EL-Nikkor vs. Componon-S

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ac12, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    I have an EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 and 80/5.6 and a Componon-S 150.
    I am thinking of getting either an EL-Nikkor 105, or a Componon-S 100 for 6x6 and 6x9.
    I am partial to Nikon lens, but was told by my college instructor that the Componon-S is a better lens.
    But from my research on the web, it seems that there is very little real difference between the EL-Nikkor and Componon-S lenses.
    I would like to get feedback of those with experience with these 2 lines of lenses about any "real differences" between them, or are they even enough that I should just get whichever I can get the best deal on?
     
  2. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    I would say there is no real difference to be seen in my oppionion. The differnces are so small. I have used mostly Rodenstock and nikkor lenses. Actually I would say Nikkor is for most sizes a tick, a small tick better. Others will claim differently.
    The nikkoer has more blades in the aperture, that certainly can't be bad.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Ctein did a pretty comprehensive test of these lenses in Post Exposure and there is't much practical difference. You can read it here; http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    The only time you might notice for modest enlargement is if you get a compoNAR or some other nar suffix with denotes a manufacturers cheaper 4 element economy line.

    Not sure how the nikon line denotes the cheaper line but one giveaway is the slower aperture for that particular focal length.
     
  5. Lukas_87

    Lukas_87 Member

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    There's bigger difference between particular lens samples than between two good-quality 6 element design 100-105 mm enlarger lens.
     
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I can say that I have the Componon-s 100/5.6 for smaller enlargements of 6x6 and 6x4.5 and it is fantastic!! For larger enlargements I recently purchased a Rodenstock Rodogon APO (Non-N) 80/4 and it is incredibly sharp! For 35mm I use a 50/2.8 Nikkor that is fantastic too! Basically you have to buy and try. Enlarging lenses are strange beasts, some get bad copies of certain lenses, while others report they are great. Once you get a good lens never let go of it.
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Thanks guys. That takes some of the confusion between brand out. I'll just see which one I can get for the best price.
    Yes I would be looking for the Componon-S version. When I first heard the names of the Schnider lenses I was confused, the names of the 3 lens lines were so similar.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I would suggest you also pay attention to ergonomics and things like whether the lens has readable illuminated f/stops.

    If you print colour, lenses from the same manufacturer, and of similar vintage, are more likely to have similar colour rendition.
     
  9. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    I don't have the 105 nikkor but I do have the 100/5.6 Componon-s and find it one of my sharpest enlerging lenses (I have a few enlarging lenses). I'm not sure that my APO-Rodagon-N 80/4 is any sharper than the Schneider 100/5.6 Componon-s although I haven't compared them directly. I have several Nikkors, 50/2.8, 63/2.8, a couple of 75/4's and all are extremely sharp so I would expect the longer lenses to be extremely good too. I don't think either will dissapoint.

    Although these are tests as taking lenses in a macro setting I think they are quite telling. There's a test of the Nikkor here:
    http://coinimaging.com/nikon_el105.html

    And a few other enlarging lenses here:
    http://coinimaging.com/Lens_tests.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2013
  10. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    The 80/5.6 EL Nikkor is rated for full coverage for 6x7 negs,and works well,in my practical experience ,for this format.
    For 6x9,you should look for the 105mm.
     
  11. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Of the Schneider lenses that I have or have handled and used, it seems that many under careful inspection, the edges of the elements have small dots that show up. Not sure if this is schniederitis or just the black edge paint wearing off. Never tested if it causes any slight problems when printing as I never had two copies of the same lens with and without the dots. Probably a non issue.
     
  12. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    @Newt
    I've heard of that on the LF lenses, but this is the first time I've heard of that on the enlarging lenses.
    I just checked my 150 and the dots are there on the edge of the elements.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    that is my experience too.
     
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  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The modern apo enlarging lenses like Apo Rodagon N or the Schneider equivalent will indeed perform
    significantly better in terms of sharpness and internal contrast than a Componon S, El Nikkor, or conventional Rodagon, though these regular lenses can be excellent for general use. But you can't generalize much beyond this. Within all these particular series, some lenses were better than others
    for certain usages. Schneideritis is essentially an edge paint issue, and rarely affects performance,
    but might be an indication of the amt of use a lens has had.
     
