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  1. #1

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    Making my own condenser for Durst M700

    I have spent the last year waiting for the MF (Unicon 85 or Unicon 105) condenser for my Durst M700 to show up on eBay, and I'm thinking that I need to do something about it, instead of waiting. I'm thinking of getting my hands on a condenser lens from some other MF enlarger, and adapting it to my M700 by making a custom box to fit it into the head. I only want to be able to print 6x6 for now.

    Is this a bad idea? Do I need to worry about distances to the mirror or to the negative? Has anyone done this?

    I'd appreciate any input at all. Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Hi Agenkin - You might be able to answer a question I have. I too have an M700. It has a Unicon 85 condenser, which is only good for 6x6, whereas the neg carrier is 6x9. Is the Unicon 105 suitable for 6x9? Thanks.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by dario View Post
    I too have an M700. It has a Unicon 85 condenser, which is only good for 6x6, whereas the neg carrier is 6x9. Is the Unicon 105 suitable for 6x9?
    Yes, as far as I understand, the number on the condenser corresponds to the diagonal of the negative (50 for 35mm, 85 for 6x6, 105 for 6x9). Note that this knowledge is purely theoretical - I haven't used my M700 for MF printing yet. But the enlarger is capable of handing up to 6x9 negatives, and the Unicon 105 is the biggest condenser for it. Hope this helps.

    p.s. Would you like to sell your Unicon 85 condenser?

  4. #4

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    Hi Arcady - Thanks for the info. No, I don't want to see my Unicon 85, but I'm interested to buy a Unicon 105, although my 105mm lens seems to work OK with my Unicon 85. However, I do wonder if I should be raising the condenser so that its distance from the lens is closer to the lens's focal length. I don't suppose you have a manual?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dario View Post
    However, I do wonder if I should be raising the condenser so that its distance from the lens is closer to the lens's focal length. I don't suppose you have a manual?
    I have a hardcopy manual for the M700, which is pretty slim, and not very informative. I can scan it for you, if you want.

    Why do you want to raise the condenser? Do you mean the distance from the condenser lens, or from the enlarging lens?

  6. #6

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    Now you've made me think. I'm clearly a bit confused. The condenser should be a certain distance from the light source - right? That's why some enlargers allow you to raise and lower the bulb. In the M700, the position of the bulb is fixed, so shouldn't you change the position of the condenser for different condenser focal lengths? Does the manual say anything about that? I'd appreciate a copy, but don't want to put you to the trouble if it's not very informative.

  7. #7

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    No-no, it's *me* who is confused. My question was that of ignorance, not that of instruction to think harder. I don't quite understand how condensers work, which, I thought, should be evident from my original post. You may be quite right about rising the condenser. I wonder if I can use the Unicon 50 for printing off 6x6 in the same fashion.

  8. #8

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    There are two aspects (at least). One is the size (diameter) of the condenser. I've never seen a Unicon 50, but I suspect it won't be big enough for 6x6. The diameter of the condenser has to be at least as large as the neg diagonal. The other aspect is the positioning of the condenser with respect to the light source and the enlarging lens, and I'm not sure how critical that is - hence my question about raising the condenser. Hope that helps.

  9. #9

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    Incidently, I've been looking at your photos - really interesting. Are you in Brazil?

  10. #10

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    Thanks, dario, I live in Toronto, Canada. I visited Brazil for about nine days in August, and it fascinated me as a very photogenic country (and I only saw a tiny part of it).

    I'll try to find some reading on how condensers work. I think that I can get a Durst M600 head with an 85mm condenser reasonably cheaply, but I don't know whether the distances there are comparable to distances in the M700. From what I've seen so far, the design is very similar.

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