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fielden

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I just used my v35 for the first time yesterday (had it for months but was busy setting up a new darkroom space) and found that the color head filtration values published by Ilford to be accurate.  I used it with an RH Designs Analyzer Pro and Nova Monochrome slot processor.  I didn't expect much from the first print as I hadn't taken the time to re-calibrate the Analyzer Pro with the v35, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of my first attempt. 

The v35 is a really nice enlarger - the auto focus system works as advertised, the height adjustment is really nice to use and locks solidly and the Focotar seems to be a good perforner.  A far cry from the Beseler 23CII I was using before. 

 

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Okay,

So I now have the V35 enlarger with 40mm lens. Besides the trays and chemistry, what else do I need to make my first prints? easel? Timer? etc?

 

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56 minutes ago, fielden said:

Okay,

So I now have the V35 enlarger with 40mm lens. Besides the trays and chemistry, what else do I need to make my first prints? easel? Timer? etc?

 

Easel, timer, grain magnifier, some way to wash the prints.    Some paper would be good too 😉

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Print washing – I have been using a Kodak Automatic Tray Siphon since the beginning (biblical times). It is best with a small number of prints, and much interleaving of prints during the process. You can find them on Ebay for modest prices. Way cheaper that the fancy washers, and as effective if you manage the process.

Use Ilford Rapid Fixer, and Ilford’s protocol for maximum permanence. It works and is simple.

Also – get a wash aid like Ilford Washaid. An absolute necessity that assures effective and quick washing. A requirement. Don’t think you know better.

Easels – I have a Saunders 11x14 borderless unit. Terrific, and it is the right height for my focomat 1c. Check your manual for the V35 regarding easel height. This is important for the autofocus to work correctly. (Don’t abandon the autofocus – it is a big help, and if set up correctly is better than your judgment - and you paid a lot of money for it).

Safelights – depending on your unit, point it at the ceiling. This helps diffuse the light and limits the chance of fogging. Safelights are generally only so safe. Don’t take risks. Set up the safelight so your developing tray is in your shadow.

Strive for simplicity – this can start to seem like a spaceflight. No need.

Timers – you can get by with some sort of a tictoc like a metronome. Many fine printers just count tics of 1 second. If you buy a timer, look at RH Designs.

Make notes. Often it is difficult to remember how a fine print has been built up. Draw a map of your image space, which will show where burning and dodging happens, and for how long. Gives you a record and records the evolution of your print.

Also, consider split grade printing. The technique is simple and very powerful. Check out Darkroom Dave on youtube. Google also shows stuff.

Look at your prints critically. It is easy to fall in love with crappy prints just because there is something on the paper. Look carefully at good prints - there is much to learn about what a good print looks like. Printing is a craft that involves learning a skill. That takes time, effort and some considerable humility.

Edited by Michael Hiles

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Sadly, my V35's autofocus appears to have ceased being reliable.  (It was for a long time.)

In trying to remedy this, I have re-adjusted the column height multiple times.  It doesn't help that the markings on the column are in multiples of 2mm, are thick, and don't line up against an index mark.  It's my only complaint about the V35.

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41 minutes ago, M9reno said:

Sadly, my V35's autofocus appears to have ceased being reliable.  (It was for a long time.)

In trying to remedy this, I have re-adjusted the column height multiple times.  It doesn't help that the markings on the column are in multiples of 2mm, are thick, and don't line up against an index mark.  It's my only complaint about the V35.

Don’t know if Kienzle in Germany (I’m in the US) is still in business, but you might call to see if they can provide a solution. 

Jeff

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Kienzle seems to still be in business. They offer a unit that looks like a hybrid between a v35 and a 1c. In fact I believe that they were the actual manufacturers of (many/most) of Leitz's enlargers. They also have a unit that looks awfully like a focomat 11c.

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2 hours ago, Michael Hiles said:

Print washing – I have been using a Kodak Automatic Tray Siphon since the beginning (biblical times). It is best with a small number of prints, and much interleaving of prints during the process. You can find them on Ebay for modest prices. Way cheaper that the fancy washers, and as effective if you manage the process.

Use Ilford Rapid Fixer, and Ilford’s protocol for maximum permanence. It works and is simple.

Also – get a wash aid like Ilford Washaid. An absolute necessity that assures effective and quick washing. A requirement. Don’t think you know better.

Easels – I have a Saunders 11x14 borderless unit. Terrific, and it is the right height for my focomat 1c. Check your manual for the V35 regarding easel height. This is important for the autofocus to work correctly. (Don’t abandon the autofocus – it is a big help, and if set up correctly is better than your judgment - and you paid a lot of money for it).

Safelights – depending on your unit, point it at the ceiling. This helps diffuse the light and limits the chance of fogging. Safelights are generally only so safe. Don’t take risks. Set up the safelight so your developing tray is in your shadow.

Strive for simplicity – this can start to seem like a spaceflight. No need.

Timers – you can get by with some sort of a tictoc like a metronome. Many fine printers just count tics of 1 second. If you buy a timer, look at RH Designs.

Make notes. Often it is difficult to remember how a fine print has been built up. Draw a map of your image space, which will show where burning and dodging happens, and for how long. Gives you a record and records the evolution of your print.

