Double duty enlarger lens - best "bokeh" 50mm for macro?
I know "bokeh" is rarely a prime concern in choosing an enlarger lens but I plan to put it to double use. Recently, I took my Voss 50mm/f3.5 generic enlarger lens for a spin as a macro lens on my F3 and I really liked how compact and usable it was. I never did like the images from my 50mm/1.4 lens when used reversed, so I think a quality flat field enlarging lens might be a big step up.
So, when it's not doing duty on the enlarger, I plan to use it reversed on extension tubes for 2x to about 6x magnifications and hence the bokeh is a big concern for me. I recently saw a picture of a Schneider 50mm which had an almost square aperture!! - that has got to produce sime pretty harsh OOF renditions. So among the usual suspects - El-Nikkor, Schneider, Rodenstock - which 6 element lens has the most number and the most rounded aperture blades? If anyone has experience using them as macro lenses, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.
I'd love something fast because I might need to use it wide open at high magnifications to avoid diffraction. I am also aware that OOF renditions are affected by more than the shape and number of the blades but all else being equal I suppose a rounded one is much better than a square one, so any insight, recommendations and caveats on that front would be really appreciated.
Not knowing for sure, but wouldn't it be easier to use a macro as an enlarging lens?
You're not going to find many fast enlarging lenses either, although 2.8 seems to be pretty quick for both.
Anyway, the 50/2.8 Pentax FA lens has eight blades.
With the Nikon system you'll use either the 55, 60 or 105 Micro Nikkors or an aftermarket lens
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The Voss 50/3.5 is unquestionably the worst enlarging lens I've ever used, but you never know, it might not be a bad macro lens. Once I compared the Canon FD 50mm 1.2L, 1.4, and 1.8 lenses reversed, and as a macro lens the cheapest 50/1.8 was easily the best.
Voss and Beslar (sp) are the bottom of the barrel lenses. The should be put in vending machines for kids to play with. I don't know much about "bokeh" but I had both when beginning, they came with the enlargers just for shits and giggles I guess, and chucked them immediately for a much better, that wasn't hard, real lens. After the Voss tossing the Beslar went much faster.
I use an Industar 90-U 75mm enlarger lens for macro - with a 39mm to 42mm ring and a M42 bellows put on a Pentax Mz-5n with a PK-M42 adapter. It's great. I'll have to try it on my enlarger some day...
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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Everytime I search for a 63mm Nikkor lens, I get to this:
It says it's a rare piece of equipment, but you who knows. You might be able to find one.
I use a 63mm F2.8 lens for my enlarger. It's undoubtly a real nice lens for printing, but I have not tried it as a macro lens so I don't know how it is.
I've found fast lenses such as the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 and a similar old Canon 50mm to be poor for macro work, reversed or not. It's not a matter of bokeh: nothing was as sharp as with a macro or good enlarging lens. However, don't throw away your Voss or Beslar lenses. In desperation they can be used as magnifiers.
I have a Beslon 100mm f:4.5 enlarging lens marked Beseler Wetzlar that I've use with excellent results on a 39mm bellows with chimney finder and rangefinder bodies. It's also done a fine job as an enlarging lens. Most likely it's a double Gauss design. The aperture is about 16 blades and stays very round. Bokeh is great and I like the working distance with the longer focal length.
I've also use the head from a 135mm f:4.5 Steinheil on the same bellows with great results at macro distances, but it's not 39mm and needs an adapter that came with the bellows.
My 40mm Apo-Componon HM also works well in this setup, but with the bellows the minimum magnification is greater than I normally use for macro work. It has a sort of "pincushion pentagon" aperture, and I haven't shot it enough to get a sense of the bokeh with specular highlights.
Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
I have a Russian "Vega-11U" (marked "Вега-11У") 50mm lens. It has a f/2,8 maximum aperture, has rounded aperture, and according to its passport, has 5 elements. From what I can see through the lens, it may have as many as 8 aperture blades.
Haven't used it for macrophotography, only for printing in colour. The prints it made were excellent, and can give the more expensive El-Nikkors a run for its money It should do well as a macro lens, but for such an application, you might find its f/11 minimum aperture somewhat limiting.
I got it on eBay for US$11.
Thanks for the responses. A couple of clarifications - I am not trying to use a 35mm SLR lens for enlarging, nor am I planning to stick with the Voss - I know it is junk. Which is why I have decided to get an El-Nikkor, Schneider, rodenstock or similar f2.8 lens and I am going to use it occasionally for macro as a reversed lens.
So my question is, among these lenses, which has the most rounded and most number of aperture blades?
I agree. I would get a 55/2.8 micro-nikkor but am exploring this option because I need to get a good enlarger lens anyway.
Originally Posted by Jim Jones
Lee and Jay, thanks for the recommendations. I'll look out for them on eBay.