About Leitz Enlargers
Old 05-12-2010   #1
tiberno
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About Leitz Enlargers

Hi everyone! New guy in the Forum here.
I've been doing my research on a first enlarger for my new darkroom and heard good things about Leitz enlargers. I'm mainly interested in a 35mm option: Valoy, Focomat I but probably not a V35 because it seems too expensive. What I really wanted to know is what would be the differences in the final print from a Valoy II and a Focomat Ic given that they have an equally good lens. I suppose the difference should be down to the light source quality (correct me if I'm wrong) and I would like to know what are the differences between these models.
Thanks in advance!

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Bertino
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Old 05-12-2010   #2
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Valoy II: Manual focus. Baseboard measures 15 1/2 by 17 3/4 inches. Use with a thread-mount Leica camera lens, or with 50mm Focotar f/4.5.

Focomat II: An autofocus enlarger. Baseboard is 16 x 21 inches. A 20 x 25 inch baseboard was optional. Autofocus works from magnifications of 2x to 10x the negative size. Bigger prints require manual focus.

Info is from the 1961 Leica Manual by Morgan and Morgan.
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Old 05-13-2010   #3
tiberno
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Thanks for the info.
So the difference is down to autofocus? If autofocus is not important for me, will I be able to make the same quality prints from a Valoy?
About the baseboard, does a bigger one means one can make bigger enlargements? Being so, what is the maximum size enlargements one can make with both Focomat Ic and Valoy II without projecting to other surfaces than the baseboard?
Sorry for all the questions and, again thanks!
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Old 05-13-2010   #4
John Lawrence
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One thing worth bearing in mind with the Valoy enlarger is that they were never designed to accept multigrade filters. You can work round this by either placing the square filter in the enlarger head (underneath the bulb) or, as I did, adapt the swing out arm (with the red filter in) under the lens to take the Ilford under lens filters. However, you should be aware that the standard holder that attaches to the lens in the Ilford under lens filter kit will not work with the focotar, or I believe any other lens, due to the focussing method of the Valoy.

Personally I found neither of the above solutions really satisfactory and would either bite the bullet and get a V35, or for a cheaper option look into the Meopta range of enlargers.

John
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Old 05-13-2010   #5
sevo
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Frankly, I would not bother with anything less than a Focomat IIc. The smaller Leitz enlargers were intended for amateurs with high demands on comfort and ease of use but rather modest print sizes - these days, scan and print does that kind of thing just as well, there is not really a point in firing up a wet darkroom for album size prints.

Given that high grade professional enlargers have dropped to scrap metal prices, I'd rather get a professional Durst, Beseler or Homrich capable of seriously big enlargements.
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Old 05-13-2010   #6
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I agree with sevo - Leitz enlargers are nice, but the negative carriers are a little harder to find. Placing a filter below the lens is not the way to go (in my opinion). The best choice is to place the VC filters between the light source and the negative carrier. You can get a Beseler 45 series enlarger, with negative carriers (the are as common as dirt) - for a few hundred bucks. They are very stable, can print up to 20x24 with the right lens, and are easy to maintain. Good luck !
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Buy the 2C!!!!!!
Old 05-13-2010   #7
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Buy the 2C!!!!!!

I have used them all, Omega, Durst, etc,, and the Focomat 2C is by far the best enlarger I have ever used, even better than the Focomat V35!!! I do not like the V35. I used one where I teach darkroom! Too expensive, and I hate the dim light source. The Focomat 2C has a brighter condenser and is easier to position film on. Get it! Mine did not come with a lens. I use the
Nikor 50mm 2.8. best lens in my opinion, even when compared to the Focotar!!! By the way, I use an Omega D5 for larger formats but for 35mm
I only use the 2C. A big thing is the allignment. Perfect in the 2C because there is nothing to adjust! The Omega D etc,,, are a pain for 35mm due to the magnification factor and allignment. To have a Leica enlarger for 3
35mm work and an Omega etc,, for larger formats is the way to go. If you only intend to print 35mm, the Focomat 2 C is the way to go. A no brainer!!!!!
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Do not worry about the negative holder!!
Old 05-13-2010   #8
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Thumbs up Do not worry about the negative holder!!

