"Wide angle" enlarging lens.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by roy, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. roy

    roy Member

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    Due to restrictions relating to where my enlarger is situated, I am unable to raise the head to the end of its column. Would I be able to get larger prints at a lower head height were I to use a shorter focal length lens, eg 40mm, when enlarging 35mm negatives and, if so, would they be free of distortion ?
     
  2. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    In the past some shorter than normal enlarging lenses have been made for this. Perhaps others can tell you what lenses to look for.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think there were some EL-Nikkor WA (unless I'm confusing them with a different manufacturer) lenses for just this purpose--wideangle designs for big prints with short enlargers.
     
  4. jhorvat

    jhorvat Member

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    there are WA Componon lenses in focal lengths 80mm and 135mm, that cover 6x9 and 4x5 formats, respectively. They are of very high quality. I have been using 80mm WA for years and haven't seen a sharper enlarging lens. It is tack sharp wide open with 16x20" prints, used with 6x7 negative. HOwever, they do have slight light fall off in the very corners, about 0.3 stop-that is easy fix. There are also WA Compononf of shorter focal lengths (40mm?). ROdagons also come in WA version.
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes, I have a 40mm "N" series El Nikkor. It is a 6 element design and is multi-coated. It covers 35mm full frame. I bought mine on eBay new from Cameta (a NY Camera store)for about $50.00.
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, out of curiosity I put an old Soviet Mir-1 37mm lens on my enlarger, stuck a negative in the carrier, and had a look. I noticed no light drop-off in the corners, but I was just "eyeballing" it. As the Mir-1 is a camera lens (for 39mm thread-mount SLRs), it probably wouldn't make a great enlarger lens. It might distort or get unacceptably blurry in the corners. It might be useable in a pinch to make smaller-than-usual enlargements with relatively high head height, though. I did once use it to enlarge a 110-format negative and the print was fine (or as fine as could be expected from a 30-year-old 110 negative that wasn't stored under ideal conditions).
     
  7. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    The falloff may be the light source. You may need an oversize light source for WA projection. 35mm on a 6x7 enlarger is fine.
     
  8. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Both Schneider Kreuznach and Rodenstock do (did) a 35mm wide angle enlarging lens.

    The effect with both of them is that you will get a 30% greater enlargement at any enlarger height, compared to a standard 50mm lens.

    The Rodagon-WA 40mm f/4 is from Rodenstock

    The WA-Componon 40mm f/4 is from Schneider Kreuznach

    To give you an idea of how long these have been around, both brochures I have copied this stuff from, were obtained from dealers in the mid to late eighties, when I was on the market for a new enlarging lens.

    According to the blurb, it would appear that both of these lenses are very well corrected for distortions and like problems. Basically these lenses were designed for professional darkroom use, meaning that they should be very good performers.

    I have seen prints from the Schneider lens, a friend used one when he was enlarging for a living, very high magnification, very nice prints.

    Mick.
     
  9. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If memory serves me correctly both the Componon and Rodagon are now offered in 45mm focal length. Leica made a 40mm Focotar that was nice but inferior to the 50mm Focotar II. Zeiss made a 40mm 56 S Biogon..no diaphragm .for 15x and larger work.
     
  10. roy

    roy Member

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    Thanks all for your information so far. I have something now to go on. I am trying to repeat some experiments I did with a previous enlarger where I homed in on a small area of the negative to enlarge that. My current enlarger has a wider head and at the top of the column I meet movement restrictions.
     
  11. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Another idea:

    It depends on what kind of enlarger you have, but a few of them (I've only used Dursts so far) have recessed lens boards which would get you bigger maginification at a lower height, even with a 50 mm lens.
     
  12. roy

    roy Member

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  13. jhorvat

    jhorvat Member

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    recessed lens boards only allow to draw the lens closer to negative, enabling higher magnification; the smaller the focal lenght, the closer the lens has to be to the negative... However, the real issues here are how high the enlarger head can be lifted above the paper and the focal length of the lens that still covers the image are projected on the paper.... Joseph