What difference can the enlarging lens make ?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Laurent, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Hello all,

    I bought a new to me Nikkor EL 135 for my enlarger, and, although I've not made extensive testing for now, I have the feeling it makes a huge difference.

    I was expecting an improvement in sharpness compared to my rust-covered and 50 years old Boyer lens, but I have the feeling it also makes one in contrast.

    Earlier than this, I needed to filter with high grade filters to get a decent print, and now I'm back to 3 as the normal contrast (the head is a DIY LED head with withe LED strips and a paper diffuser)

    Does this seem normal, or am I simply too happy with this massive piece of metal and glass (that's an old lens, so the construction is very good !)
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    EL-Nikkors usually have good contrast, and your 50 year old Boyer may have some haze, and the coatings may not be as good, and it's probably an older design that won't be as sharp in the corners as a newer lens, so I'd say you shouldn't be too surprised.

    Unless you only make contact prints, all your lenses are only as good as your enlarging lens, so I'd say it makes sense to get the best one you can.
     
  3. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

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    Laurent,

    The EL-Nikkor 135mm f/5.6 (old model) is by far my favourite enlarging lens. I have never tested the performance on making huge prints (I usually only go to 11x14in or so) but the Nikkor knocks the socks off the Rodenstock 90mm I used to use for enlarging my 6x7cm negatives. I also like the better working distance the 135mm gives me.

    Just wanted to share that I too am absolutely thrilled with the performance of the Nikkor. And it's so very very well-built, a pleasure to use.
     
  4. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    What you enjoy is quite normal. The Nikkor is a very good modern lens which should give a noticable improvement compared to a 50 year old hazy lens. It should be in the same league as the Rodagon and the Componon lenses from the german makers. (Schneider and Rodenstock also makes much more expensive Apo lenses which are supposed to be even better, but that isn't the topic of this discussion, is it?)

    //Björn
     
  5. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I was really amazed as I did not think I could see a difference for modest enlargement rates (I was printing 6x6 to 20x20), and even if I'd expected some better resolution, I'd never have thought I could see such a difference in contrast !

    The bad consequence is that this feeds my GAS and I'm afraid I'll be looking for an 80 to 100 mm EL-Nikkor to replace the last old lens I own ;-)
     
  6. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    I picked up 100mm Schneider Componon-s and 135mm Schneider Componon-s for less than 1/5 of the regular price. If you have a little patience, you can find some great deals.