Focomat IIc or Zone VI Type 2 Enlarger? Complete System?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ikhwan, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi everybody :smile:

    I need as much input as possible. I'm just beginning to start 35mm and mainly 6x6 BW printing. I do wish to get into large format in the future. I am hoping to purchase an enlarger + lens that can produce prints with less Callier effect, more contrast in the shadows, smooth long tonal scale, perhaps less dodge and burn works, no alignment, light leaks and focusing problems. I am in dilemma between Focomat IIc and Zone VI 5x7 enlarger. Which is better suited to my purpose? I love Focomat because of its features; autofocus, lens turret, no alignment needed but I'm afraid that the condensor head is not the best choice to produce the look I'm after. So, I think Zone VI cold light is best for me. But after one week researching, this enlarger is still a mystery to me.

    Can somebody tell me what do I need to make a complete Zone VI enlarger system?
    Does Type II need a stabilizer or is it already installed?
    Do I need a power supply for the head?
    Is it true the type II negative carrier is not good/ flat? What do I need to solve it?
    Any recommendations for lens and easels?
    My country's voltage is 240V but the Zone VI enlarger that I'm buying is rated 120V, would it be ok if I use 1 transformer to correct it? Or do I need more than that? (if there is more plug that has to be connected)

    Any help is very much appreciated. Looking forward for your replies.

    Ikhwan
     
  2. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,820
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have zero experience with either enlarger so take that into consideration.

    From what I have read or have been commented to me, I would think a better comparison would be a Durst to the Focomat. Personally, I would love to have a Focomat for 35mm.
     
  3. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    yeah fotch.. I think Focomat is best for 35mm too.. I think because of the condensor head and leitz lens sharpness and contrast. Do you know if there is a cold light head or adapter made for Focomat IIc? I prefer the not so sharp/ diffused look for my larger negative. I have seen Ilford Multigrade 500 be used with Focomat. But its hard to find it on used market. Even though it is a diffused light not cold light, I think it will do the job for me.
     
  4. palec

    palec Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2007
    Location:
    Bratislava,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Focomat IIc is not that good for 35mm, you can't swap the lens for newer ones and you have to live with 60mm Focotar which is pretty average lens. And for enlargments over 12x16 the autofocus does not work. But it's very robust enlarger and some way joy to use.
     
  5. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Oh. I didn't know that. Thanks palec. Does that mean I can't use 100mm Focotar II and 40mm 2.8 Focotar on IIc?
     
  6. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,672
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There are so many great enlargers out there, I wouldn't bother trying to adapt a US voltage enlarger. It is simply not worth the hassle. If you want a diffusion enlarger, consider a VC or color head. I don't think it improved my prints compared to a condenser enlarger, but it is much easier to use with VC paper. I wouldn't worry too much about which brand of enlarger you get. Get something solid, easy to align and easy to get parts for (carriers, etc). If you have a well aligned enlarger, a good lens and a reasonably flat negative, you have everything you need to make technically good prints.

    Also, assume that all enlargers need alignment. I have an LPL variable contrast enlarger which claimed to not need alignment....it did, but it really was not designed to be aligned. Now that is is aligned, it is a complete joy to use.
     
  7. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks Mark. I agree with u but I have waited for one month for an used enlarger in my country, still not available. So, in order to purchase one soon I have to buy from overseas. I love your prints. What LPL model do you use and what lens?
     
  8. voceumana

    voceumana Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    USA (Utah)
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I would avoid the Zone VI 5x7 enlarger for use with 35mm. Whatever light output the head produces, you're only using about 4% of it when using 35mm (meaning, the image is DIM--hard to focus). I had one, then sold it. Then I bought another (for large format use) since I now have a 5x7 camera.

    Realistically, consider that it's really a difficult task to make one enlarger that does all formats well--the physics just work out that way.

    Personally, I really like the LPL enlargers for working smoothly and having useful accessories (like remote focusing device and masking stages). I had an earlier Beseler 6x7 (the one on the 23C truss-work frame) and really liked it with a color diffusion head. I've also used a low-end Durst 35mm enlarger that worked extremely well.

    So, whatever enlarger you can get at a reasonable price will work fine, just don't get a 5x7 enlarger for 35mm work. I heartily recommend buying an enlarger that is still in production as spare parts availability is a good thing.

