enlarger lens for 35mm B&W APO lens

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ymc226, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Right now I use a Nikon 50mm 2.8 enlarger lens, exclusively print B&W and am wondering if the APO series of lens currently available will make a difference when printing onto FB paper. I don't use T grain films usually but use mostly Fuji Neopan and Acros developed in Xtol, Rodinal or HC 110.

    On the B&H website, there are 2 available, the Schneider 40/2.8 APO-Componon HM http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/88339-REG/Schneider_12_019746_40_2_8_APO_Componon_HM_Enlarging.html and the Rodenstock 50/2.8 APO-Rodagon N http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/44385-USA/Rodenstock_452340_50mm_f_2_8_APO_Rodagon_N.html

    I do use APO lenses for my 6x6/6x7 and 6x9 negatives but I don't have anything to compare it to as I have no other lenses.

    1) is the 40mm Schneider lens a focal length that would be appropriate for 35mm negatives?
    2) would tonality be improved using an APO lens?
     
  2. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    An APO lens should not make a difference for B&W printing.

    Graded paper is sensitive to blue light; variable-contrast to blue and green. Neither is sensitive to red, which is why safelights are red.

    Non-APO lenses are corrected for blue and green, so the additional red correction provided by an APO lens is not needed.

    I use Schneider Apo-Componon HM lenses for all my enlargements.
    They're superb lenses, but as I said the APO correction is probably of no benefit for B&W work.
    I only do B&W now, but I used to also do Cibachromes using an additive-light head, which is why I bought the APO lenses.

    I think 40mm is a bit short for 35mm; I use 45mm.

    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2011
  3. goodfood

    goodfood Member

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    I have 50mm Nikonf/2.8 and Apo Rodagon 50mm f/2.8 (without N, old model). The result, Nikon better. Two years ago I have a chance got a Leica Focotar 50mm f/4. From that time, I forgot those two lenses. My 90mm Apo Rodagon 90mm f/4 still for medium format, 6X6 lens since 1984.
     
  4. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I use the rodenstock 50mm apo for my printing. The only thing I've noticed is sharper corners at lower apertures, which gives me more room to play around with. If you do notice an overall difference, I imagine it would be minimal at f.8-11, but would likely take place if you find yourself printing at 2.8-5.6.
     
  5. M. Lointain

    M. Lointain Member

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    You haven't said how large you are printing, but generally you aren't going to see a huge difference with an apo lens compared to your Nikkor. If you don't have them already you should use the money to purchase a laser alignment tool and a top notch grain focussing tool. Those will make a difference; much more so than the difference between your Nikkor and an apo.
     
  6. ath

    ath Member

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    Read the book "post exposrue" by Ctein (it is available as free download on his webpage); he compared quite a few enlarger lenses.
    The late Barry Thornton writes in his book "edge of darkness" about testing quite a few enlarger lenses. IIRC he came to the conclusion that sample variation might be of more influence that the lens design itself.

    Personally I have never used APO enlarger lenses. My Nikkor 50/2,8N is impressive and beats all 80mm lenses I've compared it against (Rodagon old & current, Schneider Componon, Meopta Anaret, unnamed japanese lens). The "lowly" 4 element lenses held up very well, sometimes being better in the center that the 6 element lenses. These had the advantage in the outer borders.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I presume you are going to be making some massive enlargements. In that case the edges will be sharper with your big enlargements, compared to the Nikkor. The Nikkor does not have as big of a useable image circle, so when you are making those big 25x enlargements, the edges will be compromised. You can also use those 45 and 40mm HM lenses for enlargements less then 25x but I never do. Because the enlarger head is so low, I can't open the printing easel.
     
  8. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Schneider 40 & 45, 40 Focotar all give awful corners with condenser enlargers, however they work fine with diffusion machines. i have 7 enlargers from 35 to 4x5 that print all formats and tried them every which way, single glass, double glass, no glass carriers, you name it. Do not buy them for a condenser machine.

    I will have to disagree reguarding APO. There is a "clarity' difference that is unmistakable, sharpness not so much, but it is there. I have tried all versions of Leica Focotars, Rodenstock N APO, and older Nikors. The German are the best.
     
  9. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks for all of your responses. Presently, I have 2 LPL (Omega/Saunders) 4x5 diffusion enlargers that I use with the VCCE module specific for B&W.

    I enlarge from a minimum of 8x10 (rare) to 11x14 (usual) to 16x20 (rare) using FB multi-grade papers (Ilford MGIV, ADOX MCC) or lith using Fomatone.
     
  10. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion but my LPL enlargers don't allow for alignment as they are factory adjusted. I do use a Peak 1 grain focuser.

    I guess my problem is that I want to like 35mm more given the money I've spent on 35mm cameras/lenses and the ability to reload less given 36 exposures/roll. I keep on coming back to MF for the beautiful tones and large negatives.
     
  11. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I'm surprised the LPL doesn't allow for alignment, but if the alignment is good that's all that matters. If it is not good, then you have to find a way to correct it.

    As other have said, the Nikkor 50 f2.8 is an excellent lens, as long as you are meaning the newer version (which is not really that new) with illuminated f stops (called 50mm F2.8N as ath mentioned). I used the older version for many years, not realizing that the later one was a redesign with much improved performance.

    Related to that is using the optimum apertures. Ctein found f4 to be optimum, but that is very demanding of alignment and negative flatness. I generally use f5.6 to 6.3. With small prints I'll stop down to f8 if I have to. With a good 50mm lens, stopping down more than shows a perceptible loss of sharpness, and the larger the print, the more it matters.

    The 50 f2.8 Nikkor is optimized for 8x, and Nikon recommended its usable range as 2x-20x, so you are well within its designed magnification range. I'm happy with 16x20's with this lens. If that was my standard size, or I regularly printed larger, I might look into a lens optimized for higher magnification, but I have no complaints with this one.

    35mm can look great when everything is spot on, but it is not very forgiving.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2011
  12. M. Lointain

    M. Lointain Member

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    The two Saunders enlargers I own (670 vcce and 4550xl) both had to be shimmed to be aligned, so don't believe the "it is aligned at the factory" bs. Do yourself a favor and make sure. Without your enlarger being aligned it won't matter what lens you use.
     
  13. ath

    ath Member

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    Alignment is much more important than the lens.
     
  14. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    The difference in a good enlarger lens and an APO is very small. As already said alignment is much more important.