Very Wide Enlarger lens

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by michaelbsc, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I know this must be discussed somewhere, but I apparently am not smart enough to figure out good search terms.

    Basically I need a very wide enlarger lens, something on the order of 35mm or 28mm is what I am thinking.

    I have two objectives. First, the driver for right now, is to print some extreme enlargements of details from some 60 year old wedding negatives. For a few family members these are the only existing photos, and although the quality will be poor, it's better than no picture at all. I can't get those folks to sit for portraits now. I'm using a Beseler 45 with a 50mm lens backed all the way to the top, and I can just barely get the framing I want in 4x6. But I want 5x7. As I said, this is important to family, not for hanging in a museum. (I know I could turn the head and project on the wall, but that would require moving some equipment, and I would rather not do that unless a decent lens costs too much.)

    The second objective is to start experimenting with some of the old 16mm film formats. I picked up a slitter - and so far haven't lost any fingers on it - to make film for their cassettes. Making a mask is a piece of cake, so I'm not hurting for a carrier. But I can imagine that to make decent size prints - grainy or not I don't care - will take a wider lens.

    These focal lengths are not only hard to find information about, but they're hard to find, even on eBay, the junkyard dumping ground for the whole world. The few that I see seems rather pricey, but this may be an artifact of scarcity.

    Can you kind folks give me some advice, first of all about what is available and the relative merits of various selections, and second what seems to be reasonable prices for these pieces, please?

    My current lens collection consists of Nikkor 50 and 75, and a Schneider 150.

    Another thought I had was to find a decent M39 (or M42 is probably cheaper) 28mm camera lens, and just use that, although there may be issues with field flatness. I'm not enough of an expert to know how well that would work. I suppose it's no worse than using your Speed Graphics with a light back as an enlarger. Is that crazy, or reasonable? At least it would give me a lens I could also use on a camera body.

    Thanks,
    Michael
     
  2. Thomas Wilson

    Thomas Wilson Member

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    Michael,

    I'm a little confused.

    If you can't even muster a 4x6, then something must be wrong, or you are cropping the hell out of the negative. I think your best (cheapest) bet would be to rotate the head 90 degrees, and project onto a wall.

    Man, I wish my Omega could do that.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Omega 4x5" enlargers can usually project onto the floor, if you turn the baseboard around, weight it down, and rotate the enlarger column, if that's an option in your space.
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    You can flip your Beseler to project on the wall. Murphy's Law requires, though, that the facing wall be either too close or too far away for your purposes.

    Try a 35mm or 28mm fl camera lens, you have nothing to lose. If you are only enlarging a spot in the center of the field then flatness is a non-issue. There are few lenses that aren't acceptably sharp in the middle at f8. Temporary Beseler boards can be made from chip-board, masonite, thin poplar, or even black foam-core. Attaching the lens can be a bit tricky if you don't have a flange. If you can get hold of a T-Mount lens then the T-Mount adapter itself can be used as the retaining ring to hold the lens to the board.
     
  5. Thomas Wilson

    Thomas Wilson Member

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    Mine is wall mounted. I need to move my work bench (with all of my crap on it) and project on the floor. It's a royal pain in the neck!!
     
  6. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Yes, I am cropping the hell out of the negative. As I said, it's not for quality, it's for sentimental reasons, and there's no other picture available. In fact, until my mother-in-law passed away and we found this envelope of old negatives no one knew these shots existed. I printed them and folks were shocked that 60 year old negatives would still look good.

    Moving the enlarger is a real pain, either to get to the wall or the floor. And as Nicholas says, the facing wall is too far away, although I guess I could stuff the 150 lens back in it and try if I get desperate. (In a next life the enlarger is going to be mounted on a drop-bed table and arranged so that it's easy to project on the wall, but that's a project for next decade.)

    I really thought I'd find a cheap lens on eBay, but not so yet. There must be a million 50mm and longer. And I was a little shocked by the Orion lens for the FEDs. That was my first scheme; buy an old Orion and use it with both the FED and the enlarger. But someone must have told these guys that they're really decent lenses, and they want an arm and a leg for them now. I can find new in the box 25mm enlarger lenses cheaper than they want for an m39 Orion-15.

    There are a couple of m42 28mm lenses that aren't bad that I'll watch. I'd have to make a new lens board for that, since mine are m39, not M-42, and I'm not going to hack them up for this. But as pointed out, a small piece of wood and some flat black paint works wonders. And an m42 to Contax/Yashica adapter flange would work perfectly for a retaining ring.

    But an inexpensively priced decent enlarger lens that I can put on a board and leave in the darkroom is the ultimate goal.

    MB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2009
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What about renting a 28mm threaded Leica lens? Then you would know if that will or will not do the trick. If so, rent it for the time you need. That would be cheaper than buying the lens.

    Steve
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2009
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You'll need a recessed board to use anything that short on the Beseler. Even my old Omega B66 had problems with some 50mm lenses on a flat board.
     
  10. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Good point. I failed to consider that. Making a recessed board might not be too hard, but I don't have a swell idea just yet. I do have a couple of the old Durst tubs hanging around that I may be able to rig up.

    Ultimatly I do want to tear it all down and mount the enlarger frame on a drop bed table. But that's not happening this year. So finding a way to get just a tad more lens field is the short answer. I guess there's no easy and cheap answer. You gotta pick one or the other.

    MB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2009
  11. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    That is an advantage to the normally disadvantageous idea of using a lens from an SLR - the WA designs are retro-focus and so you won't need a recessed board.
     
  12. Fred De Van

    Fred De Van Member

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    I have 35mm and 28mm Schnieders for just such a need. There is a Rodenstock Rogonar-S 25mm 4.0 9on that auction site right now for $29.99. Item number: 390059445637 .

    I could use the Durst Board it is in shound you buy it and have a Beseler board to swap you.
     
  13. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I've heard of wide angle enlarging lenses, but I don't have any references for them. Schneider makes an excellent 28 mm lens, but it is really designed for half frame, and the coverage may be limited to less than full frame 35mm. Many enlargers will not allow this lens to get close enouth to the negative to focus.