4x5 neg enlarging lens - potential focal length change
I currently use a 150mm Rodagon. However since I most often enlarge 4x5 negatives to 8x10, and more rarely 11x14, I'm thinking about a shorter focal length. I don't think a 135mm would make much of a difference but maybe a 120mm would be nice. I'm thinking about a Schneider 120mm HM.
I have zero complaints about sharpness or anything like that. Just wondering if falloff will become more of a noticeable nuisance with a 120 stopped down say one to two stops vs the 150.
I seem to recall that 135 was the alternate focal length for 4x5.
120 might be a bit short and vignett the corners.
That is unless the 120 is a 4x5 wide angle lens, designed to cover 4x5 film.
Do you have a vertical height limit that is driving you to want a shorter lens rather than just raising the head?
I my case, I cannot use the XL chassis because of a vertical height limit, which is the floor joists of the floor above.
Actually a 135mm makes a significant difference, I've used them in preference to a 150mm for 5x4 negs for nearly 40 years. Originally it was because of height restrictions but I like the quality/sharpness of the lenses so see no reason to chnage. (They are as sharp as my 150mm).
I mostly enlarge my 4x5's to 11x14 and do it with a 135mm rodagon. I wouldn't make a switch unless I thought the results would be better.
I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix
I have both a 135mm and a 150mm lens on my Omega D3, anything over 11 x 14 makes the 135mm a necessity due to ceiling rafters.
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I tested both a 135mm and a 150mm when I was starting to print 4x5 and chose the 150mm. I still have both (why get rid of anything ). I've printed 16x20 with no issues and use a Beseler 45MX. I would suggest finding one that you think you want and print the same neg with both and see which you like. If you want to sell it, you can probably turn the unwanted one around for what you paid if it was used when you bought it.
I don't have two decent enlarging lenses for 4x5, one 135mm Omegaron that came with the turret of the 4x5 Pro-Lab Omega enlarger I bought many years ago. I have a Nikor 150mm lens too, which is probably technically better, but like so many others ceiling height is limited in my darkroom, so I just continue using the 135. I think the prints are definitely good enough, since I never go more than 4X enlargement anyway, so I haven't even considered replacing the standard enlarger lens.
Sometimes when I print small from medium format I use the 135 in order to get the column up high enough where I can practically do all of the dodging and burning required.
Image quality wise I can't say that I see much difference if any, but I haven't really looked either. I guess my summary boils down to the 135mm Omegaron being good enough, and not giving me any reason to try to improve print quality.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Why would you want a shorter lens for 8x10 or 11x14? I have both 150 and 135mm Nikons from the same vintage. Both are excellent, but I found the 135mm more useful for bigger enlargements where it was hard to reach the focus knob on my D5 (or when the enlarger head hits the ceiling in the new darkroom). Other than that I found the longer lens got used more often.
Good Afternoon, Michael,
I've used a 135 Componon on my Beseler MCR-X for around forty years with no problem. Several years ago, I bought a 150 Rodagon, thinking that using it would mean more of a given image would be projected by the center of the lens, supposedly the best for quality. Somehow, I never got around to mounting the 150 in a board! Maybe someday I will; maybe I'll notice greater image sharpness--but somehow I doubt that it will make a significant difference.
Michael - My enlarger is a 5x7 Omega E6 w/ Omegalite lamphouse, which I've always used for graded Galerie paper; lenses are all Componons (105/135/150/210). Never noticed any corner falloff in the prints, so never checked for lens falloff. Recently did a DIY LED conversion for use with VC papers, so I decided to check the illumination uniformity with each of these lenses when setup for 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20 prints. At each print size I checked at f/5.6, f/16 and f/45. After centering the easel on lens axis, the results with 4x5 neg carrier w/o lens, as well as both 135 and 150, showed very uniform w/o lens but both lenses caused much corner falloff wide open - up to 1/2 stop. Closing down to f/16 reduced falloff to negligible for 150 (possibly f/11 would have done the same) and 1/3 stop for 135. So, yes, there's some slight falloff with 135, but the edges of any print are typically burned slightly anyway, so there should be no issue with falloff.
Larry - I have enough ceiling height to raise my head to the top of the column, but when the power lift failed and could not be repaired I built a gripper (cushioned "pliers") with long handles to reach the manual control knob for fine tuning after the visual focus. Works ok. Would rather have the focus extension device by KHB but it costs more than the enlarger is worth. Some day I may find a way to simulate the KHB gadget with a different mechanical arrangement, but for now I'm functioning.
Last edited by silveror0; 01-16-2014 at 10:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.