Simplicity and the Leitz Valoy II
I have a simple dry darkroom (DR) in our laundry room. I use a Jr Lab red bulb in a 10 inch silver reflector hung on the cabinet door handle. On top of the washer I place a 1/8 inch thick plywood cut to extend the tray surface area. The enlarger is a nice Valoy II with Gralab 450 digital timer and larger Gralab process timer. The DR is usable when its dark outside.
The Valoy was acquired a year ago and not used. I have other enlargers and darkroom space outside the home. Today I got up in the wee morning hours to test ADOX Variotone Premium paper at home.
Crap, the enlarger required a cleaning prior to use. 8 screws hold the head and condenser assembly together. I quickly did a cleaning which included the helical. I gained appreciation for the enlarger which disassembled without fuss and was easy to put back in working order.
The outstanding characteristics are a Valoy is so small, easy to move, superior light source, smooth helical for focusing, and quality German engineering not duplicated in non Leitz -135 enlargers.
The Valoy lacks a filter holder and ideally requires hard-to-find short neck bulbs. I'm using a 75 watt Sylvania No 211 which seems to work fine. I'm sure one can rig a filter holder to a Valoy.
As much as I love MF, when its time to simplify to the bare minimum, a Leica camera and Valoy II is what I'm keeping.
The last point is how easy and inexpensive it is to have a DR in the home. Most B&W prints are under 8x10 so you don't need a large processing footprint. Quality prints for desk top or album presentation are easy to produce from small format. For shear beauty, its hard to beat a toned, gelatin silver print.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 01-15-2012 at 11:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.