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Thread: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Focomat V35?

  1. #1

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    Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Focomat V35?

    Hey LF,

    I have limited space for a darkroom and am planning to do mainly contact printing like Weston for my 4x5 and 8x10 prints.

    However, I also shoot 35mm and found an amazing deal on a Leica Fotomat V35. Can I kill two birds with one stone, and use this enlarger light for properly exposing contact prints. The enlarger has only one bulb, so I'm afraid that it might cause vignetting or not evenly expose a negative that is wider than 35mm.

    Please advise

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    The V35 is a diffusion box design and should be ok past 35mm frame... Their earlier 35mm enlargers would print the larger 127 film size, and I think there might be a carrier made for a slightly larger film size for that, but I don't remember...

    Best test is to fog a piece of test strips or sheet of photo paper very under exposed on baseboard areas and see if you can spot a gradation, then you will know what the "safe" area of illumination is...

    Steve K

  3. #3

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    Steve,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Can you expound on this, as I'm new to the darkroom. What do you mean on baseboard areas?

  4. #4

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    The board on the bottom of enlarger (where the easel goes) is the baseboard... The light should cover the contact print area well, but should not be a problem with this enlarger... But you can check with/without neg carrier in enlarger...

    Steve K

  5. #5

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    Thank you.

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    I have the same enlarger as well and it's not a problem I've encountered. The light will be even across the frame so I don't why you need to worry about vignetting. You're not enlarging the LF negative so coverage is not an issue. Look at it this way. when you make contacts of 8x10 negs, it's basically the same as making a contact of a roll of 35 onto 8x10 paper. No difference.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  7. #7
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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred L View Post
    I have the same enlarger as well and it's not a problem I've encountered. The light will be even across the frame so I don't why you need to worry about vignetting. You're not enlarging the LF negative so coverage is not an issue. Look at it this way. when you make contacts of 8x10 negs, it's basically the same as making a contact of a roll of 35 onto 8x10 paper. No difference.
    This. You absolutely can use a 35-format enlarger as an illumination source for contact printing. The enlarger format is irrelevant - all the matters is the ability to project illumination evenly at the baseboard across the format you're printing. It's especially convenient if the enlarger has a color head so you can just dial in filtration for printing on variable contrast papers, but above-the-lens or under-the-lens VC filters are fine too.

  8. #8

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    Wonderful! Do any of you have experience with a V35? Want to make sure I'm not buying a dud.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    This. You absolutely can use a 35-format enlarger as an illumination source for contact printing. The enlarger format is irrelevant - all the matters is the ability to project illumination evenly at the baseboard across the format you're printing. It's especially convenient if the enlarger has a color head so you can just dial in filtration for printing on variable contrast papers, but above-the-lens or under-the-lens VC filters are fine too.

  9. #9

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    Thanks Fred!

    It sounds like you have experience with the V35. I found a really good deal on one ($200) but want to determine the pitfalls to look for before purchase. I know these things are well made, overall, but just wondering. What should I look out for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred L View Post
    I have the same enlarger as well and it's not a problem I've encountered. The light will be even across the frame so I don't why you need to worry about vignetting. You're not enlarging the LF negative so coverage is not an issue. Look at it this way. when you make contacts of 8x10 negs, it's basically the same as making a contact of a roll of 35 onto 8x10 paper. No difference.

  10. #10

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    Re: Contact Printing Large Format negatives with a Leica Fotomat V35?

    Quote Originally Posted by v.kapoor View Post
    Wonderful! Do any of you have experience with a V35? Want to make sure I'm not buying a dud.
    Mainly, it needs to be complete... 40mm Focomat Leica lens, proper negative carrier, color module (the thing in the back with the color or MG knobs), and overall good condition...

    If you get one, the lamp socket electrical connector usually goes bad eventually, so plan on a new one, as this design gets really hot there, causing connector failure... And the bulbs are not common, but there's a different bulb that will work when you get the new connector style...

    Great enlargers, I have been servicing one for another photographer, and have used it to print (I own several models of other Leitz enlargers, and like them all!!!)...

    Find a copy of manual or catalog online to see all accessories for this unit, and make sure you will get everything you need with it...

    Good luck,

    Steve K
    Last edited by LabRat; 29-Oct-2020 at 23:19.

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