I use Gepe 645 glass mounts for my most important 35mm negs. The slide mounts protect the negs from scratching and make it easier to archive and retrieve only what is important instead of paging through reams of negatives. Also a big bonus is you can do awesome black line printing with these holders! They do not distort the image at all! I have printed over 40" with my Focomat 2C and these holders with tack sharp results! Buy the thing! Don't let anyone on this forum talk you out of it! Trust me!!!
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Old 05-13-2010   #9
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With the glass mounts you do not need the neg holder!!!
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Old 05-13-2010   #10
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The Valoy is a great enlarger for 35mm, one of the best in my opinion.It wont make a good print from a bad negative but with good film processing it can produce lovely quality prints.
Dont let anyone tell you different.
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Old 05-13-2010   #11
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The valoy, focomat IC, and the V35 will all allow you to create nice prints (assuming that you are using a good lens). The differences between them all comes down to convenience (autofocus on the V35 and IC, built in filter modules on the V35, etc). I own and use a 1c and have owned a V35 in the past - both are top flight machines and will take a beating. Personally I think that built in filter heads (variable contrast or color) are the best thing since sliced bread and I would favor a V35 due to that fact alone (you can get aftermarket heads for the 1c but they are extremely hard to find).

As far as the IIC is concerned - they are really expensive, they are BIG, and your lens options are extremely limited. They might be considered the cat's ass but if you are going to be doing only 35mm and you are on a budget I personally wouldn't even consider one.

The other option would be to get a nice durst/omega/beseler/lpl (all of which will do a good job for you.
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Old 05-13-2010   #12
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The Valoy has a short distance between the lens and column thus limiting the print size.
You have to jury rig it to take the AN glass filter under the condenser.
It takes the short neck european bulbs which are scarce as hens teeth.

To get around the bulb problem, you need a 1C with grey oblong head. The older short black crinkle finsh head will not accomodate the standard long bulb, PH111.

AVOID the original 50 4.5. Make nice prints to 8x10 at most. Optimised for 5x.

The large front element lens is miles better, as is the Focotar 2. I have them all.

I am keeping my last 8 bulbs to go with the Valoy 2 when I sell it. I made an extension arm to move the head further from the column. I jury rigged the AN glass filter.

Otherwise there is no difference in a Valoy and lc.
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Old 05-13-2010   #13
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Another Leitz supporter here. I own a Leitz 1c and an Omega D2V. Many people consider the D2V to be a top of the line professional quality enlarger and it is, but I still prefer to use the Leitz any time I can. The autofocus is very convenient and the fine focus is razor sharp. The negative carrier is wonderful and easy to use. The lack of a filter drawer is a major drawback, but I like my Leitz so much that I went out and stocked up on graded paper from Freestyle.
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Old 05-13-2010   #14
eli griggs
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My experience with Leitz enlargers is limited to the Valoy II but it's a great little enlarger. Leitz made a bronze spacer for the condenser to address the Newton Ring problem so check to see if it's installed on any Valoy you're considering.

I put a granite baseboard on my Valoy, (as well as an Omega E-6) and this additional mass complements the already rock solid performance of it's single column design wonderfully, I just need to remember to cover the stone with a pad while removing the condenser or lens for inspection
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Old 05-13-2010   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eli griggs View Post
Leitz made a bronze spacer for the condenser to address the Newton Ring problem so check to see if it's installed on any Valoy you're considering.
The Leitz brass spacer seems to be even more rare than the Leitz AN glass filter (judging by second hand sales). Either one will probably cost you a LOT (the glass filters usually go for over $100 - I imagine that the brass spacer if sold alone would not be that much cheaper).

