Nikon Enlarging Lens 50mm, F4

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by t al z, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. t al z

    t al z Member

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    I am cosidering buying a new enlarging lens (this one: http://www.usedottawa.com/classified-ad/4900177).

    what will be the main differences I notice from the lens I have now. I have a Omega Chromega B Dichroic enlarger and the lens is the lens that came with the enlarger. it is a Rodenstock EL-Omegar F4.

    I have heard the nikon lens is good. bot how specifically will I notice a difference? sharpness?

    thanks.
     
  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Hi, go for a newer El-Nikkor 50mm f2.8N, which is a 6 element lens. It will be sharper than your existing lens for enlargements. I think the EL Nikkor 50mm f4 is okay, but you should be able to get the f2.8 for $50, or less and it will be sharper for larger enlargements.

    Jon
     
  3. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    I would recommend the El Nikkor 50mm f2.8 over the f4. It is a much better performer, sharper and better contrast. With the current cost of enlarging lenses, the f2.8 should be quite affordable.
    Good luck with your quest.

    gene
     
  4. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    What timing!!!! :wink:

    gene
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    To elaborate a bit on what others have said, the lens to which you linked is substantially overpriced. Similar lenses have sold on eBay recently for $10-$28 (mostly $10-$13) plus shipping. The Nikon f/4 50mm lens is a 4-element design, which is inferior to the 6-element design of the Nikon f/2.8 50mm lens. I happen to own samples of both, along with two other 4-element 50mm lenses (a Russian Industar-96U and a Durst Neotaron) and a 5-element lens (a Russian Vega-11U). Of these lenses, the Nikon f/4 is dead last in quality, whereas the Nikon f/2.8 is tops. This is based on side-by-side tests I've done myself. That said, the differences are small enough that they aren't really objectionable in modest (say, 8x10-inch) enlargements done at f/5.6 or f/8. The differences become more noticeable at wider apertures and/or larger print sizes (or greater enlargement, to be more precise). Differences show up most in edge and corner sharpness. Also, sample-to-sample differences in enlarger lenses can be significant, and used lenses (as most of mine are) may have been abused. Thus, it's entirely possible that my Nikon f/4 is a dud by Nikon f/4 standards.

    Nikon's 6-element designs are generally considered excellent, as are 6-element designs from other major manufacturers. (Rodenstock, Schneider, and Nikon are the most popular enlarger lens manufacturers, but Fuji, Minolta, and various others make well-respected lenses, too.) Some, but not all, manufacturers use -ar suffixes for their 4-element designs and -on suffixes for their 6-element designs. Rodenstock and Schneider both do this, but Fuji and Nikon don't.
     
  6. nze

    nze Member

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    I'll add that if you don't do larger print than a 12X16 the F4 will be good but above I will take a F2.8
     
  7. t al z

    t al z Member

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    Thanks all, I am going to go for the 2.8. I am printing some 11 x 16 and maybe 16 x 20. much appreciated!
     
  8. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    The f/4 can be a very good performer: I had one that was as good as any of my 6-element El Nikkors or Rodagons when stopped to f8/f11. The 4-element design doesn't have to limit performance, only maximum aperture, as any Apo-Tessar or Nikkor-M will testify.

    Dogs seem to be more common in enlarging lenses, or maybe it is just easier to spot them as lenses are judged by how sharply they can image the grain. Naturally, the worst of the lenses end up circulating in the used market.

    The price asked for the lens in question is way too high, as others have noted. For $65 you should be able to get a used EX/VG late model f2.8 50mm El-Nikkor, Rodagon or Componon. I wouldn't offer over $20 for an f4; but at $20 a 50mm f/4 El-Nikkor is very good value for the money. Another very good lens, often available for very little $$, is the enlarging Minolta.
     
  9. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    For 50 euro, more or less 65$ I bought my Rodenstock Apo-Rodagon 2.8/50. So go find a better deal. Good hunting..

    Jaap Jan