Help! Got a Focomat IIc for free + other things.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Helinophoto, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Hi

    Yesterday, I picked up a (dusty but) mint Focomat IIc enlarger, it has the Elmar 100mm lens on it, so I suppose it is an intermediate model in the series?
    The owner passed away some time ago and the relatives were selling the house and wanted to clean out, they hadn't got any takes on their original ad, and suddenly I saw that they were giving it away).

    I already own and am used to my Durst m670bw with the unineg holder, and with that one, you can insert strips of negatives in the holder from the side, usually a piece of strip is hanging out on the sides of the enlarger while printing.

    For the Focomat, I have a similar negative holder, with glass above and below the negative.
    When I look at this sturdy monster though, it seems that inserting a strip of 3 6*6 frames into the holder and placing the holder in the enlarger, will cause the negatives to be bent or scratched??
    (The holder seems to be recessed a little when mounted in the enlarger, so I am afraid that the negative may be jammed between the holder and the enlarger frame when the holder is closed.

    Is this so? Or can you insert a strip from the side, insert the holder and operate as normal, even lifting "The lid" and push/adjust the negative if needed?

    I cut my medium format negatives in strips of 3 for the 6*6 ones and 3's and 2's for the 6*7 ones, I'd rather not cut them into individual frames :/

    It's autofocus (mechanically from what I gather), but are there any ways to manually tweak the focus, once I've set it? (would be a shame if it is out of alignment or if I am using a very thick paper).
    I am not using the easel that was produced for the Focomat, hopefully that will not affect the autofocus? (looks like the previous owner have used other easels with ease)

    The enlarger was seemingly owned by a enthusiast (I got two enlargers in fact, one focomat and one opemus III).

    I got loads of additional stuff as well;
    (very) old paper with mouldy boxes because of long-term storage in a cellar. I got beakers, 3 smaller easels, a huge yellow/brown Kodak safe light (filters looks very good), two sets of trays for very small prints or prints up to A4, a Roller, a tiny paper cutter (for some reason, this guy worked with extremely small paper, like 3*4 inch stuff), a bunch of color coded metal paper pincers, a few safe light bulbs and also 12 vials of Tetenal Neofin Rot and Blau (I wonder if they can still be used, does anyone know how long they last in questionable storage conditions?).
    The boxes with the Neofin dev looked and felt brand new, they even had the price tag on them, but based on the price tag, I'd say that they are at least 10 years old (like 3-4 bucks for a pack or Neofin Blue, half of what they cost today I think) :tongue:

    I was about to throw out the paper stuff, because it's just very dirty, crumbled and questionable, but I suppose I can give it a go and see if it is any life left in them, got a few sheets of A4 as well. (Graded Agfa mostly and some Ilford).

    Anyway, I need some pointers on the enlarger (I downloaded the manual from the net, but it doesn't really explain a lot on operation), so if you got tips on that, or on the paper and developer, please feel free :smile:
    Tips/experiences on how to handle myself, so I don't ruin the negatives and/or mess up the enlarger?

    Time to clean it all-round with a damp cloth, smells like cellar in here :smile:
     
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  2. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Congrats, what luck.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Unlike some lesser autofocus enlargers, you are not forced to use a single easel size. You have a collar near the base of the column to adjust for easel height.
     
  4. zsas

    zsas Member

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    I have no advice (dont have one), just want to say congrats!
     
  5. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    I also got one free a few years ago when they were cleaning out an old hospital building before demolishing it. A woman at work asked if I was interested in an old enlarger her husband had saved from a dumpster at his current work site. I said sure and was surprised by what turned up. Unfortunately it wasn't complete. I did however get two Focotar lenses with it. I kept those and was able to pass the chassis on to a fellow who used it to refurbish one he had. I didn't mention the lenses...I still use them periodically.

    I do hope you find yours useful and satisfying.

    Dave
     
  6. eselmarvin

    eselmarvin Member

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    I have a Focomat IIC too and I love it. Don`t be afraid of your negatives they wont be jammed.

    There is a lever in front of the holder you can push up to release the negative and bring it in position or insert it from the side. When you put the lever down the negative will fixed tightly.

    If you want to focus manually you have to remove the silver clamp from the lenses.
     
