Brighter light source for V35 : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I would like very much to be using the Leitz V35 enlarger if only it had a brighter light source. I printed some 16x24 prints using a frien's V35 but was using exposure times up to 1.5 minutes. The shortest time I used was 32 seconds. Does anyone know of a way to get a brighter light source in this enlarger?

On this site I have seen discussion of the Heiland head for variable contrast papers. I don't really see that as a solution for me since my favorite paper--chosen for color, surface qualities--is graded and the Heiland unit is a bit pricey.

Any ideas out there?


Ron McKinney

-- Ron McKinney (, July 14, 2001


I am assuming you must be using the B&W head? I have V35 color head, which used a quartzline lamp instead of the 'bulb' style, and for 16X20 prints (using Agfa Multicontrast Classic Fibre), my average exposures are 25 - 30 seconds. Consider the fact that I am a great Ralph Gibson fan (who recommends overexposing everything - most of my negs are fairly bulletproof), and these times are completely acceptable to me. I (again) am assuming you are using the B&W head, which has a standard bulb. A lot of people shun the color head because it is - color...........thinking that for true B&W they should be using a condensor system (as in the V35 B&W head), but in the book "The Print", by Ansel Adams he says that the current color heads, being diffusion sources are the next best things to cold light heads for B&W. If he doesn't know, who does? Try the color module in your enlarger, I think you'll be happy.

-- Bob Todrick (, July 14, 2001.

How far are you stopping down the lens? Remember a high quality enlarger lens performs best no more than a stop or so from wide open. There is a significant quality difference between wide open and stopped all the way down. Give it a try and you will see it for yourself.


-- John Collier (, July 14, 2001.

I'm a little unclear about Bob's reference to different bulbs. The B&W, Color, and Variable Contrast modules all use the same light source. There was a change in bulb in mid-production, which also requires a different socket. While I have a new one ready and waiting for inevitable day, I'm still using the original lamp from the 1970s when my V35 was new (now watch it burn out this weekend).

-- Bill Mitchell (, July 14, 2001.

Bill, I should have been more clear in my posting. I am refering to the change in bulbs mid-production, and supposedly the newer style is a stop faster. I agree with you in that maybe Ron is stopping down too far - I usually print at 5.6 or 8. Many are under the misrepresentation that 11 or 16 is sharper!? I also question the speed of the paper he is using. I should have been clearer in my previous post - maybe too much Jack (see previous post on favorite scotch's) ;-)

-- Bob Todrick (, July 14, 2001.

Thanks to all for all the comments. I should have said that I was using f8 in all my tests. I did print one at 5.6 and one at 11. I noticed that the 5.6 was a little soft in the corners, and could not really tell a difference between f8 and f11. f8 seemed the way to go for big enlargements. With smaller enlargements I have gotten prints sharp corner to corner at 5.6 but I think it's a little tougher at 16x (due, I guess, to the lens being closer to the film).

By the way, I noticed on my friend's V35 that there was a enlargement factor scale marked f=50 on the underside of the swing arm where the 40mm enlargement scale is illuminated on the top. I guess the enlarger can be set up to use the 50mm lens. Not that this would help my problem.

Thanks again.

Ron McKinney

-- Ron McKinney (, July 14, 2001.

Are you using the VC head -- that cuts back on the light by at least 2 stops? If I am enlarging to 8x12 onto Portriga Rapid #2 it's usually 10 sec@f:8, and I wish for less light. Using the VC module on Agfa Multicontrast it's more like 30-60 seconds, which gives plenty of time to dodge and burn. Maybe you just need a faster paper.

-- Bill Mitchell (, July 14, 2001.

I find with my V35 (Focotar 40/2.8) that the best stop for grain sharpness is about half way between f4 and f5.6. This has been the case for two Focotar 40/2.8 lens I have used. I have never had a problem with having the edges out of focus at this setting. However I usually pre-flatten the negative sheet that I will be printing from by placing it under a pile of books for several hours. Alternatively a Leitz double glass negative carrier can be used, although they tend to be expensive, make that real expensive.

Bulbs will eventually lose their brightness too and a new one can often shorten exposure times.

-- sam smith (, July 15, 2001.

Sam Smith has hit the nail on the head. The lamps grow much darker over time. I had similar problems of long exposure times which disappeared when I replaced the lamp.

By the way, the Kodak Chromogenic film T400CN has an orange backing layer which does not help.

-- wayne murphy (, July 15, 2001.

Is the V35 a condenser or diffusion enlarger? I ask because I want to know what gamma to develop my negatives for... I always thought it was diffusion.

-- Russell Brooks (, July 16, 2001.

Russell, the V35 is a diffusion enlarger, at least as far as the color and VC heads are considered. Wayne you might want to consider using Ilford XP-2 Super for a C41 B&W film. The Ilford film is designed for people who want the convenience of C41 processing, but who will be printing the negs on conventional paper. The Kodak film you mention is meant more for pros who want to be able to shoot B&W, process it C41, then have the local lab proof it and possibly print it through their color processors. To make this easier they include the orange masking layer to make the color lab persons job easier, as most new automated processors are programmed to deal with the orange cast.

-- Bob Todrick (, July 16, 2001.

I normally stop down two clicks on the 40mm Focotar on my V35 (Vario Contrast ) just to get the exposures long enough to dodge. I have made many prints at wide open as I try to keep the exposure to less than 20secs.

-- Tony Brookes (, August 01, 2001.

I have just replaced the Philips 13139 bulb in my V35 (vario-contrast head) and the times have been reduced from 20 secs. average down to 5 secs. average on 10"x8" Ilford MGIV. I didn't think the old bulb was that dim but it goes to show the difference a new bulb can make.

-- sam smith (, January 14, 2002.

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