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  1. #1
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Shorter enlarging lenses for macro - are there any "sleepers"

    I have been using an el-Nikkor 50/2.8 lately and I am delighted with the lens - a huge step up from the generic lens that came with my enlarger. It's great on the enlarger but truly sings when reversed on my F3 for 3x life size magnifications. And this gem cost me all of $20!

    So, I am wondering if there are any shorter enlarging lenses out there that are of similar high quality and go for cheap (I assume that very few people are using the odd smaller than 35mm film formats). I would love to put them to use for some even higher magnifications.

    -A

    PS: Even though I don't plan to use this lens for enlarging, I hope it's okay to post this question on this forum.

  2. #2
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Schneider 28/4

    A little searching on EBay brought up this Schneider 28/4 lens. Any comments on its quality would be appreciated. Does anyone know the front filter thread size of this lens? (Since I am looking to reverse mount it)

    Thanks,
    -A

  3. #3
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    On the one hand, we all want to spend as little as possible. On the other, we all pull our hair when we ought to be getting results we want. In normal picture taking, this isn't an issue ... but you you're approaching a threshold.

    What do you want to accomplish with a shorter lens ?

    ( OK.... I mean a whole lot with this question: I was a trained photomacroscopist in another life )

    Depending on your intentions, the 28 Componon will do fine, or be a miserable failure.

    There is a good availability of REAL macro lenses ( Nikkor, Olympus, Canon, Leitz, Zeiss... older B&L ) that are generally cheap ( so, maybe not the Zeiss ) and wonderful.

    When we get down to 28, focus accuracy is SO important we're beginning to exceeed the performance of a 35mm camera and bellows ... even the Nikon. But for some work you can use it just fine. So.... as my mother-in-law once asked me, "What are your Intentions ?".
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  4. #4

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    I have a nikon pb-6 using it on the f3 with several enlarging lenses. I have lenses from 135mm down to 35mm. I found the longer focal length lenses are more useful. With even the 50mm, I found that I have to get too close to the subject. Also my 35mm lens was designed for 126 negative and thus there is minor light vignetting at the corners. I think the 28mm would cause even more vignetting.

  5. #5

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    I have no experience in this technique: Kodak used to advise people to get movie camera lenses for macro work.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  6. #6
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Reversed cine lenses are fine for some things, and the revesed Componon will be fine for some things. But using such short lenses give you both short working distances AND high magnifications.

    In this realm, a plain focus screen ( which is essential for 1x - 3x work ) stops discriminating between the focussed world and entropy. You need a clear glass with a reticle AND and 6x finder so you can see the reticle clearly.

    Unless you just want to fool around, and that's fine too.

    But just as a 28mm changes magnification with the smallest movement,
    it magnifies camera motion, focus error and all those little nightmare issues, as well.

    As a result, enlarging the film to gain greater magnification becomes more effective than using a higher magnification.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  7. #7
    ZorkiKat's Avatar
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    Russian Vega 11U 50mm/2,8. Often US$5-$10 in newish condition. 5 elements, and really mean.
    FED ZORKI SURVIVAL SITE
    RANGEFINDERFILIPINAS
    Zorkikat.Com

    "不管黑猫白猫能抓到老鼠就是好猫。" 邓小平
    It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.-邓小平

  8. #8
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Some clarifications

    Thanks for the responses so far.

    First off, even though I am still learning the ropes of macro photography, I mostly know what I am doing and the diffficulties involved.

    So, to address some of the concerns expressed:

    1> DF, I am already using the 6x finder with the M screen and using arial focussing.

    2> I am aware of stability, focussing and working distance issues. I am focussing using a rail and I use tubes instead of bellows because I find it easier in the field.

    3> Claire, I have a couple of cine lenses and use them reversed. I have gone upto 10x with them.

    4> Chan, longer lenses aren't necessarily better at above life size because you would need enormous extension to gain magnification. I have the standard barrage of 35mm lenses from a 24mm to a 180mm that I use for most macro work around life size but I can't find an easy way to use a 100mm-ish lens at 5x. And with a reversed lens the working distance is always around the film-to-flange distance so I don't think a longer lens is going to gain me much.

    So, even though I could use the 12.5mm cine lens to get 10x, I am hoping that a flat field 28mm would give me very sharp results just like the el-Nikkor. I know that it will be diffraction limited to about 5x life size (after which effective aperture will go beyond f22) and that working distance will be less than 2 inches. Given all these clarifications, I would appreciate any advice/opinions on this lens.

    Many thanks,
    Anupam

  9. #9
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've found most of the traps. The 28 Componon came ( I think ) in two versions. Mine is black with the painted aperture mark ( the Schneider 'disc' ). It's filter size is larger than 40.5, smaller than 46. best I could do.

    It is the same design as the 50 Componon, which is - for all intents and purposes identical to your El Nikkor - and is designed for a range of 2x to 20 x. it was intended to project an 18x24 field. Mine is optimal for enlarging at f/6.3, which I suspect is typical.

    It should be fine. Small advantages in definition could be gained by a 'real macro lens', but the overall demands of field photography usually buffer lab performance. And since the 28 Componon should be just about free, it should turn out to be a real bargain.

    By all means start hunting around the dark corners of Madison for FAX-Nikkors, 'printing nikkors', and so on. You might even turn up a a de-accessioned Microphot/Aristophot etc.

    Your work is quite fine: good luck !

    don
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #10
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    Sounds like you've found most of the traps. The 28 Componon came ( I think ) in two versions. Mine is black with the painted aperture mark ( the Schneider 'disc' ). It's filter size is larger than 40.5, smaller than 46. best I could do.
    Don,

    Thanks for the reply. B&H photo lists this lens but it seems to be a different make from the one you have because the filter size is 30.5. Do you know about this version?

    By all means start hunting around the dark corners of Madison for FAX-Nikkors, 'printing nikkors', and so on. You might even turn up a a de-accessioned Microphot/Aristophot etc.
    The problem with a small university town like Madison is that there aren't that many dark corners left. I have checked out the few camera shops but they are happy to serve the coolpix crowd - I guess they need to survive.

    If you have any tips about rummaging for such exotica I'd love to know. I suspect that the way some academic departments misuse grant money, they might be throwing away some great stuff but don't know where I might find these. Just the other day a gentleman bragged on photo.net how in his lab everyone laughed at a $4000 Nikkor and trashed it because they had just upgraded to Zeiss glass! Now, I am at the university of Wisconsin and would be willing to do a fair bit of rummaging through these trash cans since the NSF doesn't fund my hobby but I just don't know where to look.

    Also, I hadn't heard of FAX-Nikkors before and although I knew about 'printing', macro and ultra-micro ones I can find little organized information on them apart from scattered mentions on the web. There is of course this quaint site with haikus and odes written to these lenses. But if you know of any books or other resources for such stuff, I'd appreciate the information.

    Many thanks for the help,
    Anupam

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