Replace Enlarging Lens

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by kb3lms, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Question on enlarging lens. I acquired an Omega B600 enlarger, a basic unit. The lens that came with it, which I am sure is the original lens, is marked "Omega EL 1:3.5 f= 50mm. Seeing the low prices of lenses on the "auction site," is it a worthwhile investment to look for a Nikon or Rodenstock (or other) lens?

    With my limited experience I haven't noticed any problems with the lens but not sure I would know what I was missing out on as I am just getting up to speed. So, I was thinking about maybe swapping after reading some posts and other information.

    If a swap would be worthwhile, what should I look for? I am planning on printing 35mm b+w as well as color up to 11x14, although mostly 8x10.
     
  2. kauffman v36

    kauffman v36 Member

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    you can probably find an El-Nikkor 50/2.8 relatively cheap and its a great lens for the money.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I would....

    That is a lens Omega sold as a kit lens. You can still buy a brand new one for $70.

    To give you some type of comparison, I have an Omega branded 75mm lens. Comparing this lens to 80mm Nikkor or 50mm Nikkor, there is a world of difference even at the center. Enlarged to 8x10 size, to my naked eyes, there are some difference - although not great big difference. Omega looks "a tad" soft. If I look at it with grain scope, the difference becomes obvious. Using Omega, the film grain never sharply focuses. With Nikkor, of course, it's sharp.

    It is possible my Omega lens is defective but like you said - with today's give-away prices of good Nikkor, why wait....
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    At 11x14 from a 35mm negative one of the six-element lenses may have better sharpness out at the edges.

    When you say you have not noticed any problem with the existing lens do you mean that the grain is sharp from edge to edge on an 11x14? If so, then the new lens is unlikely to make any differnce to your viewers.
     
  5. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    What I meant by not not noticing any problem is that I don't know what I don't know :wink: Having nothing to compare to (and no grain focuser at the moment) I guess I don't know what I'm missing out on!
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Hey, how about this? Speaking of "give away prices...." I have a Nikkor 50mm f/4 lens in excess to my needs. While f/2.8 version of the lens is better, I doubt it would make much difference at the magnification you are talking about. This lens has come to me in less than perfect condition but I've cleaned it and it is in good usable condition. I just checked it and it is grain sharp at 8x10.

    You can have it for the cost of shipping.
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I also have the EL Nikkor 50mm f4 that my father bought new in the 70s. We kept it in perfect condition and it was my primary enlarging lens for 35mm until very recently when I bought a new enlarger and decided at the same time to upgrade lenses (went with the Rodenstock APO 50mm f2.8). Nearly all my 35mm enlargements are to 8x10, and I have to honestly say I don't see any difference in sharpness vs the 4-element Nikkor at that size. There is a little more light falloff toward the corners with the Nikkor at large apertures, but I stop down to f8 anyway so the Nikkor was fine.

    I would definitely recommend the 4-element Nikkor if you're on a budget.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Ok, so what you are looking for is consistent sharp grain from corner to corner in the print.
     
  9. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    FYI, Ann has a nice Nikon El-Nikor 50/2.8 for sale cheap in the classifieds, procedes go to her school(a worthy endeavor)