60mm lens best for enlarging 35mm negs???

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by gamincurieux, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    Can anyone shed any light on the supposed fact that it is better to print 35mm negs with a 60mm lens (or even larger)?

    I've read some comments about it, but have not read any 'facts' for want of another way to put it. Basically, if it is very true then sure I'll run out and get one!

    Thanks, Paul
     
  2. telkwa

    telkwa Member

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    I have heard, though I'm not sure, that some enlarging lenses are optimized for different magnification ratios. For 35mm, something optimized for a large magnification factor would be good, though 60mm is definitely a good start.
     
  3. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    telkwa, the optimal lens for 35mm negs is a 50mm lens, I know this. I am asking about the rumor that a 60mm is in fact better than the 50mm, for whatever reasons that I'm trying to establish with this thread.... considering that a 60mm lens would mean smaller enlargements than a 50mm I guess.

    Anyone care to add?
     
  4. clayne

    clayne Member

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    No, it's not very true, so you don't have to run out and get one.
     
  5. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Interested to know why you say that clayne?
     
  6. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Because there is no significant difference. What you're looking for is an 80, 90, or 105 mm lens. But the difference from 50mm is extremely negligible. Basically there's about a 100 other things you could do first to increase the quality of the print before buying a different enlarger lens (unless the one you're using is crappy).

    Try aligning your enlarger first.
     
  7. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    And, why do you say those longer ones? (35mm with a 105mm lens, erm, clayne, wouldn't that make a print the size of a stamp on my humble Durst M605?!) This is what I'm trying to find out, what will a longer lens mean to an enlargement from a 35mm neg? Please. This isn't about alignment. Rather, I'm looking for some elaboration on comments I've read that a longer lens can improve corner sharpness, that sort of thing. But it's just a comment here & a comment there that I read, so I'm trying to establish if there's anything to this idea, hopefully with some input from someone who knows something about it & would care to explain. Anyone?
     
  8. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The concept is in using more of the central part of the lens, which is what will happen if you use a long lens with a smaller format.

    My point is that aligning your enlarger will probably give you the same or more benefit to corner sharpness than going out and buying a new enlarger lens will.

    I've enlarged 35mm with both 50mm and 80mm. The differences in corner sharpness are undetectable. In fact, I'd say that the 50mm probably produces higher quality prints - but it's an APO-N whereas the 80mm isn't. That being said, differences in quality even between those two lenses is miniscule.

    In short, you're not going to get any big wins here. But I suspect that isn't what you're looking to hear.
     
  9. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    It is what I wanted to hear, constructive input, that's good. If only you'd said all this, as well, in your first comment.

    Thanks,

    Paul
     
  10. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Curious child, your request can be answered many ways, but the best reason to use a longish enlarging lens for any format I know of, is to reduce your full frame enlargement possibilities.

    For example, say you wish to make a full frame enlargement of a 135 negative that will fit easily inside a ¼ of an 8x10" piece of paper, virtually impossible with a standard lens, but eminently do-able with a 105mm enlarging lens.

    Generally speaking, most enlarging lenses from my experience, are designed for perfect focus and sometimes colour correction, at a set magnification.

    Student, or very cheap enlarging 135 lenses, are normally optimised for enlargements of around 4x to 6x of the negative.

    Some quite incredible Apo enlarging lenses designed for the 135 format I have used are optimised for as "good as it gets" colour correction and focus around 20x or higher magnification. These are the Rodagon G range.

    There is one standout enlarging lens I have used, the 90mm Apo Rodagon (N I think) this lens was always sought after by staff in the industrial lab I worked in. As long as the format could be covered by this lens, one would get unbelievable focus and colour correction in a seemless magnification from 2x through to about 16x. I would rate this actual lens, if it is in good condition as possibly one of the best enlarging lenses ever manufactured.

    That said, whacking any good lens on an enlarger is only half the story, you really need to align your complete set-up.

    Another important piece of information you need to assess, is the bellows length requirement of longer lenses. As in, does your enlarger allow you to extend your bellows enough to accommodate the longer focal length?

    Clayne, has answered most other reasons for using a longer than usual enlarging lens.

    Mick.
     
  11. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Others have done tests; I have not. But the old lab rats who helped me when I worked with them in the 1960s, assured me that a lens longer than necessary gave better edge sharpness and more even illumination. As a result, I have used a 60 mm 5.6 Rodagon for many years. I am satisfied.
     
