Enlarging lens for 4x5?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by winger, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Here's this week's stupid question. Which lens focal distance is the "right" one for 4x5? I know there will be some variation in the answers, but I'm just looking for the standard one. The enlarger I was given came with a 135mm, but I'm getting a fair amount of light falloff and am wondering if I'd do better to look for a 150mm.
     
  2. emeraldcity_grain

    emeraldcity_grain Member

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    Any of the 135mm from Schneider, Nikon, Rodenstock and Fuji should cover fine. I own 3 of the 4 mentioned and they all cover 4x5.

    Which enlarger? Make sure the mixing box/condenser combination is correct for 4x5. Depending on the enlarger, also make sure the right lens board is used.
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You might get some fall off with older type 135's but if it is severe, look first to your mixing box/condenser placement, like emeraldcity_grain indicated. Also if your enlarger has a bellows stage, like the Beseler MX series, make sure it is in the proper spot. You'll love printing the big negs!
     
  4. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    It is a Beseler 45MX and it's set right for 4x5. I'm fairly sure it was used for 4x5 by its last owner with that lens, so I figured it was fine. Maybe it's the negs (that's usually the first thought).
    I've printed one neg pretty successfully and it really is sweet when an 8x10 is so crisp. I just have to shoot more so I have better negs to print.
    Thanks!
     
  5. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I have the 150mm Schnieder Componon-S and it's very sweet, I can't complain about this lens at all.
     
  6. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    You can (read: should) test to see what the fall-off is without a negative. Then you should use the harderst paper/filter you got and expose for a medium gray.
    I don't know that enlarger (as it's not very common in Europe), but if it's a condenser enlarger, you will probably have some way of adjusting the lamp position, in which case you have to make this test at both say 8x10" size and at maximum size.
    Now, waisting a 16x20" sheet of paper for this test isn't needed, just cut some test pieces (say 4x4") and place in the middle and in the corners.
    As others have said, the 135mm if modern should be fine. Else a 150mm can help you to get a more even illumination.

    //Björn
     
  7. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    My smaller format lenses are both Componon S lenses and are very nice. The 150mm is about $700 new, though. I'll check what the one I'm using is - maybe it's older?

    Bjorn, I'll take your advice and do some testing the next time I have a chance. Since the first negative I printed seems even, I suspect my other negatives leave a bit to be desired. LF is still a bit new to me (only on my 2nd box of film).
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You can also set the enlarger focused and elevated to a fairly large print size and use an incident meter to measure the center and corners without a negative in the carrier.
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    There have been problems with light fall off with the 45S lamp housing in combination with a 135mm lens in some enlargers. It seems the 45S wouldn't seat fully into the enlarger chassis. The user just switched to a different light source and no final resolution was made.
     
  10. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I have a early 1980's 150mm El Nikkor I bought new and it has been a great lens, it's the all metal model. The 135mm lenses I used in school did have falloff so I bought my own and used it in school. :D I still use it today on my Beseler MCRX 45 enlarger.
     
  11. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I have been using a rodenstock 135mm Omergaron on my Omega D-2. The lens is about as cheap as they get...Bob (the Rodentock guy here in the US) says it is the bottom of the line Rodenstock enlarger lens...still, it works OK for 8x10 from 4x5. I remember when I was first setting up the enlarger with this lens, I think I had the wrong lens cone...or something. Anyway, there were issues. But now that that's all sorted, seems to work pretty good.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    As Nicholas Lindan says this is an issue with the enlarger model, I've used 135mm Componons for 30+ years for 5x4 also a 150mm. I've never had any problems with light fall off with condenser or cold cathode heads.

    Bethe, 150mm Componon's are really quite cheap second-hand, many pro-labs are even throwing away turrets full of lenses. I picked up a whole bunch of mint Componons destined for landfill 2 or 3 years ago. Most I gave away free here on APUG, at least 3 went to the US, & 1 to France, there's no 150mm unfortunately.

    Ian
     
  13. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The old darkroom rats told me always to use an enlarging lens "the next size up" for more even illumination. Of course, since that was in the early 1960s, they were talking about older lenses. Still, that's what I've always done. So, for them, at a minimum I guess we would be talking about a 150.
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have 135mm, 150mm and 180mm Rodagons, and mostly use the 180mm since then I don't have to swap condensers if I suddenly decide to print a 5x7" negative.

    And 150mm Componar and Comparon lenses too, and a 180mm Voigtländer W.Z. ...

    Even illumination is just a matter of bulb placement and condenser selection.
     
  15. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Well, the lens is an Omicron-EL f5.6 with a serial # 104059 (which seems older, if not old). Testing with an incident meter shows that there's a little less light on the corners. BUT, the contacts for the negs I had issues with show slightly lighter corners, too. I have a hunch it's both working against me.
    I'm sorta working blind with both LF and this enlarger. I've used a Beseler 23CIII for years, but just started moving up in formats. The 45MX was a gift and is older. I did put a new bulb in it (the one listed in the manual) and I've cleaned what I can get to. But I don't know anyone nearby who can check it for me.
    I will keep my eyes open for a 150mm - especially if I can find a Componon-S. But I'll be looking for cheap.
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have two 135 mm enlarging lenses. One, and the one that came with my enlarger, is an old Schneider Componon (not S) with a 25 mm mount. The other is a Nikkor. I have no practical problems with light fall off at the edges of the frame with either of these lenses. To be fair, I use a Chromega II lamphouse, which is a diffuse light source, so no concern about adjusting condensers and light bulbs.
     
  17. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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