Is it acceptable to use a camera lens in the enlarger?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by athanasius80, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    I found that my 127 Ektar makes seemingly sharper prints than the lenses that came with my enlarger. Until I can afford something nicer, is that an acceptable practice or is it really just "halfassing" it?
    Thanks!
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If it's making sharper prints than the lens you have, I'd say use it.

    It used to be common practice to use taking lenses for enlarging, on the theory that you could correct some of the faults of the lens that way, but in practice, this usually isn't true.

    There are lots of very affordable used 6-element enlarging lenses out there these days.
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I agree with what David said. Some of the sharpest taking lenses began as process lenses (flat field lenses) The G Clarons and the Repro Clarons are examples.
     
  4. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Seriously: If it's working for you, use it. If the 127mm is giving you sharp prints, then use it and forget anything else. It took me a long time to stop looking for a good deal on a Schneider Apo-Componon HM lens...it was when I finally figured out that I was happy with the images I was already printing that I really stopped worrying and started enjoying printing.

    You can end up like me...collecting enlarging lenses looking for some magical property that doesn't exist, or you can use what's working for you and forget about what else is out there. The 2nd path is the wiser and more cost-effective path. Trust me on this one...there is no silver bullet when it comes to lenses. If you have one that's sharp enough for you, then enjoy it. If someone tells you that another lens will give you better prints, the first thought that should go through your mind should be, "My prints are already sharp enough." You'll save a lot of money and frustration this way. :smile:

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I agree with what the others have posted so far, but with a couple of caveats. First, camera lenses may not produce a flat field, so your focus may be off in the periphery (if you focus for the center of the image). If you don't see this, or if you don't care, then just don't worry about it. The second caveat is that I've heard (hearsay alert!) that the heat from enlargers can cause problems for camera lenses, which by and large weren't designed for it. I wouldn't recommend you stop using a camera lens based on my very imperfect knowledge of this, but you might want to investigate this point further, particularly if your enlarger produces a lot of heat near the lens.

    FWIW, I've got a couple of spare Russian Industar-96U 50mm enlarger lenses. If you want one I'd be willing to let it go cheap; just send me a PM.
     
  6. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, 80,

    Whatever gets good results should be an acceptable method. For several years when I was just accumulating darkroom equipment(back in the '70's when darkroom equipment near-givaways on E-Bay were nowhere in sight and most stuff had to be purchased new), I used a 50mm Miranda macro lens as my lens for 35mm enlarging. It gave print quality that was pretty much indistinguishable from that provided by the 50mm enlarging lens I later acquired.

    Konical
     
  7. Pastiche

    Pastiche Member

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    er... what about vise versa?... I've got a 180 wolli that I'd like to stick in my Cambo... no shutter... but... I'd only be using it for light painting.. and for that.. the darkslide makes a great shutter :wink:
     
  8. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I have both used enlarging lenses on my camera and used my LF lenses in my enlarger. Both have worked just fine for both color and B&W.
     
  9. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    "what about vise versa?... "

    Good Morning, Noah,

    Eric is right. One of my most-printed negatives is a night shot of Busch Stadium in St. Louis made about twenty-five years ago with my 135mm Componon enlarging lens; enlargements up to 16 x 20 are very sharp and detailed. I can't remember anymore exactly how I rigged the lens on a board to fit the camera, but the end result was fine.

    Konical
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    If it works, just do it, in fact the Graflex series of cameras had a enlarger back option for them that you could use the camera as the enlarger which used the lens that you also took you pictures with...

    Dave
     
  11. Pastiche

    Pastiche Member

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    Konical - thanks! I'll give it a whirl!
    Satin - yah! I've actually thought (before I bought the Beseler) of using my Crown Graphic as an enlarger ;.) . . . but as with so many things Photo, while almost anything can be "DYS", I've found that the people who have engeneered and provided a product usu. have good reasons for doing so, and to invent the things ourselves often leads to us finding out what issues the makers of products have already solved (I thought about, for example, making my own strobes.... I do have access to some pretty good electric gear... but in the end.. it would be more cost effective just to buy the dam lights ;.)
    Thanks again to both of your thoughts.
     
  12. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    It's neat to know that this works. I'm going to agree with what others have said; if it works, do it.

    I mean, photography is a field of experimentation ... there really is no method that is considered "acceptable" or inacceptable". Hell, in a field where people are developing film with coffee and tylenol mixed with lye, and taking pictures using a film box with a pinhole in the from, using lenses in an enlarger is quite normal.

    The enlarger that I use is a "hacked" filmstrip projector that I rescued from the dumpster behind my town's high school, so my philosophy is "whatever works"
     
  13. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Dave is right about the Graflarger option. You can pick them up for a song on eBay. In the alternate, I have a 4x5 camera back made by Beseler to fit on my 45M that is superb with the enlarger for copy work. Lots of lenses will work both ways if you are not to picky about some weakness or distortion in the corners. Had a Wolensak 190mm enlarging lens that I regularly threw on a Graflex RB D. Got some great shots, and enlarged on an Elwood. Did the same thing with a taking Kodak Anistigmat. It all depends on the effect you are after and are satisfied with. Look at some of the classic photos of the 19th century and think about the equipment that produced them...
     
  14. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Although it does not fit your circustances I beieve thart reversed enlarging lens will work very nicely for macro work and a reversed marco lens can serve very well for an enlarging lens.
     
  15. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I think the actual benefit was with yesterdays thick films the light rays would leave a 'shaft' of silver particles at the angle of the lens. Using the same length lens and the shaft would be aligned properly. I haven't heard this suggested anywhere it's just and idea of mine.
    This might actually still hold true with ultra-wide angle lenses but I am too lazy to do the calculations.