Appropriate enlarger lens for 6x7 and 6x9 negatives

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ymc226, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    I currently use a El-Nikkor 80/5.6 for my 6x6 negatives using a Beseler 23 series enlarger.

    Can I use the same lens for 6x7 and 6x9 or do I need a different lens?
     
  2. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    I just barely get coverage on 6x7 with an 80 on my Beseler 67cXL. I think you need more for 6x9.
     
  3. martyryan

    martyryan Member

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    You can use the El-Nikkor for 6x7 but it will lack coverage for 6x9.

    Marty
     
  4. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Look into a 100-105mm lens - that should cover. I believe all the major manufacturers made them in this size. You can then obviously use that lens for 6x7 and smaller if you want to as well.
     
  5. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thank you. I was afraid that I would need a different lens. I'll look for a 105 El Nikkor.
     
  6. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    It might be worth a try though with the 80mm. If stopped down sufficiently, you might just need to burn in the edges.
     
  7. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I have used the Nikkor 80mmf5.6 for 6X7 for years and it works perfecty---now as far as 6X9 I don't think it will cover Nikon made the 105mmfor that.
     
  8. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    A lot depends on the print size as well, if you go for small prints which means significant bellows extension, you can get away with a shorter focal length lens. If you have a D5XL or a 4x5 Durst and put the head at the top of the column, you will really want that 105mm.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    A 100 or 105 will work for 6x9.

    I might skip one and go straight for a 4x5 lens, though. Your enlarger will have to be higher, but not by much, and if you switch to a 4x5 enlarger some day, you will not have to get a new lens in order to print 4x5.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2010
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have found the 90mm apo rodagon stellar, in fact an all time favorite enlarger lens.
     
  11. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    ********************
    Good advice.
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The Nikkor is in fact rated for negatives up to 6x7. I doubt that it would be good for 6x9, but there's no harm trying. Check the corners with a grain focuser if you have one. If the grain is sharp and there's no light fall off, you're good. Typically though, you'll need a 105 for the 6x9 negatives, and you could indeed use it for smaller negatives too. But be advised that the maximum achievable magnification will be less than what you get with the 80 mm objective. I don't have too many 6x9 negatives and can't see any reason to but yet another enlarging lens, so I just use the 135 mm objective I have for 4x5 negatives.
     
  13. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    For 6x7 I use a 105mm Rodagon-G at f8 and get 32"x42" prints
    that are razor sharp (mostly Agfa APX100). Proves that it's better
    to use a slightly longer lens.

    d_rookie
     
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  15. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Doesn't "prove" anything except that your 105 mm lens works. If you look at the data provided bythe lens manufacturers for their enlarging lenses you'll see that they are optimized for a range of magnification factors. Though you might not notice it, greater or lesser magnifications will be less than optimal.
     
  16. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I use a Wollensak 90mm enlarging lens for 6x9, and is sharp corner to corner. According to an old catalogue this lens was designed for 6x9. If you keep your eyes peeled, you could probably find one in a bargain bin for next to nothing.
     
  17. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    True. This lens excels at 20x and works from 10-40x, according to the data. 32x42" print being 6x7 enlarged 15x, it's almost as sharp as it can get.
     
  18. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Enlarging lenses are so inexpensive nowadays I would pick up a 100-105 and a 135 and see which one you prefer. With the longer focal length, you might run out of height on the enlarger if you try to make large prints.

    If you decide to go to 4x5, you will have a lot more expense than an enlarging lens so I would not get ahead of myself. I think a 150mm lens is too much for that enlarger.
     
  19. Monday317

    Monday317 Member

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    Lens Sizes for Enlarging

    AIR, the rule of thumb back in the day was your enlarging lens needed to be at least the normal lens focal length, (unless you owned a WA Rodaogon/Componon/Whatnotogon, some of which were known to compromise corner sharpness at the baseboard). For 35mm, that was about 50mm; for 6x7, it was 90mm and for 4x5 you'd want 150mm.

    But for optimal sharpness and coverage though, the Old Hands said to go the next length up to ensure the best enlargements possible. The gurus suggested 80mm for 35; 115 (or so) for 6x7; and 180 for 4x5. Thus for economy and best prints, if your enlarger had the capacity, you'd buy something in the 110 range for any roll film and never have a problem--so long as your enlager would raise high enough for the 110 lens to get your 35mm negative up to the print size you wanted.

    This was the big advatage of the Beseler 23: being a double-column design, you could use a 110mm enlarging lens on a 35mm negative to make a 16x20 print and not have to worry about blurring the image because the head was up in the clouds swaying in the breeze like a Durst or Omega might.

    With that in mind, I found a terrific Wollensak 4-element Raptar f/4, 127mm lens locally in fine shape for--drum roll--$25.00! Now that I'm shooting 6x9 it's perfect, covers well and sharp corner to corner. Add that to the nice, used Beseler 23 at the same shop I snagged for--wait for it--$100 and this ol' shutterbug is ready to rumble.

    Wollensak lenses are not well known today, however, they were well regarded in ancient times--even if they weren't the most technically advanced glass in the world. They were very well made, and the grain magnifier would attest to their sharpness and coverage on the print paper which is where it really counts. You can get them very inexpensively nearly anywhere and be right proud of the prints you'll make. The more expensive, modern designs only help if you are doing color at home, where the improvements of multicoated, apochromatic, ED glass will be clearly observed.

    Viva le (monchrome) film!! :cool:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2015
  20. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    Regarding wide angle enlarging lenses: I didn't like the ones I tried many years ago because, although they were sharp enough all the way to the corners, the grain distorted more as the image approached the corners. The elongated grain looked bothersomely odd to me. I don't know if most or all wide angle EL's have this trait. I've always preferred slightly longer than normal enlarging lenses when circumstances permitted.
     
  21. Monday317

    Monday317 Member

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    +1; I didn't include your observation in my reply, not wanting to overkill the point. WA enlarging lenses have been known to distort some, unless you have a grand or two invested in a really good WA Rodagon or Apo-Componon. :blink:
     
  22. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Hey, me too! I think I got mine for all of $5!
     
  23. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have the same lens, don't recall what I paid for it, it is a really nice lens, very sharp at F 8 to 11, it is the lens I use for 6X9 at 11X14, for 5X7 and 8X10 I use a 105.
     
  24. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I print my 35 mm negatives up to 7"x 11" with my 90 mm Wolly.(I cut 11x14 paper in half). I have two of them, one is NOS in the box, bought for $5.
     
  25. Monday317

    Monday317 Member

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    sound of Loser Horn: wot, Wot, WAAH, WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH... :pinch:

    So much for my twenty five-buck "treasure".


    I hate this forum... :whistling:

    :D
     
  26. kobaltus

    kobaltus Member

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    I agree with darkroom-rookie, that it is better use slightly longer lens. So, 60 mm is better for leica format and 105mm better even for 6x6. I tested 80mm El Nikkors (old chrome and new black) vs
    105 mm EL nikkor and 105mm rodagon. 105 mm lenses always win. Yes, I now. For some sceptic guys it does not prove anything. But it works for me.