ANY information about Agfa Colormat (autofocus enlarger) needed

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Adam Podstawczyński, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    Hi,

    I have recently bought an Agfa Colormat enlarger. It was dirt-cheap. I like the very solid build of it, compared to the enlargers I worked with previously (Meopta, Krokus), but since it is more advanced, I need your help.

    If anyone has operating instructions for this particular enlarger, or any experience working with it, I would appreciate some help.

    The enlarger came with a color-mixing box (large metal box with color lights where color values can be selected by rotating knobs), an autofocusing easel (enlarger, the metal box and the easel are all interconnected with thick cables), and a box with 2 lenses and 2 negative holders.

    It looks to me that it can do 6x9 negatives.

    I believe the enlarger is in working condition (even the lamp is working), but is missing some vital part responsible for autofocusing, because I do not see any mechanism that would move the lens section to set the focus. Anyway, I do not intend to use autofocus anyway, as I was planning to set grain-level focus myself with a loupe, and have never had plans for mass-printing.

    My main questions are:

    1) Can this be operated fully manually? How?
    2) Can I use the color-mixing device for working with black-and-white VC papers? How?

    ...but in fact I will appreciate ANY hints about using, operating, maintaining of this or similar autofocusing enlargers.

    Please do not advise me to change this enlarger to a different one. I love the stability, apparent precision, and most of all the PRICE I got it for :smile:.

    Next week I'm planning to do some cleaning to the enlarger, and then I may also post some pictures of this interesting device.
     
  2. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    Hi Adam

    I think I may have used one in the past - I have used 2 or 3 different Agfa enlargers. Once you hav eposted some pictures of it I may be able to help you with its operation

    Cheers

    Andrew
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Typically photographic paper manufacturers provide listings between paper grades and neccessary subtractive color head filter settings.
    Agfa filter grades are nowadays obsolete, but comparative listings have been published or on could inquire at the paper manufacturer.


    BUT
    the Agfa Colormat employs the additive system: red, blue and green light ist time controlled used for exposure.
    I guess you will have to do some calculating.

    I don't know of comparative listings between paper-grade and and time setting, or filter-density and time for that Agfa system.
     
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  4. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    Thank you Andrew and AgX. I'll take the pictures of this enlargers as soon as possible, and post them here, in the same thread.

    Adam
     
  5. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    Images

    Hi again everyone,

    I have taken some photos of the enlarger. Please take a look and share any tips you may have regarding this or similar enlarger.

    What you see in the attached pictures:

    1. Side view.
    2. Light path: light beam from the bulb goes via a thick lens, then is reflected in a diagonal mirror, then goes through another lens (this one is movable and, by sliding on rails, can be changed to a lens of a different shape).
    3. Filters. These are moved automatically by motors controlled from the color-mixing box illustrated further.
    4. This is where probably a part is missing -- I think there should be something here that moves the lens up and down for focusing. I can live without autofocusing.
    5. View from easel up.
    6. Front view with head cover off.
    7. The easel. It has 3 roles, I believe: holding the paper, measuring the light, and autofocusing. It is interconnected with the color-mixing box, and with the enlarger. When pressing the metal lever seen in the bottom, the enlarger lights up 3 times for 1/10 second or so each. This is regardless of how dense a negative I put in the holder. So, the light metering thing does not seem to work, or is missing something.
    8. The color-mixing box. It looks cool, but it does not seem to do anything, even though it is connected to both the easel and the enlarger. I cannot make it move the color filters.
    9. Back of the color mixing box.
    10. Box with lenses, holders, etc. Wooden, vintage look :smile:.

    What I would love to know is... well, actually ANYTHING about this or similar enlargers. Especially, if this can be operated manually, if there is any way to move the color filters, and if I can make any use of the easel and the color box.

    In the worst case, I will hard-wire the bulb to an electric plug and use a regular darkroom timer. But before I do that, I would love to hear ANY input you may have. Most of you are more experienced then me, so any tips are very, very welcome.
     

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  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Autofocus:

    The Colormat was a very advanced system. But though it employs a motordriven system in the colour had, the autofocussing is done, in contrast what you assume Adam, pure mechanical via cams.

    I assume the cam-system for autofucussing is hidden on the pictures you are showing.

