Best f-stop for enlarging lens

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by thefizz, May 13, 2005.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I have a Nikkor f5.6 105mm lens and stop down 2 stops to f11 when printing. I recently read elsewhere that for best results 1 stop was enough and then someone else said 3 stops was best.

    Any thoughts?

    Peter
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have always been under the impression that 2 stops as you are doing is the best.
     
  3. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I usually stop down 2 stops unless I want more time for dodging and burning in which case I go 3 stops.
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Peter,

    I use the same 105mm El-Nikkor as you, along with Rodagons and Componons in focal lengths to suit different sized negatives. Generally speaking, such high-quality lenses will give excellent results at a variety of stops. Wide open is probably not a good idea unless absolutely necessary, and extremely small apertures may lead to diffraction problems, but I can't see the slightest difference between, say, f11 or f16 when I examine a typical 8 x 10 or 11 x 14. If I need some dodging time, I may lean toward a smaller aperture; if I'm making a larger print, I may use f11 or f8 just because it's quicker.

    Konical
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    2 stops is usually good, but if you have film flatness or alignment issues, 3 might be better, or if you're using an APO lens and a glass carrier and laser alignment tool, it might be optimized for 1 stop down from wide open.
     
  6. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Peter
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Align your enlarger, then get a resolution target negative and test your lenses.
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If you have no alignment issues with your enlarger and you are using glass carriers than for the El Nikkor 1 stop will work very nicely and two stops may offer slightly higher contrast. With glassless carriers even 2 stops down may leave you with unsharp corners if your negative will not lay reansonably flat. If you have or can make one, a carrier with an glass for a top surface and a flat glassless bottom can be the best of both worlds. Only four rather than six surfaces to keep dust free and flatnes that can really rival double glass carriers.