I once came across an aftermarket AN adapter for the valoy/focomat 1c. It looked like a top plate made to fit over the factory negative carrier. It was made of a very thin sheet of plastic that had a cut-out for the the film window as well as additional cut-outs to fit over those little chrome wedges, the red windows, and the metal pegs. The film was sandwiched between the negative carrier and this AN adapter thereby creating a small amount of space between the condenser and the negative (basically serving the same purpose as the round leitz brass spacer that slipped over the condenser). This type of adapter would be really easy to fabricate yourself out of metal,plastic,cardboard,etc. (definitely an option if you end up getting a focomat without the Leitz AN ring/filter).
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Old 05-14-2010   #16
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One thing to keep in mind with the Ic is that you may need to use an easel with a 1" elevated base to take advantage of the autofocus feature. Leitz made them, and I believe Saunders still does (it's what I use).
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Old 05-15-2010   #17
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Thanks for all the help.
I live in Europe and, at the time, there seems to be little offer on eBay for Leitz enlargers. I've looked at other options like Durst but they don't seems as compelling as the Leitz. By the way, what do you think about the Durst M670?
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Old 05-19-2010   #18
tiberno
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So... nobody has an opinion about the Durst... Thats ok because I already bought a Focomat Ic. I'm waiting for it now.
Thanks for the help here on the thread!
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Old 05-19-2010   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleskin View Post
I have used them all, Omega, Durst, etc,, and the Focomat 2C is by far the best enlarger I have ever used, even better than the Focomat V35!!! I do not like the V35. I used one where I teach darkroom! Too expensive, and I hate the dim light source. The Focomat 2C has a brighter condenser and is easier to position film on. Get it! Mine did not come with a lens. I use the
Nikor 50mm 2.8. best lens in my opinion, even when compared to the Focotar!!! By the way, I use an Omega D5 for larger formats but for 35mm
I only use the 2C. A big thing is the allignment. Perfect in the 2C because there is nothing to adjust! The Omega D etc,,, are a pain for 35mm due to the magnification factor and allignment. To have a Leica enlarger for 3
35mm work and an Omega etc,, for larger formats is the way to go. If you only intend to print 35mm, the Focomat 2 C is the way to go. A no brainer!!!!!
The IIc I know is both 135 and 120/220 format enlarger with two lenses. I'm not sure if you describe the same enlarger, because it's not possible to exchange lenses in them (and 50/2.8 would not fit inside focusing helocoid. On the opposite side it's easy to swap lenses in Focomat Ic.
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Old 05-19-2010   #20
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Yes, I made a mistake in typing , I have the 1C. The 2C would be the best enlarger period for small and medium format, but they are expensive. I use my 1C and an Omega D5 to cover all formats. The 1C I use exclusivly for my 35mm. Nothing I have ever used beats it, including the V35.
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Old 05-19-2010   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lawrence View Post
One thing worth bearing in mind with the Valoy enlarger is that they were never designed to accept multigrade filters. You can work round this by either placing the square filter in the enlarger head (underneath the bulb) or, as I did, adapt the swing out arm (with the red filter in) under the lens to take the Ilford under lens filters. However, you should be aware that the standard holder that attaches to the lens in the Ilford under lens filter kit will not work with the focotar, or I believe any other lens, due to the focussing method of the Valoy.

Personally I found neither of the above solutions really satisfactory and would either bite the bullet and get a V35, or for a cheaper option look into the Meopta range of enlargers.

John
Or one can do what I am in the process of doing. Get an old Chromega B or C dichroic colorhead and figure out how to make an adapter that will sit on top of the enlarger, with the upper part of the lamphousing removed and the colorhead in its place. I got my colorhead and power supply for $20.00 U.S. in working order and I'm now in the process of making an adapter plate to attach the colorhead to my Valoy II. Nothing on the enlarger itself is going to be altered in any way, so this will be a 100% reversible modification. This will let me use the enlarger, with the condenser still in place, for VC or color printing and with the original lamp setup for printing with graded papers. I'll post some pictures as soon as I finish it.
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Old 05-20-2010   #22
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Originally Posted by Zathros View Post
Or one can do what I am in the process of doing. Get an old Chromega B or C dichroic colorhead and figure out how to make an adapter that will sit on top of the enlarger, with the upper part of the lamphousing removed and the colorhead in its place. I got my colorhead and power supply for $20.00 us in working order and I'm now in the process of making an adapter plate to attach the colorhead to my Valoy II. Nothing on the enlarger itself is going to be altered in any way, so this will be a 100% reversible modification. This will let me use the enlarger, with the condenser still in place, for VC or color printing and with the original lamp setup for printing with graded papers. I'll post some pictures as soon as I finish it.
Don't know if your're aware of Wolfgang Kienzle enlargers / adapters, but they make colour heads for the Valoy, Focomats etc. and you may like to have a look at their website to see how they've done it:

