Nikon vs Rodenstock enlarger lenses

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I was printing 35mm negs last weekend. I want to print smaller so I used my 80mm Rodenstock lens and I think the prints look sharper than printed my Nikon 50mm. Is it my imagination? Are Rodenstock enlarger lenses sharper than Nikon enlarger lenses?
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Back in the old days the Rondenstock Rodagon were more expensive than the Nikkor. Of course price isn't a sure indication of quality but it generally is.
     
  3. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    Well, well, is there a difference? I have used Rodenstock from 28mm to 300mm, a few Nikons 50, 63 and 80mm. The odd Schneider.
    There are quite a few different types of Rodenstck lenses for different purposes like the Apo's the G lenses.
    Out of my experience is that the 63mm Nikon lens is better than any Rodenstock 50mm lens for 35mm film unless you go big, real big then you need a Rodenstock G lens. Personaly I also prefer a 80mm Nikon over a Rodenstock.
    Often I do believe we see what we want to see when it comes to different lenses.
    It could also be that since you used a 80mm for a 35mm film you only used the center of the lens which is always sharper and more brilliant than the edges of a lens.
     
  4. greenrhino

    greenrhino Member

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    Some of that difference can come from using a longer lens than the standard 50. You also get the added benefit of having the bellows extended slightly more making the lens stage to negative stage alignment slightly less critical.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Hey thanks for your tips from experience. Saved me from GAS.
     
  6. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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  7. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    There are variations from sample to sample, from model to model and sometimes you prefer one brand in one focal length and another in another.

    FWIW I find the top Nikon lenses comparable to the late model rodagons. My most used lenses are:

    63 Nikkor
    105 Rodagon
    135 Componon-s / 150 Rodagon

    I certainly prefer 50mm Rodagons to Schneider Componon-S lenses. Its something to do with the tonality/contrast of the latter I don't like as much but its entirely personal.

    One brand consistently better than the other? Not to my eyes.
     
  8. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    I agree, it's mostly a 80mm Versus 50mm thing in this case. An 80mm will always win for 35mm smaller prints.
     
  9. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've been printing for over 30 years and never knew that. Thanks for all the responses! I'll a look at the links.
     
  10. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have used both makes of lenses and currently use a Nikkor 50mm F2.8. As far as I can remember the Rodenstock Rodagon 50mm F2.8 was about the same standard - that is both were/are damn good, but I may give the Rodenstock Rodagon a bit more credit when printing colour especially if it was the APO version. The Nikkor did seem however to have the better build quality.
     
  11. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    they are not sharper, but the smaller you print,the sharper they appear!
     
  12. ath

    ath Member

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    I had the exact opposite result when comparing my Nikon 50/2.8N with a Rodagon 80/4 (current version) and a Rodagon 80/5.6. Same negative, same magnification.
    Is your Nikon clean? Haze acumulates over the years and reduces contrast.
    And which Nikon 50 is it? There is the f/4 which is a 4 element and not as good as the f/2.8.
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I agree with Ralph. My 80mm is no sharper than my 50mm lenses, but for mechanical vignetting reasons I am forced to use a 63mm for 35mm negs.

    Ctein tests (I recall) show that the shorter focal lengths are often sharper and that as long as you do not have coverage issues, soft corners should not be an issue. Certainly hasn't been for me. That 63mm is killer sharp and so is the 50mm Neonon I have.
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I find the Nikon 80/4 to be a very nice lens for 35mm at least one stop down (there's focus shift
    from max aperture). That's because I'm just using the center of the lens. But it would be a relatively
    poor choice for the 6X6 format it is nominally marketed for, due to poor resolution toward the edges.
    It's the economy version and not as well corrected at the six-element 5.6 lens. But for true med format enlarging I actually use a 150 Apo Rodagon, which does a remarkable job, as does purportedly
    the 105 equivalent (wish I had one of those too). For 4x5 I use a 180 Rodagon or 240 Apo Nikkor,
    depending, and once in awhile the 150 Apo Rodagon if I need a wider max aperture at expense to
    eveness of illumination. Each has its own personality, and sometimes too much MTF becomes a bad
    thing because every tiny scritch, scratch, or ding on a negative will be printed as well.
     
  15. declark

    declark Subscriber

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    I started with a 6 element El-Nikkor 80mm and only print b&w on a Beseler 23c with dichroic head. Later I bought a bunch of gear when my local darkroom at the community center closed and acquired a Rodagon 80mm f4 (At the time I thought it was a 50). Realizing I had duplicate lenses (IIRC the Nikkor may have been f5.6 so advantage Rodagon) I decided one had to go so compared a really crisp 645 Delta 100 image printed back to back and the Rodagon seemed to have a very slight edge so I sold the Nikkor and kept the Rodagon. The difference was very subtle and could just be sample variation. Didn't slow me down from later buying a El-Nikkor 50mm because they are such great bargains.