Double condenser modification for Focomat V35

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ~andi, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Hello Apuggers,

    I've been printing with the Focomat V35 the past couple of years and it's great for that classic "lot's of smooth middle tones"-look, ease of use and even illumination. However, I recently began experimenting with a "harder", more grain look and printing that on 12x16 paper. I've been using an old 1c to that end and I really like the quality of light it produces and the shorter times I get compared to the V35. However, it is a bit awkward to print with it because the light falls off about 1 stop towards the edges (I've posted about this but the post has not been approved by the mods yet.)

    Anyways, I've learned that the Kienzle offers a double-condenser modification for the V35. The matte diffusor lens on the bottom of the mixing box is replaced with a double condenser system. Has anybody tried this mod? If so, how is the evenness of illumination and how do you like the quality of light it produces?


    Cheers,
    Andi :smile:
     
  2. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Andi,

    Your "old 1C", is it the round-without-filterdrawer lamphead version, or the more eg-shaped lamphead?

    They take different bulbs.

    Do you have a 150 watt bulb, or 75 watt, in your 1C ?

    To me you are better off getting the 1C's uneven lighting solved. It is a fantastic enlarger
     
  3. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Around 1987 or so, Leica replaced its diffuser box with a double-condenser version. Enlargers made after this period have the newer box with two condenser/diffusors. I have recently contacted Leica about getting just a diffusor box and it can be had for about $300.

    V35 lightbox.jpg

     
  4. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Hilo, I have the grey egg-shaped version of the 1c, no filter drawer, with the long column and the 150W bulb type Philips PF 605. I tried the 75W version Philips PF 603 as well. The 75W version is smaller and has a short neck. It makes little difference in the unevenness (for the overall brightness i prefer the 150W). I tried with and without anti-newton filter and at different magnification factors.

    Yes, agree i'd rather have the uneven lighting solved. I wiggled the bloody lamp in virtually all positions and the best i can get is about 1 stop fall-off towards the left/right edges. Top and bottom is little less. Focotar-1, large front element lens. With an El Nikkor 50 it's slightly better from 5.6 up, but not nearly good enough.

    How much light fall-off is to be expected with the 1c? Maybe it's just within the norm. I measure about 0.28logD towards the left and right edges, 0.07 towards top and bottom. In the corners I get about 0.31 compared to the center. That's the best I seem able to get.

    @Pstake: Thanks for the info. I checked and I already have the new version of the light mixing box. As I understood the Kienzle modification replaces the opal glass condensor with clear ones, thereby converting the V35 in a condenser style enlarger. But I might have misread the description in the catalog.

    Best,
    Andi
     
  5. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    My V35 (new "Leica" type, not old "Leitz" type) delivers high contrast and even light with sharper grain than most condenser enlargers I've used. Perhaps you simply need to adjust your film exposure/development routine to get the look you want.

    As to the Focomat 1C, I have no expertise with them, but I would say that roughly 2/3 of a stop of fall off is to be expected with any condenser system. Both my Beseler 45, and Omega DII, before I put a chromega head on, had falloff of about that degree. Solution: every print on those machines gets a slight vignette burn (almost all of my prints get this anyway, occasionally with an additional edge burn) that becomes an afterthought after a day or two doing it.
     
  6. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Thanks, I did not realize I have to expect that much fall-off from a condenser system. That scrubs my idea using the Kienzle mod to have both in one machine by a simply switching the mixing chamber.
     
  7. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Doesn't the focal length of the lens have a bigger effect than the fact that it's condenser type?

    I mean, a longer lens will give more even illumination regardless of whether or not it's condenser, cold head, diffused, etc.
     
  8. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    That's a good point...using a longer lens may alleviate a good deal of your problems, provided you're not making large prints. I frequently use an 80mm for 35mm enlargements because I hate banging my head my beseler while focusing a 5x7" print.
     
  9. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Andi, you have the right bulb (the 150 W). I use more than one Focomat 1C and indeed it can be difficult to get it even. If someone knows the procedure, I would also love to know. What I do, is turn off the darkroom lights, bring the enlarger up to about 16X20, close the lens and re-position the bulb by bringing it up or down. I generally get it better, but have to admit I don't really know what I am doing. I have a friend who repaired & serviced these enlargers and I will ask him, but it will take a while before I see him.

