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Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by naaldvoerder, Dec 12, 2004.
Is it worth it to upgrade my EL Nikkor 2.8 50 mm to a Rodenstock 2.8 50 mm?
Good Evening, Jaap,
I use El Nikkors, Rodenstocks, and Schneiders. I see little difference in overall quality from one brand to another. I'm not sure that making the change you suggest would be an "upgrade" unless, perhaps, you're considering an APO enlarging lens.
Do you see a difference with APOs? Under what conditions do you see the difference?
I don't think it's worth upgrading the EL Nikkor to a Rodagon or Componon-S, but it may be worth upgrading to an Apo-Rodagon or Apo-Componon.
Since they've come down in price so drastically, I've upgraded to all Apo enlarging lenses. They're sharper at wider apertures and typically have better contrast than standard lenses. I use 50/2.8 and 90/4.0 Apo-Rodagons and a 150/4.0 Apo-Componon. I could see the difference even with small prints when I compared them with the lenses I was using (6-element Rodagon and Componon-S and one 4-element EL Nikkor).
Good Evening, Loose Gravel,
I don't own any APO enlarging lenses (maybe someday!); my comment was based only on my reading. I understand that APO lenses may offer some slight improvement, especially at larger apertures (see David's comment above).
I have no experience with either EL-Nikkors or Rodenstock enlarging lenses, but I went from a Schneider 50mm/f4 Componon to a 40mm 2.8 APO Componon HM, and it was like trading a Holga for a Hassy - knock your socks off difference, even just printing B&W.
Add mine to the nope column. But I would assume within any brand there might be slight differences. I have two Nikkor 50/2.8's with nice glass and one might be slightly better.
By strange coincidence - I just happened to spend Saturday doing some 50mm enlarger lens testing, and I wrote it up as an article yesturday!!!! I'm just waiting for Sean to adjust my upload limit, so I can upload the whole article as a single pdf.
The results aren't particularly thorough, but they are surprising. I did some prints with an El-Nikkor 2.8, a Schneider, and a Minolta. I suspect there was some experimental error, so will do more testing in the future - however the results are dramatic.
Without giving the game away, I may not be using the Nikon too much in the future (but then I might not be using the schneider either!).
Oh well, that's maybe good. I moved and I seem to have lost my box of Nikon enlarger lenses in the process. So I got me cheapo 50mm Rokkor 2.8. I got it cause it was on a lensboard and I figure, the price is worth the lensboard alone. I mostly print 6x6 negs anyway so i got a Componon-S 80mm. I wonder if I'll notice the Holga prints from my Nikkor 80mm and my new (used) Componon-S?
I very rarely use my Nikkor 50mm 2.8 unless I am doing an 11x14 or larger. Generally I use either my 75mm or 90mm Schneiders as they give me more working room when making 8x10's.
I have found my Nikkor 50mm to be a very sharp and contrasty lens. Can't say the same thing about my Nikkor 135mm lens however.
I use a Nikkor 50/2.8 and on more than a few occasions I have received comments on how my 8X10 prints look sharp and crisp. I enlarged to 11X14 for the first time last weekend and was pleasantly surprised with the sharpness although I have nothing to compare it to. But as I noted earlier on this thread I have two of these lenses and one is very slightly better than the other.
If you want to get rid of it you can give it to me. I would love to have a Nikkor 50/2.8.
I thought of selling it when I was looking for an 80mm lens for med format. But if I can pick up a condenser enlarger on the cheap like an Omega B-22 I would use it then.
I've posted my results under Articles/Equipment reviews.
There's also an article there on 150mm lenses which seems to reach the same broad conclusions.
In 'Edge of Darkness', Barry Thornton speaks very highly of Meopta enlarging lenses -very well priced too. Durst Neonons are also very good and not too hard to find used.
Ian (127), interesting results. Thanks for putting the test and article together. It should be helpful in both a general sense (e.g. pointing out the need to make test prints) and to potential buyers of used enlarging lenses.
While you were careful to point out the parameters of your testing, and avoid any temptation to draw (or even suggest) conclusions beyond the scope of the tests, it may be helpful to point out a couple of additional caveats:
1. It's unclear whether these lenses were of the same or similar generations (dates of design and manufacture), or whether they were equivalent offerings (quality-wise) between the different manufacturers.
The Schneider Componar, for example, is old enough not to show up on the Schneider Vintage Lens Data page. If memory serves me, the Componar was an entry-level series dating from the mid '60s, with perhaps an even earlier design. I believe the Componar was replaced at the entry level by the Comparon, with the "better" grade in that generation being the early Componons. The Componons have since been replaced by the Componon-S, with the top-of-the-line APO Componon HM lenses being added more recently still.
2. Several of the usual control factors one might use in doing comparison tests are eliminated by the fact that these are used lenses. As such, there is no way to know how previous owners might have treated them, and any lack of care would likely impact the current capability of the individual lenses.
The Componar was a 3-element lens, which coexisted (at least for a while) with the 4-element Comparon. Componon and Componon-S were both available at the same time.
The only enlarger lenses I have used are Meopta Anaret-S and Rodenstock Rodagon. I tried a Componon, but found it no better than my Anaret.