Schneider Companon S 50mm 2.8

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Macwax, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Macwax

    Macwax Member

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    Can someone tell me the optimum aperture setting for the Schneider Companon S? I did a search,but didn't come up with the answer.

    Thanks
    John Mackechnie
    Bethlehem, PA
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I usually find the mid point works the best. Unless you have a very curled neg that won't lay flat.
     
  3. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Mine is best at f 8, but I have seen others best at f5.6 and one or two at f11. You will need to run your own tests to be sure.
     
  4. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    John,
    Welcome to APUG!:smile:
    I've always found 2 or 3 stops to be optimum for sharpness.
    I mostly use 3.
    DT
     
  5. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    My own 50 2.8 Componon S seems to work best at 5.6 and a 1/2. In other words, half way between 5.6 and 8.

    I figured this out by printing a series of prints from the same negative at different stops and magnifications.

    The sharpest to the eye, and the best look, came from the above setting.

    You should though, do your own tests of your own lens.

    Mick.
     
  6. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    My own test is to put a negative with some normal densities and focus at full aperture using a grain magnifier. Once your grain is correctly in focus, close the lens and watch the grain becoming first sharper and then fuzzier. I use the stop at which the grain is sharper, which is f5.6 on my El-Nikkor 50mm f2.8.
     
  7. Macwax

    Macwax Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll give it a try. I've been using F11, but will make some comparisons. The results have been acceptable, but I may not be getting the best out of the lens.

    I'm sure that I'll have lots of questions as I get back to the darkroom after a long hiatus. It's very calming and I love the sense of anticipation. It's a real cure for the instant world we live in. Maybe it's my age, 59, but I have no interest in jumping through photoshop hoops to make an acceptable B & W print. I use computers throughout the day, but prefer my ipod, a little single malt and much better darkroom equipment than I could have afforded as a young man. One difference, of course, is that I no longer stay up to 3 or 4 in the morning printing.

    John MacKechnie
     
  8. SilverCat

    SilverCat Member

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    The two 50 S lenses I've had were best at f/8. They were evaluated using glass carriers in aligned 4x5 enlargers at 16X. Print corner sharpness and acutance were compared. The exposed pieces of paper from the corner of a 16x20 easel were marked on the back with the aperture and lens used, all developed together, and examined without reference to the code on the back. The high magnification was chosen to decrease the carrier to lens distance revealing off-axis aberrations and any coverage problems. On axis and at low magnifications, almost any lens will perform well.
     
  9. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I would say it depends on how flat your negative is in the carrier. If it is a glass carrier, it should be flat, and you should get optimal results stopping down by one or two stops.
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    A couple more points: First, testing with a grain focuser might or might not produce the same results as testing with actual prints. For one thing, grain focusers don't generally tell you much about edge sharpness. There might also be effects in your visual perception that result from the decreased brightness as you close down the aperture, but those wouldn't be the same as what the paper "sees." Thus, although the grain focuser may produce a useful "quick-and-dirty" test, I wouldn't rely on it if you want to determine the very best aperture to use. (There was another recent thread on this topic, though, and my position isn't the only one, so do a search if you want to find other viewpoints.)

    Second, the differences between most of the apertures on a high-quality lens like your Componon are likely to be slim. I don't own a Componon, but tests with my two best lenses (an EL Nikkor f/2.8 and a Vega-11U f/2.8) reveal little in the way of differences in center sharpness except at both of the extreme ends of the aperture range, where it drops off. Edge sharpness tends to increase with smaller apertures until close to the very smallest aperture, and this effect is a bit more pronounced, but still not huge except at the widest aperture. Overall, you'll probably be fine for any but the largest enlargements or most nit-picky criteria at anywhere from f/4 or f/5.6 up to f/11 or possibly even smaller. Of course, if you've got some time to spare there's no reason to not perform the tests to determine what's the absolute best aperture....
     
  11. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    SRS, by the grain focuser not being of much use for edge sharpness, are you referring to checking at the borders of the print area? If so, you are correct that most of the magnifying focusers are not good in these areas. The Bestwell Magna Sight will give an accurate focus at the borders. I have found this to be very useful with negatives that are dark in the center with lighter, easily focused features nearer the edges. Also helps with alignment issues or using lens stage and easel tilt for perspective compensation.