Do all enlarger lenses fit all enlargers?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by BetterSense, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have an Omega Concept Six enlarger. I would like to set it up for medium format. It seems like the condenser lens is big enough for medium format, but it only came with a 35mm negative carrier and a weird 4x4cm square one (?). It has some Rodenstock El-Omega 50mm f/3.5 lens on it. Even assuming I get a 6x6 negative carrier, I will probably need a 75mm lens. Can I just get any old enlarger lens, or does it have to be a special one for Omega enlargers? Could I interchange lenses between this enlarger and my Beseler Printmaker 35 enlarger?
     
  2. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    A 75mm lens will cover 6x6, a 50mm will not. The condenser lenses may need to be moved/rotated/reconfigured to handle a different focal length (at least, such is the case on my Saunders 670). In my Saunders, El-Nikkor 50mm and 75mm lenses thread in with no problem. Most (but not all) lenses are a 39mm thread. And, many, but not all, lens boards are tapped (threaded) for those lenses to fit. If not, you can probably cut your own lens board and use a threaded ring (jam nut) to hold the lens to it.

    Dan
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Pretty much, yes. Most enlarging lenses made since the 1970s for 35mm and medium format use M39 (Leica thread mount). For bigger lenses starting around 135mm, you may need a larger lensboard hole, and some short lenses designed for formats like 110 may have had smaller mount sizes.
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning,

    Your "weird" 4 x 4 carrier is probably for 127 negatives; most 50mm lenses would cover that format. Some carriers with an opening about the same size also were also made to hold mounted slides.

    Konical
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Measure. Extend the bellows and see what range you get from full compressed to fully extended. Measure from the negative stage to the lensboard. I think that's right.

    For an 80mm to make a max size print you need 80mm. To make a 1:1 print you need 160mm. Obviously you aren't likely to need/want to make a print that small.
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Your explicit question relates mostly to the lens's mount, and David has answered that question. I'll add that some very old or weird enlargers have used mounts other than the usual M39 mount. Some enlargers have interchangeable lens boards, so they can use oddball lenses -- you'd have one lens board for an M39 lens and another for another type of lens. There's also the question of the length of the lens's "neck" -- lenses vary a bit in their lengths, and this can cause problems if the bellows (or other focusing mechanism) doesn't get as close or as far as the lens requires. I've seen this issue with some Soviet/Russian 50mm lenses, which can't focus properly (particularly for smallish prints) on some Western enlargers.

    Some other answers relate to the coverage of your condensers. This is an important consideration, since if your condensers don't spread light evenly across a larger format, you'll get vignetting in your final print. I don't know enough about your Omega enlarger to give you any specific advice on this matter, though. Note that this issue is entirely unrelated to the physical lens mount issue.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    During one of my eBay explorations I bid on one of those batch auctions in order to get a couple of the included items. In addition to what I was looking for, I received a 135mm Ektanon Enlarging lens. My Beseler 67 enlarger only goes up to 6x7, but I thought that it might be useful to have the 135mm lens on a board, for those times like the postcard exchange when I wanted small prints from larger negatives.

    The Ektanon lens was larger than the 39mm standard thread (about 42mm IIRC) so I had a machine shop cut the hole in a blank lensboard I had. Unfortunately, that was wasted money - the bellows on my Beseler enlarger doesn't extend far enough to focus the 135mm lens.

    Oh well, it is the lessons you learn...

    Matt
     
  8. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Generally that's true. However some of the exotic enlarging lenses made by Nikon for example had a much larger mounting diameter. Of course those types of lenses cost thousands and were never intended for the amateur darkroom enthusiast.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have a Schneider 50mm f/4 lens that has 25mm thread. But on my Beseler enlarger, all I need is a lens board with smaller hole.
     
  10. fotch

    fotch Member

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    You can use either wood or aluminum plates stacked, drilled in the four corners and drilled in the middle to extend the lens a couple of more inches. The machine shop probably could do it without to much expense. If you need a photo of something similar, I can send you one from a Durst enlarger that is mount like this.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thanks fotch.

    I had thought about rigging something like that, but as it was more of an interesting experiment than anything else, I haven't gone forward with anything.

    In addition, the Beseler 67 lensboards are very small (barely larger than the lens), so it might be quite finicky to do this.