  12. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Thanks Mick, and by the way you're one of the few to figure out my nickname... just something an old French-speaking ladyfriend used to call me hehe :wink: Hmm.

    Aaaanyway, back to the topic. In between things here tonight I've managed to find myself a Rodagon 60mm 5.6 on Ebay pretty cheap, so yeah what the hell I'm gonna try it out. If it works it works, if not then ok too.

    With regards to aligning, mine is a Durst M605 and I'm not sure it is really prone to getting out of alignment to begin with, unless you go fiddling with the bellows, but actually aligning it is as simple as setting it to zero at a couple of points - the tilt head & the bellows. I mean it's not that complicated an enlarger, know what I mean? I don't believe alignment's got an awful lot to do with it in my case. Sure it could just be the camera lens to begin with, but a 35mm Leica lens should be pretty sharp all over. A 20mm Nikkor maybe, but not a 35mm Leica. I'm using a particular image made with that lens as the example here. I feel the edges could be sharper in it. If through experimentation I can get them noticeably sharper then great. I also notice some slight light fall-off around the edges with my enlarger (color head, diffuser), not that it's caused any problems in printing mind you. Running a light meter around the naked light path using a 50mm lens makes it fluctuate a fair bit, the 4 edges are almost a stop dimmer than the center. Like I say it hasn't been a noticeable problem when printing, but if that somehow improves then even better! For a little peace of mind at least. I just want it even all over.

    Well, I can only give it go eh :wink:
     
  13. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Thanks Mick, and by the way you're one of the few to figure out my nickname... just something an old French-speaking ladyfriend used to call me hehe :wink: Hmm.

    Aaaanyway, back to the topic. In between things here tonight I've managed to find myself a Rodagon 60mm 5.6 on Ebay pretty cheap, so yeah what the hell I'm gonna try it out. If it works it works, if not then ok too.

    With regards to aligning, mine is a Durst M605 and I'm not sure it is really prone to getting out of alignment to begin with, unless you go fiddling with the bellows, but actually aligning it is as simple as setting it to zero at a couple of points - the tilt head & the bellows. I mean it's not that complicated an enlarger, know what I mean? I don't believe alignment's got an awful lot to do with it in my case. Sure it could just be the camera lens to begin with, but a 35mm Leica lens should be pretty sharp all over. A 20mm Nikkor maybe, but not a 35mm Leica. I'm using a particular image made with that lens as the example here. I feel the edges could be sharper in it. If through experimentation I can get them noticeably sharper then great. I also notice some slight light fall-off around the edges with my enlarger (color head, diffuser), not that it's caused any problems in printing mind you. Running a light meter around the naked light path using a 50mm lens makes it fluctuate a fair bit, the 4 edges are almost a stop dimmer than the center. Like I say it hasn't been a noticeable problem when printing, but if that somehow improves then even better! For a little peace of mind at least. I just want it even all over.

    Well, I can only give it go eh :wink:
     
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  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    That's easy. The guys who advised using a 60, often used a 4x5 enlarger whose focussing track was designed for a long lens. It was unable to focus a 50mm lens accurately, but COULD just manage a 60. Sound silly, but it is true.

    The 60 Nikkor is a brilliant lens, but the 50s, on a good 35 enlarger (read Leica) are way better. It isn't just the lens, its the ENLARGER and the lens.

    For your enlarger, set up an 8x enlargement, or so, and lay a small mirror on the easel, in a corner, and stop down until you just see a circular aperture. Most lenses have a little mechanical vignetting, and you need to stop down only enough to get a round aperture.

    After you find the clear aperture for your lens, if the falloff remains, you might check the lamp placement in your Durst (if it is adjustable). If you still see falloff, take your enlarger apart and put it back together.

    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2009
  16. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    Nikon made the El Nikkor 63mm 2.8 enlarging lens for the 4x4 negative, 127 format, but many found it just as good as the 50mm lens for printing from 35mm frames.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that some 60mm lenses are somewhat special purpose - they are designed to permit greater magnification with negatives larger than 35mm (6x6?) using enlargers with shorter columns.

    One possible downside of using a longer focal length is that you will need to have the enlarger's head higher on the column. Raising the head of an enlarger that isn't sufficiently sturdy and rigid, will make it more vulnerable to vibration induced un-sharpness.

    That being said, I regularly use longer lenses to make smaller prints.

    Matt
     
  18. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Using a longer lens than what the format normally would call for, in this case a 50mm for 35mm film can have another advantage if the enlarger collumn i tall enough.
    Let's assume that the OP have a specific print size in mind and have determined that the lens performs best at f8. Depending on the negative density it could make the exposure to short for complex doding and burning.
    Using a longer lens and thereby raising the head up further would extend exposure time and perhaps make it easier to perform the task at hand.
     
  19. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Without the Leitz enlarger :smile: I often use a 75mm or even longer lens for 35mm if I can get the size I need in the print. The reason I do this is partly because the center of the field is more consistent in resolution, etc. but also, and maybe more important, the field is more evenly illuminated. When the corners and edges are proportionately farther away from the lens as occurs when a short focal length is used, the edges/corners get less illumination. With a normal enlarging lens, this may not be noticeable, but it may have a subliminal effect. With the shorter lens, it will be more likely to be problematic.

    Imagine hanging a plumb bob from the lens so that the point rests directly on the easel in the center of the projection. If you swing the plumb bob, it will lift off of the surface as it is over different points on the projection. At the edges it will be higher, and at the corners the highest. This distance difference results in diminished illumination. When the focal length is shorter, the line on the plumb bob will be shorter in the center, and when swung, it will be higher above the paper at all other points.

    Typically, we might burn the edges a bit to compensate. While a print made with a normal enlarging lens may look ok without the edge burning, one made with it will look better if compared directly. With a longer focal length, the difference between center and edges will be proportionally diminished; the illumination more even and the lightening toward the edges and especially the corners less visible.

    I believe that this is why some of the "old timers" thought it best to print with the same lens that was used in making the negative, preferably at the same f/stop. The "fall off" or diminished illumination in the negative was supposed to cancel out the fall off in the printing. I don't think that would work very well in practice, though, because the extension of the lens in projection would be very different from that in the taking.
     
  20. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    When I first started printing I used a 100mm Schneider C-S for printing 35. I built a table with a shelf in order to print with it. Not the ideal setup, but the prints I made back in the day were surprisingly good when I look at them now. These days I use a 60mm Zeiss Orthoplanar because it is so sharp, but any good enlarging lens will give you excellent prints. As mentioned above, alignment is key.
     
  21. Bob Carnie

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    Clayne and Mick have given you good answers.
    I have two apo rodagon 90 and I feel they are better than using apo rodagon 80's that I also have. I guess its the coverage as well as kick ass optics. Another wickedly good lens that I use is the APO Rodagon 150 mm which I do all my 4x5 work with even though I do have a APO Rodagon 180mm.
    Going to a slightly longer lens , 60 mm rather than 50 mm will give you a slight bit more space to move the neg around if needed and gives a slightly larger coverage.
     
  22. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    In the 60 is it could be truth, but today its more important to use the sharpest f stop of the lens then anything else!
    You have also to know thad the MF enlarging lenses are made for less enlargingfactors then the 35 mm lenses, because MF has not to be so much enlarged then a 35 mm neg normaly!
    I work with the Schneider 40 mm APO Componon and I'm very happy with it and could not see an improvement in corner sharpness against the Rodagon 80mm which is for MF a very fine lens!

    Just my 2 cents Armin
     
  23. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I could be wrong about this, but it's my understanding that using different focal-length lenses at the same aperture gives the same exposure, or in other words, what you suggested doesn't work, because using a longer lens doesn't change anything exposure-wise.

    I like to use my 75mm lens for 35mm because 1, it's always on the enlarger, and 2, it is easier to print up to 8x10s because the enlarger head is higher.
     
  24. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    You are right, BetterSense. While the distance is greater, the aperture area is greater also. The f/stop is the ratio of the aperture to the focal length. When we change focal lengths on our cameras, the amount of light delivered to the film remains the same at any given stop, like say f/8. Same with the enlarger.

    There may be some difference, though, if the extension factor differs for the focal lengths in comparison. I haven't looked at this, and probably won't bother, but anyway, it won't be a great difference.
     
  25. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Seeing as such a dense negative would already have compromised quality, I'm not sure it's such a big advantage just to target f/8 on the lens. So I consider it false economy.
     
  26. BetterSense

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    I started a giant thread dealing with the issue of enlarger bellows factor and whether it matters or cancels out. The more informed opinion is that the bellows factor of enlargers cancels out and at a given magnification, there is exactly no difference between different focal length lenses. I'm still not sure why, however.