Just got a Leitz Focomat V35 for free

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Necator, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Necator

    Necator Member

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    A fellow APUG'er was kind enough to post a hint that a local school was giving away four Leitz Focomat V35 enlargers for free, and I was lucky enough to get one of them. I normally use a hybrid workflow, and have not made prints with an enlarger since elementary school, so I am pretty clueless on how to check if it is in working condition. The lens is there, and there is a multigrade module on the side of the enlargers head, but the timer unit seems to be missing.

    So, guess it boils down to these questions:

    - Is this particular enlarger any good?

    - Anything special I should look for when examining it?

    - Are timer units enlarger specific (ie do I need to find a Leitz?)?

    - The enlargers I remember working with back in school did not have multigrade modules, where can I find more information on what that it does?
     
  2. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    There are always different opinions, but you will find a lot of people claiming this to be the best 35mm enlarger ever.
    Congratulations.

    You can use any timer you want.

    The multigrade head works very well with all papers that I have worked with.
    Finding lamps can be a bit tricky, though.
     
  3. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    1. No it is a pices of crap
    2. No just get rid of it. I provide such service for free.
    :D
    Fun aside.
    Congratulation those are fine machines and if you look at DBA or E-bay youll see they often go for somewhat high prices.
    Which lens?
    Best regards
     
  4. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I manage to find a description of it and the different lamps etc in the shape of som html-files.
    I have turned it into a pdf.
    Do you want it?
     
  5. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    I'm one of those who think it's one of the best, if not the best ,enlargers for 35 that I have ever used. I'm using mine with the plain b/w module although I have used the colour one for vc papers. The Multigrade head is very hard to find and will usually cost and arm, and a leg.
     
  6. dfoo

    dfoo Member

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    Do they have more?
     
  7. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    I've seen these Leitz V35 enlargers in the "real world" and they look well made but never used one. What is the benefit over a standard 35mm enlarger?

    Tom
     
  8. H. James Wolf

    H. James Wolf Member

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    I've been using one for 20 years and it's an excellent enlarger. As was pointed out, any timer will work. If you plan to use it for any length of time, go to an electrical supply outlet and see if they can order bulbs for you - there were two different styles, depending on the specific enlarger. Hove still publishes a book, something like Leitz (or Leica) Darkroom Practice, that specifically deals with this enlarger.
    It is a workhorse, although the autofocus is a bit fiddly. It should have come with a 40 mm Focotar lens; the autofocus is set for this lens. I don't know if it will work with a 50.
    The only problem I have had with mine is one of the masking blades broke after 15 or so years and I haven't been able to find someone to fix it.
     
  9. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I have two of them, and they are really the best you can get for 35mm (in my humble opinion)

    To my knowledge they use two different types of lamps, both with a GZ 6.35 socket.
    One holder is for Philips 6604 and the other holder takes Philips 13139 or Osram 64615 lamps.

    The autofocus works with the 40/2.8 and not with any other lens (you can still focus manually).
    The 40/2.8 is excellent so don't bother to change.
     
  10. david James lee

    david James lee Member

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    this is the enlarger i use. very solid, the autofocus works perfectly, but you have to adjust the vertical column height before. i got the instruction manual directly fromn leica new jersey. ask them for one. i have the Hove book and do not recommend it. what carriers did you get?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2010
  11. Larry H-L

    Larry H-L Subscriber

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    I used one of these everyday for years as a newspaper photojournalist. Very sturdy. You have to set the focus, but once it is set you can swing it up and down and it will stay focused. Congrats on the find.
     
  12. Necator

    Necator Member

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    Back at home, I now have a chance to examine it. First of all, it is quite heavy, very sturdy built indeed. The lens is the 40 mm f/2.8 Focotar. The lamp is working, all the masking blades are there, and the multigrade head is able to show different shades of purple and yellow, so I guess it is working as well. Jesper gave me a pdf print of a web page about the enlarger, and I managed to find a german pdf copy of the manual also. I just have to get cracking, understanding the autofocus, how to use the multigrade head etc. As stated in the original post, I have not used an enlarger since elementary school, and they were quite simple, without filter heads or autofocus. Guess I have some reading up to do (and, I have to establish an actual darkroom also).
     
  13. Necator

    Necator Member

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    No, I think they managed to donate them all. Which is a good thing, since they were going to throw them out this afternoon, if there were no takers.
     
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  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Mmm... If so, they must be very rich or have no idea how much 4 could have been sold for on the U.K. e-bay:D

    pentaxuser
     
  16. HarryW

    HarryW Member

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  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    http://www.bonavolta.ch/hobby/en/photo/v35.htm

    That is a great resource for V35 information.

    I've had my V35 since 1980, had a Ic for 12 years before THAT. Until you've used a V35, you have NO idea how good 35mm can be.


    Stick with the Philips 13139 lamp. It can be found pretty cheap online, and lasts much longer than do the substitutes and has higher output. You don't have to file off the OSRAM's lip or any of that nonsense.

    Only a drum scanner can equal the V35's performance, and the V35 is FUN to use. Have a good time !

    .
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I have one and it is wonderful to use. The best thing about them is the carriers. After using the glass carriers (Leitz is one side glass), I am convinced that it makes a big difference in the quality of the prints, particularly in 35mm. You are very lucky!
     
  19. Necator

    Necator Member

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    I got it from a local school (technical college) and I think their calculation was that the administrative cost involved in selling them would exceed the potential profit. Luckily the teachers there though it would be a waste just to throw them out. This was to the benefit of me, and at least 2 other APUG'ers.

    What sadden me a bit was, that this school actually teaches future photographers, but still decided to get rid of their darkrooms. I know that 99,9% of what these to-be photographers would be working on will be digital equipment, but I still think working with film can provide you with a better fundamental understanding of the craft. For instance, I never fully understood curves before learning about film response curves.
     
  20. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    I agree with your point on film curves, analogue photography makes one think about tone reproduction from the beginning. Do you know any more about why they decided to close down their darkrooms?

    Tom
     
  21. Necator

    Necator Member

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    This particular darkroom was closed down because the photography classes had been moved to another location, elsewhere in Copenhagen. From what I understood, they did not want the enlargers there, as they where no longer using them. But, on the schools web page, it does say that the photography education will involve the use of enlargers, film development etc. So, guess not all hope is lost :smile:
     
  22. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Perhaps they will buy new enlargers and support continued darkroom work.

    Tom
     
  23. Micky

    Micky Member

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    ooh, you lucky bugger. i was looking to buy one of these last week for the equivelant of $800 Euro!
     
  24. gumanow

    gumanow Member

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    If you don't like it, I will trade you my Omega c760 for it.
     
  25. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

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    omg
     
  26. topoxforddoc

    topoxforddoc Member

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    Enjoy your windfall! I spent three hours last night with my V35. It's a joy to use. If you need a Focometer as well, send me a PM.

    Best wishes,

    Charlie
    www.charlie-chan.co.uk