you will find that the calibration will be a lot easier

    Gord

  6. #6
    cvik's Avatar
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    Good to hear that the enlarger is a good one. I tried to find information about it on the Internet but have found next to nothing.

    Included is one light mixing box (grey with red button - are these easy to get?) and one lensboard with an 80mm rodenstock lens (not sure wich one but IIRC it is a rodagon f4 lens). It doesn't include any negative carriers and masks so i will have to get those separately. I intend to use it for 35mm and 6x6. Do I need a light mixing box for each format? If so, does 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 use the same box?

    I have no calibration negatives. I have always used slidefilm for colorwork and then scanned it. I rarely use color print film allthough that may change now when I get this color enlarger. I would however like to work with cibachrome - is it possible to get calibration "negatives" for slidefilm?


    Great forum! Thank you all for your help.

  7. #7

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    The AC800 uses what is called a "cobineg" negative carrier with inserts from 35mm to 6x9. This particluar type is needed to use the built in densitometer in the AC800. As well you will need the semi sunk lens board "Setopla 2839" for a 50mm lens for 35mm negs. Each of the different sizes of negs have their own light boxes as well. You can make your own test negatives by ensuring that there is a large grey patch shot under neutral conditions. The grey patch is used to calibrate the built in densitometer.

    You shouldn't have any problem finding the lens boards, negative masks or light boxes on Ebay. The Cobineg may be a little more difficult.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

    Gord

  8. #8
    cvik's Avatar
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    Gord, thank you for your listing of what i need. I think the lightbox for 35mm is included so i only need to get one for 6x6. I must say they really charge a lot for those simple accessories allthough i found they were cheaper at stonemills.net (150 USD vs 200 USD for the lightbox).

    I did search for the cobineg but without luck. After looking at B&H i found the "Bimaneg Negative Carrier (for M805 and AC800 Enlargers)". Since it is made for the AC800, is it possible to use this one and still have support for the densitometer?

    Also, Is it possible to use a 45mm lens (Schneider apo-componon 45/4) with the Setopla 2839?

    I put the image from the seller on my webpage. I'm not sure wether it has AF or not but I know it has an electrical motor: http://www.christianvik.com/div/ac800elite.jpg

  9. #9

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    Yours is the autofocus model by virture of the box attached to the left hand side of the enlarger. You also have the remote control unit which you will find handy when programming and printing. With the autofocus I would think that you will need the 50mm lens as this is what the calibration system uses for calculating the focusing distances although you may be able to trick the sytem into believing it is a 50mm lens since the focal length is not that much different. When it comes to calibrating the 105mm lens thay allow for a 100mm lens to be used instead. The limited information I have on the enlarger shows only the Cobineg carrier with the Binema masks being used but if the Bimaeg is marked for use by Durst it should do the trick.

    The black metal piece on the right hand side of the enlarger head contains a grey disk for calibration of the densitometer. The black door behind it is for setting up your basic filter pack. There is suppose to be a special tool for this but a small screw driver will work. There is a process by which you will need to do to set up your lens to autofocus. It is not difficult - you will need the instructions for the Elite model though.

    The bimaneg looks the same as the cobineg except for the red handles on the carrier.
    http://cgi.ebay.fr/durst-Bimaneg_W0Q...ayphotohosting

    The integral part for the densitmoeter actually sits below the neg carrier ( my mistake). The black plastic handle below the carrier pulls out and that is where you set the type of film you are projecting (B&W, transparencie or Colour Neg) for the process.
    I have an old Durst price list somewhere and I will try and check to see if they list the parts for the AC800.

    Gord

  10. #10
    cvik's Avatar
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    I got the enlarger today and atleast everything that is included is in a very good condition. The seller told me that it had belonged to the Norwegian Army (engineer/technical division) and that he assumed they took good care of it.

    Anyways, I just had to push all those buttons. I found that under "setup"->"cal" I can choose between 50, 80 and 105. It does irritate me as this means I can't use any of the newer Schneider APO-componon HM lenses (40,45,60,90,150), nor the Rodenstock Apo-Rodagon-S line (75,120) which I understand is among the finest lenses available. The one included was a Rodenstock Rodagon 80/4. Can anyone recommend a very high quality 50 mm?

    Is it possible to focus manually as well? I must honestly say that I don't have a clue on how to focus this thing. I definitly have to get the manual (and negative carrier).

    The calibration tool was included but no calibration negatives. I did however find calibration negatives/pos/b&w at B&H so I will just buy it there.

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