Question on Enlarging lenses

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Uncle Bill, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Having recently developed TLR madness, I started printing from 6x6 negs with a Nikkor 80 f5.6 on loan to me and I am getting great results. Problem, the owner (my brother) once moved into his new house and his darkroom set up is going to want his lens. back.

    I am on a Devere 504 with a Varicon Condenser head, I have one lens board for M-39 so I really don't want an endless quest for a second lens board so what are my options for a decent enlarging lens for 6x6 provided it's M-39. I would also like to know what is the ideal focal length for printing 6x6? I have seen online anywhere from 75 to 105mm is considered ok for enlarging 6x6. I looking for some clarification so I can narrow down my search.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I am using an 80mm lens for 6x6 negatives. The bottom line is that there is a range of acceptable lenses that can be used. The difference in the focal length is reflected in the height of the enlarger above the easel.

    Steve
     
  3. 2Bugles

    2Bugles Member

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    Any of the lenses from 80mm to 105mm will work fine with little difference between the big names, Schneider Componon-S, Rodenstock Rodagon and Nikon El-Nikkor, all 6-element lenses. The most important factor will probably be condition if you purchase used, but they can be bought very economically. I just paid less than $25 for a 105mm Rodagon and plan on tying to buy a 100mm Componon-S for about the same price to compare.
     
  4. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I use a 100mm Componon S for most of my prints from 6x6, but switch to an 80mm El-Nikkor when I want a bigger enlargement. I find that the 100 just gives a more convenient working distance for prints around 10x8. The Rodagons are also excellent, but the Schneider has that convenient stop down lever.
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    100 Componon-S for 8x8 and smaller prints and 75 Componon-S for larger prints.
     
  6. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I should add the final variable, I print 8x10 and 11x14 most of the time.
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Then I'd get a 105mm Nikon. It's M39. Will cover 6x9 if you ever go that way. Will give you more space when printing small from 6x6. It's not like your enlarger is short .
     
  8. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I am using a durst 1200 with a 150mm lens.

    When using 6x6, I use the same lens (150). I can get to 30x30cm.
    I did some tests to compair a 80mm (componon-s) with the 150(rodagon) and the 150 looks better than the 80. So using a 105 is no problem.
    The bigger the better i think...
     
  9. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    No, it's a beast.
     
  10. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    I use either a 5.6 90 mm VHE Vivitar (Schneider-made) or a 5.6 105 Rodenstock Rodagon. My old darkroom-rat mentors insisted an oversized lens gave more even coverage and better sharpness across the image. They may have been right.
     
  11. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Bill, I have a Mk4 504 and have both an 80 and 105mm enlarging lenses.

    How big a print are you likely to want to try - I can try on mine and see what coverage you get with each lens if you want :smile:

    I can do slighly larger than 20x24 on the baseboard with a 5x4 neg and a 150mm Schneider Componon S but have never tried the 6x6 and the shorter lenses at the top of the column.

    Anscojohn has a very good point - all things being equal - going to a longer focal lenght lens gives less performance drop off towards the corners with smaller format negatives

    Martin
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes, MTF curves show both better sharpness and more even coverage, but the differences may be very small (like between 135mm and 150mm).
     
  13. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I print 8x10 roughly 80% of the time, the rest 11x14. I don't have any 16x20 trays let alone an easel to hold the paper so I need a lens that can print both sizes with consistant high quality.

    I am stuck on M-39 thread mount because honestly lens boards for Devere 504s are the same price of a dinner for two new. I am happy with the 80 5.5 Nikkor I am using, are there any other M-39 80mm lenses out there I should look for. I know the quality between all of them are pretty much the same.
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Any of the newish big three [Rodenstock,Scheinder and NIkon] are M39 in the 80mm focal length. The Nikon is F/5.6 while the newest ones from the others are IIRC F/4. If that matters to you. One of them makes an APO 75mm but I can't remember which.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    No, it's not. They are almost identical same size (51x38.5 and 51x40) and come in the same size box. The 80 weights 100g and the 105 weights 110g. No beast at all. Both lenses are very good and work well with 6x6. The 80 is advertised for up 6x7 and the 105 (as Nick said) for 6x9.
     
  16. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Please share where you found MTFs for enlarging lenses.
     
  17. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Ralph, a couple of months ago I had a question about the differences between a 135 & 150mm Enlarging Lens

    There is a heck of a price difference so I wanted to know optically what the differences were

    Couldn't find it published anywhere on the Web

    So, I e-mailed Rodenstock, who were very helpful and supplied the MFT information for both lenses :smile:

    Martin
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    thanks for the tip
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thanks ic-racer! :smile:

    Steve
     
  21. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Everyone know how to read them? If not I can point out what is going on in those charts.
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    While I generally agree with this, I've used both 50 and 80mm Rodagons for 135, and have never seen a noticeable difference in sharpness, personally. Doesn't mean it isn't there, but it seems negligible at best.
     
  23. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Bill, pretty much all enlarging lenses up to and including 135mm use a 39mm thread - so you should have plenty of options.

    I actually like using a slightly longer than "standard" lens of enlarging - as it gives me more room to wiggle my hands as I dodge and burn.

    With an enlarger the size of the 504 column height isn't going to be a problem with any length of lens unless you are into very selective enlargements of parts of a negative

    I suspect almost none of us could detect the performance variations between any decent enlarging lens on even the most fabulous 11x14 print, as the performance level seems to start at outstanding and only goes up from there

    As well as the Nikkor, the Rodenstock Rodagon and Schneider Componon-S are both excellent. The 80mm f/4 versions of all these lenses are 6 element in 4 groups and are considered better than the 4 element f/5,6 counterparts - but again as 11x14 could you really tell?

    Happy hunting :smile:

    Martin