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Leitz Focomat 1c
Old 02-16-2009   #1
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Leitz Focomat 1c

Hi,

Since my old enlarger got destroyed when moving, I've been looking for a replacement. Although I shoot both medium format, and 35mm, my work is predominantly 35mm so I was thinking of getting a 35mm only enlarger.

I have a line on a quite new looking focomat 1c. Any words on this enlarger? Anything to look out for?
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Old 02-16-2009   #2
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The Focomat 1c is one of the "industrial standards" for enlarger. Overbuilt and lasts forever.
If yours is a late.grey one with the tall column and white baseboard, you are in luck.
The thing to check on 1c's is the condition of the condensor - particularly the bottom part that lands on the film. Any scratches or nicks are bad. Also check the wiring - it goes through the upright post and can "rot" and it will happily ground through you, rather than the correct wiring! Easy fix as you just bypass the post and bottom switch and wire the lamp to a new cord and plug that into the timer.
Check the lens, on the later version (grey/white base board) it should be the Focotar-2 50mm f4.5. This is as good as it gets in enlarging lenses too.
Be sure that it comes with the negative carrier as these are difficult to find and expensive when you do!
I have been using 1c's and IIc's for decades and they are great. The condensor style light source can punch up the contrast a bit - but it is a sharp printing machine.
Setting the autofocus takes a bit of time, but the good part is that once done - it stays in focus forever. I usually check mine every 4-5 years, mainly to feel good about it.
Depending on if it has a filter drawer (bonus) or not. If it doesn't have one, just lift the lamp housing top off and drop the filters on to the top of the condensor. Sounds more complex than it is and works fine.
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Old 02-16-2009   #3
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Sounds great! This focomat has the filter drawer. I'll ask for details on the condensor. Does it really matter if it has the anti-newton insert?
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Old 02-16-2009   #4
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What are the main differences between the Ic and the IIc? Which one is better to sho around for?
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Old 02-18-2009   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfoo View Post
Sounds great! This focomat has the filter drawer. I'll ask for details on the condensor. Does it really matter if it has the anti-newton insert?
The Anti Newton glass does prevent those pesky rings. In most cases you will not have a problem with it, but if you shoot "green" film (just out of the film dryer, it can and will happen). The 1c anti newton glass is a bit scarce to find, but you can substitute by taping a "spacer" around the cut out in the negative carrier - or if you have access to a piece film big enough, just make a spacer from that. The condensor of the 1c sits right on the film (also keeps the film flat) and if there is any residual moisture in the film you can get an "interference" pattern.
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Old 02-18-2009   #6
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Originally Posted by photogdave View Post
What are the main differences between the Ic and the IIc? Which one is better to sho around for?
The Focomat Ic is strictly for 24x36 mm frame size or smaller. It is also considerably lighter and moveable! You can also change the lens on it and "upgrade" if you feel you need it. I occasionally use the Nikkor 63f2.8 and f4 on mine. The auto focus is not working with those lenses, but once I put the Focotar-2 back it kicks in again. If you dont need the auto focus function - look for a Valoy II Grey. It is the same enlarger without auto focus and the very late ones had anti Newton treated condensors! Eugeen Smith was a Valoy user and if you ever see some of his original prints - you probably wont need anything better than that.
The IIc will handle negatives up to 6x9 cm. It is a 80+ lbs machine. Quite complex with two different lenses, the 60f4.5 for 35 mm and either a 95 or 100mm 5.6 for larger negatives. It has custom fitted helicoils, matched to the specific lensbarrel. It also comes with mask's for various negative sizes. Unless you are using multi format negatives - go for the 1c. The learning curve of the IIc can bee steep and parts are getting difficult to find (Bowden cables for the switching of focal lengths, negative masks, up graded lenses- the old ones are OK but not great).
If you are printing a lot of 8x10 you will also bang your head into the lamp housing frequently. The housing is right at forehead level! You wont shake the enlarger - but you will definitely shake up your brain a bit!!!
Most IIc's have seen a hard life. They were standard at many newspapers and universities for printing. It is incredibly overbuilt - wearing one out would take decades.

