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  1. #1
    athanasius80's Avatar
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    Is it acceptable to use a camera lens in the enlarger?

    I found that my 127 Ektar makes seemingly sharper prints than the lenses that came with my enlarger. Until I can afford something nicer, is that an acceptable practice or is it really just "halfassing" it?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If it's making sharper prints than the lens you have, I'd say use it.

    It used to be common practice to use taking lenses for enlarging, on the theory that you could correct some of the faults of the lens that way, but in practice, this usually isn't true.

    There are lots of very affordable used 6-element enlarging lenses out there these days.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  3. #3

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    I agree with what David said. Some of the sharpest taking lenses began as process lenses (flat field lenses) The G Clarons and the Repro Clarons are examples.

  4. #4
    Mongo's Avatar
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    Seriously: If it's working for you, use it. If the 127mm is giving you sharp prints, then use it and forget anything else. It took me a long time to stop looking for a good deal on a Schneider Apo-Componon HM lens...it was when I finally figured out that I was happy with the images I was already printing that I really stopped worrying and started enjoying printing.

    You can end up like me...collecting enlarging lenses looking for some magical property that doesn't exist, or you can use what's working for you and forget about what else is out there. The 2nd path is the wiser and more cost-effective path. Trust me on this one...there is no silver bullet when it comes to lenses. If you have one that's sharp enough for you, then enjoy it. If someone tells you that another lens will give you better prints, the first thought that should go through your mind should be, "My prints are already sharp enough." You'll save a lot of money and frustration this way.

    Be well.
    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  5. #5

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    I agree with what the others have posted so far, but with a couple of caveats. First, camera lenses may not produce a flat field, so your focus may be off in the periphery (if you focus for the center of the image). If you don't see this, or if you don't care, then just don't worry about it. The second caveat is that I've heard (hearsay alert!) that the heat from enlargers can cause problems for camera lenses, which by and large weren't designed for it. I wouldn't recommend you stop using a camera lens based on my very imperfect knowledge of this, but you might want to investigate this point further, particularly if your enlarger produces a lot of heat near the lens.

    FWIW, I've got a couple of spare Russian Industar-96U 50mm enlarger lenses. If you want one I'd be willing to let it go cheap; just send me a PM.

  6. #6

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    Good Evening, 80,

    Whatever gets good results should be an acceptable method. For several years when I was just accumulating darkroom equipment(back in the '70's when darkroom equipment near-givaways on E-Bay were nowhere in sight and most stuff had to be purchased new), I used a 50mm Miranda macro lens as my lens for 35mm enlarging. It gave print quality that was pretty much indistinguishable from that provided by the 50mm enlarging lens I later acquired.

    Konical

  7. #7
    Pastiche's Avatar
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    er... what about vise versa?... I've got a 180 wolli that I'd like to stick in my Cambo... no shutter... but... I'd only be using it for light painting.. and for that.. the darkslide makes a great shutter

  8. #8
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I have both used enlarging lenses on my camera and used my LF lenses in my enlarger. Both have worked just fine for both color and B&W.
    www.ericrose.com
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    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

  9. #9

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    "what about vise versa?... "

    Good Morning, Noah,

    Eric is right. One of my most-printed negatives is a night shot of Busch Stadium in St. Louis made about twenty-five years ago with my 135mm Componon enlarging lens; enlargements up to 16 x 20 are very sharp and detailed. I can't remember anymore exactly how I rigged the lens on a board to fit the camera, but the end result was fine.

    Konical

  10. #10
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    If it works, just do it, in fact the Graflex series of cameras had a enlarger back option for them that you could use the camera as the enlarger which used the lens that you also took you pictures with...

    Dave

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