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  1. #1

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    Focomat IIc or Zone VI Type 2 Enlarger? Complete System?

    Hi everybody

    I need as much input as possible. I'm just beginning to start 35mm and mainly 6x6 BW printing. I do wish to get into large format in the future. I am hoping to purchase an enlarger + lens that can produce prints with less Callier effect, more contrast in the shadows, smooth long tonal scale, perhaps less dodge and burn works, no alignment, light leaks and focusing problems. I am in dilemma between Focomat IIc and Zone VI 5x7 enlarger. Which is better suited to my purpose? I love Focomat because of its features; autofocus, lens turret, no alignment needed but I'm afraid that the condensor head is not the best choice to produce the look I'm after. So, I think Zone VI cold light is best for me. But after one week researching, this enlarger is still a mystery to me.

    Can somebody tell me what do I need to make a complete Zone VI enlarger system?
    Does Type II need a stabilizer or is it already installed?
    Do I need a power supply for the head?
    Is it true the type II negative carrier is not good/ flat? What do I need to solve it?
    Any recommendations for lens and easels?
    My country's voltage is 240V but the Zone VI enlarger that I'm buying is rated 120V, would it be ok if I use 1 transformer to correct it? Or do I need more than that? (if there is more plug that has to be connected)

    Any help is very much appreciated. Looking forward for your replies.

    Ikhwan

  2. #2
    fotch's Avatar
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    I have zero experience with either enlarger so take that into consideration.

    From what I have read or have been commented to me, I would think a better comparison would be a Durst to the Focomat. Personally, I would love to have a Focomat for 35mm.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  3. #3

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    yeah fotch.. I think Focomat is best for 35mm too.. I think because of the condensor head and leitz lens sharpness and contrast. Do you know if there is a cold light head or adapter made for Focomat IIc? I prefer the not so sharp/ diffused look for my larger negative. I have seen Ilford Multigrade 500 be used with Focomat. But its hard to find it on used market. Even though it is a diffused light not cold light, I think it will do the job for me.

  4. #4
    palec's Avatar
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    Focomat IIc is not that good for 35mm, you can't swap the lens for newer ones and you have to live with 60mm Focotar which is pretty average lens. And for enlargments over 12x16 the autofocus does not work. But it's very robust enlarger and some way joy to use.

  5. #5

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    Oh. I didn't know that. Thanks palec. Does that mean I can't use 100mm Focotar II and 40mm 2.8 Focotar on IIc?

  6. #6
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    There are so many great enlargers out there, I wouldn't bother trying to adapt a US voltage enlarger. It is simply not worth the hassle. If you want a diffusion enlarger, consider a VC or color head. I don't think it improved my prints compared to a condenser enlarger, but it is much easier to use with VC paper. I wouldn't worry too much about which brand of enlarger you get. Get something solid, easy to align and easy to get parts for (carriers, etc). If you have a well aligned enlarger, a good lens and a reasonably flat negative, you have everything you need to make technically good prints.

    Also, assume that all enlargers need alignment. I have an LPL variable contrast enlarger which claimed to not need alignment....it did, but it really was not designed to be aligned. Now that is is aligned, it is a complete joy to use.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    There are so many great enlargers out there, I wouldn't bother trying to adapt a US voltage enlarger. It is simply not worth the hassle. If you want a diffusion enlarger, consider a VC or color head. I don't think it improved my prints compared to a condenser enlarger, but it is much easier to use with VC paper. I wouldn't worry too much about which brand of enlarger you get. Get something solid, easy to align and easy to get parts for (carriers, etc). If you have a well aligned enlarger, a good lens and a reasonably flat negative, you have everything you need to make technically good prints.

    Also, assume that all enlargers need alignment. I have an LPL variable contrast enlarger which claimed to not need alignment....it did, but it really was not designed to be aligned. Now that is is aligned, it is a complete joy to use.
    Thanks Mark. I agree with u but I have waited for one month for an used enlarger in my country, still not available. So, in order to purchase one soon I have to buy from overseas. I love your prints. What LPL model do you use and what lens?

  8. #8

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    I would avoid the Zone VI 5x7 enlarger for use with 35mm. Whatever light output the head produces, you're only using about 4% of it when using 35mm (meaning, the image is DIM--hard to focus). I had one, then sold it. Then I bought another (for large format use) since I now have a 5x7 camera.

    Realistically, consider that it's really a difficult task to make one enlarger that does all formats well--the physics just work out that way.

    Personally, I really like the LPL enlargers for working smoothly and having useful accessories (like remote focusing device and masking stages). I had an earlier Beseler 6x7 (the one on the 23C truss-work frame) and really liked it with a color diffusion head. I've also used a low-end Durst 35mm enlarger that worked extremely well.

    So, whatever enlarger you can get at a reasonable price will work fine, just don't get a 5x7 enlarger for 35mm work. I heartily recommend buying an enlarger that is still in production as spare parts availability is a good thing.

    Charlie Strack

  9. #9
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ikhwan View Post
    Thanks Mark. I agree with u but I have waited for one month for an used enlarger in my country, still not available. So, in order to purchase one soon I have to buy from overseas. I love your prints. What LPL model do you use and what lens?
    The LPL I have is the 6700VCCE mine is a bit older than the one pictured on the link, but it works fine. There are a few features I like about the LPL:

    1. Variable contrast lighting
    2. Universal glass negative carrier (masking blades adjust to different neg sizes and allow you to show rebate if you want). I believe the enlarger comes with a 35mm glassless carrier.
    3. Possible to correct for perspective reasonably easily.

    I have a Rodagon 80mm f4 enlarger lens I use on it. I use a different enlarger for 35mm. For a 50mm lens, an f2,8 lens from Rodenstock, Schneider or Nikon will all be great. If you end up not being able to get a decent lens with your enlarger, contact me. I have 2 extra newer Schneider 50mm lenses and an older Nikon.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by voceumana View Post
    I would avoid the Zone VI 5x7 enlarger for use with 35mm. Whatever light output the head produces, you're only using about 4% of it when using 35mm (meaning, the image is DIM--hard to focus). I had one, then sold it. Then I bought another (for large format use) since I now have a 5x7 camera.

    Realistically, consider that it's really a difficult task to make one enlarger that does all formats well--the physics just work out that way.

    Personally, I really like the LPL enlargers for working smoothly and having useful accessories (like remote focusing device and masking stages). I had an earlier Beseler 6x7 (the one on the 23C truss-work frame) and really liked it with a color diffusion head. I've also used a low-end Durst 35mm enlarger that worked extremely well.

    So, whatever enlarger you can get at a reasonable price will work fine, just don't get a 5x7 enlarger for 35mm work. I heartily recommend buying an enlarger that is still in production as spare parts availability is a good thing.

    Charlie Strack
    Thanks for the input Charlie. I really appreciate it. Since 5x7 enlarger is not suited with my purpose at the moment, I will go with the Focomat IIc, I think there is a company who still sell spare parts for this enlarger, BUT I still don't enjoy the fact that it cant be used with modern lens and the Focotar II is very hard to find. It would be great if anybody willing to post two prints for a comparison between Focotar and Focotar II lenses.

    Anyway, Charlie, do you have a specific recommendation? I haven't start researching on Durst, Omega and LPL enlargers yet. There are a lot of them. I did find a Durst M301 for sale which is very cheap! Is it a good enlarger and can it be used with cold/VC head? Btw, are all enlargers use the same lens mount(except for IIc)? How do I know which Schneider/Rodenstock lenses that are modern? Are they called APO?

    Ikhwan

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