    Matt
     
  12. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I took both my lenses off and had a look. They have the same threads, but the Beseler actually is held in with a threaded nut on the top side, rather than screwing straight in. Now I'm torn between which lens to keep, since the Beseler looks and feels much higher quality but the Rodenstock lens on the Omega has cool light-up F-numbers.
     
  13. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Pretty much is correct, but you should be aware of some exceptions. The M39 thread is fairly standard, but there are other sizes out there. They require different lensboards. You also have to watch the back focus length (the distance between the back of the lens and the negative). Some enlargers will not focus using short focal length lenses like the 28mm Companon-S. Other enlargers do not have enough bellows draw to focus longer focal length lenses.
     
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Actually the lenses work the same way - it is the lensboards that are different (one has a threaded hole, while the other doesn't).

    I prefer the ones with the retaining ring (the "threaded nut") but that is probably just me.

    Tell us what the printing on each lens says and we will be happy to pass on our opinions :smile:.

    You need to be quite exact, because just a two letter difference in the lens name can be quite important.

    Matt
     
  16. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Well the one from the Omega says Rodenstock EL-OMEGAR 1:3,5 f=50mm LENS MADE IN GERMANY around the side.

    The one from the Printmaker 35 just says BESLAR 1:3.5 F=50mm JAPAN on the bottom and it only has the F-numbers on the side

    The Beslar one looks and feels higher quality being made out of wood, and the aperture blades are invisible wide open. The Rodenstock is all plasticky, and you can see aperture blades even wide open. It's cool how the f-numbers light up, but it seems to be foggy and have some bits of crud between the elements too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2009
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    These are both fairly basic quality lenses. If it were me, I would try them both out with a moderately large enlargement (you can print just a part of the image if you don't have or want to use large paper).

    The two prints will most likely be similar. If one appears sharper, or has better contrast, I'd choose that lens as my main "user" unless and until I got a better one.

    If the two prints are about the same, I'd go with the one you find easier to use. That may be the Rodenstock, because of the illuminated f/stops.

    Matt

    P.S. I'm assuming that you are intending to use these for Black & White. If you are also printing colour, you should do the same test with colour materials. Some lenses are better optimized for printing colour.
     
  18. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Yeah I'll keep my eye out for a better lens online, since I will need a 75mm anyway. I've made some prints with the Beslar lens and was pretty happy with them so I will keep that one and give the rodenstock away with my other enlarger.
     
  19. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The higher quality enlarging lenses for medium format in that range are all 80 mm. optics. Most of them will cover up to 6x7 cm. negatives, even if the makers don't specifically recommend them for that application. Rodenstock and Nikon do. Schneider does not, but it works. The 75 mm. optics don't cover 6x7 adequately and are generally of lesser quality. For modest enlargements, it is unlikely that you'll notice much of a difference. If you make really big prints, or crop a lot, the differences can be quite noticeable.
     
  20. R W Penn

    R W Penn Member

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    El-Nikkor 75 is 4 element 80mm is 6. 80 is best buy.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I know this is an old thread, but would like to ask the forum a question.

    A friend kindly gave me a beautiful Nikor 150mm enlarging lens, and I'd like to use it to enlarge 5x5 negatives created using my 5x7 camera.

    The trick is that the lens has a thread that's larger than 39mm, and I haven't been able to find information on what the thread size might be.

    My questions are:
    1. What size thread might this lens be?
    2. Do I need to worry about my Omega D2/Pro-Lab4x5 and bellows draw being long enough?

    When I get home today I'll post a picture of the lens. Perhaps that will give more clues.

    Thankful for your help!
     
  22. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    There we go. Thanks, Rick!

    - Thomas

    [​IMG]
    421-915 Plate for 150mm EL-Nikkor
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Rick beat me too it :smile:. Except as I look again, I realize that you said that yours is a D2, not a D5.

    So I think you need to go to the "Lens Mount" section on here instead: http://www.khbphotografix.com/omega/Discontinued/D2.htm#Mounts

    Based on that, I think you need a 4 1/2" cone, and either a 42mm, 52mm or 62mm Flat Lens Disc (where the size corresponds with the size of the hole).

    The link that Rick posted makes it seem most likely that the lens has a 53mm thread.
     
  25. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I indeed posted the link to find the thread size.
     
  26. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    THanks, guys. I'm going to have to check exactly what I have at home to be sure, bring out the calipers to see what the thread is.

    I'll check in here tonight again.

    Appreciate your time!

    - Thomas