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Durst M370 BW
Durst M370 BW
Durst M370 BW
Published by marty
6th June 2011
Default Durst M370 BW

The M370 was the lower end condenser model of the Italian manufacturer (they discontinued it along with all the traditional equipment line in early 2000's), although of simple construction and with its structural limitations does in my opinion a fairly good job (if one does not demand too much).

Having a tight budget it can be a good apparatus to get one's feet wet in BW printing (and even colour for that matter).The price was around 300 new,I'd expect it to be pretty cheap on the used market these days. The dimensions are 95cm max height of column, 50x46cm the baseboard, weight around 10Kg. The maximum print dimension is something more than 30x40 from a 35mm negative projecting on the baseboard, the column can be reversed to get bigger enlargements projecting on the floor. I never really tried to print that big but I'd expect a pretty important light falloff at the corners which already starts to be evident approaching the upper position of the head in the normal position. There are no other movements of the head available, e.g. tilt/shift for perspective control.

If one decides to upgrade to medium format are available two conversion kits for 6x6 and 6x7, which, new, were worth each one almost as the enlarger alone with the included 35 mm kit. No alignment adjustments are provided, but at least my specimen looked as aligned as it can be just out of the box and assembled (I got it new back at the time). There is just a screw in the back of the head to adjust the raising system cog wheel tension. The bulb can be rotated and shifted up and down to get the best evenness of illumination. Speaking of the bulb it happens to be a 75W opaline which does its dirty job. I tried a 100W one to see if I could get rid of the falloff at higher magnification but the improvement was negligible. A bigger one is out of question for clearance and safety (with just passive cooling overheating is almost sure) matters.

The contrast control is obtained by means of 75x75mm gel filters to be put on the drawer above the condenser. Since I mentioned color above, it's indeed possible to print color negatives as well with the convenience of a cheap machine an the inconvenience to have to make the filter packs with stacked CC gels in the aforementioned drawer. Printing slides on Ilfochrome paper is a slightly different matter since there is not enough light from the bulb thus leading to biblical exposure times with all the problems related.

As accessories are available the format conversion kits formed by condenser and lens mount tube where applicable (recessed mount Siriotub 39 for half frame or extended mount Vegatub for 6x7). The other formats go with the standard flat board (Siropla 39). The standard carrier is 35mm fixed, for any other format is required the
  • Lidineg 50 with matching masks:
  • Sivopar 26 → 26x26
  • Sivopar 18 → 18x24
  • Sivopar 110 → 13x17
  • Sixma 66 → 6x6
  • Sixma 66 → 6x7
  • Sivopar 45 → 6x4,5
All of these should be available on used market as if my informations are correct Durst does not have any stock remained.
My all honest opinion of this piece of equipment is that it does the job it is intended for and does it good within all its limitations. It is, all in all, not super sturdy, but as long as the working table is rock solid and one is careful not to hit it while exposing the paper it is sturdy enough to give sharp prints.

I'm aware that these days better and more performing machines can be had at interesting prices, but if one is on a tight budget or simply needs a small, compact and lightweight apparatus due to space restrictions the M370 might indeed be the solution.

For the sake of completeness also a dichroic filters color version of this enlarger was on sale but was discontinued even before its BW brother. They share some parts.

A DIY solution to stabilize better the column is to remove the plastic cap at its top and insert there an L shaped spacer to rest on the wall. I made one out of scrape lumber and noticed a slight improvement. Bolting it to the wall might give some extra stability but unfortunately I need my enlarger to be movable upon necessity.

Cheers, M.
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By Xpres on 6th June 2011, 09:49 PM

Thanks for the contribution Marty.
The M370 Color head had a 100W halogen lamp and, it seems, could be wall mounted. The bracket, if you could find it, may well fit both versions.
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