Simplicity and the Leitz Valoy II

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Richard Jepsen, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I have a simple dry darkroom (DR) in our laundry room. I use a Jr Lab red bulb in a 10 inch silver reflector hung on the cabinet door handle. On top of the washer I place a 1/8 inch thick plywood cut to extend the tray surface area. The enlarger is a nice Valoy II with Gralab 450 digital timer and larger Gralab process timer. The DR is usable when its dark outside.

    The Valoy was acquired a year ago and not used. I have other enlargers and darkroom space outside the home. Today I got up in the wee morning hours to test ADOX Variotone Premium paper at home.

    Crap, the enlarger required a cleaning prior to use. 8 screws hold the head and condenser assembly together. I quickly did a cleaning which included the helical. I gained appreciation for the enlarger which disassembled without fuss and was easy to put back in working order.

    The outstanding characteristics are a Valoy is so small, easy to move, superior light source, smooth helical for focusing, and quality German engineering not duplicated in non Leitz -135 enlargers.

    The Valoy lacks a filter holder and ideally requires hard-to-find short neck bulbs. I'm using a 75 watt Sylvania No 211 which seems to work fine. I'm sure one can rig a filter holder to a Valoy.

    As much as I love MF, when its time to simplify to the bare minimum, a Leica camera and Valoy II is what I'm keeping.

    The last point is how easy and inexpensive it is to have a DR in the home. Most B&W prints are under 8x10 so you don't need a large processing footprint. Quality prints for desk top or album presentation are easy to produce from small format. For shear beauty, its hard to beat a toned, gelatin silver print.
     
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  2. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Richard,

    Still using your Valoy?

    I share your ideas about this enlarger, it is a beautiful tool !

    About the part in your post re the cleaning: do you know you can also remove the condensor simply by pulling it down from underneath the lamphead? You need to twist the condensor a bit and it will drop down. Reverse the action and it is as simple to put it back. I also used to clean mine by taking the condensor assembly apart (the 8 screws), but this way is the typical Leitz solution - in fact it reminds of how one removes the condensor of the Leitz Focomat 1C, the difference being there the action does go upwards.

    Make sure you remove the negative holder before taking out the Valoy's condensor - even though you'll tilt the head backwards, it would not be hard to damage it by accidently droping it on the negative holder . .

    I attach a picture of this enlarger, so folks know which enlarger we are talking about
     

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  3. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    This, and the earlier Valoy are my favourite enlargers. I wish I hadn't let my Valoy go.
     
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    Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I taught photo and have acquired two 1cs, two LPLs, a Durst 601 and the Valoy II. The Valoy will be the last to go due to its simplicity and size. If you project on 8x10 paper and have limited space the Valoy II is near perfect.

    I also love the 1c. Currently I'm shooting MF 98% of the time so the LPL is in use.

    I did not know the condenser removal trick. Where do you place filters? I imagine using the red filter assembly with glass removed works. My Valoy lacks the filter so I can't try it. I just hold the filter, place the filter on top of the condenser or use graded.

    image.jpg
     
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  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Amen.
     
  6. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Yes, the 1C is as nice an enlarger as the Valoy. Of course this is what one needs when printing large. It is just that the Valoy II . . . oh well, you said it all.

    Have a look at the attached picture with my previous post here, you will have the answer about where I place the filters. It is a Beseler filter holder, and it takes 5 minutes to modify . . .

    Your Valoy II is the last version, I think. I don't think many were made of this one . . .
     
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  7. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Yes, the under-the-lens holder works fine. The diameter of the Beseler's filterholder is a bit larger than the Valoy's redfilter. Which is good as you want the holder with a good distance from the lens (so you can easily turn the aperture ring). I have used my redfilter's bracket: took off the redfilter and attached the Beseler holder instead. That's the part where you need to do a small modification, but I forgot what it was exactly. Not difficult to figure out, and I will be glad to take some pics and describe step by step.

    But since you do not have this redfilter unit, a visit to the hardware store should give you what you need. I am in my darkroom later today and will take some measurements of the redfilter unit.

    I do think the Valoy II is worth this effort. Next to the 1C and 2C it is such a welcome permanent setup for contact sheets and small workprints. Like you say it hardly takes any place.

    I wonder why Leitz chose not to give the Focomat 1C the anti-newton condensor of the later Valoy. Perhaps it is because with heavy use this is too delicate? On itself it is a great solution. I also have an earlier Valoy II with the clear condensor and use it with the anti newton glass of the 1C, or with something I cut out for the negatives . . .
     
  8. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Member

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    VC filters with the Valoy II

    My solution to using VC filters with my Valoy was to fashion a bracket from aluminium stock and attach an old Kodak Polycontrast filter holder. Photos show holder swung out of light path for unfiltered printing and in the light path when using filters. Both Kodak and ILford below the lens filters fit nicely in the holder.
     

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  9. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Rick's solution with the Kodak Polycontrast filter holder is what I was talking about. Looks great and I am sure it works fine !

    Here some images doing pretty much the same with a Beseler filter holder. They should not need much further explanation. Also some measurements of the Valoy II redfilter unit . . . centimeters, sorry! The only thing critical is where the bracket fits into the Valoy's arm. It really does go in there with the purpose of fixing it with the black screw. The width of 9 mm is exactly right . . .
     