    Charlie Strack
     
  9. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,672
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The LPL I have is the 6700VCCE mine is a bit older than the one pictured on the link, but it works fine. There are a few features I like about the LPL:

    1. Variable contrast lighting
    2. Universal glass negative carrier (masking blades adjust to different neg sizes and allow you to show rebate if you want). I believe the enlarger comes with a 35mm glassless carrier.
    3. Possible to correct for perspective reasonably easily.

    I have a Rodagon 80mm f4 enlarger lens I use on it. I use a different enlarger for 35mm. For a 50mm lens, an f2,8 lens from Rodenstock, Schneider or Nikon will all be great. If you end up not being able to get a decent lens with your enlarger, contact me. I have 2 extra newer Schneider 50mm lenses and an older Nikon.
     
  10. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for the input Charlie. I really appreciate it. Since 5x7 enlarger is not suited with my purpose at the moment, I will go with the Focomat IIc, I think there is a company who still sell spare parts for this enlarger, BUT I still don't enjoy the fact that it cant be used with modern lens and the Focotar II is very hard to find. It would be great if anybody willing to post two prints for a comparison between Focotar and Focotar II lenses.

    Anyway, Charlie, do you have a specific recommendation? I haven't start researching on Durst, Omega and LPL enlargers yet. There are a lot of them. I did find a Durst M301 for sale which is very cheap! Is it a good enlarger and can it be used with cold/VC head? Btw, are all enlargers use the same lens mount(except for IIc)? How do I know which Schneider/Rodenstock lenses that are modern? Are they called APO?

    Ikhwan
     
  11. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mark, I can't find your VCCE model on used markets. But I found a new one thats costs $900 which include 1 lens and 1 negative carrier. I think it is still a good deal. But that Universal Glass negative carrier is very expensive IMO. May I know why you use it since you have another enlarger for 35mm? Is it because there is flatness issue with LPL 6x6 glassless negative carrier? Lastly, what is your opinion on using LPL color enlarger for B&W?

    Ikhwan
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,072
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don't know about the llc but the autofocus can be recalibrated on the lc by the user. The AF is also set up for a 1" thick easel so it must be adjusted anyway.
    The adjustment between 90 & 100mm is minimal.

    On the cold light you could use a step down transformer but it would have to have the capacity to handle the power needed for the head.
    The Zone Vl head I've got says nothing on the head besides the brand name. Yes, the transformer(?) is built into the head but I don't know if it's stabilized.
     
  13. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi John

    That's great if the AF can be recallibrated for larger enlargement. Are you using Ic? What lens do you use and how do you like it?

    Sorry but I dont understand your second paragraph. Are you saying you can use Zone VI cold light head on IIc?

    Much thanks
    Ikhwan
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,672
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The reason is that I already had a Leitz V35 enlarger with a color head. It is also an incredible enlarger, but only goes to 35mm. Now that I have the LPL, I could get rid of the Leitz, but it is really nice to use and I have the room and it. (I actually have a D2 in there for 4x5 also.....yes, I do have a problem :smile: ) The Leitz has a color head and it works fine for BW. Color enlargers are much easier to find than VC enlargers.
     
  16. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,072
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ikwhan,
    I have used both Nikkor and Leitz lenses on the lc & on close inspection couldn't note a significant difference. The Nikkor being a 2.8 gave a brighter image on the easel but it made no difference because of the autofocus. I've used both a Leitz easel(1" thick) and Saunders(~3/16"?) by adjusting the focus to the easel.
    I eventually went back to the focotar, no particular reason, just personal preference.

    Regarding the cold light, no I've not used it on a lc but believe there was one made for it once upon a time. The suggestion I was making was that it should only require a step-down transformer for it to work.
    The current demand of the lamp will probably be beyond the capabilities of most electronic timers. You can eliminate this problem by using an analog timer like the time-o-lite M-59 or similar. Another way would to have an electronic timer drive an external relay to control the cold lite.
    The focomat only needs the proper bulb & wall plug.
     