    When I have a negative that really suffers, I switch to the 2C. That one does a total even illumination of the 135 negs . . .

    Which reminds me, have you checked that you condensor is placed correctly, and held tight by the black bajonet ring?
     
  10. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Leica still sell the 'updated' mixing box for the V35 as a spare part, I bought one through the Australian distributor only last year:

    Leitz V35 Light Mixing Box
    Part # 042-823.260-000

    This has two condenser lenses giving much better light coverage. The older mixing box had one lens & obvious light fall-off. Only later models of the V35 had this newer box... obviously the problem was recognised at some point. Many older V35's will still have the older mixing box. Although it looks exactly the same as the old mixing box, the new version has a small plastic 'pimple' near the outer lens that is hard to see but can be felt by finger. I see the difference in prints.

    Of course, even with the new mixing box, you still have to use the proper Philips 13139 12v 75w bulb.... which are not cheap & becoming harder to find, but I still get surprised at where I manage to find them.

    That all said, I have recently decided to go with the new Heiland Splitgrade LED Cold Light System for the V35.... won't have to bother with bulbs or changing (and probably fading) filters anymore :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2013
  11. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I wanted to compare notes, so I bought an EFN and a 13139 to try in my V35, which as I said, is of the later mixing box design. I found identical coverage and uniformity of light, and printing times that were maybe 2/3 to a full stop longer...which I welcomed since I like my print exposures to be around 24-36 seconds so I have lots of time to dodge and burn.

    The EFN was $6.50, the 13139 was $37.50...time is money, but the savings here are obvious...provided you don't have illumination problems.
     
  12. pstake

    pstake Member

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    What is an EFN?

    I have the older design but have been very happy with its results. I hesitate to get the newer light box because it would mean retesting filter changes with the various VC papers I use.
     
  13. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    DC Valoy

    FWIW, I have an ancient Leitz Valoy that has a double condenser and a diffusing disc on top of the top condenser!
     
  14. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Hilo, thanks for the info. Good to know I have the right bulb, I bought a couple of them through a teaching materials shop (they sell them for about half the price the photo shops do, sames goes for the V35 halogen bulb).

    The procedure I tried to align the bulb (apart from the heuristic wiggling approch) is described by Ed Zimmermann on another photo site (google for "zimmermann Leitz Focomat 1C bulb alignment" first result, second response should be it).

    I also checked the condeser, good point. It sits fine, I even tried a spare one that came with the anti newton filter. No luck. I've been looking for a 2C, but they are quite expensive over here :sad:

    Gamincurieux, thanks for the part number. Turns out I already have the new mixing box installed. I am too using the Heiland system with the 35 (with the normal halogen bulbs). The LED lightsource for the Heiland controller has one drawback, it can't be used in mixed-light mode, you always have to use splitgrade mode. I asked them about this and they're planning an updated design.

    Cheers,
    Andi :smile:
     
  15. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    So does Kienzle in fact offer this condenser modification for the V35? Do you have to send them in your own mixing box for modification? I've got my old single-lens mixing box sitting around somewhere. I'm very curious to know more.... their klunky old website doesn't say anything about it.

    By the way thanks Andi for the tip on the mixed-light/splitgrade limitation, hadn't thought of it..... and sorry if my earlier post was just telling you stuff you already knew - too often I stick my nose in without reading earlier comments :wink:

     
  16. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Nothing to be sorry about. I was not as clear as I would like to be, considering there are two kinds of diffuse condenser boxes. I'm not entirely sure about the Kienzle offering. I have a pricelist with two kinds of mixing box modifications: "double condenser" and "double diffusor". So i kind of assumed the diffusor is the standard thingy and the condeser a real condenser. The pricelist is, well, rather succinct, and not very clear on everything. I guess it's a DIY mod. They also offer the complete boxes, spare negative holders, an glass, etc. (also for the 1c). I can send it to you if you pm me (it's in german though). Sending a email to Kienzle will probably clear up that mystery.

