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Thread: Focomat Ic

  1. #1
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Focomat Ic

    Hello there,

    I may get LEITZ WETZLAR Focomat Ic with Focotar 1:4,5 lens. But, I have no idea about this enlarger in general and whether it has any provision to use multi-grade filter. Please help.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  2. #2
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    You are getting a build quality that leaves nothing to chance. The solid machine will last forever. But...

    You are also getting something that might not make you happy. First, the negative is going to be touching the upper glass which, as far as I am concerned, spells trouble (dust, Newton's rings, etc). I don't want that. And, there is no filter drawer so you will have to contend with optically pure (and very, very clean) 'under the lens' filtration.

    Sorry for the castigation of almighty Leica but different engineering modes necessitate this downplay. Instead, you just might be happier with a very cheap Bogen or Beseler (just stay clear of the Cadet models) or Omega. The Japanese condenser models built for the 'masses' are really good instruments. Just make sure all is there and nothing is broken.

    Long live Japan and long live Germany but pragmatism forces this dichotomy. - David Lyga
    Last edited by David Lyga; 12-13-2011 at 08:43 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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    A leica anti newton rings glass (rare) will take care of the rarely occuring newton rings. It's not a big deal, Imo.

    The filter being under the lens is not a problem. Dust doesn't show unless you really decide to make it a bread crumbs holder or a bird feeder. That's a myth. I know, I use a focomat Ic on a daily basis and my filter is dusty under the enlarger's light and my prints are beautiful.

  4. #4

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    I agree with NB23. I've used a Ic for over a year now, and I've never experienced any Newton rings, or problems with filtering. It is a great enlarger, and worth grabbing.

  5. #5

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    I bought a Ic new around 1960 and I NEVER had a problem with Newton Rings. The lower surface of the condenser lens (that contacted the film base) was etched/frosted similar to AN glass. This feature also created a diffusion effect, so dust was rarely a problem. I used only graded papers with this enlarger (prior to the availability of VC papers), so I never used filters under the lens.

  6. #6
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Well, practice is, perhaps, more relevant than mere theory. I have not used such an enlarger but I am still afraid to as I am immaculate when it comes to dust. True, the enlarger (Focomat) would not have been so prominent (in a previous age) unless it delivered. But I still do not want one. The slight advantage of having the top of the negative flatter is 'undone' when you stop down the lens. Just a thought here. - David Lyga

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    You have to stop Really a lot for dof to take over. Really a lot!

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    By the way, some Focomat Ic's do have a filter drawer. You may need to check the enlarger in question. Also, there are two versions of the enlarger head, one round shaped, and another egg shaped. From what I've read on the net the round shape type uses an obsolete bulb type (aka short neck bulb). So, I would make sure that it's got the egg shaped head.

    Newton rings may be a problem - they were, initially, with my focomat - but there are solutions for it.

    I use a Focomat Ic alongside a Meopta Opemus with a MG diffusion head. I prefer the latter for various reasons, however the Focomat is useful with its condenser (hard) lightsource when using graded paper and the soft light of the Meopta isn't punchy enough.

  9. #9

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    NB23 and Docchilie are correct: below lens filters work fine with the focomat 1c without too much fuss about dust. I bought a very early model a few years ago for the equivalent of less than 50 USD to use alongside my Focomat V35 (lamps for the 1c are much easier to get here than those for the V35). I use the 1c when I want black borders -- it does them perfectly. The glass of the condensor and the Focotar 50 mm f4.5 lens as well as the anti-Newton glass is excellent, and the autofocus is spot-on after I adjusted it according to the instructions. I use the 1c when I want black borders. Print quality between the two enlargers is practically identical.

  10. #10
    John Austin's Avatar
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    I have two, both with anti Newton ring plates and I understand they usually come with these plates - One of mine does not have a filter drawer, some later models did, but I just lift up the lid and pop a filter in if I need to - The acme of these enlargers for me is one with an Ilford Multigrade head, jut perfect - I have never been in the august company of a V35

    Regarding dust, flip up the 1c head with the side lever, have the enlarger light on and you will see any specs of dust glowing at you and asking to be flicked off with a fine brush - Do not blow spit on your neg'

    If you are having to change filters on a regular basis and are working with similar subjects check your neg' exposure and development - When that is right you should be able to print on multigrade paper without a filter

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