Focomat 1c or V35

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by darkosaric, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi,

    I would like to get Focomat V35 - I have heard only the best about this piece of equipment, but I have opportunity to get 1c now. I am interested is V35 so much better - should I wait for V35 or go for 1c?

    I already have Meopta Axomat and Magnifax 3 with El nikkor 50/2.8 and 75/4 - have been using them for last couple of years, and I am happy with them - but Focomat is something that I would like to have :smile:.

    thanks,
     
  2. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Have you used either the 1c or V35 ? If you're happy with your Meopta there may not be much of a gain although the V35 is a very nice enlarger to work with. It also isn't a condenser enlarger so you MAY have to change your flow very slightly.

    fwiw, I've used Meopta and still have an Opemus in storage but the V35 is my primary 35mm enlarger because it's what I've used most of my professional life.

    So...I'd recommend staying with your Meopta but suggest you act fast when you find a good condition, fair priced V35 for sale.
     
  3. ooze

    ooze Member

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    Darko,

    I have both a Focomat Ic and a Meopta Opemus 6a with a Meograde head (diffuse light). I bought the Focomat after the Meopta because I was somewhat mystified by the legendary name. Then I found out that I much prefer printing with the Meopta.

    One thing you have to be careful with the Focomat is the condenser. Since it is directly in contact with the negative any flaws (scratches etc) on the condenser will directly show in the print. I also haven't been able get even illumination with the Focomat despite having sought and received some advice in internet forums.

    Obviously this is only my personal experience. Scores of excellent photographers have printed with a Focomat Ic in the past. And I would probably get used to it if I didn't have the Meopta.

    Regards
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Thanks for replays. I have never used any focomat. Thanks for tip about condenser.

    :smile:
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    It depends on who you ask.

    I have not used a 1c, but recently installed a working V35 in my darkroom. It is far and away the best enlarger I've ever used for 35mm. Blows everything else out of the water. That is my opinion.

    But some people don't like the V35 at all, calls it cheaply made compared to the 1c. I haven't tried the 1c, so I can't tell you about that one.

    You can't go wrong with a good V35. But you may not like it as much as I do. Nobody can call it a bad enlarger, and it's really nice to have one set up, dedicated to 35mm work.

    And, if something goes wrong with a V35 - good luck finding support outside of Leica headquarters. It will be an expensive fix.

    Good luck!

    - Thomas
     
  6. DAP

    DAP Member

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    I have owned at one time or another both the V35 and the 1c. In stock form I preferred the V35 due to the availability of the variable contrast module that is available for the head. The construction of the V35 is not cheap at all. Sure it has some plastic on it, but it is very well made. The only problem I had with it was that you were stuck w/ a 40mm lens if you wanted to retain the autofocus option (you are limited to the factory leitz 40mm or the Schneider 40mm).

    That being said, I ended up selling the V35 in favor of the 1c, but this was due to the fact that I found an Ilford 500 head for the 1c (if not for the ilford head I would have kept the V35)
     
  7. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I've had both at one time or another. I don't understand how the V35 could be called "cheaply made". The one I had had the color head & just didn't care for it.
    Oh well, I preferred the lC for the quality of light. Go make me 'splain it. I can't. If you look for the 1C look for a later one with filter drawer.
     
  8. DAP

    DAP Member

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    Do you have the early Black 1c or the Later Gray 1c. The early black 1c enlargers used a now discontinued short neck bulb. If you use a current long neck bulb in it you will have problems w/ uneven illumination.

    If you can't get a hold of a short neck bulb you can try to retrofit a color diffuser head onto it to solve the problem (wallner and Cosar made replacement heads, although I imagine you could adapt almost any medium format head to the enlarger if you are handy).
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I think there is a spacer collar that allows a Valoy II, and I imagine a 1c, to use a long-neck bulb - more for it's higher wattage than the bulb envelope. It moves the lamp up and also provides vents for more cooling air.

    I have a Valoy I that I use as a trade-show prop. The lamp position is adjustable but illumination is hot in the center no matter where one places the lamp.
     
  10. ooze

    ooze Member

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    It is a black one, but with an oblong head and filter drawer, so regular bulbs should be OK. A few days ago I put some pictures of my darkroom into the "Darkroom Portraits" sticky thread ("Darkroom Equipment" forum). It is still the last post in there. You may want to check the focomat I have from there and let me know about the correct bulb type.

    Just a couple of days ago there was an Ilford 100H head for the Ic on the german auction site. I started bidding for it, but eventually it sold for about 830 Euros!! much more than I was ready to pay.
     
  11. DAP

    DAP Member

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    It sure looks like your enlarger has the same egg shape that the later gray versions have. Judging on the shape I would assume that the larger bulbs would work OK. Have you loosened the thumb screws on top and tried moving the bulb up and down to try to optimize light coverage?

    That is an insane price for an Ilford 100H (it is basically a stripped down budget alternative to the 500 version). Last time I checked you could buy a brand new VC Kienzle head to fit the focomat for less.

    I would seriously look into aftermarket color heads rather than paying these types of inflated prices. I have used Cosar heads in the past and they are really nice (very well made and have a smart design). They are pretty hard to find, but they are not expensive when you do.

    I have never used the Wallner (I have a dead one sitting in the basement - just never got around to fixing it), but it seems to have a good reputation. These also tend to go for reasonable amounts when you can find one.

    Both of these heads had adapters available for the focomat, but they might be hard to find unless they come with the head (making an adapter should not be too difficult though).
     
  12. DAP

    DAP Member

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    Here is another thought,

    How about placing a piece of opal glass above the condensers w/in the housing (maybe in the filter drawer) as a way of diffusing the light before it hits the condensers. Maybe that will even the light out a bit.

    I haven't tried this, but it might be worth some experimentation.
     
  13. kobalt

    kobalt Member

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    I just compare enlargers:

    Magnifax is sharper than focomat, but focomat 1C has better middle tones. Both
    enlargers have similar light falloff. With 1C antinewton glass is reccomanded.
    Old axomat 1 has similar condensor than focomat, picture quality is also similar.
    Next generations of axomats have" improved" larger condensors, sadly with worse picture quality.
    I have no expirience with c35.
     
  14. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    They're both great enlargers, although the Ic is a slightly more temperamental to set up. As quoted above, the V35 is diffuser and the Ic condenser, so you may have to adjust your processing regime accordingly.

    If you go for the V35 do try to get the VC head, it makes life so much easier.

    Regards
    Jerry