http://enlarger.de/home_english/Leit...iic__vall.html

John
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Old 05-20-2010   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lawrence View Post
Don't know if your're aware of Wolfgang Kienzle enlargers / adapters, but they make colour heads for the Valoy, Focomats etc. and you may like to have a look at their website to see how they've done it:

http://enlarger.de/home_english/Leit...iic__vall.html

John
Hi John,

I have seen that web page, that's where my inspiration came from. If the money was available, I would just go ahead and purchase the Kienzle unit..

Thanks again,

Mike
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Old 05-20-2010   #24
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Originally Posted by tiberno View Post
So... nobody has an opinion about the Durst... Thats ok because I already bought a Focomat Ic. I'm waiting for it now.
Thanks for the help here on the thread!
You will really enjoy the 1c, but if you don't manage a satisfactory solution for the filter problem, the Durst M600 series are wonderful enlargers. Very well built and produce beautiful images. People sometimes complain about the negative holders, but I liked the one I used. There were no problems with Luder rings. I actually prefer a glass negative carrier to the non glass Omega type because the negatives are held perfectly flat and there is no negative popping. I sometimes have problems maintaining focus with my Omega with films like Delta 400 that don't seem to have much stiffness.
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Old 05-20-2010   #25
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I have had the V35 and it is soft compared to the 1C. The IC I use has the tall column, large baseboard, and filter drawer above the lens. It easily prints 16X20. The 1C is/was a totally pro enlarger, used in newspaper darkrooms around the world. Also many of the best 35mm fine art photographers used the 1C.
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Old 06-05-2010   #26
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If you find a good Focomat 1c, don't hesitate, no matter how old it is. I have a Focomat V35 [w 40 mm f/2.8 Focotar] and a very old focomat 1c [50 mm f/4.5 Focotar]. On both the autofocus works perfectly. I use the 1c when I want a black border, which is most of the time. I do mostly splitgrade printing. On the old enlarger I use below lens Ilford filters. The only drawback is that the exposure times are a little longer on the 1c with a 75 Watt light bulb.

The results are indistinguishable. Both are excellent. You don't need a special baseplate either for the autofocus to work on the 1c. Raising the attachment of the swinging paralellogram on the column by the thickness of your easel compensates for it. It is an outstanding enlarger.
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Old 06-13-2010   #27
Erik van Straten
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I like the IIc very much, also for 35mm work. The strong points of the IIc are the evenness of the illumination and the ergonomy the special 35mm carrier provides. When you intend to do 35mm work with the IIc this special carrier is essential. This 35mm carrier has only on one side glass, anti-Newton glass. The glass holds the negative flat in the same way the condenser in an Ic does, but it has the advantage that there also is a small clip that holds the negative in place. This clip is very convenient. It can hold in place a piece of film as small as the length of one frame. Now try to do that with an Ic.
When you want to print the whole negative with a black border, you'll have to file out the cut-out of the brass mask. The brass is 2mm thick. The filing takes some patience, but is not hard to do.
The 60mm Focotar is very good for prints up to 24x30cm. On prints of 30x40cm you'll notice a very slight unsharpness of the grain towards the corners, but the prints are nevertheless beautiful.
When choosing a IIc you should look for one with a filter drawer. The IIc is a bit too big to take off the lamp housing every time you change the filter.
I love my Focomat IIc as much as I love my Leicas. It certainly is the most beautiful enlarger in the world.

