Help to chose my first enlarger

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by bruniroquai, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    Hi there!

    I've been offered a Leitz Focomat with WA40mm Focotar for 450€ with the VC head and in perfect condition and a Durst L900 without lens but fully operational.

    I have a Kaiser VCP 6002 with both APO RODAGON-N 50/2.8 and 80/4.

    I know those are the top of the enlarging lenses but would I stay better with them and the Kaiser? I mainly shot 35mm with my Leicas.

    I never have work in the wet darkroom so will be my first time.

    I bought chemicals, paper RC Multigrade Ilford (when I learn I'll change it for FB), red light, squeezes...

    Thanks!
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Welcome to (posting on) APUG.

    What area of the world are you located at?

    As I understand it, the Kaiser enlargers are of excellent quality. They aren't easily found in North America, so I have no direct experience with them.
     
  3. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    Hi there Matt! Thanks for the welcome.

    I'm from Sout Spain (Ronda in Andalucia).

    [video=youtube;fMRnGRSmjdI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMRnGRSmjdI[/video]
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The Leica focomat is one of the best enlargers for 35mm available. Assuming the machine comes with the negative carrier and anti-newton glass it's very fast & simple to use.
    I've had the lC in the past & the autofocus was always accurate. You may have to calibrate it for the easel that you have but once done the only adjustment needed was aperture for exposure.
    I always used the Focotar but the Rodagon will fit and work fine Once it's calibrated. You would have to adjust the enlarger for that lens.
    I think the price is a bit high(US) but don't understand the EC market. Prices do seem higher over there but It does have the VC head.
     
  5. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    The V35 Focomat works best with the matched 40mm WA Focotar. It can be adjusted for a 50mm lens, but I believe that this would normally be done by a technician, rather than the user. You could, of course, fit the 50mm and always focus manually, but I can see no reason to replace the original lens. I have to say that the Kaiser enlarger you have sounds very good, together with excellent lenses. I think Kaiser still make enlargers, so spares are more likely to be available should you need any. I understand that the variable contrast head for the V35 Focomat is now a bit out of date. By that, I mean that it may not produce all grades on modern VC paper. I use one of these, but with the colour head. The original lamps are no longer produced. If you can find any, they will be expensive. This is probably the best reason to stick with what you have. The price, I assume in Euros, also seems quite high. If you want to compare prices of Focomats, the German eBay site usually has some listed. I also use Durst enlarger, but not the model you mention. They are very good but have been out of production for a while now. I would check what lamp it takes if you are considering buying it. If you are just starting printing, I would use what you have. The lens is the most important part of the system, and the ones you mention are top quality.
    Alex
     
  6. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    thanks guys, I'm still thinking, maybe the Durst is better due to the ability to do MF.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but your Kaiser 6002 should be able to do MF.
     
  8. aRolleiBrujo

    aRolleiBrujo Member

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    BEAUTIFUL!
     
  9. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    Yeap!

    I think finally I will take the V35, forcing me to become a good 35 shooter in the future will take another one for MF. How good is the focotar compare with APO RODAGON? Well I won't notice because will be my first prints so...
     
  10. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    Thanks Brujo!!
     
  11. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    you are quite correct Matt.
    I use a 6002 for up to 6x7 (all my 6x7 are pinhole so the falloff using the 6x6 condenser doesn;t matter too much to me)
    But as standard it is good for 35mm to 6x6.
    the fact that the OP has a 80/4 lens to go with it means he should be ready to go
     
  12. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    Thanks guys. I will chose the V35 for the next years until I need MF. Is it good for 10x?
     
  13. miha

    miha Member

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    If I were you I would stick with the Kaiser and spend the €450 on paper.
     
  14. goros

    goros Subscriber

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    Hi from th eother corner of Spain,

    I would stick to the Kaiser system. It is still in production, spares are available in Europe very easily, the lenses you have are very good. Why to change?

    I have a Kaiser enlarger and cannot be happier. It is sturdy but light enough for me to move it in and out of my bathroom/darkroom. As I mentioned, accesories like different format masks, AN glasses, negative carriers, filter supports, etc. are available from Kaiser itself.

    Anyway, it seems you have already decided, so the least I could say is enjoy it and enjoy the darkroom.
     
  15. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai Member

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    Thank You miha and Alfonso.

    Yeap is kind of forcing me to shot with 35mm for a long term project, and then, look for a MF in the future.
     
  16. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    QUE LUGAR!!! please post photos!!! this place is gorgeous!!! sorry i can't help with decision making, but i will second the advice of saving money for paper.