Schneider 45 APO f4/50 APO Rodagon Enlarger lenses - Experiences?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Tom Stanworth, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    All,

    Does anyone have experience with these lenses in comparison to regular lenses (such as the Nikkor 50, regular rodagon, componon S etc) for corner sharpness at wider apertures and large print sizes? I am not worried about stopped down performance. I realise that the consensus is that at a couple of stops down their advantage is lost.

    I ask because I am making large prints from 35mm and find that all the regular lenses I have used (componon S, Minolta 4.5, Durst Neonon) struggle in the corners at wider apertures with large prints. This is what you would expect as they are conventional non-asph lenses and need stopping down more as prints get bigger. While my 105 rodagon gives amazing performance at massive prints the column/bed height is silly and so I want to work with a 45-50mm.

    I am interested in picking up an APO Rodagon or 45 F4 APO in the hope I can get the corner sharpness I need at f4+ rather than F8+ or so with my regular lens. Can anyone comment on whether they have found these premium lenses better in the corners with large prints (20x16, 20x24 etc) at the wider apertures? At 16x12 my regular lens is fantastic but crumbles in the extreme corners when I hit 20x16 and above unless I stop riiiiiiiight down and I just cannot be doing with multiple stop burning in on top of a 2 minute exposure time with MG WT :sad: Its a very distinct drop off as if it has run out of image circle.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have the 50mm Apo-Rodagon, and I thought it was a definite improvement over the Componon-S I had before it, and that was a fine lens as well.

    Are you sure the problem is your enlarging lens? Are you using a glass negative carrier and is the enlarger aligned properly? Are the negs themselves as sharp in the corners as they are in the center?
     
  3. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    David,

    Very sure on all counts. I have used a laser alignment tool and also get pin sharp image corners with the 105 rodagon at 20x16 and up, presumably due to the large IC (wide open at f5.6). I also get pin sharp images with the 50mm up to 16x12

    With the 50mm lens I own, the images are tack sharp in the centre and top, bottom and edges. Its just the extreme corners the suffer and only at large sizes at wider apertures. At f8-11 the corners are pin sharp at 20x16 and up, but the times too long. With the 105 rodagon I get better corners on a 20 x 16 wide open than I do at f8 on the 50mm lens at the same print size.

    The negs are pin sharp and I judge everything by the grain in any case not the image. I use double glass carriers. 6x7 negs printed to 20x24 also pin sharp using the 105 rodagon wide open.
     
  4. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

    Messages:
    728
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmette,Ill
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  5. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Tom, if you look at the MTF data on the Linos web site, a Rodagon-WA might be a better bet wide open than an APO-Rodagon, although you are 1 stop slower at f4 rather than f2.8

    However, an APO at f4 will probably out perform at WA at f4 and does give much more even illumination

    Bob Salomon of HP Marketing (US Rodenstock distributor) over on the Large Format Photography Forum says that the performance of the WA lenses is above that of the plain Rodagon but behind the APO lenses

    http://www.linos.com/pages/mediabase/original/e_Rodenstock_Printing_CCD_43-62__8230.pdf

    Martin
     
  6. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

    Messages:
    961
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    At least per specifications, at 16x20 or larger from a 35mm negative you're moving into Rodagon-G territory rather than Apo-Componon/Apo-Rodagon.
     
  7. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    At 16x20 you are around X15 enlargement of a 35mm Neg

    An APO 50mm Rodagon scale range is 2 ~ 20X

    So it is still comfortably within the recommended operating range

    Martin
     
  8. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,075
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My APO Componon f 2,8 40 mm is tack sharp into the corners ar f 4 but for huge enlargements I go down to f 5,6 or at least f 4 1/2 to be on the save side!

    Armin
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,514
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This type of lens is needed for large magnification. Too much curvature of field when using 'regular' lenses at large magnification.

    Main problem with wide apertures is there is very much light falloff. As you can imagine at large magnification, the lens is very close to the film, so this makes falloff worse from cosine effect. Check the light falloff curve on the Schneider site and see it is pretty bad. I did a print a few weeks ago and forgot to stop down and it really is pretty bad (falloff, not sharpness).

    I need to use my 45 schneider HM for 16x20 and larger. Smaller prints work better with a 'regular' 50mm lens.
     
  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ic-racer, thanks. I did not think of fall off as an issue.
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tom

    You're going to have trouble discussing this with folks who have solved the problem before you !