Erik.
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Old 06-22-2010   #28
Edward C. Zimmermann
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I own and use a Focomat 1c---- actually own 2 (bought the second one as a spare) plus a 1940 VUTOO which is a special version of the Focomat Ia with tall and very thick (5cm) column and large baseboard which was intended, I imagine, for intelligence.

I also own a Focomat IIc. For small formats I will use either the Ic (my favorite for 35mm film) or my Durst 900. My 1c is dressed out with the tall column and large multiplex wooden baseboard with mounting hardware--- and I also have the masking frames and tilt bits. Its a pleasure to use. I have a Focotar-2 in mine but they work fine with other 50mm lenses.

In a comparison between the Focomat IIc and Durst 900, the Durst in nearly all points, I think, wins. Both are very well made.. Both have excellent auto-focus.. Both are very stable, robust and well aligned. Where the IIc wins is in the speed to move the head--- something it shares with the 1c-- and the quality of the multiplex baseboard. From there its downhill. The V-Elmers are no comparison with the Rodagons I have on the 900. There was a Focotar-2 100mm that is said to be good but I don't have it. The 60mm Focotar that was more or less unchanged throughout the series is by contemporary standards not terribly good. I plan on replacing mine with a Componon. Lens choice is, in stark contrast to the Ic, quite limited with the IIc. On my 900 I can swap lenses quickly. Not only is there a slider like on the IIc to switch between 2 lenses but the objectives themselves are on Durst boards mated to spring loaded mothers. Not using auto-focus I can use nearly any 28mm to 105mm objective. The Durst also has a larger number of illumination choices--- I have opal condenser, point-source, mixed condensor, cold light and halogen (colour and multigrade) heads at my disposal. I can use my Durst for anything from 8x11mm up to 6x9. Condensers? The IIc condenser is quite good. My Durst is better. There are even specific condensers for 28mm-60mm, 50-80mm and 80-105mm..

V35 versus Ic? I'm not a great fan of the V35. Its a very good enlarger when one replaces the Focotar with a 40mm APO Componon HM but I really don't care for its design.. Perhaps if I only had a choice of a single enlarger.. a V35 with Heiland Splitgrade would be a very good choice but... I frankly think that the old Klatt-Kienzle designs were better.
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Old 06-23-2010   #29
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward C. Zimmermann View Post
In a comparison between the Focomat IIc and Durst 900, the Durst in nearly all points, I think, wins. Both are very well made.. Both have excellent auto-focus.. Both are very stable, robust and well aligned. Where the IIc wins is in the speed to move the head--- something it shares with the 1c-- and the quality of the multiplex baseboard. From there its downhill. The V-Elmers are no comparison with the Rodagons I have on the 900. There was a Focotar-2 100mm that is said to be good but I don't have it. The 60mm Focotar that was more or less unchanged throughout the series is by contemporary standards not terribly good. I plan on replacing mine with a Componon. Lens choice is, in stark contrast to the Ic, quite limited with the IIc.
I do not know the Durst 900, but I am sure it is true what you say. It is however possible to change the V-Elmars of the IIc with new Schneider lenses. These are provided by Kienzle.
Personally I will not do this. As a lover of the old Leica-system I prefer the lenses the makers of the cameras and enlargers thought were good enough.

Erik.

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Old 06-24-2010   #30
Edward C. Zimmermann
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It is however possible to change the V-Elmars of the IIc with new Schneider lenses.
Yes and no. A 60mm Componon if you hack off the arm can be made to fit. For the 100mm one needs to change out the tubus. With older IIc models it also means a new curve since they were intended for 95mm..

Quote:
These are provided by Kienzle.
From Kienzle one can get new tubus and curves. The cost is, however, not insignificant. Given enlargers like my 900 and Durst 1200 and some of their larger monsters like the L138/139 are still to be found for much less than the "upgrade" would cost...
Quote:
Personally I will not do this.
Well.. I will get around to probably jamming a 60mm Componon into mine.