    Cheers,
    Andi :smile:
     
  17. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    the EFN specification is what the Philips 13139 is based on. You can find EFN bulbs for a fraction of the cost of the "Leitz endorsed" 13139 bulb. It is worth trying a couple different brands though...I have heard that the Osram EFNs are dimmer than what is desirable...though I have no idea if these people have been using the older or newer mixing boxes...it's possible that slight differences in the bulbs are displayed more prominently in the older type than the newer type...
     
  18. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    The black round head Ic requires a short neck Osram bulb that are out of production for decades. The grey oblong head takes a standard long neck that is easily available.

    The black head with the wrong bulb makes uneven light.

    http://www.glennview.com/leitz.htm

    Scroll half way down to see the two side by side.
     
  19. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Just for clarity's sake, my post about the EFN/13139 bulbs only applies to the Focomat V35

    (this is more for the sake of our posts showing up in google search...but good to reaffirm anyhow)
     
  20. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Ronald,

    I think the short neck bulb you are referring to are, or better were, the standard form-factor for household bulbs over here. The 150W bulbs have the long neck as pictured on the glennview page. Anyways, I've got the 1c with the oblong head and tried the 75W short neck bulb as well as the 150W long neck. The 1 stop fall-off towards the corners still exists. I come to think that this is what I have to expect and just burn in a bit longer than usual.

    Cheers,
    Andi :smile:
     
  21. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Be sure to clean the condenser and have the Rod pulled up fully for long bulbs, then push down for short neck ones.

    The may be a bulb problem if the filament is not centered. My last bulb order was from Mexico manufacture, Velco or Vico from B&H, and who knows what their QC is. I have not used any so far.

    I assure you with a proper bulb and set up properly, no burning is necessary for an even print. Mine is set up with a darkroom exposure meter in each corner . You can not eyeball it.
     
  22. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Thanks Ronald, good to be reassured that even lighting can be achieved. The bulbs I have are made by Dr. Fischer Group, no Idea if they're high quality, certainly not cheap (about $15). I'm measuring light levels with the meter of the Heiland Controller (i've checked the calibration, so the probe is fine). I'll try it again next week.
     
  23. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Did you end up getting the Kienzle condenser box Andi?
    In the time since this discussion was active I've moved home & been without a darkroom. Now that I'm getting the darkroom going again, I've just purchased both the Heiland LED module & the Kienzle box as a gift to myself (even though I sold a couple of things to help pay for it, this will leave me stone-broke for a month or two, I'll have to eat baked beans for dinner every night!). As soon as it comes to me down here in Australia I'll be putting it all to use & will report back here.
    Paul...

     
  24. ~andi

    ~andi Member

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    Hi Paul,

    congratulations to the Heiland module and the box! I did not get the Kienzle box yet. I found out why my Ic had uneven lighting and fixed it (the springs which stabilise the orientation of the lamp socket where missing -- I did not know there ought to be any until I saw a complete lamp housing). Since then, the Ic quite grew on me and I have a dual setup now. I'm still curious about the combination LED+Kienzle condenser. Let us know how it works out.

    Best,
    Andi :smile:
     
  25. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    Just to clear up some posted information. I'm a long time user of a non filter drawer 1c and never noticed light falloff of 1 or 1/2 stop. 1/4 stop is standard with most condensers. The 1c lamp socket is designed to achieve perfect illumination within its adjustments. I use an adaptor ring labeled DOORX (same as an extention tube) to move the Focotar 50/4.5 farther down the helicoil so it's easier to change apertures and prevents light falloff from a filter housing fabricated below the lens. The Nikkor or any non Leitz optic without a long mount doesn't work well on my 1c. However on my Valoy just screw on the Nikkor. I often prefer the sharpness of an old 4 element Nikkor over a less than perfect Focotar, perfect F/2.8 Nikkor and Componon-S 50/2.8 (6) element glass. Ability to use different enlarging lenses without tubes and easy access to the aperture ring/focus are reasons I like the Valoy for prints enlarged below 8x. The 1c and Valoy are not a true semi condenser light source because of the diffusing disc. I traded a v35 for a 1c. The 1c and Valoy 2 are my favorite enlargers as they have a bit more contrast snap yet diffuse grain and have a small footprint. The V is wonderful also and technically a better tool.
     
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