Leitz Focomat Ic: some first impressions06. January 2019 | link this post
I am literally typing this while my first testprints are still drying on the wall, so some of my impressions may well be subject to change. I’ve picked up this wonderful beast of an enlarger (at least as far as 35mm goes) yesterday after some frustrations with my “old” enlarger: a Durst F30. To be clear: the F30 is a perfectly fine enlarger that I’d picket up for very little money and it does exactly what it says on the tin: It’s a simple and compact 35mm enlarger. Sadly, the focussing mechanism on mine was damaged.
At first glance
The Focomat is – compared to my last enlarger – huge, heavy and built as sturdily as every piece of Leica equipment I’ve used so far. Every mechanical movement on the device is about as smooth as anything I’ve ever used, except in one single point (and there I guess I’ll just have to clean up a little) I haven’t found a single point where I’d feel some strange resistance like I often get when focussing old lenses. This may of course be a testament to the last owner as much as to the device itself.
Working with the Focomat
Having only used this enlarger for a day I can sum up the experience of using it as being stunning. Where before I was struggling to not move anything when putting the paper in position (especially to not loose focus) I can now confidently work on my prints and focus on other things like dogging or burning. The only thing missing right now is a fully working easel, mine is lacking an arm and so I have to use a piece of cardboard to frame the image on that side. I’ll keep an eye open for another easel but in the meantime working with this enlarger is already a great joy.
Mind you I'll have to start working on my scanning. Somehow I feel my scanns feel less great then the prints.