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leitz Focomat 1C (color) enlarger Problems

rory wilknson , Jul 23, 2003; 11:03 p.m.

I have a Leitz Focomat 1C enlarger, I want to use it for 35mm B&W enlarging. I recieved this enlarger and can't figure out how to use all the settings accordingly...!? It came with a Leitz Wetzlar Focotar 1:4.5/50(mm)lens... here is alist of the problems I've run into: 1)Is there a peice of condensor glass which is supposed to fit inside the light chamber just above the filter tray? What size of bulb do you recommend as well?

2)With this lens I can not seem to focus an image near prestine sharpness. Do i need to use an extension column or is there some sort of device or setting i need to adjust?? THIS IS MY BIGGEST CONCERN!!! I think there might be an interchangeable wheel you put onto the auto focus devise which adjusts the intonation accordingly...is this a possibility?

3)Is any enlarger clock compatible with this enlarger?? I would prefere to get a digital clock but any one will do. Any other helpful tips or accessories you can suggest will be greatfully appreciated. RORY W

Responses

William Whitaker , Jul 24, 2003; 01:05 a.m.

Rory,

On the Focomat Ic color there is nothing above the filter drawer except the bulb. The condenser is at the bottom of the head accessible from the outside. An anti-newton glass slips on over the condenser and it is that which rests against the negative. A PH211 bulb (75W) should be standard, although you could use a PH212 (150W).

In order for the autofocus to work properly, the enlarger carriage (the pantograph frame) should rest against a pin located in the upper of two holes on the column. With that setting you should also use an easel with a 1-inch base. The Leitz easels are designed for this, but the Saunders 4-blade easels (UA series) also have a 1-inch autofocus base and in my estimation are easier to use. (They're also not collectible....$) If you don't set the enlarger up correctly you may not be able to bring an image to good focus even with the helicoid.

The color 1c also has an extension tube (#17675) which fits between the lens and the helicoid. The extra 15mm it provides is necessary to use the 50mm lens.

Unless the autofocus mechanism has been messed with, it shouldn't require any adjustment. Make sure all the other parameters are satisfied first. I never completely trust autofocus anyway, always tweaking the focus with the helicoid to satisfy myself that the image really is in focus. Nevertheless the Leitz enlargers remain my favorite for 35mm and medium format. With the color head you can use variable contrast papers easily enough. Any standard timer will work. All you're doing is switching a light bulb on and off, so look for the features you like to print with.

You should be able to obtain a photocopy of the operating manual from Leica USA, although they show up occasionally on Ebay.

Regards,

manu vermeiren , Jul 24, 2003; 03:29 a.m.

Edward Zimmermann , Jul 24, 2003; 04:48 a.m.

Congratulations on the Focomat Ic. Great enlarger. My absolute favorite from Leitz---vastly superior in my view to the V35 and more convienient and easier to use than the (over-rated) IIc.

"Is any enlarger clock compatible with this enlarger?? I would prefere to get a digital clock but any one will do. Any other helpful tips or accessories you can suggest will be greatfully"

ANY inserted in the power-line. Its just switching on-off the light-bulb. If you want to use the little switch on the side of the enlarger to turn on/off the bulb for focusing THEN you need a timer whose switching circuit is isolated from its power. These are mainly mechanical units and the Focomats typically got a timer from Baeuerle & Söhne (St. Georgen im Schwarzwald, Germany)--- these are often called Hirsch (Deer) due to the logo and lack of vendor name on most of the mechanical timers. If you don't care to use that switch and use the "Focus" button on your timer than you can use any timer.

P.S.: The Max. bulb depends upon the model but the gray version you have was designed to take up to 220v/250w bulbs. In 110v power areas I'd probably limit things to 150w bulbs. Unless you have the tall (1,20m / 4') column you will probably find that 75w is more than sufficient.
P.P.S.: Forget the filter drawer and if you need filters for variocontrast papers--- which I must admit I hardly use--- look to below the lens. solutions as they are more convienient. Even for above the condensor filters I've found that lifting the top and tossing a filter onto the condensor is still easier/faster than messing with filter drawers.

William Whitaker , Jul 24, 2003; 01:59 p.m.

With all due respect to Edward, I find the filter drawers to be quite easy to use and a real benefit as they have the advantage of placing the filter above the negative. I simply can't imagine that it would be easier to open the head to drop a filter on top of the condenser, but to each his own. The drawer holds it in place where it needs to be. That's why they put it there in the first place. There are conflicting opinions regarding placement of filters below the lens. But if you have the filter drawer anyway, why not use it? After all, you have the top-of-the-line enlarger. Why risk compromising your optical system?

I use both the Ic and the IIc, both of which are color models. I have a separate set of variable contrast filters for each, cut to fit their respective filter drawers. While the IIc is overkill for 35mm (the Ic really is better for that format), it is a wonderful machine for medium format. I'm [obviously] very enthusiastic about the Focomat enlargers. Each of us has his own opinion(s); you will find what works best for you, too. Your Ic will serve you very well and I wholeheartedly encourage you to work through the set-up and start printing! Best of luck!

Regards,

rory wilknson , Jul 24, 2003; 03:56 p.m.

Thank you all for contributing helpful info and answering my questions. I did what you mentioned and have fixed all the problems I had run into. I just needed an extension column to get my images in focus. and the auto focus seems to work pretty good, but like you mentioned; i just re-focus it when I adjust the magnification levels.

Edward Zimmermann , Jul 24, 2003; 05:01 p.m.

Filters.

"With all due respect to Edward, I find the filter drawers to be quite easy to use and a real benefit as they have the advantage of placing the filter above the negative. I simply can't imagine that it would be easier to open the head to drop a filter on top of the condenser,"

  1. Filters below the lens don't comprimise optical performance.
  2. The top of the lamp housing of the Focomat Ic just rests on the bottom. Its position is "calibrated" by the little white dot. Lifting up the head and tossing a standard (uncut) 3½x3½" Ilford (for example) Mulicontrast filter on top of the condensor is easy and solid ..
  3. I don't see how a filter in the Colour drawer is optically superior to the filter tossed onto the condensor..?? But I see how one can move the head fumbling with the filter drawer.. But what can I say.. as I tend to use neither keeping more, call me a diehard, to fixed grade papers..

Edward Zimmermann , Jul 24, 2003; 05:14 p.m.

Leitz IIc

"I use both the Ic and the IIc,"

I use a Durst 900, Leitz Ic (I actually have two) and a Minox (for 8x11 B&W)..

"I have a separate set of variable contrast filters for each,"

I have a long column for my Ic so for 35mm the Durst typically gets its colour head and is used for colour.. For VC papers on the Dust if I don't have the colour head attached I'll just wave my Ilford filters under the objective... My filters are too small for the Durst drawer and I don't see the need to spend the money... the drawer also on the Durst is not what I'd call the most convienient for opening and closing and opening and closing.. If I was doing filter packets then there would be no other option but with MC filters its just a single piece of plastic.. easy enough..

For B&W I prefer the negative handling of my Focomat Ic. What I like so much about the Ic the IIc does not have.. That one can tilt the negative into the light path to look for dust..

"While the IIc is overkill for 35mm (the Ic really is better for that format), it is a wonderful machine for medium format. "

Its a great enlarger.. don't get me wrong.. just for other formats I think there are much better enlargers..

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