Schneider 135mm Componon-S or Rodagon?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by wildbill, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I'm currently using a componon-s for enlarging 4x5 on my D2 w/chromega head. I don't think it's the latest model but it's not that old. I usually use it stopped down to 11 or 16.

    I think my prints should be sharper. My prints are usually 11x14 or 16x20. I've read tests that say my schneider isn't the greatest when put next to some others. Would the 150mm Rodenstock Rodagon be a better lens for me?
     
  2. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    You might try opening up your current lens a stop or two...you might be reaching diffraction limits at f/11, and you almost certainly are at f/16. Try printing at f/5.6 or f/8 with careful focusing to see if that helps.

    My 135mm enlarging lens is a Componon-S (about 1 generation old), and my prints are razor-sharp. I primarily print at f/5.6 or f/8 due to diffraction concerns.

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  3. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I agree that increasing the aperture might give better sharpness, however that lens at f/’16 should function well, really. There may be other factors at work.

    I use a 150 Rodagon for 4x5 and an older 105 Schneider for 6x6 and 6x7. I can’t tell if one is any better than the other. They are both excellent. Have you given your negatives a close look with a powerful loupe? Have you tried enlarging with a third party system? How about your enlarger alignment? My ancient DII was out of alignment when I got it but once done it stayed pretty sharp. Problems may also arise with vibrations. How sturdy is your stand etc? Any issues with film carrier or negative “popping” etc? Yet another potential problem is lens fog. One of my original lenses, a Kodak Ektar 100mm, was unusable due to the terrible flare caused by element cement deterioration. Almost any of these issues can result in ones print to exhibit apparent loss of sharpness. Then there is the lens itself. There have been several threads here at APUG on the subject of lens element positioning after CLA. It doesn’t take much to cause poor performance from a decent lens if the re-assembly of parts is faulty.
     
  4. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If you 4x5 prints are not suitably sharp part of the solution to the problem has already been offered...use the optimum enlarging lens aperture.

    I would go two additional steps and and make certain that:
    1). Checking the camera and holders so that:
    A: The cameras registration..postion of the ground glass is correct. It is far from rare that this critical measuement is flawed in wood field cameras. What I am referring to is that the inside of the groundglass falls in the same location as the film in the holder.

    B: That my film holders are all placing the film at the proper location.

    I do not know what the tolerance for this measurement is but it is a CRITICAL measurement in a view camera. It is easily checked with a depth micrometer. I would guess the +- .002 would be reasonably tolerable. The less devation the better.

    It is fairly close to certain that you have a couple of film holders that would
    make good candidates for replacement if you have 10 or more of them.

    2. Try a glass negative carrier if you are not now using one.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Wildbill,

    If you've not considered this yet, verify that your enlarging system is in proper alignment.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I almost always use f 11. I'll try 5.6 or an 8. Enlarger is aligned. I checked the groundglass upon purchase after having that problem go unnoticed on my first camera, the Iston. I started with a glass negative carrier but i get sharper results w/o the extra layer of glass. My negs stay very flat and the chromega head doesn't heat up enough to pop them. Thanks for the suggestions.
    Someone posted on apug that their componon-s was their "worst photographic purchase" and that's what's got me thinking.
     
  7. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    Well, it is always possible that you have a dog lens. If you can, try a friend's lens or see if you can get one from a shop that is returnable if it doesn't solve your problem. I also have both Rodagon and Componon, along with Nikkor, Fujinon, Minolta and others. (You gotta love running a community darkroom!) I have not seen differences between any of the good brands. I have not done any serious testing, but the kind of problems you describe would show up without that if it were there. If it's the lens, I suspect it is a bad specimen and not a sign of Componon S lenses being inferior in general.
     
  8. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi wildbill

    I have also Rodenstock and Schneider and since a short time the 135 mm Nikkor and all are tack sharp.
    I asked then the Ing. at Rodenstock why they do not a red dot on the sharperst f stop of every enlarging lens, as it was in the past on cameralenses when the lenses where horrible unsharp on most f stops!
    He sayed it would maybe some customers make unhappy because they would always only work with that f stop and this is really not necessary, he told me.
    Further he sayed as a standard rule you should stop a normal 6 element lens down for optimal sharpness 2-3 f stops from full open and the APO's only 1-2 f stops from full open.
    But in your case you must have a early monday one ore it is defectively.
    How about the cleaniness of the lens? It is very important to clean them from time to time if there is some schmutz or particels on it!
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Align the enlarger...99% of the time, that's the problem.
     
  10. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    I am using 135 and 150 conparons, mid grade between the junk componars and the best Componon. I got them when i first startd 4x5 but would not buy them today.

    All the old camera lenses were replaced with modern ones, but I am perfectly happy the the enlarging lenses. They are optimised for 2x to 6x which is fine for 4x5. Grain is sharp right to the corners on a 16x20. Can`t ask for more.

    Your Componon s has to be better unless it is defective. Check your enlarger alignment and use a grain focuser so you know you have it right.
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    The above points are most likely bang on however, there are other subtle things which can affect perceived sharpness...such as film/developers. If you are shooting slow film and enlarging only to 11x14, prints can lack a little bite as the grain is so very fine. Off 5x4, a HP5 neg prints far more crisply than FP4 does at 10x8-11x16...by far to my eyes. I say this as I do not know which other formats you have used and what size you print them. I was surprised by how much this made a difference when I first moved up in formats.

    When I first tried Fuji Acros quicloads/Tmax100 in 5x4 I was amazed at the low bite on small prints (even dev'd in pyro). They looked far less snappy than prints off 6x7! Only when enlarged to 16x12 plus or so did the Acros start to look sharp to my eyes!

    Prob barking up wrong tree, but thought I would mention it. Fine grain film plus fine grain dev on small prints from a big neg = mushy.
     
  12. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    I have the Schneider 135mm Componon-S for 4x5 and it is sharp and I print at f11.
    For a while I thought that my prints were getting soft. I just got new glasses and my prints are sharp again!! :wink: Sucks getting old.

    gene