Considering a Focomat v35

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jackbaty, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. jackbaty

    jackbaty Member

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    I am looking to replace a malfunctioning 23C with something I will use exclusively for 35mm. I have 2 other enlargers, one is set up for 6x6 and one is for 4x5 so I'm lucky enough to dedicate another to 35mm.

    I am thinking that the Leica/Leitz Focomat v35 looks like a terrific option. They are not easy to find and get pretty expensive, but I'm willing to invest in something nice if necessary.

    Is there any reason not to consider a late-model v35 if I can find one? I looked at the Focomat IIc also and while they look like great gear they're all getting pretty old by now.
     
  2. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    the V35 is imo, the best 35 enlarger out there. have used condensers and diffusions in professional labs and the V35 is just the cat's ass :wink: love mine
     
  3. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Yes, what he said.

    Before I got a V35, I used a Leitz Valoy II. Small and well built, very simple. With a modern lens, it makes prints that sing and have character. Worth looking at if you're on a budget. Make sure you get the anti newtonring filter or condenser with it.
     
  4. MPandolfo

    MPandolfo Member

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    It's a formidable machine.
    Be sure to get a negative carrier with yours, they are quite expensive if bought separately.
    Also be sure to get the modified lampbase to use the newer 13139 lamp (instead of the 6604), get some spare lamps also, they were discontinued but still available. In the future, it's very likely that we will be able to replace this lamp with a LED lamp.
    Finally, there are two different diffuser/condenser assemblies, search for the one with a protruding dot on one corner of the diffuser window.
     
  5. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    a later model V35 is a wonderful machine. I use one for all my 35mm prints, with EFN lamps as a substitute for the 13139 (I do have a couple 13139s but I have no problems with the EFN...so no harm no foul). It is important to make sure it is a late model that takes the 13139 and has a carrier though...
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I really love the V35 I'm using. It handles like a dream, and if you shoot a lot of 35mm you will be amazed by it. The 40mm Focotar lens is great to 16x enlargement, and 'good' with bigger. That means 16x20 prints from 35 that really sing.
     
  7. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Agreed, it's wonderful out to 16x20, and even at 20x24 it's solid. Sure an APO-Componon HM 40/2.8 would be better, but so is a APO 50 Summicron ASPH. versus my 50 Summicron Dual Range.

    I'm not in any hurry to upgrade.
     
  8. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I have two V35 and they are really great. Just be careful about which lamp they use.
     
  9. jackbaty

    jackbaty Member

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    Thanks everyone. You've confirmed my suspicions. I'm off to find one!
     
  10. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Focomat Ic is no bad either, if you find one with a filter drawer.
     
  11. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    What others said, a fine machine. Even if you don't find one with the new style lamp holder, you can get almost any replacement part for the V35 from Kienzle. A drop-in LED VC cold-light module can be had for about 550 Euros from Heiland Electronic (that's about 15 bulbs worth over here) - it's a stand alone module, you don't need their splitgrade-controller either. Going for an early model + LED head might be another consideration if you are doing B/W only. Apart from the lamp housing and the optimized mixing box the early and late machines are practically identical.

    The 1C is very good too. Doesn't have bulb problems and looks like a MoMA piece or weird steampunk prop :wink:
     
  12. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    One of my friend came form India to visit me and saw Ic standing on my washing machine(then) and thought 'what a weird water pump do you have at home?'
     
  13. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Good tip on the Heiland cold-light LED - thanks! Where does one get one - directly from Heiland in Wetzlar?
     
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  15. jackbaty

    jackbaty Member

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    Yes, the Ic certainly looks cool. I'm just nervous about fighting very old equipment in the darkroom.
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Don't worry about it. Unlike the V35, which must be sent to Leica for repair, there are people other than Leica who are actually willing to repair the older Focomats, and the quality of the prints is not less than from the V35. It's slightly different, because they are condenser enlargers, while the V35 is diffused light source, but you just develop your negatives differently, and it's not a problem.
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    About the only thing that can be damaged on a IC is the bellows. Well, unless you drop it.
    Just like the V35 though, it has to come with the negative holder; they're pretty pricey by themselves.
     
  18. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I may also recommend Leitz Valoy II.

    I personally prefer simple machines when it is doing the same job, more or less.
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    And the V35 is extremely simple to use as well.

    But yes, the Valoy machines are wonderful too!
     
  20. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    There are three available on eBay - all in Europe, all a bit pricey. Does the V35 have a dual Power Supply (120/220v)? Something to be aware of and consider.
     
  21. rthollenbeck

    rthollenbeck Member

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    If you want a 35mm autofocus enlarger for color I think the V35 is a no brainier.
    HOWEVER
    If you want an 35mm autofocus enlarger for B&W I think there are 3 other models to very seriously consider.

    Leitz/Leica 1c
    Leitz/Leica 2c
    Durst Micromat or M35

    They are all older press enlargers and are very low maintenance items. They are so robust I dont think their age is a serious consideration. The Leitz 1c can be had frequently and cheaply on ebay. The Leitz 2c also does up to 6x9 and demands a premium, but what a great tool. The Durst Micromat or later called the M35 is the less known sleeper of the bunch....someone has one for sale on ebay now for $90. For B&W there is not a looser in the bunch.
     
  22. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    One thing that would concern me, with respect to the 1c, is whether it's truly working properly. Looking at photos, I see springs, cams, etc - lots of small bits and pieces. Since so many sellers are not knowledgeable about what they're selling, how does a buyer who is not familiar with the 1c know that it's "all there and working" (beyond the obvious negative carrier, lensboards)?
     
  23. rthollenbeck

    rthollenbeck Member

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    No doubt missing parts or broken items from un-knowledgeable seller are can be a problem no mater what enlarger (or other item) you buy.
    With any Autofocus enlarger you should look for one with matching lens/cam serial numbers....... If your auto-focus enlarger does not Auto-Focus whats the point?
    I would look and/or inquire about the lens type, vintage, and condition as well. AND BE SURE ITS THERE
    I would check on the baseboard condition for warping and de-lamination.
    With Leitz enlargers, Easels are important accessories that really add to the value.
    On Leitz enlargers I would look for easel locking hardware, it is nice to have and nearly impossible to come by second hand.
    On all of these press enlargers, the condenser needs to be checked (doubly so since it rests on negative) they are sometimes chipped or damaged.
    Negative carriers are hard to come by on all of these. Be sure its there. A replacement often demands the same price as entire enlarger.

    It is much better to buy from someone who used it, since they are in a better position to attest that it works properly and is not damaged but at the same time you may find one for sale for next to nothing and it may be worth the risk that it does not work.......But we all should know the rules of buying a used car apply here, no one can tell you every thing to look out for.
    I read somewhere recently that someone bought an enlarger that looked A-KO and found it was bent and couldn't be aligned. How do you look out for that second hand? There is even some possibility the owner was not aware if it was in storage or they got it elsewhere.
     
  24. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Its called trial and error.
     
  25. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    There's really no problem using other mfrs lenses. Everything is adjustable. From the factory it's set up for a 1" base easel. Again this can be compensated for.
    The Leica easels do lock to the base board but are only two bladed so if you want borders on all four edges you wold have to mask for them. The lens mount is a standard 39mm thread.
     
  26. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Jerevan, yes you can contact Heiland directly. They are very friendly and patient answer all questions and offer a great service. I bet they are shipping worldwide too. Btw. here's the link introducing the V35 LED module (scroll down to bottom):

    http://heilandelectronic.de/news#new_products

    This review has some close ups:

    http://www.rolfadam.de/LED.htm

    Best,
    Andi :smile: