Advice requested, 60mm WA enlarger lens for 645.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by MattPC, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. MattPC

    MattPC Member

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    Hello,
    I'm considering purchasing an F5.6 60mm WA lens. I have a modest meopta 6 enlarger presently using a Fuji 75mm lens. My 645 camera has a fixed 60mm lens.

    Putting aside glass quality (I think other aspects of darkroom process are going to make much more difference than any subjective analysis here) I'm hoping to gain a little more ability to crop to help with compositional flexibility due to my camera 'limitations' at the 12 x 16 I'm set up for. And, much more significantly (I hope!) run the enlarger head closer to my base board to gain flexibility with (speed up!) exposure times on the slow papers I like. (otherwise I could just put a block under my column mount!)

    Another option is to use a std 50mm lens as a cropping tool, but my experience so far is this is very fiddly with moving my negatives around in my carrier and a little irritating, not really an 'enhancement' to my hobby.

    Althought the cost is relatively modest, it is close to the cost of 100 sheets of 8x10 paper and chemicals to suit (which is 'where' all my learning takes place) and, within my hobbyist budget, fairly significant.

    I'm not really sure what I'm asking for, just comments on my thinking I guess. Maybe I'd get more benefit from just printing what I can, using other avenues for change and learning to use my percieved limitations as strenghts?

    Thanks,

    MattPC
     
  2. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I have a rodagon 60mm WA that I use routinely, it replaced a 80mm componon-s. It is a very good lens, and is very sharp with prints that I have made with it. Barry Thornton's book The edge of darkness has a chapter comparing enlarging lenses and sharpness from them, and the WA lenses do very well in his tests too.

    This lens is really designed so that you can get more magnification if you max out your column height routinely. You wont save that much time on exposures and if you work close to the paper your gonna make it tough to dodge and burn areas. If you routinely have to crop that much you may want to adjust the cropping in camera and have a good full negative to use for printing.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Actually, you don't gain anything with respect to exposure times. The brightness of the light when it reaches the paper is strictly a function of magnification, whether one obtains that magnification from using a shorter focal length lens, or raising the enlarger head.

    If your enlarger is stable when the head is raised farther, and you can raise it farther, then that is the way to go.
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes, the 50mm only works if you want to crop near the center of the frame. You don't say which enlarger, but another solution is to use a 4x5" glass frame which would allow you more room to move the negative around to center the spot you want to crop over your 50mm lens.
     
  5. MattPC

    MattPC Member

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    Thanks for your comments. After re-calibrating my thinking and spending an afternoon attempting to reprint a couple of images I was not happy with, I've worked my way around to the view that better visualistion with camera in hand is really what I need to concentrate on. 4 hours effort brought me to the conclusion that I'm better off re-shooting both of them being mindful of what I learned printing. A nice little project before work one day this week!

    Thanks,

    MattC