Getting the best out of a Valloy II?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by eli griggs, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    I just received a Leitz enlarger and other than needing to replace the cord which is cracked and on the verge of exposing some wiring, it's in great shape, minus the baseboard.

    This has a Schneider Componon F4 50mm, not a Leitz lens but I'm not sure how this impacts enlargements.

    I've read that this enlarger can give very distinctive character to prints and I'm curious what your experience is in this regard.

    I'd also like any advice, insights or tips can you offer on this particular machine so I can get the best out of it!

    What are the your favorite film/developer/papers for Valloy enlarger printing, or is there even such a thing?

    By-the-way, I'm planning to mount it to a 1½" x 15½" x 24" polished granite slab for a truly flat baseboard.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2008
  2. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I've got a Valloy II and it is a sweet machine! As far as imparting a particular 'look' I can't really comment---I think the 'look' depends more on who is at the controls than anything else. You might try Kentona souped in Ansco A-130 for kind of a retro feel :smile:
     
  3. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    One thing I notice with the Valoy II is that the entire negative pops into sharp focus corner to corner, with the enlarging lens wide open—I often say "Wow!" when I see it. I love working with this enlarger, it is so smooth and I just seem pleasantly productive with this machine. Good luck with yours.
     
  4. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Member

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    I have used a Valoy II with the later anti newton condenser for about 40 years. The first lens I bought for it was a brand new 50mm f4 Componon with the needed 15mm extension built into the lens. After using the enlarger for about 15 years I decided a more modern six element El Nikkor would be useful. Finally located a 15mm extension with a Leica thread. Alas, I could see no improvement over prints made with my old Schneider. Initially I simply held mounted VC filters under the lens which made burning and dodging very difficult. I replaced the original red filter with a home made bracket and attached the filter holder from an old Polycontrast Filter Kit. As to a favorite film/developer/paper for Valoy enlarging - my hope is you learn quickly that the film/developer/paper you use is vastly less important than the way you frame your shots, expose your film, develop the film for the appropriate time and finally how you print. The Valoy is a very simple but elegantly designed enlarger. Enjoy!
     
  5. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Thanks for the replies, it's good to hear from others that use this gear.

    A little more information about this machine, it is a black body unit, without the AN condenser, but it does have the Leitz, after-market ring that lifts it slightly above the negative. The glass itself is, after a careful cleaning, spotless and without scratches. I've just now replaced the crumbly power cord and am amazed that the last user was not electrocuted or had experienced a burnt-out timer, as I read happened to another Valoy user. It is my understanding that this enlarger was in use until quite recently. Before that it was in the darkroom of a professional photographer for 25 years or more.

    As far as film/developer/paper combinations, I like to read what others have experienced in using certain gear and material. Just as the well composed image taken with a Leica IIIc with an uncoated 50mm will look different than if the photo were taken with a F1N and a 50 mm FD Macro, I believe images made on the Valoy will differ than those I make with my 5x7 cold-head enlarger or my 23cII with color-head or the dedicated 6x6 cm condenser enlarger which sit on my bench now. I am an experienced photographer/printer but seeing what others have to say often leads to insights that allow us to grow in our craft, so please, feel free to share your experiences working with these machines.

    Cheers
     
  6. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber

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    I have a Valloy II, I love it. I have a Nikkor 50mm lens with it. It is very easy to use and gives very clean images.
    My favourite 35mm enlarger.

    Here's one of mine made with it.
    Camera Leica M2, Elmar 50mm lens and Tri-X.
    I recommend Adox Fine Print Fibre Paper and I use Moersch warmtone developer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2009
  7. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Has anyone here tried lesser wattage than the 75 it was designed for and, if so, what were your observations?

    Harry, thanks for sharing your picture. I am not familiar with Moersch warmtone developer, can you give some details and describe what about it makes it special?

    Cheers
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2008
  8. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I've only used the Leitz lens that my Valoy 2 came with, but I think the quality of the lens is kind of unique compared with more modern lenses. I wouldn't say it is 'better' than the latest from Schneider or Nikon, but it strikes me as different in a unique (and very pleasing) way. I have added a Wetzlar easel which is a better fit on the Valoy 2 baseboard IMHO.
    The only other 35mm enlarger I can really compare it to was my Durst from long ago---both I found to be delightful to use and the Valoy 2 I actually bought as a replacement for the Durst (which I had foolishly given away)
     
  9. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    It is my understanding that Leitz designed some (all?) of these enlargers to use Leica camera lenses for enlarging. I don't have a collapsible Elmar but I wonder what sort of results I'd get if I plugged in a Industar 50 f3.5 instead?

    John, how large is that Wetzlar easel? I also like Durst enlargers, My M600 is a great small machine and very versatile.

    Does anyone here know the upper limit on print size with this machine and a 40 or 50 mm lens?

    Cheers
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2008
  10. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Well, it seems I should not reply to posts when I've got a migraine, I forget everything I've read and type on auto-pilot. John, I had read earlier this week about your 8x10 Wetzlar easel and clean forgot about it; sorry!

    Looking about the darkroom I discovered that the Leitz takes the same bulb as the Durst M600, so I'm ahead of the game in that department, as I bought several back-ups a year or so ago.

    Cheers
     
  11. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    eli,
    My Wetzlar is the small one, according to the blades it will handle up to a 9"x11" enlargement. The original baseboard on the Valoy 2 isn't exactly measured by acreage! :smile: My reason for switching to the Wetzlar is that the paper I use, DW Kentmere, was a PITA get into the Ganz and my current set up dosen't allow the room to use my beloved 4-blade Saunders (the big one!)