  16. Lukas_87

    Lukas_87 Member

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    Even the statement about significantly better performance of so-called Apo lens (because none of them except for the apo-el-nikkor are really apochromatic design) is huge generalization.

    http://ctein.com/PostExposure2ndIllustrated.pdf
    Enlarger lens test begin on page 77 if I remember correctly.
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Not a generalization whatsoever. And not just marketing hype either. I own and use quite a variety of these lenses, and have owned various others in the past. And baloney that they aren't apo except the Apo El Nikkor. I have a whole suite of regular Apo Nikkors, and they are mfg to higher color standards than dedicated enlarger lenses, just with smaller max apertures. Yes, I'm aware of my friend Ctein's opinion of the Apo El based on tests way back when - but he doesn't own or use one of those either. They are simply too heavy for most enlargers, and frankly, overkill for most applications. Too much MTF and you actually start picking out tiny blemishes in negative carrier, on the film, etc. Too much of a good thing. But they are currently prized by folks who need a highly corrected lens for scanning backs for copying paintings etc, and do well enough at it to afford that kind of thing.
     
  18. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    One aspect of the Componon-S range that I like is the 'stop-down' lever function that lets you jump between your working aperture and wide open. Great for checking focus, repositioning easel, etc
     
  19. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Yes the only real differences are the ergonomics with these more recent lenses. they all perform quite well for enlarging in the darkroom, and it just depends if you like to turn to the left or the to the right to stop down, if you like illuminated numbers and what color you like them illuminated to, if you like the option to turn off half click stops and have a totally variable aperture, or if you like a full open/stop down lever for focusing (though you should always try to focus at the aperture you are exposing with to counter any focus shift).

    If you really wanted to delve into it, I suggest googling up some macro tests, with color macro work on enlarger lenses you can see slight differences in the reproduction of images and colors which may be an indication to how well they are corrected. (then again you might be seeing sample variation from lens to lens)
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Then again, you might just see some web artifacts, or read something unrelated to actual enlarging, or
    more likely, encounter some pure BS, a role at which the web excels. Talk to someone who actually uses specific lenses for a specific application. "Sample variation" might make sense if something was
    made in the 1940's, but quality control by the major manufacturers of top-end lenses has been quite
    predictable for quite awhile now. Some offer more than one quality grade of enlarging lens, so that can sometimes be a factor. The Componon series has been around a long time, with some of the Componon
    S preceding the modernization of Schneider, and some after.
     
  21. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    sample variation was the biggest single source of product quality issues in the 1990s. that's why ysx sigma black-belt training is on the rise in all major corporations.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    You must be buying lenses made in East Balookistan and sold in WalMart. Every single modern lens I've
    purchased in the last thirty years has been superb. Englarging lenses, view camera lenses, MF lenses,
    35mm lenses. Never a quality issue. Not once. Of course, I'm going for top brand stuff, Japanese Nikkors and Fujis, Kern optics, German Schneider. Even all my older Apo Nikkors are optically superb.
    About the only cheapo enlarging lens I own is an 80/4 El Nikkor - a poor performer with medium format
    film, but surprisingly good at the center of the field for 35mm use - significantly better than my old 50mm Componon S.
     
  23. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    I have a CompononS 100mm in mint shape. It is sharp as a tack. Both El Nikkor and Componon S are great. I am selling the 100mm so if interested, email me at lightwisps@yahoo.com. Don
     
  24. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    Which El-Nikkor 80/4 is that? Do you mean the 75/4 or 80/5.6. I have the old and new 75/4 and find them a little different in their performance, the N is sharper at the edges. I think the 75/4 N is brilliant bang-for-buck. No one wants them. Fools.
     
  25. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The 80/5.6 El Nikkor is a much better corrected lens. The 80/4 was a budget version with one less element, less than ideal corner MTF with MF film, and a slight focus shift from wide open to one stop
    down. But for 35mm it's a very nice bargain - brighter initial focus, and quite sharp with good internal
    contrast when using just the center of the lens. Plus I picked one up a virtually new one for next to nothing. In MF don't shoot 6x6 but 6x7 and 6x9; so a 105 would be the traditional "normal" for that,
    though I personally prefer to use a 150 Apo Rodagon N - again using just the center of the lens. It's
    a "wow" lens, and they also made a 105 in that series. I once owned a 105 Componon S. It was quite
    good, but certainly not in the league of the expensive Apo Rodagons.
     
  26. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    I can't seem to find any references on the Interweb about this lens (the el-nikkor 80/4). Can you supply any links or references about it?