Whether you buy your 8X10 enlarger from me or someone else, make sure you get an enlarger with a metal knob gear. At some point, Durst started making that knob gear out of Nylon. The Nylon gears did not hold up. That was not a big problem when Durst was still making the gears. Today, the gears are not available new.
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The point is that even with the greater temperature-rise characteristic of Quartz-iodine lamps, temperatures remain the same and no danger to the negative will result.
Printing times were somewhat long, however. We suggest that every care be taken not to produce overly dense negatives if this enlarger is to be used. Keep your camera exposures right on the button and be careful about processing times as well, or reciprocity printing limits may well be exceeded, resulting in off-color prints. Nevertheless, the Durst M plus the CLS 35 color head represents an ideal answer for the darkroom worker requiring a capable, low-cost color enlarger. It is not a substitute for the big professional color machine, but it certainly brings a high level of sophistication to amateur color printing at a reasonable cost.
M The following unsigned review appeared in Modern Photography magazine, February Specifications: Durst M enlarger. Focusing: Manual, metal bellows, rack and pinion. Light Source: Up to watt opal lamp. Construction: Die-cast metal.
Optical System: Double condenser. The Durst M is truly a portable enlarger--it can be assembled or disassembled in just a few minutes. Fortunately, it not only looks pleasing but it also functions as an enlarger.
The M has a universal glass negative carrier with a built-in four-way adjustable mask to eliminate unwanted image area and extraneous light which can cause paper fog. Incidentally, the adjustable mask is one professional feature of the M which is lacking on more expensive enlargers designed for the professional. The glass carrier has only one side--a bottom. Then you slip the carrier in the enlarger and lower the condenser. The condenser becomes the top of the carrier and holds the negative flat in place.
This Durst enlarger sports a focusing aid. We found it better to remove the negative entirely before pulling the carrier out. Then you turn a knob on the left side of the circular, spring-loaded, metal lens board. This places a half red, half green filter above the lens. You look down on the easel and you see three small squares. Now you turn the focusing knob on the right side of the enlarger. When the squares are out of focus they take on a green and red color. When in focus the colors seem to disappear.
Next you return the negative and carrier to its original position. Now, the Durst people say the enlarger is focused. Our tests indicate the projected negative image to be almost in focus.
So we focused manually and kept on focusing that way. But who prints with a lens wide open? Construction of the M is A1. Its reflex condenser system makes for a lower profile. Thus the machine is better balanced than many of its "high silhouette" competitors. This makes it less apt to vibrate during long exposures. Result: sharper prints. Adjusting lamphouse height is done by turning a large crank.
To raise it for increased magnification you crank clockwise. To lower it you crank counterclockwise. It goes up and down smoothly and stays where you want it without having to lock it in place. The Durst M is available without lens in case you already own one or with Isco, Schneider, and Nikkor lenses.
Price depends on the optic. M The following unsigned review appeared in Modern Photography magazine, November Dichroic color head has built-in 35mm and 6x6 mixing boxes with lever selection, tungsten-halogen volt, watt AL lamp, cyan, magenta, and yellow filtration calibrated in single units and in units of two from , Illuminated color-coded dials, supplementary built-in filter supplying an extra 20M and 40Y, white light lever, interchangeable lens-boards, negative carrier has built-in masks and interchangeable inserts from 12 x 17mm to 6 x 6 cm; condenser head has interchangeable 35mm and 6x6 condensers, watt opal lamp, maximum enlargement on baseboard with 50mm or 80mm lens 12 x 16" or 20 x 24" with accessory extension arm.
Durst builds enlargers to a specific design philosophy which has remained essentially unchanged for the last 20 years or more. Small Durst enlargers tend to be scaled-down versions of big Durst enlargers. What they all have in common is the massive ruggedness that results from using heavy castings where lesser machines use sheet metal stampings, broad, reinforced uprights where others use light tubing, and precise alignment where many others may opt for an approximation of precision.
The Durst M color enlarger is made in this tradition of ruggedness and precise alignment, but with some important new innovations that we might see as industry standards in the years to come.
The total assembly consists of three major steps and a few minor ones. Remove the baseboard, upright and head assembly from the carton, and bolt the head assembly to the baseboard using the wrench supplied. Remove the color head, slip it into place on the housing, tighten the two bolts and the M is assembled.
A word of caution--no one should ever think of using a color head without a voltage stabilizer. Durst recommends the Vivek Model It produces a regulated volts from inputs of volts. Substituting a regulator producing volts increased our printing speed by more than a stop.
Either regulator works fine, but think how fast a machine you want before you make your selection. The head moves smoothly up and down the column by means of a counter-balanced gear-driven rack-and-pinion action. Although the head cannot be locked in position, its action is so solid that no lock is needed. This enlarger is right-handed when it comes to elevation or focusing controls.
The entire focusing design is commendable. Two steel rods hold the unit solidly and in good alignment, and probably will through a lifetime of hard use. Its friction drive design is silky smooth and solid as a rock at the same time. Like to change the tension on the focusing drive? No problem, just change the tension on the set screw just behind and below the focusing knob.
The Sirioneg negative carrier is in keeping with the Durst "do everything" philosophy. It does, indeed, do everything. It comes with optical glass flats which can easily be interchanged with glassless inserts, each of which has its own strange and picturesque designation 6x6 cm code Sivopar 66, 4. The Sirioneg also has built-in masks on all four sides to block off unused parts of the negative, getting rid if unwanted light.
A set of adjustable film stops accurately positions negative strips. Nice and neat. Position your next negative, then push the tab at the top right of the carrier and the carrier will snap shut. Very convenient. The newly designed color head is as innovative as the chassis is straightforward. Pull it forward and the 35mm box is in position. Hopefully, someday all enlargers will be built this way. This extends the range beyond the maximum of available in the color head should that ever become necessary.
A white-light lever to the left side of the lamphouse throws the filters out of the light path. A red pilot light at the front of the lamphouse indicates "white light" mode. The arrangement of filter controls is a bit unconventional and takes some getting used to. The cyan control is at the left side of the lamphouse, yellow at the upper right and magenta at the lower right. At first, this caused a lot of fumbling and searching.
However, after a few prints, one only has to remember that the yellow is at the upper right. Since the cyan is rarely used, that leaves the magenta below the yellow. The filters are calibrated in single units from and in units of two from 10 to The dials are brightly illuminated and easy to read in the dark. In addition, a small light leak coming from the lower part of the filter dials hit the ceiling with a splash of white light.
We added a cloth flap to insure light integrity of the head. This easily-corrected light leak was, fortunately, the only flaw we detected in the color head. The Durst filter system is different from the standard CC system used by other enlarger manufacturers. It goes something like this: 50 CC units is equal to 30 Durst units. That means that the unit range of the Durst enlarger equals CC units--a very broad range, indeed. But if you do, remember that "B" filter. Longitudinally, the negative carrier, baseboard and lens indicated no discernible misalignment.
Now for illumination checks. We check two ways: corner-to-corner and corner-to-center. Temperature tests at the negative with the condenser head proved to be quite satisfactory as the Durst reflex illumination system acts as a heat trap.
To begin with, the reds are highly saturated and extremely rich. Colors are clean and brilliant.
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