In this whole discussion one really needs to keep in mind that the hey-day of silver salts and gelatine prints is behind us. All the professional darkroom gear has been written off, considered obsolete and what has not ended up at the garbage dump....

Quote:
As a lover of the old Leica-system I prefer the lenses the makers of the cameras and enlargers thought were good enough.
In their day perhaps.. My Leitz VUTOO came with a VAROB (uncoated Elmar type). I see my 50mm VARBOB and V-ELMAR today as special purpose tools not much unlike old portrait or other softer focus lenses. I even have an old Praxidos enlarger that I used to use to emulate pre-war snapshots. Sharpness, flatness, resolution and contrast are not everything after all...
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Old 06-24-2010   #31
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Sharpness, flatness, resolution and contrast are not everything after all...
They aren't everything indeed. My Focomat IIc however produces entirely satisfactional 24x30cm silver/gelatine prints. I think prints made with more modern apparatus will not differ very much. The difference will not really be visible.

Erik.

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Old 06-24-2010   #32
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I have used Focomat's for most of my "darkroom" life (40+ years), mainly the 1c and the IIc. A short stint with the V35 - which I did not like at all.
Current set-up is a late grey 1c with a Focotar-2 50f4.5 and the filter drawer set-up and a IIc (black version with the filter drawer). Stock lenses (60 mm Focotar and 100mm V-Elmar). It is possible to change lenses on the IIc, but as stated, a lot of expense and barely wort it. For 120 film, try to chase down a 100f5.6 Focotar-2 instead. You would need the correct cam for it too. It is a APO Componon modified by Leitz for the late version IIc.
The 60 mm Focotar is good, but for 35 mm film I prefer the 50f4.5 Focotar-2.
I you are only shooting 35 mm - a late 1c is your best bet. Once set up, it will work forever. I do check my autofocus once every 4-5 years - and so far it has not required any corrections!
I also have a point source IIc - military surplus with currently a defunct shutter/timing assembly. Long term project to make a LED light source for it.
The V 35's 40mm lens is OK, but not stellar in any way. Among my strange pieces is a Focotar-3 50f4.5 prototype. Leica was thinking of sticking one of these in the V 35, but it was too slow as many buyers of the V35 actually printed color with it.
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Old 06-24-2010   #33
twopointeight
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Agree with Tom about the late model 1C vs. the V35. For years I've been using the 1C (grey, filter draw, big baseboard, tall column), without the auto focus engaged. I found it easy enough to manual focus, and once set on a particular size, I didn't need to change it often. But now I'd like to change it back to auto focus. I don't think I can find the pins it came with. Anybody got extra pins to sell? Hi Tom.
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Old 06-24-2010   #34
Edward C. Zimmermann
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Stock lenses (60 mm Focotar and 100mm V-Elmar). It is possible to change lenses on the IIc, but as stated, a lot of expense and barely wort it.
Yes especially, as I've already noted, given the the availability of cheap high[er] quality enlargers.
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For 120 film, try to chase down a 100f5.6 Focotar-2 instead. You would need the correct cam for it too.
Their current prices are astronomical.
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The 60 mm Focotar is good, but for 35 mm film I prefer the 50f4.5 Focotar-2.
The 60mm is really nothing special. The Focotar-2 is really good and seems to be a perfect match for the Ic illumination system.
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I you are only shooting 35 mm - a late 1c is your best bet.
Why "late". The gray finish is nothing special and, in fact, the earlier black is better to maintain. The older model's baseboards were multiplex wood. The late Ic were cheapened due to the double whammy of strong gains DM versus USD and the rising production costs in Germany. The baseboards too needed to be modernized as colour became more and more commonplace among their shifting customer base--- in the 1950s, by comparison, they went mainly to drugstores, newsrooms and other small photo labs and were often paired with Agfa Variomat easels to crank out B&W prints. The multiplex baseboards too can be painted white--- my large one is indeed painted white.
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Once set up, it will work forever. I do check my autofocus once every 4-5 years - and so far it has not required any corrections!
Why should it? Any correction would probably indicate some structural damage. The only thing the Ic chassis needs is an occasional drop of oil, a bit of wax (on the column) and a wipe down of the brake.
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I also have a point source IIc - military surplus with currently a defunct shutter/timing assembly.
The shutters, I thought, were more for special bulbs--- so, at least, on my Durst.