Also, consider split grade printing. The technique is simple and very powerful. Check out Darkroom Dave on youtube. Google also shows stuff.

Look at your prints critically. It is easy to fall in love with crappy prints just because there is something on the paper. Look carefully at good prints - there is much to learn about what a good print looks like. Printing is a craft that involves learning a skill. That takes time, effort and some considerable humility.

Terrific advice! 

If you do decide to get a 'fancy' timer, I'd second the recommendation for something from RH Designs.  I have their Analyzer Pro and think it's a terrific unit.  While it isn't going to help you spit out a museum-grade print on the first shot, it does help to find a good starting point relatively quickly without spending a lot of time making test strips.

Re: the wash aid.  While it does cut down on washing time, I'm not sure that it's an absolute necessity.  I believe that you can achieve a properly washed print without the wash aid provided that you wash the print for the appropriate amount of time (~ 1 hour for a fiber print).  But why waste water when you don't have to.

To Michael's last point I'd only add that it can be useful to inspect work prints for a few days before deciding how to proceed.  Just as time can change your opinion of a photo (usually from "I'm a genius!" to "hmm, this kind of sucks" :)), it can have the same effect on the perceived quality of a print.  It's not necessary to come to the final version of a print in a single session.  Let your prints sink in for a while and be willing to iterate over them during multiple printing sessions.

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I have owned two Focomat Ic enlargers and only flipped them to buy a IIc which also prints my Rollei 6x6cm negs too. All these traditional Leica enlargers are good, but I haven’t tried the V35. I think you definitely need a tall column or some way to produce a large magnification if you need to. For many years I operated my IIc with manual final fine focus due to a slight error in the autofocus, but I have since discovered that the autofocus can be corrected easily, and it now works perfectly. I have an Agfa dichroic head (from my Agfa Varioscop 6x6 enlarger) which also fits the IIc and thus provides dial contrast filtration and also diffusion lighting, very smooth and even. I also use an enlarging app called enLARGE on my iPhone for exposure calculations, works well with the autofocus functionality of the IIc. 

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If I have no issues with enlarger which is using latest Nikkor EL 50 2.8, will I get noticeably better results with Ic, grey version?

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On 5/3/2019 at 8:04 AM, fielden said:

Okay,

So I now have the V35 enlarger with 40mm lens. Besides the trays and chemistry, what else do I need to make my first prints? easel? Timer? etc?

 

If you have an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, you could look at buying a copy of the enlarging app called enLARGE, it will save you time and materials if enlarging bigger than about 6x4”

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1 hour ago, Ko.Fe. said:

If I have no issues with enlarger which is using latest Nikkor EL 50 2.8, will I get noticeably better results with Ic, grey version?

Not sure if Focotar lens would be better than Nikkor, you’d have to try them both to see

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On 5/4/2019 at 2:53 AM, logan2z said:

Terrific advice! 

If you do decide to get a 'fancy' timer, I'd second the recommendation for something from RH Designs.  I have their Analyzer Pro and think it's a terrific unit.  While it isn't going to help you spit out a museum-grade print on the first shot, it does help to find a good starting point relatively quickly without spending a lot of time making test strips.

Re: the wash aid.  While it does cut down on washing time, I'm not sure that it's an absolute necessity.  I believe that you can achieve a properly washed print without the wash aid provided that you wash the print for the appropriate amount of time (~ 1 hour for a fiber print).  But why waste water when you don't have to.

To Michael's last point I'd only add that it can be useful to inspect work prints for a few days before deciding how to proceed.  Just as time can change your opinion of a photo (usually from "I'm a genius!" to "hmm, this kind of sucks" :)), it can have the same effect on the perceived quality of a print.  It's not necessary to come to the final version of a print in a single session.  Let your prints sink in for a while and be willing to iterate over them during multiple printing sessions.

Lots of sage advice here about darkrooms and printing, we should keep discussing it before the digital era wipes out knowledge of it completely! For FB print washing I have always followed the washing strategy recommended in the old Agfa FB paper packets from the 1970’s, which is a 1-minute agitation in a 1% cold-water solution of Sodium Carbonate. This changes the very acidic PH of the prints (fresh from the final fix) to an alkaline balance which washes out much faster and keeps the prints separated, stops them from clumping/sticking together in the wash water. I use this SC1 rinse (it’s very cheap and easy to make up, and you only use a little of it) and then soak-wash (fill wash tray with cold water, agitate/turn prints, leave prints to soak for 15 mins or whatever seems right, then dump water and repeat process over a period of 4 or 5 dumps or about 2 to 3 hours). I’ve had very good print permanence with this method over the past 40 years. 

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My first , used ,V35 had a very un-leitz- like, weak and broken plastic part in the link that lifted the enlarger light-box off the negative. Do check that this works. Problem solved by getting a second V35, reinforcing with proper bolts as well as a protracted battle to fasten springs and levers. The castrated V35 now serves as robust copying stand.

The internet "recommended" lamp replacement even if of high enough wattage, gives too wide an angle for the light, hence wasting brightness. Original, out of production lamps are the solution.

Also, there were two types of diffusion boxes identifiable by very faint impressed signs. The 40mm lenses have weak plastic threads, and finicky fastening and adjustment rings, best left alone. since the autofocussing cam has been factory adjusted to fit .

p.

 

 

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