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Tom Abrahamsson of RapidWinder.com It is almost never that an inventor improves on a Leica product so that it is better than the original Leica product. Tom holds that distinction with his RapidWinder for Leica M rangefinders -- a bottom mounting baseplate trigger advance. In addition Tom manufacturers other Leica accessories such as his very popular Soft Release and MiniSoftRelease shutter releases. Tom is well known as one of the true Leica rangefinder experts, even by Leica. IMPORTANT READ THIS: CWE Forum hosts have moderation powers within their forum. Please observe copyright laws by not copying and posting their material elsewhere without permission.

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Leica Focomats
Old 05-07-2016   #1
Analogue Student
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Leica Focomats

Hello

First post. Aspiring student of B&W photography. Have made the jump to using the Leica Rangefinder M6 TTL for 35 mm and a 503cw for MF. Both set ups have the full compliment of lenses. I am piecing together a darkroom which I'll build into my house. Based on Tom's comment's on the Focomat enlargers, I recently had the good fortune to purchase all three models, V35, Focomat IC Color and IIC Black with drawer. I plan on printing 11x14 fiber prints exclusively for both 35mm and MF.

My questions for the forum is: Do I need to laser align these enlargers and if so, how? Aside from bulbs, what spare parts should I obtain? Lastly, should I wire the outlets for 220V or can I use 110 V outlets with a power converter to run the european voltage requirements?

Many thanks in advance for all the constructive replies. Almost have everything, just need SS 8' sink and vent system design next. Enlarger station plans too would help too.
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Old 05-07-2016   #2
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Your (first) post appeared 4 times.
Someone with the knowledge to address your questions will post here soon.
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Old 05-07-2016   #3
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sweet jesus you got all three ? that's like the Holy Trinity of Leitz enlargers lol.

fwiw, I don't think laser alignment is necessary if you take care and use a good target negative. A good grain focuser that can reach into the corners helps. You really don't need spare parts unless you're missing neg carriers for specific formats.

Can't speak to the 220 vs 110 issue, hopefully someone with electrical background can chime in. You're going to love working the V35, a dream to use.
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Old 05-07-2016   #4
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Thank you. Nice family.
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Old 05-07-2016   #5
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The plan is to use the V35 for color (have both the color and b&w heads), IC Gray Color for 35mm B/W and IIC for MF. I almost have all the Leitz accessories including the easels, the angle post and the manuals. Even have the Focometer with Probe for the V35, not sure how to use it yet. Maybe overkill, but what the heck, these are all pretty neat tools and it would be fun to use them.
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Old 05-07-2016   #6
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Not sure how the dups. Happened. Sorry.
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Old 05-07-2016   #7
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You just bought what many others spend a lot of time searching to find.
Congrats, Leitz enlarger are made to last a lifetime.
As for the different line voltage and frequency (if in the USA) don't sweat it, a light bulp does not care about the different frequency so a transformer 230V to 115V if you are in Europe and have bought from the US or a 115V to 230V if you are in the US and have bought from Europe is really all you need. You can of course change the plug so that it match the country you are in.
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Old 05-07-2016   #8
Ronald M
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I never had to align a Leica enlarger. Not so with any other brand.

My tool of choice is level and Omega/Peak long mirror grain magnifier. I level things out, then check grain in all four corners. It is impossible for them to be in focus, and the enlarger out.

Notice there are no adjustment controls on V35 and IC. They come correct from the factory. The other I have no experience with.
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Old 05-07-2016   #9
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That 2c you may need to check alignment on...
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Old 05-08-2016   #10
Erik van Straten
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All three enlargers have automatic focusing, so a grain magnifier is not really necessary. A good manual is what yo need. As these three enlargers are all very different, I'd start with using only one. The Focomat Ic is the easiest in use. The Focomat IIc is the best enlarger ever built, but it's rather complex in use. For the V35 it seems to be difficult to get lamps. So I would start with the Ic.

