Focotar enlarging lenses.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by gainer, May 12, 2004.

  1. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Does Leitz make the enlarging lenses that bear its name? Can anyone tell me from experience how a 50 mm Focotar 2 compares with the 50 mm APO Rodagon? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Hi Pat, were you by any chance, looking at this thread:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=005Xdo&unified_p=1

    Seems there is a difference of opinion in the Leica User Community about this subject. Some state that all of the Focotars were made by Schneider, others say Schneider made many of them, but that Leitz made the Focotar 2 lenses themselves.

    Regardless of who made them, I would expect them to perform very well indeed at their optimum aperture and magnification ratio. Precise focusing at the using aperture is critical, of course.

    As to which 50mm enlarging lens is the best, I would like to see a well controlled test performed.
     
  3. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    From hearsay the original Focotar is considered a underperforming lens (compared to the competition pricewise).
    The Focotar 2 is considered among the best.

    Jorge O
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The Focotar 2 was recommended to me by a very opinionated person. I have an APO Rodagon with which I am pleased. I was curious as to whether it could be that much worse than the focotar.

    It occurred to me that, in the same way we learn about other dynamic systems, we could not use the response to a step inout to learn a good bit about the enlarging lenses. It is quite possible for a lens to show edge effects. I am thinking of getting some thin brass shim stock, blackening it (polysulfide toner should work) and using the edge of it as a step input. My reasoning is that I have noticed that my eye shows "edge effects" in the form of fringes at sharply defined edges. This is not diffraction, because there are no color fringes, only a brighter line on the white side of the dark edge. This is in fact a well known characteristic of the human visual system. We tend to think that the edge effects we see in photographs are actually part of the object space, but I have seen them disappear when I look at the edges through a low powered high quality magnifier. Anyway, I'm thinking. At my age, that's a blessing. Mostly what I remember these days is that I used to be able to remember things.
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Back in the days when my beard was black and I was doing comparison testing of enlarging lenses, I tested a couple of 50mm Focotars (not Focotar 2s) and concluded that they were the equivalent of the 50mm Schneider Componons with a possibly a little lower variability (couldn't say with a statistical sample of 2 Focotars - but we had a sample size of about 200 Componons). That meant to me that the Focotars were very good lenses indeed, but not worth the additional cost over a Componon. I have never tested a Focotar 2.
     
  6. edz

    edz Member

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    The Focotar-2 is very good. In a condensor enlarger like the Focomat (or my Durst with the condensers in it) its as good as I think it can get. While the Focotars are indeed "good" early Componons, the difference between it and the Focotar-2 did surprize me... I expected the Focotar-2 to be good but, given their age (they are mid-1970s designs), rarity and Wetzlar drunken aura... I expected a somewhat better Rodagon class lens... subtle and not spectacular.. and it seemed to be the right "thing" to put in my Focomat 1c.. but the Focotar-2 proved to really be **that good**.. rare among the Leica crowd.. and compared to the Rodenstocks (which I do like so don't get me wrong).. the Focotar-2 seems to even have better colour correction than the APO Rodagon--- which is not an APO objective afterall.
     
  7. Emile de Leon

    Emile de Leon Member

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    The focotar 2's are stunning lenses. I have the 50mm and the 100mm. Both Focotar 2's. The 50mm can be used wide open.... Ralph Gibson does this. F5.6 might be best for the 50mm but not by much over wide open. The 100mm at f8 is great.These are the sharpest corners you will find if you use either a Valoy-2 or a 1C. Amazing!