Durst M601 Enlarger - Worth buying?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Fire Ball, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    I have spotted a Durst M601 enlarger at a local auction house. Are there any
    particular things to look out for when buying this model 2nd hand? It seems
    to work fine with the Minolta lens stepping down OK. Only thing bothering
    me - & I'm sure it can be fixed - I obiously couldn't open it out in the
    showroom but when the light projects onto the baseboard it has black lines
    across it. I am assuming that one of the interior mirrors is cracked. Has
    anyone had any experience of replacing them?


    Fire Ball, Apr 18, 2004
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  2. Fire Ball

    A.Lee Guest

    Yes, they are good basic enlargers.I have one.There are no internal
    mirrors, just the large condensing lens.A crack in this would make it
    Where are the 'black lines'?
    If they are thick, then it could be the adjustable neg carrier blades that
    have not been fully opened.There are 4 red slides around where you insert
    the neg.These are adjustable for all sizes up to 6x6.
    A.Lee, Apr 18, 2004
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  3. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    Cheers for that. The lines run parallel with the back of the baseboard. They
    appear to be quite thick. Sliding the red sliders has no effect.

    Fire Ball, Apr 18, 2004
  4. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    If the lans is cracked does anyone know where I can get a replacement?
    Fire Ball, Apr 18, 2004
  5. Fire Ball

    A.Lee Guest

    Very unlikely to be a cracked lens - it wouldnt be a regular thick line if
    it was cracked.Sounds like the neg carrier, or the filter draw are
    misaligned.Both are removable in 10 seconds(or less).Once they are
    removed, you will be able to see inside, above the enlarger lens, and
    below the condensor lens.Turn the bulb on then, and see if the black lines
    have gone.
    Spares are almost impossible to get.These enlargers are over 20 years old
    now, and with so many people getting rid of them, you could pick up
    another quite cheaply.(I paid £100 2 years ago, with a set of 20x16
    dishes,timer,2 lenses and other odds and sods, and I still think I paid a
    little too much for it).Currently on ebay.co.uk there are 2 available with
    no bids and a start price of £20.Getting a good one for £50 is pretty
    good I think.
    A.Lee, Apr 18, 2004
  6. Customer: I am interested in this car.
    Salesman: Very well, sir. That will be £4,350.
    Customer: Can I drive it first?
    Salesman: No.
    Customer: Can I look under the hood?
    Salesman: No.
    Customer: Can I at least sit in it?
    Salesman: No.
    Customer: How about another glance at it?
    Salesman: No.

    If you can't take the enlarger apart enough to find out what is
    wrong with it [which, as one poster pointed out may be nothing
    more than a mis-inserted negative carrier - a defect that should
    cause the price to drop £25 when you point out the serious and
    mysterious black lines] I would find another enlarger and another

    At present enlargers are as grains of sand on the beach at Totland.
    Ask around enough and you will find one that is being given away.

    As suggested, look around on eBay for the current state of affairs
    and then shop locally.

    As for Dursts make sure the enlarger comes with all the lensboards
    and negative carriers you will ever need - no ifs, ands, or buts.
    Aside from a both chronic and acute shortage of parts and accessories
    for the older models they are superb enlargers.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Apr 18, 2004
  7. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    Cheers Alan,

    Thanks for your help. If I get it in the auction I will let you know.

    Fire Ball, Apr 18, 2004
  8. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    To quote the key point from my original post:

    "I have spotted a Durst M601 enlarger at a local auction house" ie not a

    Fire Ball, Apr 18, 2004
  9. Fire Ball

    Mike King Guest


    Mike King, Apr 19, 2004
  10. Fire Ball

    Mike King Guest

    Sorry, for the blank post, late at night here. The 601 uses a reflex mirror
    to bend the light 90 degrees down to the lens. The are two condensing lens,
    the top one can be swapped out for 50mm lenses or 80mm lenses.
    Mike King, Apr 19, 2004
  11. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    Thanks to everyone who has posted. I was successful in getting the enlarger
    for the grand price of £13.25. When I got it home and worked out how to
    access the inners it was immediatley obvious that the two condenser lenses
    were well out of line as the previous owner had not secured then with the
    "right angled brackety thing" - to give it its technical term sans manual. I
    am now of to buy some paper etc to reprint some of my old negatives.

    (its a long stiry but when I left Glasgow University in '92 and received my
    first pay packet I went out and bought a Nikon 801S and a Jessops darkroom
    kit which served me well for a number of years. After getting married this
    was passed to a friends brother who passed it to one of his friends, won a
    Nikon F5 with one of his prints and then sold my darkroom. This all came to
    light when I tried to get it back after moving to a new house with an attic
    which was crying out for a darkroom. This (and a 16 month old child) is why
    I am looking to set up another darkroom on the cheap.

    Thanks again


    B&W film and colour digi on ShutterCity at:

    Fire Ball, Apr 19, 2004
  12. Fire Ball

    Nige Guest

    If it's got the B&W condensor head on it then it has a mirror in it. With
    the B&W head it should also have two condensors, and if you want to do 35mm,
    a third one. Alternatively, it may have the 35mm combo and you'd need the
    other one for MF.

    So, is it a B&W model? If so, remove the neg carrier and examine. Check the
    action of moving the red tabs to slide the masks around. Unscrew the lens
    and look threw it. Next, remove the filter drawer (red thing at the front
    of the head), open the top up by rotating the tab at the back of the top
    plate, lift the lid and turn it over... There's your mirror, angled at 45
    degree to bounce the light from the globe down the condensors. With the
    power cord unplugged, remove the globe, undo the locking clamp screw, remove
    the clamp and lift out the condensors. Examine them to make sure their in
    good condition and see if they have some writing on the sides of the metal
    frames. They may be labeled Sivocon 80 or Sivocon 50. You use 2 80's for
    MF and one 80 and one 50 for 35mm. The '50 has a lot more curvature, so if
    you have two the same, they almost certainly be two '80s. (do a search of
    the photo.net B&W Printing forum for discussion about what happens using 2
    80's and a 50mm lens for 35mm). With the lens, neg carrier, condensors and
    mirror out, you should be able to see any defect causing black lines.

    So along the lines of what Nicholas said, without determining exactly what's
    causing it, don't buy it.

    Cheers, Nige
    Nige, Apr 20, 2004
  13. Fire Ball

    Mike King Guest

    Congratulations on picking up a fine enlarger at a great price (I have two
    '601's). Great machines and the good news--inserts, AN glass, and
    lensboards interchange with newer models--just don't break a condenser!
    Mike King, Apr 20, 2004
  14. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    Cheers Nige,

    Got the enlarger with 2 x 80s looking for a 50 on ebay.

    Fire Ball, Apr 20, 2004
  15. Fire Ball

    Nige Guest

    congrats! Did someone actually bid against you?

    Nige, Apr 21, 2004
  16. Fire Ball

    Fire Ball Guest

    Nope. Sole bidder and I did it by prior entry so wasn't even there!! Was
    prepared to bid to £35 so really got it for a song.

    Fire Ball, Apr 22, 2004
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