View Full Version : Leica Valoy (I think)
I just got a Leitz enlarger with old nickel Varob lens. I assume this is a Valoy. It has a 75 watt bulb installed, but I don't know that it is the ideal type. I've read that the bulb in this enlarger has a particularly big influence on the quality of the print, so I want to know what currently available bulb is ideal, and where to get it.
I ordered a Focotar lens to go on this, but would like to to know opinions on the Varob. Any special characteristics? It needs a good cleaning, but I don't know if it's worth it.
I have a Valoy IIóbut I don't know how similar that is to your model.
Mine has a condenser, and I use a 75 watt enlarger bulb, currently an Eiko PH/211. For 8x10 and smaller prints this is plenty bright for me, and I actually tone mine down with neutral density gels above the condenser.
I love working with my Valoy II enlarger. Good luck with your Valoy.
The Varob is basically an Elmar 50mm f3.5 in a "fixed focus mount. For its time it was a decent lens (mind you most people only enlarged to 5x7" prints in those days). The Focotar 50f4.5 is a dedicated enlarging lens and will give you better results, particularly in regards to contrast end edges.
The 75 W bulb is OK - only time you need something stronger (150W - dont use 250W in the Valoy - it gets really HOT) is when you start printing larger prints 11x14/16x20". When you buy enlarging bulbs look at the designation and the wattage (#210/#211 etc) and check that the type and wattage is printed on the side of the bulb, not at the "front" - as that can show up in the print!!!
With the current reduction of inventories and slight decline of "wet" darkroom - buy multiple bulbs! Nothing worse than having the bulb go late in the evening and no spare (enlarger bulbs NEVER die at convinient times - one of Murphy's laws).
The condition of the condensor is important. Check for scratches and clean if fairly regularly. Because yours is an older Valoy - you might have to make a mask for the carrier to avoid "Newton" rings on the print. Not a big deal - a couple of thin strips of tape running alongside the negative usually suffices.
Eugeen Smith used a Valoy to print most of his stuff, so once you got it set up properly - you are fine.
The "upright" post on the early Valoy is quite thin and you might consider to attach a bracket at the top and screw into the wall. If you are going to do larger prints - that is essential as it will pick up vibrations from the surroundings(elevators, doors slamming, traffic etc).
The Vloy's and the Focomat's are proof that good designs really can hold up! They were both designed in the 30's and still work well. Optics were refined over the decades - but they were virtually unchanged for 50 years.
Thanks, Tom. I just got a Focotar from KEH. I believe it's the first version, as it has the small front element (right?). The enlarger looks to be pretty clean, but I'll go over it again, and I'll definitely look out for those Newton rings.
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