Erik.
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Old 05-12-2016   #11
Tom A
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I have used all three of the enlargers. I could not get along with the V35,its technically very good, but the 'shape" was not to my liking. Liht sbotce bulbs can be difficult to fine as can some of negative carriers - so snap them up when they show up somewhere.
The Focomat !c is simply the best! Once you have set it up for auto focus, it just works! One caveat is the Newton rings which can appear. The condenser is part of the "film flattening" - just sits on top of the film and can create these. Unfortunately you won't see them until you pull a print! There is an Anti Newton glass that is slipped over the condenser , but these are difficult to find. If your 1c lacks it - you can "build up" a slight elevation by putting a couple of layers of masking tape on the carrier as this will keep the bottom of the condenser from pushing too hard against the negative.
The grain focuser is not necessary - but it is way to check focus when you are out of Autofocus range.
Calibrating the 1c is not difficult and I prefer doing using paper and a cross hatched negative. Just take a piece of exposed film and scratch a grid pattern on it (about 2-3 mm" squares). Put it in the enlarger and check the focus - this will give some idea of any alignment problems too. Find the calibration on the Internet- must be there somewhere. Once you got it set up and tested, one sheet at sharpest focus you can find and do one slightly "tweaked: and then another one in the opposite direction. It does help if you can put a piece of blue gel in the filter drawer as the paper is more sensitive to blue light. Once processed look at the image and see which is the sharpest and correct the "blade" on the lens helloed. A bit tedious but barring unforeseen accidents it should stay in focus for a long term. Also check that the head is in the correct position for the easel. 1C's are usually set for 1" easel thickness. Again refer to the manual.
The 2c is an entirely different animal, heavy, solid and of course capable of doing 120 negs as well as 35mm. The two lenses slide across the light pass and you shift the lens with the "clamp". The set up is controlled by a Bowden Cable the shifts the lens board and the roller on the focussing cam (usually accompanied by a loud "bang" when the lens mount drops! Again you are better off doing test prints for sharpness.The Auto Focus" is locked in with the two spring clamps (one for each lens) and once you get to where you want it -just tighten the screws that hold the spring clamps.
A word of warning: NEVER unscrew the lens mount helicoid! It has a very fine thread and finding the right stating point again is a long and tedious process, If you want to take lenses out - hold on the focussing helicoid and unscrew the lens. Only time you really need to do that is to clean the rear element though. On the 2c the focussing cam curve is matched to the focal length of the two lenses (60mm and 95 or 100 mm). Installing a new lens means a rather tedious re-calibration of the focus cam.
As for voltage - both the 1c/2c can be used with 110 or 220 volt. Only thing you need to change is the bulp and power plug. I think the V35 has its own power supply so that might be different (it was long time since is used one).
Both the 1c and the 2c have a plug at the top of the post - I bypass that one and run a standard power cord from the timer to the enlarger. I found out that the old clutch wrapped cords going down through the metal uprights usually have disintegrated - and you can have an interesting experience touching the post as you are fumbling in the dark! Been there, Done that - no T-shirt though.
Both the 1c and the 2c are among the best enlargers ever made. Virtually impossible to wear out, even light pattern. OK. on the 2c when you are printing smaller than 8-10" you tend to lean in and just look at the image on the easel - and your forehead is right in line with the handle on the head. Keeps you focussed though!
Good luck and enjoy the best enlargers made!
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Old 05-12-2016   #12
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Thumbs up

Thank you everyone for your informative posts.
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Old 05-12-2016   #13
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Also...even though the 2c is such a great and beautiful beasty...it is so friggin top heavy..it can go out of alignment..as well as....try finding the Focotar-2 100mm...(the best MF lens for it...).. it was tough to find the Focotar-2 50/100 in mint 20 years ago..when I found mine in brand new condition..shipped out of Germany..and now well...they are scarce as hens teeth...
And to the 40mm WA for the latest model...well...lets just say...some are less than satisfied w/it..
Most just use the 1c..and a Durst or similar for larger formats..as it just offers more formats..
As in...why double over the 35mm format with both Leica enlargers..and only be able to go to 6x9 on the 2c...and not be able to go 6x10 and larger..as in..with the Brooks Veriwide or Linhof 6x12 etc..
Anyway..
I ended up just using the brass attachment to the 1c condenser...to keep the glass off the neg..and fine focus by hand..as I got really tired of Newtons rings and dust..but for total film flatness..well...
So..
I have a nice late model grey 1c..and a Durst 5x7..haven't used them in years..they just wait..for me to come back to film..
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Old 05-13-2016   #14
Tom A
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I had a grey 2c with the 100mm Focotar-2 100 mm. It is a very good lens, but I hot rid of the kit when I realized (at the time) that I was shooting 35mm exclusively. Of course then came the Bessa 67's cameras! Got another 2c but with the regular 100mm on it. The Focotar-2 100mm was mised - but up to 11x14 size not much difference. Bigger than that you could see it.
The V35's 40mm is OK - not stunning in any way. Originally it was supposed to have a 50mm f4.5 Focotar ( a Focotar-3) big the fact that is was set ip for colour and black and white - the lens was too slow and the 40 was replacing it. Some years ago I picked up a prototype Focotar-3 - works well on the 1c .
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Old 05-13-2016   #15
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Prototype Focotar-3...!
Now..thats something!
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Old 05-16-2016   #16
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[IMG]G536 #1 Leica Focotar-3 50mm f4.5 enlarging lens. by T&T and Mr B Abrahamsson, on Flickr[/IMG]
Here is a shot of it> It looks pretty much like a stock Focotar-2, but it has "window" that shows set aperture. You need the extension ring from the regular Focoyar-2 for it to work on the Focomat 1c.
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Old 05-16-2016   #17
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Thanks for the Focotar-3 pic Tom!
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