Durst L900 or LPL 7450 Mark II - Which one to keep
I would appreciate the collective wisdom of the group on how to solve a good problem...
A while ago, I had puchased a Durst L900 with CLS 450 colour head in anticipation of building my own darkroom. After completing the darkroom an year after the initial purchase, I was looking to buy other darkroom equipment (like trays, etc.) when I came across the opportunity to buy an entire darkroom setup including an LPL 7450 Mark2, with a clutch of enlarger lenses, negarive carriers, color head, easel, RH Timer/Analyser, safelights, etc. Being a sucker for photography equipment, I bought the entire set.
My darkroom is not big enough to keep both the enlargers. I have the following options.
1. Keep the LPL in storage, as it seems that it can be packed away in parts for a rainy day.
2. Sell the LPL enlarger and keep the Durst L900
3. Keep the LPL enlarger and sell the Durst L900.
What should I do ? If I can keep only one, which enlarger I should keep?
Being new to the darkroom, I am somewhat confused on the course of action. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a lot...
Both are very good enlargers. The L900 is a bit sturdier than the7450, but the later is a joy to use and still in production, what can make for a big difference in maintenance.
I use a 7450 since 1998 and love it
I basically agree with Helcio. That said, if possible you should play with both enlargers to get acquainted with both of them.
Having used quite a few Durst enlargers and at one stage owned the original LPL 7450 I would be tempted towards the LPL.
An interesting thing about the LPL is that it can be wall mounted. There are a set of wall mounting brackets which will enable you to place the working part of the enlarger slightly higher above the bench, allowing greater enlargements than standard.
When you are not enlarging, with the greater space available, you can use the bench for different things, or you can create a drop table, enabling really large printing.
The Mk 2 model, if I remember correctly, has a 50mm spacer behind the main enlarger head which clears the enlarging image from the enlarger column, allowing greater enlargements. This was probably the best improvement LPL did, over the original version.
I think if you play with them, especially if you are going to change formats, you will soon learn which enlarger you will like working with.
One last thing, I'm not particularly knowledgeable about the Durst, but going on the model number, it would appear to be a 6x9 enlarger, which may have been converted to a 4x5 enlarger, given your description of the head on the top. If this is the case then maybe when using it with 4x5, it may have a compromise or two. This could be an issue either now, or in the future.
I would suggest that if there is an issue about maximum size capability, then the best 4x5 enlarger may be the best bet.
Build a bigger bench and set both up.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
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With Durst going out of the business, pick LPL while they are still in it. I am sure there will be spare parts for a while with Durst, it could become a problem down the road.
The only pessimistic aspect I have about traditional B&W is the coming shortage of high-quality enlargers. I am hoping there will be a really amazing "last man standing" type of company.
I have the LPL wall mounted and I love it.
Thanks for all the valuble input. I have decided to try both before deciding which one to use as the main enlarger. The other will stay in storage as a backup.
I am trialling the L900 to start with. After some anxious moments with the baseboard, I have got it working and have made some 8X10 enlargements. The initial results are encouraging, but I have a long way to go to get the best possible results from my setup.
I feel that the sharpness I see in my negatives do not get translated into the prints I have made so far - despite the use of the grain focus scope. I use the 80mm 5.6 Componan-S for 6X6 and the 50mm 2.8 Componan-S for the 35mm. Both stopped down by 2 stops.
VV I am using the same set of enlarging lenses that you are using.
Below is a thread that I started about BG filters for focusing B&W negatives. I you follow it through to near the end, there is an interesting development about B&W enlarging which may be relevant to you, as much as it appears it is relevant to me, regarding sharpness of prints.