Last edited by Tom A : 02-21-2009 at 11:26.
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Old 02-18-2009   #7
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Thanks Tom! I just bought a Durst M 601, because I got sick of the seller not responding to my questions. However, I'm still interested in the focotar as well, and assuming the price is right I'll probably buy it. If buy it I'll post some pics here.
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Old 02-18-2009   #8
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Thanks for the info Tom!
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Extension for my focomat 1c enlarger
Old 02-18-2018   #9
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Extension for my focomat 1c enlarger

Hello. I hope this thread is alive and well. After a health issue, now fully recovered, I want to start using my Leitz focomat 1c enlarger. The only problem I have now is that I am missing the extension tube so I can use my Nikkor 50mm f/4 lens. I found oneon the web but it is extremely expensive. Anyone of you guys can tell me where to get one with a reasonable price? I appreciate your help.
EDUARDO my email: [email protected]
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Old 02-18-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edubarca View Post
Hello. I hope this thread is alive and well. After a health issue, now fully recovered, I want to start using my Leitz focomat 1c enlarger. The only problem I have now is that I am missing the extension tube so I can use my Nikkor 50mm f/4 lens. I found oneon the web but it is extremely expensive. Anyone of you guys can tell me where to get one with a reasonable price? I appreciate your help.
EDUARDO my email: [email protected]
You don't need to have the Leica made tube to get your lens to work with the Focomat. Any M39 x 15mm (LTM) mount extension tube should work. Nikon even made one, probably to allow their 50mm EL-Nikkors to be used on the Focomat and the Valoy II as well.
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Old 02-18-2018   #11
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Usually you can find them if you look for about $25- usd..DOORX.
Here's one..offer him $25 for it..if he doesn't bite..there are plenty more..they come and go...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leica-Leitz...wAAOSwhiZaglCy
But I would try to find a Focotar 2 with DOORX included..to put on your 1C..as that lens is good wide open and made for the enlarger...
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Old 02-19-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathros View Post
You don't need to have the Leica made tube to get your lens to work with the Focomat. Any M39 x 15mm (LTM) mount extension tube should work. Nikon even made one, probably to allow their 50mm EL-Nikkors to be used on the Focomat and the Valoy II as well.
Thank you very much. I am extremely excited to know that I don't have to sell my house to buy the extension tube!!!.
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Old 02-19-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
Usually you can find them if you look for about $25- usd..DOORX.
Here's one..offer him $25 for it..if he doesn't bite..there are plenty more..they come and go...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leica-Leitz...wAAOSwhiZaglCy
But I would try to find a Focotar 2 with DOORX included..to put on your 1C..as that lens is good wide open and made for the enlarger...
I hope he bites!!! Thanks. And this is the only extension tube for my Nikkor lens? I won't buy another lens, for the time being, becuase I already have the Nikkor.
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Old 02-21-2018   #14
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He accepted my offer and the extension is on its way. Another question. When it arrives, the only thing i have to do it just screw it to the enlarger and lens? No other adjustment or anything else to adjust or do? Thanks, my friend.
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Old 02-21-2018   #15
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The DOORX is made for the Leica Focotar...you will have to see on the Nikon...should be fine though...as long as there are no mechanical or focus issues..
Don't know if that Nikon will autofocus on the 1c correctly though..you will have to see..
I don't use the autofocus..just focus manually all the time...as I don't like glass on top of my negs for dust reasons..
The DOORX also works as a nice extension ring for closeups with lenses with a 39mm thread..your Nikon should do great there..
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Old 02-21-2018   #16
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For setting the Autofocus on the Ic:
  • rest the clamp on the column on the pin set in the lower hole
  • Do all the following settings on a piece of photopaper on the baseboard
  • Put the head to highest magnification
  • Focus using the knurled helix in which the lens sits. Depending on the lens, you may need no or a different M39 extension ring. The DOORX fits most of the standard ones. Without it, you can use a standard LTM camera 50mm
  • If you have a clamp to fix the focus, position it now
  • Lower the head all the way
  • Loosen the two screws that hold the focus cam on the right side of the negative stage. Dont take them out completely, the plate behind the cam in wich they screw is a pain to get back in there. (wanna guess how i know?)
  • Use the knurled chrome screw with the red dot to focus again. Don't touch the helix.
  • If the image is in focus, tighten the two screws to fix the cam.
  • Raise the head again. If the focus is still ok, you are done. Sometimes you have to repeat it because it was too far off.
  • To use the Autofocus feature, you have to set the clamp to the easel height above the lower pin-hole. The upper hole is for standard Leitz easels of 2.5cm.
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Old 02-21-2018   #17
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Thank you!
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Old 02-21-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
Usually you can find them if you look for about $25- usd..DOORX.
Here's one..offer him $25 for it..if he doesn't bite..there are plenty more..they come and go...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leica-Leitz...wAAOSwhiZaglCy
But I would try to find a Focotar 2 with DOORX included..to put on your 1C..as that lens is good wide open and made for the enlarger...
As stated before, I followed the link you sent me, made an offer and he accepted. Your explanation is for installing my Nikkor lens as asked before? I am afraid I will have to contact you when the tube arrives because I think that unless I have the extension on my hands it won't be easy to follow your instructions.
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Old 02-21-2018   #19
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Its just an extension tube..screw the lens in to DOORX..and then screw DOORX into the enlarger..couldn't be easier..but lenses are different from different brands..and years made..but it looks like your Nikon f4 will do fine...fit that is..
But if you want autofocus..and don't want manual focus..you will have to see if the Nikon works or not..as lenses have different nodal points etc..
The Focotar 2 was made for the 1C enlarger..a perfect match..you may eventually want to get one of those..and use the less expensive Nikon in the meantime..
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Old 02-21-2018   #20
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I have a DOORX and I also have a 1cm tube. Different lenses require different tubes. Not all lenses will work with the DOORX. Also, not all lenses will work with the autofocus because of slight differences in the focal length. This is especially true with 2.8 lenses. Leica built a little fudge factor into the system with their 4.5 lenses.

