I recently got this lens on EBay and am asking this question since my curiosity has gotten the better of me.
I am currently on a self-imposed darkroom hiatus until my wife delivers our second child (expected around Sept 1st week), but I should be able to step into the darkroom for atleast brief periods of time by the middle of October. I will be making a comparison test myself once I get back in there.
In the meanwhile, I would love to hear your experiences with this lens especially in comparison with the El-nikkor 50mm F/2.8. (I have the older version of the El-Nikkor - the one without the backlit aperture numbers).
Below, a marvel re inconlusive answer... :?
Fujinons are considered very good enlarging lenses, but as a general rule, the f3.5 ones are 4 elements, f2.8 ones are 6 elements, they will be about the same by f8 and in the center of the fileld, with the 6 elements better at wider apertures and corners.
I haven't used this particular lens, but I have used other Fuji lenses and they are very fine. The EP should also be excellent, as a 6 element enlarging lens.
The ES was Fuji's 4-element line, using a Tessar design. The EP line used the standard design for high-quality enlarging lenses, with 6 elements in 4 groups. Neither of these series used Fuji's multicoating, EBC (Electron Beam Coating).
Later brochures that I have no longer mention these enlarging lenses. A later brochure refers to the EX series, which has a similar 6/4 design to the EP, but adds the EBC multicoating.
I did a subjective comparison of the two lenses by enlarging a 35mm TMY film using the lenses at f/8, f/11, f/16, onto 11x14 size paper. In all cases the Fujinon came out marginally sharper to the Nikkor.
That said, if I had not done a head-to-head comparison, I wouldn't have noticed any difference. To put it differently: given a print, I wouldn't be able to identity which of the 2 lenses were used to make the enlargement.
BTW, my second son was born on the Sept 10th. His name is Kishan.
I hope so too. :-) I have been brain washing my elder son (3 years old now) that he should help dad in the nice room downstairs and make pictures once he grows up a bit.