Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/08/31

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Subject: [Leica] Focomat V35
From: mark at (Mark Rabiner)
Date: Tue Aug 31 20:57:08 2004

On 8/31/04 4:24 PM, "Ted Grant" <> typed:

> somebody said:
>> A grain focuser is not absolutely essential if you have good eyes and
> close-up vision. <<<<<
> Daniel Ridings said in response:
>>>> What a joker! Good eyes and close-up vision! On the LUG?! For the rest
> of us mortals, a grain focuser is needed.<<<<<<
> Hi Daniel,
> Heck I've used a grain focuser as long as I can remember! Actually I don't
> think much beyond my first adventure in my amateur darkroom in a bed sheet
> covered windows sun porch! That I haven't used a grain focusing tool of 
> some
> kind over the past 54 years. :-)
> hell it's the only way to go if you absolutely want to be right on the 
> mark!
> Yeah, yeah, I know some smart ass really young guy is going to come back 
> and
> say he's never had to use one! Yeah well my answer to him is..... "Up yurs
> good buddy, your day is coming! " ;-)
> ted
>> Daniel
>> (new bifocals, progressive glass, gas-station reading glasses on Thurs)
>>> If you have the manual that came with the V35, it details how to set the
> autofocus so that it tracks properly.  It is also important to adjust the
> height of the head for the thickness of the easel.  As has been said here,
> you should use the standard one-glass neg carrier that will hold the neg
> absolutely flat. If you are using the correct carrier, it is unnecessary to
> check focus with a magnifier anywhere but in the middle of the image,
> because the corners WILL be flat.
>>> Also, don't try and check focus with a magnifier with the lens at full
> aperture (it'll blind you).  Use f/5.6-f/8, and don't print at full 
> aperture
> either because of the chance of soft corners.
>>> It has to be something simple, these enlargers (the V35) are quite
> bulletproof if used properly.
>>> Good luck
If all the many darkroom printers I know we've never much talked about grain
focuses in years. It's a given. Everyone has one and uses it with every
print. Sometimes twice just to make sure I didn't breath on the enlarger
funny. That old enlarging magnifiers which don't show grain have been given
to the kindergartens. Who throw them away. But they were better than

And we calibrate our enlargers with either a Zig Align or Versalab so we
don't have to stop down four the get the edges of our points with the same
sharp grain as the center of the image where we took the grain "reading".

Where people go wrong though I strongly feel is they try to judge grain
QUALITY with a grain magnifier.  I never assume things about my film
developer dilution combination from what I see with a grain magnifier.
Especially stopped down.
It's like who knows their way around the universe when you're reduced to the
sub atomic level?
Only the "ATOM" can tell the forest from the trees in that area!

I wait till the print dries. Then I use a loupe on the print.
It has no resemblance to anything I saw with the grain magnifier at any f

With a Versalab my guess is with a center grain magnifier "reading" you'd be
able to get wall to wall sharp grain (which is how the neg is) at stopped
down one.
And I think though that with a Zig-Align calibration you could print wide
open!! I've yet to try it but I think it likely.
And there is something about enlarger lenses which make them work optimally
that way I've read more than once.
I believe Ralph Gibson prints wide open. 6 second exposure times. Not my
exact cup of tea.
There are enlarger lenses which don't stop down.

And there are enlarger lenses which stop down not with a variable aperture
with leaves, "the leaves" but with plates with perfect holes in them.
Why This kind of thing is a big deal for enlarger optics over camera optics
why I don't know. Maybe Erwin does. Or Richard Knoppow of the RUG. Or one of
US even! Tom A?!

Mark Rabiner
Portland Oregon

Replies: Reply from henningw at (Henning Wulff) ([Leica] Focomat V35)
In reply to: Message from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] Focomat V35)