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  1. #1
    snaggs's Avatar
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    Durst 138S vs 184 vs 1200 vs LPL 7451

    These local options are the Durst 138S and 184.. the LPL 7451 and Durst Laborator 1200 would have to be shipped interstate. Neither the 138S or 184 are cheap, but they will come complete with a full set of lenses for 35mm, 6x9, 4x5, carriers and heads (B&W and Colour), vacuum easel, floor pedals, all stripped and rebuilt by a guy who been serving this kind of stuff for 50 years. He has or can make by hand any parts/spares which are needed in the future.

    Im looking at about US$2250 for the 138S, and US$4500 for the 184S. The LPL and L1200 are probably about US$1400 including freight.

    I know they're not cheap, but it does include labour and installation. Any comments? I hadn't even thought of shooting some 8x10.

    Daniel.

  2. #2
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    Yeah - I have comments. It sounds like you're getting ripped off...! Well - they're certainly WORTH IT... it's just that you could do a whole lot better. I've seen L138s going for $500 or less on many occasions on ebay. The L1200s probably have SLIGHTLY tighter tolerances (the 138 is built like a tank - where the L1200 is built like a... a... ummm Ford, maybe. I'd personally recommend something a BIT better (that doesn't really NEED alignment) - such as a DeVere. You can occasionally find Fotars (huge, but precise!) and ZBEs (yet another step up). I wouldn't really touch an LPL. They're not as good as they seem... It'll do the job I suppose... they have a clean looking design - but if they go out of alignment (fairly likely) - the word on the street is that they don't re-align. Another really good one to look for (but rare in the US) is Kienzle (german).

    Good luck.

  3. #3

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    I think that a lot depends on what your objective is. If you want to enlarge 8X10 then the 184 is your logical choice. If you want to stay at 5X7 then you could do worse than the 138 S.

    Those cheap 138 S that occasionally come up on Ebay are often missing key componants and if you don't know what they are, then you are likely to spend a lot of money getting the enlarger up to speed.

    I have bought condensers for my 138S that were supposed to be pristine and they ended up being scratched or chipped. So how cheap is cheap when you factor that into the mix.

    I won't go so far as to say that you are being taken. You can tie up a lot of money in short order when you start buying componants. One thing to be aware of is that the Durst Thorn lamps are no longer available. That means something else must be done for a lamp.

    I have the Saunders 4550 VCCE and it is a good enlarger too. I have not heard of any of them going out of alignment...maybe I just don't run in the same circles.

    My preference is for Durst 138S or 184...condenser rather than diffusion head.
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  4. #4
    snaggs's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, shipping a 138S from the US to Australia is not likely to be an in-expensive excercise!

    The reason that they're going to cost that, is he has a couple of incomplete chassis, spare parts and he's going to build one up, which will take him some time obviously. I'll also get to pretty much specify what heads I want. Any suggestions there?

    Are Durst 138S very common? I don't think there has ever been one for sale on the Australian ebay.

    Are the 138S one of the better 4x5 enlargers? I have to say, having the whole thing installed and calibrated for me is attractive, since I'm just getting into wet processes. I paid more money for my 24" DesignJet. Maybe there are some things I can get him to throw in out of his warehouse which will make it more worth it?

    Daniel.

    Edit :
    My preference is for Durst 138S or 184...condenser rather than diffusion head.
    This was his suggestion too.
    Last edited by snaggs; 03-17-2007 at 02:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    Sparky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snaggs View Post
    Unfortunately, shipping a 138S from the US to Australia is not likely to be an in-expensive excercise!
    Actually - you'd be surprised. You could ship an L138 for about USD 250 from just about any point in the world to another if you use international air hubs (airports that is) via DHL. If you're in australia - I'd expect that you'd get a lot of devere and durst action... compared to the american brands...

    good points, donald. Yes - definitely look for a complete (or more than) package. If you're impatient - buy the kit from this guy... but just know that you could wait it out a bit and save a LOT.

  6. #6
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    Daniel, I've figured out that you are in Australia, what part?

    I know of a DeVere 4x5" free standing with the drop table.

    Comes with format holders from 35mm through to 4x5 and two lens holders, one for 150mm lens which has a hole that you attach your lens using a retaining ring. The other uses the Leica thread for the screw on lenses for 35m through to 105mm.

    It is fitted with a colour head and is the version that uses a single 250W lamp. I know it has the 4x5 mixer box, not sure about the 6x7 mixer box.

    I have an almost identical enlarger, which is brilliant, These were sold in quite large numbers in Australia.

    Mick.

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    If this is going to be your first enlarger or for your main use, why not stick to something easy and care-free. If the LPL enlarger that you're looking at is in good condition, it's just as good as any other enlargers. The beauty of LPL products is that you can still get all parts and accessories new.

    I use an Fuji-labeled LPL enlarger that has the same column design. I bought it new two years ago, and it's not gone out of alignment or caused any problem at all with my regular use. A lot of schools use this Fuji model in Japan, and I have not heard anyone complain about the out-of-alignment issue with it. Maybe some products come with some defects when they get shipped out of the manufacturer, but that can be said about anything else, too.

    Once you have a good working set, then start searching for something else that takes more effort and patience.

  8. #8
    snaggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker View Post
    If this is going to be your first enlarger or for your main use, why not stick to something easy and care-free.

    Once you have a good working set, then start searching for something else that takes more effort and patience.
    The LPL is in another state (about 3000 km's away), and I don't know what it has, how to set it up. It will arrive and I'll figure it out by myself.

    The Durst 138S comes complete, installed, pluged in and demonstrated in my house.

    I thought the Durst sounded like the easier option, but it seems most people are recomending against it. I can probably save about $750 and get a Durst 5500 from the same place that has the 138S.

    Daniel.

    EDIT : Looks like you guys were right.. I have found a 138S for about US$350, and it will cost me the same to get it crated and shiped. So a pretty good deal. Hopefully it will have most of the bits! He also has a modernish Baeslar 45.

    I also found a 184 for about US$750, but the guy who has it knows nothing about photography and just somehow acquired it. So I have no idea what it has, other than a Colour head and a case with some filters or something.
    Last edited by snaggs; 03-17-2007 at 05:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by snaggs View Post
    These local options are the Durst 138S and 184......will come complete with a full set of lenses for 35mm, 6x9, 4x5, carriers and heads (B&W and Colour), vacuum easel, floor pedals, all stripped and rebuilt by a guy who been serving this kind of stuff for 50 years. He has or can make by hand any parts/spares which are needed in the future......about US$2250 for the 138S, and US$4500 for the 184S.......it does include labour and installation.
    Durst makes an outstanding enlarger. You mentioned the head(s) as being for B&W and Color, but what exact heads are you talking about? Some color heads are obsolete, but the condenser head seems to be ageless. My feeling is a rebuilt/refurbished 138 with a condenser head and a full set of condensers, lenses and lens boards, and neg carrier, delivered and set-up for $2250 is a good deal. Could you look at it before purchase, to see the quality of the rebuild?
    —Eric

  10. #10
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I have a 1200 and have used the LPL enlargers. Both are excellent but the Durst is much sturdier and less prone to vibration.
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