Leitz Focomat V35 Repair and Maintenance Manual

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Does anybody here have a repair or maintenance manual for a Leitz Focomat V35 enlarger?

    I bought one where the arm is extremely stiff, and I need to diagnose it and eventually repair it.

    I would be extremely thankful for any help.

    - Thomas
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Lee,

    Yes, I have visited that site several times. I thought I combed it fairly thoroughly, but think I'll try again.

    I'm not desperate, but need to explore all avenues before I do something stupid with the enlarger. There is a German and a French version of the manual on that web site, but neither describes what's inside any of the body panels.

    Inside the arm cover are lots of mechanical parts. A friend commented that it looks like the rear suspension of a BMW motorcycle. :smile: And it does! The problem I'm having with it is that there is grease everywhere. I cannot touch hardly anything that moves inside without getting my fingers black with grease, and I think there isn't supposed to be that much lubrication inside. Things that move with such ease usually have self lubricating components, like air dampers, water valves, microscopes, or binoculars. Not like the chassis of old Ford F150 pickup trucks... :smile:

    So I'm seeking the maintenance and repair manual so that I can look inside and properly know what to expect, before I start messing with the components.

    THanks!

    - Thomas

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2011
  4. deisenlord

    deisenlord Member

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    You might try contacting this guy, see if he knows what's up

    http://www.glennview.com/leitz.htm

    Your always welcome to come look at mine as well. It's not being used so no harm no foul.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Ike, thanks so much for the link. I have contacted the owner of that site to see if he has some help to offer.

    I wouldn't mind coming over just to visit, and if I could check out your enlarger too, it would be great.

    - Thomas
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    An update to this thread, for those that are interested.

    I got in touch with Leica / Leitz in New Jersey, and they are very tightly wound about their enlarger repair. It appears that Germany does not allow repair and maintenance manuals to be released to the public, so they have to evaluate the enlarger by me sending it to their New Jersey operation, and then wait six weeks for an estimate.
    A word of warning to anyone buying a Leitz Focomat V35 - make sure you get a promissory note from the seller that the following works:
    1. The vertical column adjustment must operate smoothly.
    2. The arm height adjustment should 'float' and you shouldn't have to apply hardly any force to move it once the locking knob has been un-tightened. Once tightened, it should stay firmly in place.
    3. The auto-focus mechanism has NOT been tampered with.
    4. No alterations or disassembly has been performed on the enlarger.

    It appears it is incredibly sensitive to things like torque values of fastening screws, the right kind of lubrication used, the correct re-assembly order of all parts involved. Any deviation from the specification of the machine could result in problems.

    Once you get a good specimen that has not been tampered with, they should last a lifetime.

    - Thomas
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Reviving an old thread here. I bit the bullet and sent the enlarger to Leica USA today. Just shipping it was 160 bucks, and I hope Leica doesn't charge an arm and a leg to repair it. It's been five long years waiting to be able to afford it. I still don't know if I can afford having it repaired, but at least I'll know. I love the V35 machine, it makes enlarging the small negatives so enjoyable.
     
  8. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I only own Focomat Ic and it is always something special for me to work with it and I can imagine that it will be double more fun to work with V35.
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Actually, some people claim the older Leitz machines are better than the V35. I think it's something to do with the grain, since the V35 has a diffuse light source. I'm sure they're both super enjoyable enlargers to work with.
     
  10. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I was thinking to get a color head for my Ic but together with an adapter and head costing close to 600 euros. But when developed with an ascorbic acid based developers(PC-TEA) I hardly need to go for split grade printing.

    PC-TEA: This stuff holds the highlights beautifully well and I presume X-tol too.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Xtol is extremely good at highlight control. Today I use Harvey's 777 which is that way too, you have to act really foolish to block up highlights with 777. I also use ADOX FX-39, which has more highlight intensity, especially at 1+9 dilution. I love this developer for its film speed and its beautiful grain; HP5+ in 35mm is so good with this developer.
     
  12. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Yesterday made few prints of size 16x24cm(not that big enlargements though) from APX 100, but found no grain and the tonality is very close to MF.

    This is may be the developer of choice for all portraits in the future.
     
  13. Luis-F-S

    Luis-F-S Subscriber

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    Exactly why I keep my Valloy II. Everything is manual and works every time.
     
  14. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    No doubt. I bought the V35 not knowing about its issues, or the problems servicing it, and honestly I bought a real dud. It's unusable in its current state.
    The guy that sold me the enlarger was disappointed too and I think he was honest, but I thought at the time there were more pressing issues in my life and just told him I'd take care of the problem and to forget about it.

    Had I know just what a racket Leica has with these enlargers, I would have never bought it, no matter how nice it is. But now I have this instrument and I just cannot bring myself to sell it in the condition it's in, knowing the next person would be stuck with the same nightmare, so I decided to have it fixed. It would be a real shame to let it sit unused, and when these things work they are SO nice to work with.

    Anyway, long story short - it sucks to have to do this, but it'll be sweet when it's taken care of.
     
  15. Luis-F-S

    Luis-F-S Subscriber

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    At least you know it will work when Leica get$ through with it!
     
  16. Luminousoctaves

    Luminousoctaves Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm a new member in this forum!

    I own all of the more popular Leitz enlargers – the Focomat Ic (both black and grey versions), the Focomat IIc (grey with the legendary Focotar II), a V35 and a Valoy II.

    To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the V35 after using the Ic for several years. The V35 is a great machine compared to a lot of other 35mm-machines out there, but compared to the Ic it doesn't really hold up. It's not the same build quality. I'm talking usability here, not image quality. (Both give superb image quality, but one is diffuser and one is condenser, so that comes down to taste.)

    My personal favorite among the Leitz enlargers is the black Focomat Ic with the short column and wooden baseboard with easel lock. It's the most intuitive enlarger I have ever used and the easel locking mechanism is just amazing. To print with the Focomat Ic is pure joy, very smooth stuff.
    The downside is print size... but most of times 10x12"/24x30cm is enough for me.

    Having said that, the V35 is a great machine, no question about it.
     
  17. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    So what happened with your enlarger Thomas?
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I sent it in about 4 weeks ago, and typically their turn-around-time for enlargers is about 6 weeks. I'll find out soon what the story is, and how much it's going to cost.
     
  19. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Member

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    Hello Thomas,

    I sure hope your V35 gets returned to full operating level because it is a quite nice enlarger. I bought mine some 20 years ago from a fellow LHSA member and I've never had a single issue with it. I received a quite complete outfit including both dichoric and VC modules, several extra lamps, a bunch of misc accessories such as a unit that allows you to feed an entire uncut roll of film through the carrier, etc. He even included a large V35 decal! :smile: Mine absolute only issue with this enlarger was that I wasn't especially thrilled with the 40mm Focotar lens that came with it. Since I didn't particularly care about the autofocus feature, I swapped that lens out for a Schneider HM lens that provided very acceptable results. Bottom line for me...I wouldn't even consider any other enlarger for 35mm work! But, I haven't used any other Leitz enlarger as a comparison.