    Exchanging the lens seems a bit complicated
    After inserting of the individual lensboard the main "lens" board has to be pulled up, the individual board has then to be clicked into place and the main board pulled down again. Then the larger ring at the very lens barrel has to be turned untill it clicks into place.


    Automatic-Exposure meter:

    At the right hand side you find a switch for the framing light and another for automatic-exposing.

    At the front side you find a knob for adjusting the meter to the sensitivity of the paper. Make test exposures, with variated settings of that knob. The setting with best result with a typical negative will be the standard setting for exposures on that paper.

    On the left side is a cable with plug to control size of measuring field.


    Filtration control board:
    I don't know.

    But it looks as if there are six basic 3-colour settings, a selector for those six settings, a 3-colour overrride-setting.
    However, the way the lamps are burning at your photo is contrary to my assumption...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2010
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    If you can get the green and blue filters to move in then it could be used for split grade printing. It actually would be pretty good for this purpose if you can get it to time and automatically change the two colors.

    In the usual split grade technique, you won't need a chart. Go by the shadows (blue exposure time) and the highlights (green exposure time).
     
  8. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    Thank you

    Thank you AgX and ic-racer for the input, I appreciate your help.


    AgX, these are very useful tips. I still cannot imagine how the autofocus can operate by purely mechanical means, but the design of various levers and shafts on the left side of the enlarger would indeed support what you are saying. Knowing this, I'll try and make it operate in autofocus once again; first I need to do some cleaning to my darkroom-to-be.

    Strangely, I have not experienced any problems with changing lenses; changing of the film holder, on the other hand, was challenging :smile:.

    Once again, thank you very much. And hope to hear more about this enlarger from other people too.
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Agfa speaks of "finely grinded cams adhering to precicely adjusted rolls". Have a look again...


    Any ideas on that "switchboard"?
     
  10. Lukas_87

    Lukas_87 Member

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    from the pic. 5 it looks like the.. cam? is the grinded metal on the left side slightly off the body - on the pic. 4 the rightest arrow points on it. i think this piece of metal should be turned in a such way that the two rollers (middle arrow or somewhere around) will move that piece of metal. well - in case it is actually connected to the lens mount.
    try looking at focomat 2c or 1c - the AF system should bear at least minor similarites.
     
  11. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    Thank you Lukas_87, I only now read your response. I'll surely give it a try. I'll keep everyone posted in this thread on my progress...
     
  12. Adam Podstawczyński

    Adam Podstawczyński Member

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    For the record:

    I was surprised to find an entry about this enlarger in one of my Polish photography encyclopedic books. It says that the device is an automatic color enlarger which uses additive method by exposing the paper 3 times: using red, green and blue filters. It is capable of making 60 13x18cm prints of 6x6cm negative per hour.
     
  13. zrzavy

    zrzavy Member

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    I used an Agfa Colormat 1961-1965. (I am not sure if your model is the same - it's along time ago) They are amazing enlargers. From memory you cannot use them for B&W, as exposures can only be made through the additive system.

    The control box is to set the machine to give the right colour, but this needs to be reset every time you start a new box of colour paper. This is not a problem for photofinishing labs as they will have bought maybe 100 boxes of the same batch. An amateur might buy one box of colour paper only, so setting up the machine seems hardly worthwhile. The many controls on the box are necessary to adjust "slope control" or in other words ensure the correct exposure and colour balance remains the same on under-exposed negatives and over exposed negatives as well as normal negatives. The masking frame houses a photomultiplier tube to measure the light passing through the paper.

    They were originally for Agfa unmasked negatives, but can be used with masked negative.

    Amateur enlargers made 40 years after this are toys compared to the Colormat. Fantasic engineering for the time.
     
  14. pjesu_gandhy

    pjesu_gandhy Member

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    Hi Adam Podstawczyński, wanted to know if you solved the problem with the approach of your enlarger lens Colormat AGFA, if not solved the problem, I can say that the focus is on the same lens, in her lens has a thread that makes the focus.

    autofocus enlarger is not, but when you already have focused the image and change the size of extension, keeps the focus, that's what they called autocus, I have the Agfa Varioscop and the Agfa Colormat, I not find the manual for the Agfa Colormat, use only as black and white, if you need help, I will gladly, Greetings from Arequipa - Peru

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