    It is difficult to integrate the published specifications (which try to predict) with experience (which tries to describe). An Apo Rodagon N manages to make the transition from 15x to 20x far better than do older lenses. A perfectly flat field across a 16x20 or cropped 16x20 is hard to do. Thirty years ago a friend showed me a quick way to get the best corners I could get from a given lens in a big enlargement: lay a mirror in the corner of the image, and stop down the lens until I saw a clear, round aperture.

    I'd look at the best lens you have for 16x, and see if you have stopped down far enough to get past mechanical vignetting. If not,
    you simply have to try a new lens. I use a Apo Rodagon N, which I got to print a show of 20x enlargements 20 years ago. It was better at 20 x than my Apo Rodagon, which was better at 15x than was my Focotar. I think it is safe to say that you can improve over the good old lenses you've mentioned in your post.

    Sorry to say I have no experience with the Apo 40 or 45. Their MTF (at 10 x !) shows the need to stop down to f/8. I have no evidence to show they would match a Rodagon N at 20x, I doubt they would. All you can do is to get one in, try it, and send it back for a 50 if it doesn't.

    Just another note. You're doing pretty difficult work here, and you'll need to do all the old tricks to tune your enlarger. Don't forget to align the corners of your easel. And if you are looking to go larger than 20x, look at a Rodagon G or perhaps intenegatives and Apo El Nikkors.
     
  12. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

    Messages:
    871
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    NW Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use the 45 APO and also have a Rodagon APO 50 N. At 8X10 and larger, I can see the difference with these and their counterpart Comp S and Rodagon 50..... Frankly, I can't see the difference between the two APO's. As mentioned, alignment issues become critical at these magnifications/open apertures and will likely account for more image degradation than subtle lens variations. If my 45 has a sweet spot, mine shows ƒ6.3 (also a decent compromise for exposure times and some depth of field forgiveness and edge sharpness) and the Rodagon is similar. I very seldom go so large with 35mm as you are dealing with and do 35 work on a 23CII with dichro head and have not had light fall-off trouble with this combo. I gave in to a Versalab a few years back and this has made everything so easy and accurate to keep tuned correctly. I would encourage considering one and wish someone would have prodded me a bit earlier in my darkroom escapades.
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do use the Versalab, level absolutely everything (incl the easel of course) and will hopefully be getting my hands on a 60mm lens to see if there is any change. The shame is that my 105mm is so insanely sharp, but too long a FL. with grittier lower res images the 80mm is fine (not as sharp as my 105), but when the 60 or 63mm arrives it will be interesting to see what happens. I have a feeling that something is going on withs crunched up bellows or something and it is not all about the lens coverage/mag ratio. I will report back when i have tried something a touch longer than 50mm.
     
  14. Stuart Richardson

    Stuart Richardson Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Location:
    Reykjavík, I
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use an APO componon HM 45mm f/4 to print large prints of 35mm...mostly 16x20 and 20x24. I generally try to stop down to f/5.6 if I can, but in my experience it has been wonderfully sharp straight to the corners using a glass carrier. I used to have an 105mm APO EL-Nikkor, and I sold it because I just could not see a difference in the prints between it and the schneider, and the schneider was so much easier to work with given the focal length and aperture (and lighted aperture index, stop-down lever etc).
     
  15. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just won a 63 2.8 nikkor and 60 rodagon on ebay and have recently used both for 20" prints. The problem is completely solved with this slightly longer FL and I now have perfect corners that are indistinguishable from the centre. Whether it was some sort of mechanical issue, or lens curvature of field I will never know, but these longer lenses have cured the issue 100%. And the pair were far cheaper than a APO anything. Whatever the reason, that 10mm leap in FL has made the problem go away :smile:

    Both perform stunningly well and do all i could ask so no need for any more lenses.
     
  16. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Glad you have found a solution to the problem :smile:

    Interesting that the slightly longer focal length solves the corner problems.

    That is worth remembering for any future plans to print large with 35mm Negs

    Martin
     
  17. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Downers Grov
    The 45 is a wide angle design. The corner performance was abismal terrible trash on my condenser enlargers. One day when I was about to give up, I tried it on one of my diffusion enlargers. It worked beautifully. The 40 mm Leica Focotar from my V35 behaves the same way, diffusion only.

    I have 4 condensers and 3 diffusion enlargers and the condensers work with nornal lenses just fine.

    I can`t explain it, but I have enough systems and lenses to prove it is not a missalligned something or other.
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ronald, sometimes it all feels like alchemy! Only the other day I did three identical prints and found perfect focus slighly fell away though the three. The enlarger was locked down perfectly so who knows why, but these odd things happen! why these longer lenses work so much better I do not know, but suspect it is something to do with printing short FLs on a 10x8 enlarger. even with a recessed panel, something perhaps did not jive properly.