Just examined my V35 and the only thing I can think of is the helicoid directly under the neg stage is off. This is presuming the neg carriers are not out of whack since you've already aligned this.
I'd be very curious to know how it works out as I've always considered these enlargers rather indestructible in spite of the precise build and tolerances and many parts. They were tough enough to survive newspaper use day in and day out by lab techs and hurried photographers on deadline which is one reason why I love using mine.
I thought I had aligned my V35, but moving the head down to print a small 5x5 resulted in an unsharp image...I fixed it yesterday and everything looks good now.
Not wanting to insult your intelligence, but have you followed the auto focus alignment correctly and checked the very simple things like:
closing the neg carrier
making sure that everything is tight and in position above the lens.
raising column to highest position and checking autofocus using the technique in the above link?
Sorry I can't help with anything more technical, but if the enlarger is not as decribed I would maybe ask for a refund. It does sound as if it has taken a serious knock. The V35 is listed on feebay every week.
Yes Gary, I have done all that to the letter. I've run out of ideas
Originally Posted by Gary Holliday
Perhaps you could try and level the neg carrier and baseboard and go from there ? If you have some time, perhaps try different things (without altering the V35 of course) and if nothing works, send it back.
I still can't imagine the neg and lens are out of whack, does it look off visually from the front ? Can you isolate which way it is off from looking at a projected image ?
This is kinda like figuring out davidb's neg bubbles processing probs...
Not really very obvious to the eye, but the laser shows they are off in different directions, so it is easy to see which directions and by how much
Originally Posted by canuhead
sounds like a return to seller unfortunately...
I bought one and I needed to align it. I needed to shim the base. I thought that the lens was out of alignment with the neg stage, but I found out that the problem was that the lens mounting flange was not very parallel to the front of the lens. I checked the alignment from the stage to the lens mounting plane and it was good. The autofocus is not perfect....pretty good but not perfect. I wouldn't trust it anyway so I was happy.
And Tim......it is really a pleasure to use (and I have a color head...I'm looking for a MC head). If this one doesn't work out, it will be worth trying again.
I've used a Focomat V35 for years; bought it used from a fellow LUG member about 15 years ago. It was still fairly expensive then, even used, but I got a LOT of extras with it including both the variable contrast module and color module. Regarding the original 40mm lens...it's a pretty good lens, but quite a few years ago I swapped it out for a Schneider APO-Componon HM 40mm lens and, in my testing, it pretty much trounched the Leitz lens. On smaller prints--say 5x7--the difference wasn't that noticeable, but at sizes such as 12x18 the difference was VERY noticeable especially in the corners! The Schneider optic certainly wasn't cheap, but worth every penny for extracting every last detail out of those wonderful Leica negs!
Good luck with your V35. I'm sure you'll enjoy it for years to come. BTW, I've read of many others trusting the autofocus mechanism; not me I still use a grain magnifier. I'm kind of anal retentive that way...I want to know for sure that image is as sharp as possible! After all, we are dealing with 35mm here. :)
I'll keep an eye on larger prints Alan...thanks. I thought the AF was lost when the lens was changed. I'm still loving the novelty of AF. Using the grain magnifier to check that it is still in focus is half the fun! I'll be in the market for a medium format IIC in a few months time.
I had thought of buying a multigrade head for the V35, but I feel there is more control with the colour head allowing you to tweak between small changes of magenta and yellow.
The only thing that is missing is an under the lens filter holder. I miss the safelight filter when making spilt grade burning-ins. I'm not sure what options are available...might have to do a DIY job on it.
At a slight tangent to this discussion, Schneider advised that their WA-Compnon 40mm was not suitable for use on condenser enlargers because it would not give even illumination. I'm curious about this and since the standard lens on the V35 is a 40mm lens, I'm wondering what peoples experience is with using a wide angle lens on a condenser system in terms of eveness of illumination. i.e. Do these wide angle lenses really show noticeable light falloff on condenser systems?
p.s. Have been reading up and I notice that the V35 was modified in 1987 to a double condenser to provide more even illumination. I presume this was done in conjunction with its 40mm lens. So perhaps its not an issue with the later V35s. But I would still be interested to know about other enlargers as I was thinking of getting a wide angle lens for my durst condenser enlarger. Thanks.