I agree with Curt to an extent. Beselar=crap. Nikkor=better. Schneider=BEST. A used beselar at the moment from KEH is $9. That should tell you something. Rodenstocks are alright, and of course a few steps better (my Chromega D5-XL came with 3 Rodenstocks on the tri-turret holder), but in my nearly 40 years of printing, nothing comes close to the Schneider lenses.
Also as was sated above, you get what you pay for. Go on the cheap, you get cheap.
In my experience Rodenstocks are better than Schneider but both are beaten hands down in terms of quality of construction and equalled in performance by the Meopta Meogon S series of lenses. Marko, however, will probably find these lenses are out of his range of affordibility so I would reccommend that He look for either a new Meopta Anaret S 50mm f4.5 which has been seen to equal a Componon in terms of performance at f5.6 or a secondhand Minolta E. Rokkor 50mm f4.5 which is cheap, tiny and truly superb - after all it they were good enough for W. Eugene Smith they're good enough for me!
Originally Posted by Rolleijoe
Hope this helps,
Some guys tested a lot of enlarging lenses. The best performer was 2.8/50 EL-Nikkor. It even was better then Rodenstock apo-Rodagon 2.8/50. I do not think it was very useful comparison, but EL even much less cost that apo-rodagon is for sure very good lens, and probably "close" to apo from rodenstock and schneider. If you do not want to pay $400 us for rodenstock or schneider I think EL is the best choice. Beseler are retagged rodenstock lenses, but take care what rodenstock give to them, probably lenses that didi not pass to get name Rodenstock. So get EL and you will like it. It is on par with rodenstock rodagon 2.8/50 and schneder componon-s 2.8/50.
And the best lens is one you have and like to work with.
Last edited by Daniel_OB; 06-23-2006 at 07:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Somewhere on the web (I'm too lazy to go looking for it right now but I believe that the author may be here on APUG) is a comparison of enlarging lenses that showed the author's Minolta lens to be the best of his bunch.
Just like any other kind of lens, there is variation in the quality of enlarging lenses of the same make and model. Most companies don't test every lens, so not every lens that leaves the factory is the same. I've never owned a bad Nikkor enlarging lens, but I'm sure there are some out there. By the same token, I have an old Kodak enlarging lens that's tack sharp and that would be hard to beat for B&W work. Are old Kodak lenses better? Doubtful. Is my Kodak lens better than average? Almost certainly.
Given the price of enlarging lenses on eBay, it's probably worth buying a few, checking them out, and then reselling the ones that don't make the cut. Not as convenient as the local photo store used to be, when you'd keep taking lenses home until you got a good one, but then the photo store charged a whole lot more for enlarging lenses than they sell for on eBay these days. (50/2.8 Nikkors seem to be selling in the $25-40 range right now...actually up a little from last year.)
Best of luck to you.
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
By all that i have read and experienced there is a great variation in quality in all manufacturers lenses. I have come to believe that there is just a lot less in the Big Three. Beslar HD series lenses are just rebadged rodenstock or schneider, I can't remember which. I have used a rodenstock roganar-s in 150mm for 4x5 for years and have been completely satisfied.....it is a 4 element lens. I recently obtained a mint schneider componon-s in 135mm, it is a 6 element, and really can't tell the difference in peformance. But! i only go as far as 16X20 that is only a 4X enlargement, which if you look at the rodenstock specs is right in the "sweet spot" for the roganar-s. So if you are trying to make 16x20's from a 35mm neg you'd better get the absolute best lens you can that is a lot of enlarging! As an aside I was told on a forum i should be able to tell the difference from my 4 element rodenstock and 6 element schneider in prints as small as 11X14.....baloney! If anyone can see it without a 20x loupe( I don't have one but have checked with my SCHNEIDER 7x loupe) then they need to join the circus as the "man with x-ray vision". Lets all remember that normal human vision can only visiualize about 6-7 lp/mm.
No escaping it!
I must step on fallen leaves
to take this path
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IMHO, this is good advice. I'd add, though, that it might be worth keeping the best two lenses, or perhaps two or three lenses with different features you like for different situations (such as a click-stopped vs. not click-stopped aperture ring). If you've got two or three lenses on hand, you'll have a backup in case of an accident -- say, if you accidentally whack the lens with a heavy object.
Originally Posted by Mongo
I see that you and I have similar working methods.
Originally Posted by srs5694
In my post I did say to keep the best one, but the reality is that I have about twelve enlarging lenses of various focal lengths in my posession. I never mean to acquire them...it just sort of happens. I think they follow me home when I'm not looking.
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
I agree. There is little practical difference between my EL-Nikkor 135mm and the original lens from my 60-year-old DeJur enlarger. If the ultimate goal of an enlarging lens was to excel in lens tests, I'd critically compare them. However, I'm content with both. In 50mm lengths my four element EL-Nikkor comes close enough to the six element version for almost any use, too. The faster lens is better at large apertures and is easier to focus. That's a matter of convenience more than image forming ability.
Originally Posted by ronlamarsh