If you can't get your Nikkor to work well, try to find a Durst Neonon. They work fine and are great lenses and can be had for peanuts. (Probably better than your Nikkor.) They also match the autofocus, or at least the one I have does. Also, the Focotar 2 is not the be-all-end-all of enlarger lenses. Personally, I would avoid it from my experience. Too much curvature. If you want to stick with a Leitz lens, get the LFE version.
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Old 02-21-2018   #21
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Thank you very much for your help. I'll wait until my lens arrives (I am in Colombia) and as soon as I install it, I will let you know if I run into any trouble. It seems it is very easy so I imagine i will have little or no problems.

Thanks again!!
EDUARDO
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Old 03-01-2018   #22
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My dear friends, unfortunately, the order for the extension was not successful. I am respectfully asking you my friends to help me, please, find another extension for my Focomat 1c and my Nikkor 50 mm f/4 lens that does cost a fortune. Being out of the US, it is not easy so any help is deeply appreciated. Thanks very much and best wishes
EDUARDO Here's my email if convenient. [email protected]
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Old 03-01-2018   #23
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Originally Posted by Edubarca View Post
My dear friends, unfortunately, the order for the extension was not successful. I am respectfully asking you my friends to help me, please, find another extension for my Focomat 1c and my Nikkor 50 mm f/4 lens that does cost a fortune. Being out of the US, it is not easy so any help is deeply appreciated. Thanks very much and best wishes
EDUARDO Here's my email if convenient. [email protected]
Look on eBay for extension tube sets made for Barnack Leicas.

These are frequently offered by FSU sellers. There is usually the correct length extension tube in these sets. The el Nikkor 50mm on my Focomat uses a tube obtained in this way.
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Old 03-01-2018   #24
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Thanks, please, what is FSU? How do I exactly write on Ebay search for the extension?
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Old 03-01-2018   #25
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Thanks, please, what is FSU? How do I exactly write on Ebay search for the extension?
FSU is an abbreviation for "Former Soviet Union". Most often it will be Ukrainian or Russian vendors offring the tubes.

