Focomat IIa

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Riccis, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Riccis

    Riccis Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    South Florid
    While I don't have a need for anything larger than 35mm, one of these is available and may pick it up... I've keeping an eye out for a Ic but have not being able to find one...

  2. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Downers Grov
    If it has the later lens, NOT the V Elmar, it is good for med format.

    The 60 mm lens furnished for 35 mm is optimised for 5x7 prints like the first 50 4.5 foctars. By 8x10 the image is starting to go to pot. The design makes it difficult to install a newer lens which will not auto focus properly anyway.

    Take a pass unless it is dirt cheap, maybe $50. Even then check the lenses with a flashlight for fog. It is a big oversized machine for 35mm that will not fo a decent job.
  3. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

    Jun 8, 2004
    Medium Format
    I think that Ronald is overdoing it a bit. While the IIa is the oldest and in some aspects "worst" of the Focomat II machines, it's still a very good machine compared to most other enlargers. The 60mm Focotar is decent and the very same lens was used for a the whole production line of Focomat II machines. (It's possible that the very last line of grey IIc machines had an updated version.) I don't agree with Ronald about the 60mm Focotar being that inferior to other lenses.
    While the lens may not produce a good MTF test (or similar), it does its very best in the Focomat. I.e. the combination of the lamp, condensors etc. does work very well. Please do remember that these machines was the very best that came out of West Germany at the time, with a price tag similar to a new medium class car (i.e. about $30K in todays money!!!).
    I do agree with Ronald about not paying too much for a IIa. The crazy $1000++ price tags for Focomat IIc's hopefully only applies to mint late gray machines, but sometimes people are still mezmerized by that round red Leitz tag.

    I use a IIc in my darkroom and I'm satisfied with the way both my lenses perform. Yes, if I was only into 35mm a Ic or even the more modern Focomat 35 would serve me better, but I mostly shoot Hasselblad. The long lens on my IIc is a "mediocre" Focomat 95mm, which I seriously plan to exchange to a (Schneider) Componon-S. (If I can find the money, I will exchange both the lenses to Componon-S lenses.) This is the way the current Focomat IIc are equipped. Yes, they are still made and sold, by the company who constructed them in the first place. Check Kienzle-Phototechnik in Germany, where a new machine can be found from "only" €4500 + taxes (and of course up, depending upon type of lighthead ...

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2009