  7. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Congratulatons

    It should have two lenses with it, a 60mm as well as the 100 V-Elmar

    The collar at the base will have three levels of baseboard/easel, none for working on the baseboard itself, one for one inch, (the smaller size Leitz easel) and a higher position for the big Leitz easel

    Give it a good clean and try to get spare Phillips enlarger lamps, these are no longer available in OZ, so I imagine they are no longer manufactured by Phillips anywhere - I suppose it is possible other manufacturers made enlarger lamps, but I doubt it

    Get Dave Swinnard to post you the 60mm Focotar lens he has spare so you have both formats working - I have a dupe 60mm, but it was replaced as it has fungus which I am told can't be cleaned as the lens elephants have an aluminium sleeve around them which is some kind of fixture, but. . .

    Don't waste your time on the paper, it will only frustrate you

    John
     
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  8. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I just wish I could have that sort of luck! :smile:

    The blau and rot Neofin is fine - I guess they are glass bottles. Graded Agfa, if it is fiber, can be nice for lith printing.
     
  9. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Hya, thank you for your comments! =)

    Yes, I did a proper cleaning, even cleaned the enlager bulb with some lens cleaner, to avoid it popping on me right away ^^

    I forgot to mention that the Focomat is complete with the 60mm lens as well as 5 negative masks. one smaller than 35mm, 35mm, a little larger one, one for 6*4.5 and one for 6*6.

    The only thing that isn't working, is the infamous wire that auto-sets the focusing from one lens to the other, but I fixed that with a regular remote-trigger (not Hama), it screws in and if the inner part is long enough (my Hama one wasn't), it engages the proper focusing. After that, I just tighten the bulb-feature on the remote trigger and it stays put.

    So I need to do that step manually when I change from one lens to another, no biggy.
    It was set to "0" (base board I presume) and I couldn't figure out how to raise the enlarger up to match the easel (will confer with the manual on that, I saw something about it in there).
    I ended up turning the grey part of the lenses as you guys mentioned, and I was able to obtain focus with both lenses -and keep focus while moving it around, very cool! (checked with my grain loupe)

    All bulbs work (even the built-in light table and the small one which indicates the enlarging factor, that one looked really rare though, hope it will last!).

    I hooked it up to my basic timer (still don't know the function of the socket on the board itself, with the timer indicator on it) and then the timer to the wall, hooked up the safe light as well and went ahead and put in a 35mm test strip I had laying around. I used that one to be safe, hadn't read all the answers here then, but indeed, it's safe and working very well and can be adjusted with the front hinged lever and stuff.

    Fun fact though, most of the papers I tried now, actually worked.
    I am no expert or anything, only concluding that the papers I tested today, came out with a picture and good blacks and good whites.
    The RC papers were a bit stuck together here and there, so they are more or less bad (missing emulsion), but there were two unopened Agfa Brovia speed packs (10 sheets per pack) which worked very well.

    Loads of fun, but also a little iffy.
    Feels like I am going trough someone's personal stuff (I am!). Caught myself occupied with thoughts if the previous owner's technique, knowledge, photos taken and such, some of the paper packs are even labeled "Do not open, this is for the assistant", so apparently this guy was passing on some knowledge to younger photographers.

    I am going to go trough all the papers and then perhaps give them away to some people in my area who maybe knows them -and can appreciate them. (feels good giving back and sharing anyway :smile: ).
    - I bet there are at least a few people familiar with these papers and may be up for walking down memory lane with papers long gone from the production lines.

    A few of the papers were wafer thin too, amazingly easy for me to create creases in the edges and foul things up, wow....! :D

    I suppose the next stop for this machine would have been at the local garbage heap, really sad that it has come to that really. At least now, it will get a few more years of appreciation and care ^^
     
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  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Use caution with the socket on the baseboard. It is for "on-off switch" timer rather than a timer that gives 120V when on. I hope that socket is not a USA standard 120v socket. It would make anything you rig to plug in there very dangerous. If you had a 'mechanical timer, shorted on the back...' and accidentally plugged that into a regular wall socket it will blow a fuse and cause quite a hazard.
     
  11. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Thanks, yes, well, actually the whole rig is 230v (European), and the socket on the board is also 230v standard.

    I just decided not to use that one (didn't really make any sense either), so I just hooked up the main power cord from the enlarger, to my timer and the timer to the wall socket. This worked just dandy =)