Search eBay for "Leica Extension Tubes" and be sure to buy ones with the Barnack (sometimes called LTM) screw mount, not extension tubes for the Leica Visoflex or Leica reflex.
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Old 03-01-2018   #26
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You can also stack together..a bunch of old/used 39mm filters to replicate the DOORX..just remove the glass..
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Old 03-09-2018   #27
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Hello my friends, I finally got my extension. It fitted perfectly. A couple of questions: If the lens screws perfectly to the enlarger, what's the extension for? And, please check the picture: The Nikkor lens came with this ring. What is its purpose? I didn't need any extension on my old Fujimoto enlarger. Thanks for your invaluable help.
EDUARDO
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Old 03-09-2018   #28
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Quote:
If the lens screws perfectly to the enlarger, what's the extension for?
1C wont focus without the extension ring..
Quote:
The Nikkor lens came with this ring. What is its purpose?
Retaining ring for boards w/o threads..notches are for tightening..
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Old 03-09-2018   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
1C wont focus without the extension ring..

Retaining ring for boards w/o threads..notches are for tightening..
Sorry but didn't catch this one, What "boards" are you referring to?

Thanks!
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Old 03-09-2018   #30
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Lens boards without lens threads... A couple of my Beseler enlarger lens boards were like this.
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Old 03-09-2018   #31
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Thanks!!!!
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Old 03-10-2018   #32
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Sorry to continue bothering you but I still find several issues that I don't understand. My old Fujimoto, as stated before, did not have so many little issues.
I have seen something about "Newton rings" and a lens or something that prevents this. Can you please explain me a little more about this? I am forever grateful.
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Old 03-10-2018   #33
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Quote:
Sorry to continue bothering you but I still find several issues that I don't understand. My old Fujimoto, as stated before, did not have so many little issues.
I have seen something about "Newton rings" and a lens or something that prevents this. Can you please explain me a little more about this?
The 1C is an autofocus enlarger..so it has more things to consider in using it..
I stopped using the condenser against the neg for dust and Newtons ring issues...and manual focus it instead..but if you want corner to corner sharpness..and a flat neg..the condenser is the way to go..
But you can get a spacer made for the enlarger but it is expensive and hard to find..it attaches to the condenser..or you make one yourself..
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Old 03-11-2018   #34
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...I have seen something about "Newton rings" and a lens or something that prevents this. Can you please explain me a little more about this? I am forever grateful.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_rings
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Old 03-15-2018   #35
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Thanks Emile and friends. Sorry for late reply, I have been a little busy these days. But now I return to my almost complete darkroom including my Focomat.

I don't want to appear dumb, but since my old Fujimoto and Minox enlargers, are simpler, I find myself with issues that I have never dealt with before using enlargers. Case in point "autofocus" I know what autofocus is in my Nikon digital camera, but what is it in my enlarger? If you can give me a little more explanation, I would appreciate it very much. You say, Emile, that you don't use this "autofocus" feature. This means I can focus just as I used to do it with the Fujimoto and Minox? And if I don't use it, it means no Newton rings?
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Old 03-15-2018   #36
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And concerning the light bulb, since nowadays, common, traditional tungsten light bulbs are almost unavailable, what size in watts you recommend me when using modern LED bulbs?

Thanks my friends!!!
EDUARDO
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Old 03-15-2018   #37
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And concerning the light bulb, since nowadays, common, traditional tungsten light bulbs are almost unavailable, what size in watts you recommend me when using modern LED bulbs?
This.



HEILAND ELECTRONIC LED Kaltlichtquelle für Leitz Ic

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Old 03-15-2018   #38
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Whoa Erik..that is one pricy lightbulb...lol...

Quote:
my old Fujimoto and Minox enlargers, are simpler,
Yup..
Quote:
autofocus..but what is it in my enlarger
You never have to focus it..if I have time the next few days..I will post pics of what this is about..
But if you want to manual focus it..you will have to pull the lil metal thingy off that guides it..
Unfortunately..I lost mine after I took it off...and have to locate a new one..
If anyone has one to spare..let me know..
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Old 03-15-2018   #39
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Hi Erik, Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I am referring to the light buld that goes inside the enlarger. I don't know if the box light you recommend me is appropriate for this purpose. Apart from that, it is extremely expensive for us Colombians with a weak currency. Thanks!! Best wishes.
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Old 03-15-2018   #40
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This device - a cold light source - takes in your enlarger the place of the old fashioned light bulb. It can be used for split-grade enlarging and many other enlarging techniques.

Yes, it is expensive. Unfortunately.

Erik.
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