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  10. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Only a few years down the road. Since we all liked a lot the Valoy II !
     

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    Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    Oh my.....it been years since I was on the old APUG site and I have not read these posts. I'm facing the end of my medium format enlarging. I currently have access to a community arts DR until they shut it down towards the end of 2018. Between now and then I will start the sale of my MF equipment. Its hard to let go. As good as MF is, as nice as 120 negs are to evaluate, ease of use and fun say keep the Leica M and Valoy until death do we part.

    The Valoy 2 is at the community DR for my small format enlarging. As I wrote years ago it is still a joy to use, so small, and delivers 1c results. I love the contrast it produces. Dust on negs is never an issue. Thanks to all for the filter ideas.

    One can tray project 8x12s on 11x14 paper in my limited home DR. But projecting a 5x7 or 6x9 image on 8x10 or 9x12 works best and is big enough.
     
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    Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    Oh my.....it been years since I was on the old APUG site and I have not read these posts. I'm facing the end of my medium format enlarging. I currently have access to a community arts DR until they shut it down towards the end of 2018. Between now and then I will start the sale of my MF equipment. Its hard to let go. As good as MF is, as nice as 120 negs are to evaluate, ease of use and fun say keep the Leica M and Valoy until death do we part.

    The Valoy 2 is at the community DR for my small format enlarging. As I wrote years ago it is still a joy to use, so small, and delivers 1c results. I love the contrast produces. Dust on negs is never an issue. Thanks to all for the filter ideas.

    For those considering a Valoy you can project 8x12s on 11x14 paper on an easel sitting on its baseboard. But projecting a 5x7 or a 6x9 image on 8x10 or 9x12 works best and is big enough most of the time.
     
  13. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Hello Richard,

    Yes, this is a page of the past and I sometimes end up on it when I am searching for something to do with the Valoy II. Glad to hear you're still using this enlarger ! From pictures in my last previous post you see I found something nice for this enlarger: a connecting part between the Valoy II and the Leitz Reprovit II. This brings the head up much more, and also the lens is further away from the column. I can do 20X24 prints easily without easel, or almost up to that size with easel. Of course this set-up takes more space than the small Valoy II itself, but for me this is not a problem. I was very surprised this piece exists. A year before finding it I had a connecting piece made to attach the VII column to a Focomat 1c column. That works very well and I can easily do those large sizes . . . By now I prefer the Valoy II over the Focomat 1c, the reasons always in the title of your thread !

    Michael
     
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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Just yesterday I found by accident this part in an old Leitz pricelist.
    But as you indicated making/having made adapters is viable way to go.
     
  16. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    AgX - I would not mind to see that. Is there an image? Is the price list dated?
     
  17. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    I only wish they had something simple and sturdy as Valoy for printing medium format negatives, at-least up to 6x6.
     
  18. Hilo

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    Here some pics of the Valoy II with the connecting piece I had made, to fix it to the Focomat 1c column . . . on the other side of this connecting piece sits the same chrome screw to fix the piece to the column of the 1c

    Valoy II on 1c 01 s.jpg Valoy II on 1c 02 s.jpg Valoy II on 1c 03 s.jpg
     
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  19. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    That would be an early Focomat 2a, the ones with only one lens. From what I understand you can use any lens, the negative holder is larger than the one of the 2c and you have the usual Leitz-brick-situation with regards to sturdyness
     
  20. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I love how these old but useful threads get resurrected. I'm setting up a Valoy II as a 2nd enlarger dedicated to 35mm. It's compact size fits where I need it to go. My biggest issue (but still a small one) is located a screw for the curved film holder. 3mm is too small, 4mm is too big, and 3.5mm cannot easily be found locally. Of course, since I cut my film into strips, I really don't need that film holder.
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I mixed it up with the Pince part I saw in a belgian catalogue.
    What I well had found was not that sole collumn adapter, but, in the german catalogue from 1958, a Valoy II special edition to be mounted on the Reprovit II.
    This kit was called VOOLY and cost 110 DM. The original kit was called VUOOW and cost 168 DM. Surprising to me is the large price difference.
    (A worker's monthly wage in West-Germany in 1958 was about 260 DM.)
     
  22. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    You mean one of the black screws for one of the "film wings" on either side of the enlarger stage? I should have that and will be glad to give one to you . . . postage will be from Europe.
     
  23. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    AgX, thanks !

    What is a "Pince part" ?

    I wonder what VOOLY consisted off ? I assume it was the connecting piece between the Reprovit II arm and the Valoy II, plus the Valoy II head ? What did VUOOW consist off ?


    IMG_9093.JPG IMG_9094.JPG
     
  24. AgX

    AgX Member

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    To my understanding the VOOLY was a Valoy II, without lens and without baseboard and collumn, but with that adapter.
    The VUOOW was a Valoy II without lens.
    Pince (ZPOOK) to my understanding was an adapter to mount the Valoy II on a table, intead of its baseboard, likely a kind af clamp.
     
  25. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Yes, ZPOOK I have. A beautiful table clamp for the Valoy II. It is not really practical to use to print, unless your table is not very deep. I use it in my darkroom to "store & use" an extra Valoy II on a short column.
     
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Instead of such clamp one could mount a thick board under the collumn, instead of its baseboard, sufficiently larger than the collumn base, and mount this to table by means of two carpenter clamps.