Nikkor 50mm f2.8 v. f4

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by panchromatic, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    At my work we have two nikkor enlarging lens for sale. a nikkor 50mm f4 and a 80mm f5.6 (my boss will give me both for 50 bucks) My question is I saw there is a 50mm f2.8 and a f4 is there any quality difference between the two? is it really worth having the f2.8?
     
  2. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi !
    As far as I recall, and may be wrong, the EL NIkkor 50 f/4.0 is a four lenses lens, and the F/2.8 is a six lenses.
    Buy the two, if you have any use of the 80 mm which is really good. For $50 it is a bargain (provided there are no fungus nor scratches on the lenses).
    Try the 50 and if not good sell it, and find a 2.8 or better an 63mm F2.8 which is the best lenses for 135 film Nikon produced.
    Enjoy !
     
  3. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Ryan,
    I can't tell you about the difference in quality between the 50mm f2.8 and f4

    I do, however, have the 50mm f2.8 and never use it at 2.8; I usually use it at f11 or f8. 2.8 is just too fast.

    Even if the f4 is of 'lesser' quality than the f2.8, I'm willing to bet that it's still an excellent lens.

    And at $50 for a 50mm and an 80mm the quality is probably excellent :wink:

    Cheers,
    Kent
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Ryan,

    The 50mm f/2.8 is a 6-element enlarging lens and the 50mm f/4 is a 4-element enlarging lens. The f/4 is still reputed to be one of the best 4-element enlarging lenses.

    If you don't need the 80mm f/5.6 (or if the boss has another one to sell) let me know, I've been looking for one to match with my 50mm f/2.8.
     
  5. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    I agree with the others. The 2.8 is a six element lens and the 4.0 has four elements and possibly only three. The 2.8 will give a flatter field and more sharpness in the corners. I agree also take the 80mm you might need it in the future.
     
  6. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Ryan,

    For the price you cited, grab them both, even if you don't have an immediate use for either one!

    Konical
     
  7. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I had a f4 and now have the f2.8 The extra stop is nice for focusing but the major advantage to me is the lit aperture scale on the f2.8. Print wise I've never made a comparision but no one ever told me I needed a sharper enlarger lens with prints from the f4, so for the price, buy 'em... use it while you casually keep an eye out for a suitabley priced f2.8 and onsell the 80 to Jeremy...
     
  8. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    El Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 vs f/4 - I had an f/4 (2 of them, actually) for over 30 yrs. At one point I finally decided I should try the f/2.8. I made very controlled tests and could tell virtually no differences. I was given a 2.8 later and enjoy the brighter aperature for focussing, and the illuminated stop as someone pointed out, but don't believe there is much if any quality difference.
     
  9. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Ditto!

    I use the 80mm for med format and the 63mm for 35mm.
     
  10. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    My Nikkor 50mm 2.8 doesn't have an illuminated stop. Is this a feature of the newer models?
     
  11. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    It must be...My 50mm f2.8 is not illuminated, but my 75mm f4 is. The former is an all metal construction and the latter is made largely out of plastic.

    Just MHO,
    Kent
     
  12. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Sorry, folks, my mistake. The 50 f/2.8 Nikkor does not have illuminated stops.
     
  13. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Buy both--for $50 you can't possibly go wrong.

    Unless you're printing Ilfochromes with very long exposure times, or gigantic enlargements in B&W, you will never need the f2.8 lens. Even when I was printing Ilfochromes, I still used my 2.8 at f4 because it wasn't as sharp at 2.8. The chief advantage of the 2.8 is that it gives you a little brighter image for focusing, but you should focus at the f stop you'll be using anyway. Most enlarging lenses hit their optimum sharpness about two stops down from wide open, i.e. at around f8 or f11 depending. After that, you begin to get diffraction effects, which while not hugely noticeable, do lessen the appearance of sharpness somewhat.

    I suspect at f8 or f11, the Nikkor f4 is every bit as good a lens as the f2.8.

    Larry
     
  14. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    my EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 has illuminated fstops. They must have changed the design at some point.
     
  15. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I use an El-Nikkor 50/2.8, the all-metal one. I swear by it, it is a fantastic enlarging lens. I also have an El-Nikkor 80/5.6 and while it is nice, I get better prints using my Fujinon EX 135/5.6 (for what it's worth). I think my 80mm might be a dud.
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Well, I just purchased an EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 for $75, so for $50 for both of yours - it's a no-brainer. My father has used the 50mm f/4 for ages, and he's got no complaints at all. It's a great lens!

    - Thom
     
  17. Ornello

    Ornello Inactive

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    I was going to say the same thing. I doubt there's any significant qualitative difference.