Yup! It'll be difficult to tell any difference at 8x10, and only very nice negatives will benefit all that much, but since you have the 2.8, print with it anyway.
Originally Posted by geostog
I got my 50 f/4 for free... I got it for $10 shipped online, and the seller sent it attached to half the head of a Durst F30. I tried to return the enlarger pieces knowing the enlarger would be useless without them, but the lady got confused and just gave me a full refund and didn't want the other stuff back...
Best lens for 35mm 8x10's I've had, though!
New-ish convert to film.
Pentax MX for 35mm
Bronica ETRS for 645
"But I have never made prints to check the performance of my lenses".
Well, you should. I mean, that's all that counts, right? How the lens makes prints should be the only standard to go by.
The 50 2.8 Nikkor N is a very fine lens, even used at f4. The N, "new", version has the illuminated aperture. All of the 6 element Nikkors I've tried from that era or later are amazingly good. Other people apparently knew this back then, but I was a little late to realize how good they are. 4 element lenses are okay, but need to be stopped down much farther for corner sharpness.
My results with 6 element German lenses have been much more mixed than I would have expected.
Enlarging lenses are subject to wear. They get banged around, and sometime something comes loose or slips out of alignment. That can affect the sharpness.
Not all enlarging lenses with a given name are the same. The EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 is just plain a better lens than the 50mm f/4 version. I'm not sure about the Rodagon, but the design when it was made might be less shap over the field than Rodagons of a different era. The Componar is a low cost lens, not nearly as good as the Componons.
For tests of enlarging lenses, see Ctein,s book "Post_Exposure".
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@fretlessdavis: I also got my 50/4 quite cheap, for just 30 euros including shipping. And the surprise is the 50/2.8: in absolutely mint condition, to me it seems new, for only 28 euros including shipping!
@momus: I will surely will make some careful test prints to check both the center and the corners of a given aperture at various apertures of all my lenses. That will eliminate any subjective factor.
@Mark: Yes, the Nikkor 50/2.8 I have has the illuminated aperture, so it is the N version. I wasn't sure because there is no N written on it.
@nworth: I wish I wouldn't have bought the Componar, I found it quite cheap an bought it. It was cheap, so no big loss.
@chip: I am reading that book and is really detailed. That man surely had some serious tests!
I 'm currently enlarging small format to 8x12 with a Valoy 2 or 1c. No issues with alignment with the enlargers. I was shocked the El Nikkor 50/4 rendered images with less flair and increased contrast vs a 50/4.5 Focotar at f/5.6 & f/8. In fact, my perception was the 6 element (N) El Nikkor for this one enlargement factor and one negative was no better.
Originally Posted by fretlessdavis
The Focotar has dust, a few wipe marks, no fog and is in average condition. The other optic in mint condition. I also see a difference between the Nikkor 50/4.0 and Focotar under a grain focus device.
I'm not saying a Nikkor 50/4 is better than a six element for all enlargement factors. My lens examples may be an anomaly. However, the late Barry Thornton writes in the book, Edge of Darkness, of a similar experience with his Anaret 50/4.5. I'm satisfied using the 50/4 for 8x10s to 8x12 on the Valoy. On the 1c I get vignetting at 8x if using a lens other than the Focotar.
I'll go back and test the Companon, f/2.8, Nikkor f/2.8 against the Nikkor f/4.0 at 8x. But I would not be surprised if there was no real difference. Enlarge at 5x and surely the 6 element optics would be better.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 03-11-2014 at 01:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.
My experience is similar to Richard’s. I have a Schneider and a Fuji 6 element 50mms but my old 4 element Wallensak rapid, (not so rapid at F4.5) appears to me to have more contrast and is sharper in the corners than either of my 6 element lens, at least up to an 11X14. On the other hand my 90mm Wallensak is not as sharp as my Schneider 105.
Slight haze is very common in 6 element enlarging lenses. Generally easily cleaned.
Recently I got hold of a dirty and clunky Rodagon 180/5,6 from the late Sixties for about $15. Aperture was sticky, stops barely clicking and blades had some oil. Took a bit of time to clean it and adjust as good as I could, but in the end I had a almost-nice looking lens, with a few small scratches. Put it on my Fujimoto under a 4x5" Efke neg and above a sheet of Ilford WT FB @f8-11 and BANG! - a fabulously nice 12x16" print.