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  1. #1
    36cm2's Avatar
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    DURST 138S Questions

    Hope you're all well. I've been offered a Durst 138S for an unbelievable price and have a few questions that I hope you can help with.


    1. I read the following in a posting from 2005 on how the 138 can be broken down for transport:

    "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 have transported a Durst 1200 in the past, so I'm aware of the spring issue, just not sure how exactly the spring is released (and how not to release it when removing the head). Can anyone clarify this for me exactly so I don't maim anyone?


    2. If you shot 4x5 and smaller formats, which would you rather have in your darkroom, the 138S (condenser head) or a Durst 1200 (color head)? To the wiseguys that are going to answer "both", yes, I'm afraid you may be right. To confuse things even further, I have a Durst M70 (condensor head) that I was going to keep for 35mm, but I'm thinking it's going up for sale.


    3. Has anyone ever found an off-the-shelf replacement bulb that can be used for these enlargers? I've been poking around, but haven't found an answer that doesn't require an engineering degree.

    Many thanks to you all, as always.

    Leo
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  2. #2
    matti's Avatar
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    I have an 138 and one L1200 (that I havn't used yet) and one Durst M70. Since I don't plan on enlarging anything larger than 4x5 at the moment, the 138 goes up to the attic. And since the L1200 seems to be able to deal with 35mm really well, compared to the 138, the M70 will stay in the attic as well. Actually, I only have space for one enlarger in the darkroom...

    The spring on my 138 is more like a wire that helps holding the head up. I didn't have any problem dismounting it and transporting it in my Volvo V40.

    /matti

  3. #3
    36cm2's Avatar
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    Sorry to all. I just realized I should have posted this in the equipment section.

    Matti, thanks for the insight. That's great. May I ask, does the spring/wire holding the head up detach when you remove the head from the chassis, or does it stay intact unless you do something?

    Thanks again.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  4. #4
    matti's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly, the head is disconnected from the pillar but the spring and connection stays on the pillar. You disconnect the foot and board as well. So you have four main components. The spring was never a problem, but I don't really remember what I did.

    Also, maybe the 138 is different from the 138S in this respect.

    /matti

  5. #5
    Ole
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    I use a huge 27W low-energy "lightbulb" in my L138S. It takes some time to stabilise, so I turn it on as soon as I enter the darkroom and don't turn it off until I'm finished. I time the exposure with a lens cap!
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #6
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    If you do not have the very hard and almost impossible to find original bulb lamp for a 138, this might be a valuable alternative (see attachment, the 3 th. picture), considering that your Durst has the right bulb holder.
    The bulb you then need is something like an OSRAM CONCENTRA R 125 of 150 watt, do not use a heavier one, like a 250 Watt or the PAR model, it might blow the heat absorbing filter.

    Dismount the lamp head like Matti said, do not touch the spring loaded lamp head mounting system, it might hurt you, I am NOT kidding!

    Good luck,

    Philippe
    Last edited by Philippe-Georges; 05-11-2009 at 01:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "...If you can not stand the rustle of the leafs, then do not go in to the woods..."
    (freely translated quote by Guido Gezelle)

    PS: English is only my third language, please do forgive me my sloppy grammar...

  7. #7
    36cm2's Avatar
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    Thanks Ole. I had seen that suggestion in an earlier post and it's definitely a creative one. I'd like to use an exposure timer, though, and was hoping that someone had figured out an incandescent solution. This site:

    http://www.glennview.com/durst.htm

    suggests that there is a solution. I don't begrudge anyone from profiting from their own ingenuity, but I'm already stressing the patience of my Treasury Department (i.e. wife) and $100 for two light bulbs is tough to get through a line item veto. Hopefully there is a more inexpensive solution that doesn't require me giving up on the timer. Thanks again.

    Leo
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  8. #8
    36cm2's Avatar
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    Thanks Philippe, I'll see if the mount is the same and try that type of bulb. Hopefully it will work. I also just found the enlarger manual at the link below and it looks quite helpful!

    http://www.jensen-optical.us/5x7_comparison%20guide.htm
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  9. #9
    36cm2's Avatar
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    Picked up the S138 the other day. Since I've always found a lot of useful information in old threads, here are my thoughts on my original questions for posterity sake now that I've dismantled the enlarger and gotten more info on it.

    1. When dismantling the enlarger, the key to the warning in the original quote above is to ensure that the enlarger head is at its highest position before you release the lever that connects the top half of the column to the bottom half of the column. If the head is not at the highest position and you separate the two halves of the column, then you risk inadvertently pushing the lever that is used to move the head up and down while on the column. If you do this, the spring will shoot the top half of the column away from the enlarger head until it reaches its end position (as opposed to slowly lifting the head up to the top as it would if the entire column was assembled). Even though the column would only move a few feet it would definitely injure you if you were in its way. Hopefully this will help someone in the future.

    2. Based on my discussions with a few people, I'm pretty convinced that the Durst 1200 is a better choice than the 138S for someone working in 4x5, 120 and 35mm. It seems that for 35mm, the 138S is a bear to work with.

    3. Many thanks to Philippe. I don't have the right type mount to do what he suggested right off, but I'm pretty sure I can fashion one.

    All the best,
    Leo
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 36cm2 View Post
    ...
    2. Based on my discussions with a few people, I'm pretty convinced that the Durst 1200 is a better choice than the 138S for someone working in 4x5, 120 and 35mm. It seems that for 35mm, the 138S is a bear to work with.
    ...
    Yes, using the 138 to print more than maybe 2-3 35mm negs is quite cumbersome. Just about anything smaller would do better. Unless of course if I want to blow my prints up really big, as I can slide the table down close to floor level in a few seconds.
    I've done quite a lot of 120 on my 138, which was again, a bit cumbersome compared to what I normally use for roll film (35mm and 120), a Focomat IIC. But as I used a decent (Rodagon) lens, the results was just as good as with the Focomat.
    (A very off-topic note on the Focomat: This enlarger is of course very quick to work with as it has a reliable auto-focus in its normal working range. But if I want to enlarge to more than about 12" on the short side of the print, I have to rise the head along the column and all of a sudden it's a very slow enlarger to work with.)
    In my mind the 138 is a close to the "perfect" enlarger for 4x5", as long as you have the space for the machine (given the nowadays very little money you pay for it). Again it's very easy to just slide down the table if you want to blow up the whole or part of the negative.
    You can also lower the table a bit and have it there more permanently if you want to work with the head a bit lower. Again, this adjustment is done in a few seconds.

    //Bj÷rn

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