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Long term project to make a LED light source for it.
LED as a point source? The spectrum of an LED is too narrow. Nothing wrong with using small DC low voltage halogen bulbs. Recall that with point source one does not have use of the lens aperture so one must control the illumination via the light source--- not terribly unlike a microscope.
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The V 35's 40mm lens is OK, but not stellar in any way.
That's why people replace them with the HM Componons. The combination is very good. The V35 is just a very different kind of bird designed more for colour than B&W.

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Among my strange pieces is a Focotar-3 50f4.5 prototype. Leica was thinking of sticking one of these in the V 35, but it was too slow as many buyers of the V35 actually printed color with it.
As I wrote elsewhere: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=67265

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Originally Posted by Edward C. Zimmermann View Post
The 50mm Focotar-3 glass is identical with the Focotar-2. The main difference between them was the inclusion of a more modern housing with illuminated f-stops. The Focotar-2, one needs to recall, was intended not just for enlarging but was considered more a copy/repro objective. The Focotar-3 idea was to make something specific to enlarging.
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Old 06-24-2010   #35
Edward C. Zimmermann
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Originally Posted by twopointeight View Post
But now I'd like to change it back to auto focus. I don't think I can find the pins it came with.
If the Ic is correctly adjusted on the curve for you optic--- which is a good idea--- then all you have to do is to focus it at a mid-point and it'll autofocus throughout it range. The point of the indentation is to let one adjust the focus and then quickly set it back to the autofocus position--- this is needed, for example, when tilting the easel for perspective correction or using a number of (optical) special effect tools.. There was no need to remove either the spring clip or the metal "memory".
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Old 06-25-2010   #36
Erik van Straten
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For me for an enlarger the ergonomics are very important, especially nowadays when making analog prints is not very popular anymore. The Focomat IIc provides excellent ergonomics, comparable to those of the M-Leicas. The superb mechanics of the Focomat IIc are a joy to use. The mechanical fixation of the easel - especially the classic 30x40cm Leitz easel - is when using gelatine paper very useful.

Erik.

Last edited by Erik van Straten : 06-25-2010 at 15:49.
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Old 06-26-2010   #37
Edward C. Zimmermann
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The mechanical fixation of the easel - especially the classic 30x40cm Leitz easel - is when using gelatine paper very useful.
The later models got rid of the multiplex wooden baseboard and the locking hardware for a more modern (and price efficient) laminate. The last masking frames--- made btw. by Kaiser for Leitz/Leica (excellent frame and, in my opinion, superior to the current Kaiser Pro-Frames)--- too were made of laminate and have no ducktail to mate with locking hardware and instead use non-slid rubber.

When talking about the IIc one should keep in mind that they were not really designed by Leitz but licensed and sourced from Klett. The same design was also licensed to Agfa for the Varioscope. The masking frames and much of the darkroom kit too were sourced from other makers to Leitz specifications. Sometimes the Leitz versions were made to higher more expensive standards and sometimes the original was better..
Agfa interestingly, by contrast, did make their enlargers. Interesting.. since the production was, if I recall corrected, tied into a job creation program for long term unemployed... Back then there was a lot of this in the German optical industry.. Minox, for example, used to hire blind people to assemble their cartridges in the dark..
To complete the story.. it should be noted that the replacement for the Agfa Varioscope was sourced from Durst but made to their specifications..
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Old 06-27-2010   #38
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward C. Zimmermann View Post
When talking about the IIc one should keep in mind that they were not really designed by Leitz but licensed and sourced from Klett. The same design was also licensed to Agfa for the Varioscope.
It is great to read your posts about enlargers; you really know a lot about them!
I've never heard about "Klett". What kind of firm was that?
All I know about the Focomat IIc is that it was a further development of the Focomats II and IIa. The II was made long before the war.
To me it is however clear that in terms of quality the Focomat IIc was superior to the Agfa Varioscope and that is was made with the same character (finish, etc) of the other enlargers of Leitz. I am quite sure it was made under the Leitz-roof.

