best aperature for printing

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Rusalka, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. Rusalka

    Rusalka Member

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    hello to everyone,
    somebody was telling me today that it is important thing to find and then print mostly with the best aperature for the enlarging lens that you have. so how do I find what is the best aperature to be using, I have had no problems so far and I just leave lens at 5.6 and sometime open or close if I need to adjust exposure, but mostly i am keeping at 5.6. could somebody please explain this best aperature thing to me.

    Katja
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Katja,

    With high-quality enlarging lenses, good prints are usually possible at almost any available aperture; nevertheless, the generally-accepted wisdom is that it is helpful to stop down two or three clicks to reach the optimum performance. With most black & white papers, using the lens wide open will usually mean very short exposure times; for convenience when dodging and burning, exposure times of ten to twenty seconds are often preferable. The use of f11 or f16 is, therefore, a typical practice for small (up to 8 x 10) prints.

    Konical
     
  3. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The best aperture is the one that gives you the sharpest image, whilst allowing you the time to dodge or burn (if needed). Legend has it that this is 2-3 stops in. Testing the lens would confirm this.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I use only apo rodagons , and I believe 2 stops from wide open is the sweet spot.
    These lenses are made to give good coverage across the neg/print
    Most important would be an aligned enlarger , as well as glass carrier for sharpness.
     
  5. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi Katja

    I asked this questions a master at Rodenstock and he told me the following to my question "why does the todays lenses not have any green or red mark anymore at the sharpest f stop as in the old days some of the lenses had!"
    The todays lenses are so good it is not anymore so important to work at the sharpest f stop and he told me further "all APOs are sharpest at 1-2 f stops closed from full open and the normal Rodagons at 2-3 f stops and the cheap 3+4 lensers should be closed down 3-4 f stops! Hope it helps!
     
  6. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Buy a good lens and don't worry about it. I even change apertures during printing when I want to burn something in. ie: if I want a 1/2 stop burn I just close the lens down 1 stop and keep the timer where its at. I've never had a problem with focus shift.
     
  7. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    I do only split printing on fiber paper, and occasionally close down as much as 3 stops for the 0 filter exposure, relative to the 5+. I try to keep this in the center of the available f stops--usually f8 for the high contrast and f16-32 for the low. If f32 is your smallest stop, I would avoid that, as diffraction comes into play.

    Unless your lens is really stinko, I agree that reasonable print, burn and dodge times are probably the most important factor. A 3 second exposure at f 5.6 is not as accurate or repeatable as a 12 sec. exposure at f11.
     
  8. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    On a good quality lens like e.g. Rodagon or Apo-Rodagon you will hardly see a difference between an aperture of 1 1/2, 2 or 3F stops closed down.
    In general you can say that 2-3F is always O.K.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    www.FotohuisRoVo.nl
     
  9. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    The differences are incredibly small for many lenses tho certainly not all. I printed a 20x16 using my std 150 rodagon twice. once at f11 (2 stops down) and also 5.6 (wide open). I was shocked to effectively see NO DIFFERENCE to the naked eye. I tried again. no difference. I would expect it to get soft stopped way down, but what surprised me was the wide open performance.

    Tom
     
  10. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    I would agree with the others that with a good enlarging lens almost any stop will give good results possibly excepting the widest opening. Stopping down 2-3 stops will also give the advantage of more depth of field in case the enlarger is not focused perfectly.
     
  11. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I've been using Schneider's 50mm Companon-S enlarger lens for five years and at all apertures I get magnificent prints with sharpness from edge to edge and no vignetting at all.