Focomat V35 Autofocus Adjustment

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by wendell_kelly, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. After a bit of trial and error, I've just sucessfully set up the autofocus on
    my second-hand Focomat V35 enlarger. I thought that I'd describe the process
    which I used since other sources of information don't seem to provide much

    As Tony Rowland mentioned in an archived post, setting the column height
    properly is the key to bringing the autofocus into calibration. It is necessary
    to readjust the column height any time one uses a different easel (or no easel
    at all). The scale units for the column height adjustment appear to be
    arbitrary, on my enlarger at least. The autofocus was out of adjustment with
    the column height set to "0" when using no easel and the correct column height
    adjustment proved to be 11 height scale units for my 5mm thick easel.

    I found this procedure to work well:

    (1) Set the column height to "0" scale units, place the easel on the baseboard,
    and put a grainy negative into the negative carrier (I used a strip of TMAX3200
    film). Open the lens all the way (f2.8 on my enlarger).

    (2) Bring the enlarger head up to an enlargement ratio of 16 and, with a grain
    magnifier, bring the image into sharp focus. Set the focus ring detent at this

    (3) Bring the enlarger head down to an enlargement ratio of 3. Unless you are
    very lucky, the image will be out of focus. Leaving the focus detent setting
    unchanged, rotate the focus helix to bring the image into sharp focus at the
    smaller enlargement ratio. Note which direction (left or right) it was
    necessary to rotate the helix to achieve sharp focus; best to write this down
    as well as the column height at that point.

    (4) Raise the column be about 5 height scale units. Repeat steps (2) and (3).

    (5) At some point, the direction of helix rotation for sharp focus at the
    enlargement ration of 3 will have reversed (now turning left when previous
    tries required turning right). When this occurs, you have gone through the
    correct height setting and the correct column height setting will lie between
    the last two column heights used.

    (6) Now reduce the column height slowly, checking focus at the enlargment
    ratios of 16 and 3 until you find the point at which sharp focus is obtained at
    both extremes without the need to readjust the focus.

    This should take no more than 20 minutes.
  2. This is very helpful information for all V35 users!
    I use V35 with no easel, and auto focus always worked.
    I definitely use this information when I use an easel.
    Recently I noticed that more people put V35s on Ebay, but I will keep mine with VC, Color heads and Voltage stablizer.
    IMHO, film scan and digital prints for bw don't come close to the prints from V35 yet.

    How does color printing work with V35?
    What other tools do I need for color printing?
  3. Dear Wendell,

    IMHO this is not the way to set the V35 autofocus. If you use no easel just set the column height to "0" and do the focus manualy based on the grain magnifier. After this you lock the focus with the "click" and your auto focus is set over the whole range, will take you a minute. This is the way Leica describes it in the manual.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  4. Hello Peter-

    When I had the column height at "0" and worked without an easel, the autofocus was most certainly out of calibration. With the detent set for an enlargement ratio of 16, the image was greatly out of focus when the head was lowered to any enlargment ratio smaller than "6".

    I'm aware of the method found in the manual; it didn't work for me when attmpting to focus without an easel.

    I suggest that others try the method found in the manual and if it works, then all is well. If it doesn't work for you, with or without an easel, I offer solution described in my earlier posting.
  5. Set the column height to the height of the easel in use or 0 for baseboard.

    Raise to full elevation and set lens to 2.8

    Loosen the large black ribbed ring at the top of focus mount.

    Rotate the the lens to achieve focus. Tighten ribbed ring

    Loosen the small thumb screw to release the detent

    Turn the lens to get the aperture window to the front. Tighten screw.

    The image will now be out of focus.

    Repeat the procedure with the large ribbed ring and thumb screw a second time until the image is in focus at 17 1/2 x and the lens aperture window is to the front.

    The image will stay in focus from 17 1/2 to 3 x unless something is wrong with the machine.

    When you change easels, make the column height equal to the easel height. No other adjustments are necessary.

    There is no 3x adjustment like on the Focomat IC where you set 10x and 3x.
  6. Should Ronald's procedure not bring the autofocus adjustment into calibration and before concluding that something is wrong with the enlarger, try the procedure listed in the first posting here.
  7. I have two neg carriers for V35, one regular and another one, for the prints with black rim around the full frame.

    When I change neg carriers, I need to re-adjust the focus, otherwise it will be out of focus. Is it normal or something is wrong with the V35?
  8. Carriers focus in different places slightly, very slightly.

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