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  1. #11
    patrickjames's Avatar
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    I just thought I would throw in my two cents for anyone who cares. I had a bunch of lenses in my possession several years ago and I thought I would test them for the hell of it. I didn't have the apo glass that this thread is about but I thought that everyone might like to know the results anyway. I tested a Schneider Componon-s, The Rodenstock equivalent (Rodogon I think), EL-Nikkor and a lens from Carl Zeiss that I had purchased on Ebay years ago. My conclusion was that the Schnieder had the least overall contrast, but that resulted in very smooth tonal gradations. This was followed by the Rodenstock which showed a slightly higher micro-contrast. The Nikkor had the most micro contrast of these three which resulted in harsher tonal gradations. The Zeiss lens is an orthoplanar, and when I tested it against the others I was actually shocked. The lens is so sharp that you can see the grain on a 5x7 print from a delta film! So I guess my advice would be to get one of these if you can, but otherwise the best overall lens would be the Rodenstock unless you do a lot of portraits then I would recommend the Schneider. The Nikkor seemed harsh compared to these two.

  2. #12
    stormbytes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claire Senft
    The skill displayed in using your enlarger and its lens will be, in my opinion, far more important than the difference in between first rate lenses available from todays marketplace.
    Claire,

    Seems you've hit on an infectious notion known as the 'silver bullet syndrome'. I've been bitten once before - now that I'm flat broke, I'm actually producing some decent prints rather then harking over the differences between this lens or that enlarger.

    Edward Weston's "darkroom" would've been upraised today at under $200 bucks total - less the dry mount press.

    Hi-Five from NYC Claire!

    Cheers
    Daniel

  3. #13
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserious
    Edward Weston's "darkroom" would've been upraised today at under $200 bucks total - less the dry mount press.
    Weston used the best enlarging lens of all, of course--no lens (well, I guess when he made 8x10" enlarged negs from smaller negs he used a lens, but all his prints are contact prints).
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #14
    Daniel Lawton's Avatar
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    I did a little research on this subject when looking into enlarging lenses and came to the same conclusion as many others who have already posted. A supposed Apochromatic (APO) lens is designed to focus all visible wavelengths of light (red, green + blue) to a common point. In his book "Edge of Darkness", Barry Thornton says that even the most expensive modern APO enlarging lenses are only corrected for two, and in fact the only true APO lens is the long discontinued Apo El- Nikkor which you will pay a princely sum for if you can find one. Not without suprise he wasn't able to tell one bit of difference between a modern Apo lens and a high quality non Apo lens. At 1 stop down from maximum aperture the 80mm APO Rodagon was about equal to other high quality non Apo lenses but at other stops it was suprisingly slightly worse. Interestingly enough there seems to be quite a bit of variation of quality among identical makes of lenses even with the most high dollar manufacturers so its best to try the lens out for yourself if possible before you purchase. My opinion would be to save the money for a high quality camera lens.

  5. #15
    davetravis's Avatar
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    I posted this on another thread, but it seems appropriate here also...
    I needed to know the mag factor so I could decide if I wanted to switch to an APO lens. My Rodagon 80mm is best around 6X. My 16x20's come to around that. My 20x24's are around 9X. The APO Rodagon is best around 10X.
    Since the detail and contrast that I'm getting now printing on Ilfochrome is so fantastic, I have decided that the APO would be a waste of money for my current format. Besides, Ciba doesn't need any more contrast!
    Thanks to all for responding.

  6. #16

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    Based on evaluations done by Chris Burkett, the best enlarging lenses are the Apo El Nikkors, if you can find one. They're no longer made. They occasionally come up for auction on EBay. They always go for high prices.

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