Erik.
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Old 06-27-2010   #39
Tom A
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Long time ago I used the Agfa Varioscope, Very similar to the IIc. However the condensors of the IIc were made by or for Leitz.
As for the easel clamp - it is great if you use the Leica easels with the correct slots in them, but for anything 11x14" or larger I use Beseler Pro easels on the 1" base. They are heavy enough to stay put and are 4 bladed to boot.
I do have a couple of the late Leitz 8x10" easels that I use with the IIc (it still has the clamping attachement). These are the really fancy cast alloy 4 bladed easels - one I got new in mid-70's and the other I picked up for $50 at a swapmeet. I think the last price for these were a staggering $700 in the mid-80's!!!!!!!
The advantage of the Grey Ic with the tall post is that it has a bigger baseboard and a bigger diameter post, which makes it a bit more rigid for large prints. I usually make a clamp for the top and brace it against the backwall too.
There are new "high power" LED available that can substitute the small, high intensity 50w bulb on the point source IIc. They would eliminate the need for a shutter as they have virtually no warm-up/cool down delay. It would also allow me to lessen the power output a bit and get longer printing times (currently it is 0.9-1.1 sec with fiber paper and #3 filter for a 11x14!!!!). Try to dodge and burn is like doing martial arts!
The Elcan enlarger is basically a inverted microscope with 6 aspherical condensors above the negative stage and a "micro" focus ring on the mount. Resolution, according to Elcan is 275 lines/mm!!!! Kind of overkill as the paper barely resolves 25-40 lines!
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Old 06-28-2010   #40
Edward C. Zimmermann
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Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
It is great to read your posts about enlargers; you really know a lot about them!
I've never heard about "Klett". What kind of firm was that?
Walter Klatt developed and patented the auto-focus technology in 1935. It was not the first patent nor the first auto-focus enlarger. The Praxidos enlarger from KW , for instance, predated it by a few years --- sold perhaps as early as 1932. The Praxidos was announced, I think, as the world's first autofocus enlarger.
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All I know about the Focomat IIc is that it was a further development of the Focomats II and IIa. The II was made long before the war.
Yes. Slightly before and during. As I mentioned, one of my Focomats is from 1940.

After the war the company of Walter Klatt entered into a joint agreement with Kienzle to manufacture auto-focus enlargers. In the early 1960s Kienzle took over Klatt.
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To me it is however clear that in terms of quality the Focomat IIc was superior to the Agfa Varioscope and that is was made with the same character (finish, etc) of the other enlargers of Leitz. I am quite sure it was made under the Leitz-roof.
No. The Agfa Varioscopes were made under Agfa's roof--- in think, in Cologne. Early Varioscopes might have been made by Klatt but I do recall reading some 1960s Agfa company literature about the social aspect of their construction.
They were, indeed, make to slightly lower standards but also included a number of features that were not offered in any of the Klatt or Leitz offerings.
Agfa, for instance, alongside Pavelle probably made the first dichroic colour heads. Agfa too, one must recall, was the first company to also market color film. These were also sold by Agfa for Leitz enlargers. They were followed much later by Wallner---- a company that became part of Kienzle in the early 1980s. At a time when Leitz called "Color enlargers" those with a filter slot, Agfa made and sold enlargers not too terribly different from what we call "color" today--- the main difference being the numbering system and the use of AC bulbs rather than low voltage DC.
To complete the "color" story.. The first color heads offered for Durst enlargers were in the mid to late 1960s sourced from Pavelle Ltd in the UK. Pavelle became a part of Durst in the early 1970s. Production then slowly moved to Italy. The first Italian Durst head, I think, might have been the CLS201--- a head whose design lives on in the current CLS501.
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