  17. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks John for sharing your experience and valuable information. I am really glad to hear that Leitz lenses is still on par with modern lenses. Anyway, about Zone VI head, it seems to me that using cold light head is too much of hassle, too much accessories; stabilizer, timer, transformer. I'm glad to know that Michael Kenna and Ralph Gibson both use old condensor head and still able to make very beautiful prints. Btw, since you speak about timer, I am interested to use the Focomat with RH Designs Analyser, but not sure whether it is compatible? I've just sent an email to RH regarding this. But anyway, analogue timer is already good enough for me, right? because I am just beginning to learn and I have absolute zero experience with enlarging/ printing. All I have is this forum, internet and books. I'll find that Time-O-Lite M-59, but what about that GraLab timer? I have seen many of those on eBay. Why are they so popular and expensive?
     
  18. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,820
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ikwhan,
    The Gralab can time up to 60 minutes so it is nice for film and paper developing or timing other functions like fixing, washing.

    The work equally well on an enlarger, controlling the on/off cycle of the lamp when plugged into it.
     
  19. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks Fotch! I do need a timer for developing and fixing as well. But it's quite expensive than Time-O-Lite. I wonder what is Time-O-Lite timing limits?
     
  20. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,072
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There may be something similar to the time-o-lite where you are?
    Where are you?
    Time-o-lite M59 is a 60 second timer, mechanical and self resetting.
    Gralab 300 is a 60 minute timer and does not reset.
    Gralab 400 is a 60 second self resting like the M59.
    For processing timers many people use kitchen timers available at the local big box store. Look for the programable variety, you're just looking for minutes not milliseconds. Usually you want three steps-dev, stop & fix. Two would do since stop is on the order of a few seconds(15-30).
     
  21. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,820
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Gralab has an adjustable buzzer to alert you to the finish, otherwise, a quartz wall clock has both minutes and seconds and will work also. Or a stop watch.

    Perhaps an electronic timer from Radio Shack or similar is another alternative.

    The Gralab has glow in the dark numerals which also help if you in the dark rather than using a daylight tank.

    I cannot relate to cost in your situation, in mine, I have owned 2 of them (purchase new), for about 35 years and they work as new still.

    On eBay, in the USA, I think I have seen them sale for less than $20 sometimes. Shipping is extra.
     
  22. RJS

    RJS Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You would do well to read Ctein's book Post Exposure or whatever the title is. By light years the best information on enlarging lenses. As far as enlargers go, most I have used/fooled with are a long wy from what they should be. I hahave managed yo make my poor old Beseler so that it is fairly fast and easy to align (in all axes both lens and negative stage) and by the use of masking tape and putty-like stuff get rid of all the light leaks that matter. Otherwise, they all seem pretty much the same (poorly designed and cheaply made) except for a few _ I am guessing - inthe 8 to 10 thousand dollar range. After all, an enlarger is just a projector, and the light source only needs to be very even, which most are. The difference between condensers, diffusion and cold light is vastly exaggerated. It would be very tough to tell a good print made with one source rather than another. Read Ctein,s book and I think you will be enlightened!
     
  23. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks John. Is that the little programmable timer which you can plug onto the wall? I think I have seen it and it's quite cheap.
    When you enlarge, is timer really necessary or can I just use metronome and count it myself? But how do I know how long the enlarger exposure should be? I guess that's where test print comes in?
     
  24. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yeah, buzzer and glow in the dark numerals are nice features. There are a lot of cheap Gralab timer on eBay but they are all 110V AC, I need 240V :sad:
     
  25. ikhwan

    ikhwan Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I think I have seen that book on Amazon. I will look it up again. Thanks.
     
  26. palec

    palec Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2007
    Location:
    Bratislava,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ikhwan, there are 2 lenses on IIc (but you already know that). One is 60mm (6cm) Focotar and other is either 95mm Focotar or 100mm V-Elmar or Focotar-II. If you have V-Elmar version, you can easily exchange it for Focomat-II (if you are able to find it). You can find more information here: http://leica-users.org/v31/msg11354.html

    There is German company which maintains some spare parts and upgrades Focomats:
    http://www.kienzle-phototechnik.de/...IIc__Vall/leitz_focomat_ic_iia_iic__vall.html

    They also can exchange the lens mounts to accept modern lenses, although it's quite expensive.
    Contact them for more information.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2009