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Thread: Leitz focotar

  1. #1
    Coolmac's Avatar
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    Leitz focotar

    Hi all.

    Recently I decided that I want to get back into B&W film photography. In an attempt to save myself a large cash outlay on outfitting my darkroom, I attempted to rescue my fathers old equipment. Now unfortunately it had been stored in some cardboard boxes for the last 15 years, and they had become infested with rats nests. The old Durst F60 looks to be unsavable (at least not without finding some extra parts), but enlarger lens wasn't quite as bad.

    It was a Leitx focotar 1:4.5/50. It was stored in what I assume is its original plastic container with silica crystals. Unfortunately the rats managed to chew a tiny hole in the plastic container, not enough to get into it, but enough to let the humidity in. So while the lens looks okay, there is some fungal growth on the lens, and the adjusting the f stop seems to be rough. If I was going to use this enlarger lens, it seems it will definitely need to be taken to get repaired.

    So the question is, is it worth it? I'm not sure how much the repair cost will be (or if anyone will even be able to do it where I live), so I'm not entirely sure whether its worth it, rather than just buying a cheap 2nd hand lens. Was the focotar a particularly good lens?
    Dion van Huyssteen
    DV Photo

  2. #2

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    All you need is a little cleanng job to get rid the fungus. Send it to some trusty classic camera and lens repair shop near you, and I don't think it cost too much.

    But at the same time, get yourself a good conditioned used El Nikkor 50mm F2.8 enlarging lens because it's cheap and almost universally acknowledged as a real good lens.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolmac View Post
    Was the focotar a particularly good lens?
    Yes.

    R.

  4. #4
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    The later Focotar lenses, with the writing on the outside of the barrel, were reported to be the best. I have one, and a later model El Nikkor 50/2.8, and I can see no difference. The later El Nikkor lenses, in almost new condition, sell on ebay for less than $40, and I doubt you can get the Focotar serviced for less than that.
    —Eric

  5. #5
    Coolmac's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info.

    I'll get a quote from a camera repair store down the road and compare that to what I'd have to pay for a El Nikkor 50/2.8.
    Dion van Huyssteen
    DV Photo

  6. #6

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    I have the older Leitz Focotar lens. I like the look of my prints that were done with this lens over those done with the Nikkor 50/2.8, which I also had. The projected image was darker with the Leitz lens so, for convenience sake, I used the Nikkor more often. I also think my particular Nikkor (which I obtained used) had either been damaged or was defective. I eventually replaced it with a Rodenstock. I still have the Focotar.

    The Leitz Focotar is a good lens. If it can be repaired and brought back to its original working condition without breaking the bank, it will serve you well.

  7. #7

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    Tha advantage to the Focotar is that you can use the lens wide open or a half stop down for the best performance and resolution. This needs to be used in conjunction with a Leitz Focotar or Valoy-2 enlarger for the best and most precise alignment with this particular negative carrier/condensor combination. You will love the results, sharp even in the corners wide open. Best, Emile/www-deleon-ulf.com.



 

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