Enlarger projects small image

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by eric_m|4, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. Hello All,
    I've taken my Durst M601 enlarger out of storage after about 20 years and can't seem to get it to project an in-focus image on easel more than 2-3 inches big. If I raise enlarger head any higher for a larger print it stays totally out of focus. It's been decades since I used it but I do remember I use to get much larger prints. The enlarger can handle negatives up to 2 1/4" (square) medium format but I only used for 35mm. I don't remember ever using different size condenser lenses but at the moment it only has a pair one size. Thanks in advance.
  2. The problem is with the lens board -- lens to negative distance must be shorter also you should have mounted a 50mm projection lens.
  3. Hi Alan, Thanks for prompt reply. I do have a 50mm lens on but I don't see how I could change the lens board's distance from the negative - other than turning the focusing ring which makes the bellows lens is attached to expand and contract..
  4. Is it possible the lens board is upsidedown?

    I used a 601, but that was fifteen years ago, afraid I can't be of much more help.
  5. There used to be vario-format enlargers with some lenses mounted on box shaped (i.e. extension tube including) lens boards. There might also be recessed lens boards, like the ones for WA lenses on press cameras without interchangeable bellows. When I had something Durst 600 a flat lensboard seemed to work fine for 35mm SLR mount lenses besides the usual enlarging ones.
    Condensor in use should have no impact on focusing; it might only waste light and give longer exposure times.

    Did you really aqueeze your bellows entirely together? My Krokus could get 2 different sizes into focus, without moving the enlarger head.
  6. I think Steve Gallimore is right, the lens is mounted in the lens board is upside down -- please try it inverted.
  7. Or, as Jochen suggested, wrong lens board.
  8. Just for the heck of it I made some estimates on how far the lens will need to move; this might help you to see where the issue is.

    You said you can make a 2-3 inch image. Ok, roughly, the negative to baseboard distance will be about 9 inches to make: 2x3 inch image from 35mm film with a 50mm lens.

    In order to go from that setup to a focused 8x10 inch image the lens needs to move closer to the negative by a distance very close to 3/4 inch. You should be able to measure this, roughly, with some sort of ruled scale. If you cannot move the lens that much closer I think you'll be in a position to discover the source of the problem.

    As a note, for 8x10" image the enlarger also needs to be raised until the negatives is about 20" above the baseboard. But the real issue, I think, is getting the lens to move that 3/4 inch closer. Don't overlook a possible problem with the negative position, perhaps an upside down carrier?
  9. Durst lens holders come in different 'styles'. If you can't get the lens close enough to the negative for a big print, then you need a recessed lens holder. These usually have 'tub' as part of the Durst codename.

    Recessed or tub lens holders can be reversed to also increase the lens-to-negative distance. So have you screwed the lens into the wrong side of a 'tub' board?
  10. Likely, the last time you used this enlarger, you were printing 6x6 negates. If true, you mounted a 75mm or 80mm. Now the 50mm required a recessed lens board. In any case mount the old 75mm or 80mm and try them. They will work but likely you will want more magnification.
  11. Alan Marcus, and the rest of you very helpful guys, you were spot on!!! It never occurred to me to just unscrew the lens and screw it back on the other way. Problem solved. I can't thank you guys enough!!!! - Especially Alan. It was a no-brainer for you but it was driving me nuts! After I flipped the lens over it changed the lens to negative distance just enough to be able to raise the enlarger head as high as it can go and still be able to focus. I was just about to start my first darkroom printing session in more than 20 years but before I did I had to sit down and thank you guys. Again, thanks very much!!!!!
  12. We knew the problem because we've all done it in the past...
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  13. Speak for yourself Steve!;)
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  14. When I took over the university darkroom, I found not one, but two Durst M601 enlargers in a cupboard, in bits.

    It took a bit of trial and error to assemble one working example, with no instructions, just a box of parts.

    Worked though.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  15. Or opened a fresh box of 50 sheets of 10 x 8 with the lights on? Oh yes.

    Turning the light on to see how your print is getting on? Sabattier effect anyone?

    And if I had a pound for every time I've overexposed a print because I've not stopped the lens back down after focussing on a new neg, I'd be a rich man right now.
  16. Yep, been there, done that (multiple times). It's the reason I do a lot of second guessing right before every print - you're always asking yourself "I'm I forgetting something?....." Similar feeling to when I go out and shoot with a 4x5 camera. That "edge of your seat" feeling is part of the fun. It's one of the things that makes a good photo so precious.

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