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  1. #11
    ZorkiKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerzy View Post
    I would stay away from any russian products. Knowing their quality control or rather total lack of it, can happen that you can find good lens but it is lottery. Older products (1945 to 1980) could be made by forced labour.
    If I were as lucky with my lenses as with lotto, I'd be a multi-billionaire now . Enlarger lenses present less risk, if any, compared to say camera lenses or cameras themselves. EL lenses have little moving parts, except for the diaphragm. My Vega-11U is as well built as the more expensive lenses I've seen: good finish, flawless glass, positive aperture movement and stops. I wish I could say the same for my German designed, Italian branded, but Japanese made Durst Neonon lens which cost 20X more when I bought it new. The barrel rattled and the diaphragm ring had a very stiff action.

    If a lens bought for $5.00 turns out to be bad, that's not much loss...it could always be drafted to some other use, such as a loupe for examining negatives or contacts- they're too small to be used a paper weights anyway. But if lens turns out good, that would probably be the best five bucks you've spent.

    As for the forced labour issue, well, it's debateable. The factory which made the Vega, KMZ, for instance, I believe used a paid labour force to produce their products, not prisoners in stripes chained to the work benches. If Soviet factories employed prisoners, what would their citizens do for a living?

    The same accusation has been made of factories in China or Vietnam. Considering that almost 90% of everything sold in stores now are made in China or at least has something from China, would you stop buying them? The keyboard you used to type your post, the tennis shoes you might be wearing, the coffeemaker which made your coffee for breakfast- would you stop using them because they were made in China?
    Last edited by ZorkiKat; 11-11-2006 at 01:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZorkiKat View Post
    I've used my Vega-11U for printing in colour. It came out superb. I've seen large prints made with it (not by me, lens was borrowed to make prints for a show), and it stood well enough with the other prints enlarged through the more conventional lenses.
    I've used my Vega-11U for color printing, too, and I'm satisfied with the results. Woolliscroft, though, doesn't want just satisfactory prints; he used the phrase "best of the best." The Vega-11U, although a very good enlarging lens, doesn't fit into this very elite category, IMHO -- or at least, mine doesn't. As I posted earlier, it's possible that mine is substandard. If so, it's not substandard by much -- it's noticeably worse than my Nikon EL-Nikkor f/2.8, but only when using a loupe to examine the edges of prints. My Vega-11U is superior to my other enlarger lenses (an Industar-96U, a Durst Neotaron, and a Nikon EL-Nikkor f/4 -- all 4-element designs), although with the exception of the f/4 Nikon, a loupe is required to spot the differences.

    Don't forget the Vega-11U's long neck. Although it works fine on some Western enlargers, it makes the lens useless on others and restricts the size of enlargements it can make with some. At best, a potential buyer will know from somebody else's posts how it'll work, but more likely it'll be a gamble in this respect.

    If a lens bought for $5.00 turns out to be bad, that's not much loss...it could always be drafted to some other use, such as a loupe for examining negatives or contacts- they're too small to be used a paper weights anyway. But if lens turns out good, that would probably be the best five bucks you've spent.
    This is true and it's certainly be a point in favor of many Russian enlarger lenses for buyers on a budget. Woolliscroft doesn't seem to be in this category, though.

    Note also that used enlarger lenses have absolutely plummeted in price in recent years. Doing a search on recently-completed eBay auctions, I see a Componon 80mm for $26, a Nikon 50mm f/2.8 that didn't sell with a starting price of $28, a collection of six lenses (a couple of which are probably slightly superior to the Vega-11U) for $20, and so on. Lenses described as APO are still rare and more expensive on eBay, though -- I only see one completed auction, for a Rodenstock 50mm that went for $78. All of these are likely to be more expensive than a Vega-11U, but not by all that much (with the exception of an APO lens). For somebody who's looking for "best of the best" performance, an extra $10-$30 is probably not significant, and even an extra $70 might not be.

  3. #13

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    If a lens bought for $5.00 turns out to be bad, that's not much loss...
    It is not matter of $5, time for playing with unknown lenses is much more worth than difference in price for quality made, known lenses.
    As for the forced labour issue, well, it's debateable. The factory which made the Vega, KMZ, for instance, I believe used a paid labour force to produce their products, not prisoners in stripes chained to the work benches. If Soviet factories employed prisoners, what would their citizens do for a living?
    There is nothing to debate, it is documented history. If you care to know and understand please read "Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum" - http://www.amazon.com/Gulag-History-...e=UTF8&s=books
    There is plenty of other literature.
    And, I am honestly trying to avoid Chinese products, and I am not spending my holidays in Cuba despite it is several hundreds $$$ cheaper.

  4. #14

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    Fujinons are another very good line. I used mine (50mm, 75mm & 150mm) for both b&w and colour and never had reason to think they were of lower quality than the others mentioned. But I never did side-by-side comparisons.

    I'm not sure of current availability.
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl Dunbar View Post
    Fujinons are another very good line.

    Yes. They are still making some enlarging lenses. I use a Fujinon EX 90mm most of the time for 35mm negs for 8x10, but in theory, this lens does cover 6x9 as well. I just haven't had a chance to test 6x9 negs yet, but I'll try soon.

  6. #16

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    I mostly use the next focal length up for coverage. I.e., unless I needed larger size, I'd use the 75 for 35 mm, 105 for 6x6, etc. The 150 for 6x9 would be fine.

    Good to know they're still available new; don't know how common they are on the used market.
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  7. #17

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    I read in an article that enlarging lenses perform best wide open or close to it. In fact, the author wrote, closing an enlarging lens down to f/8 or smaller will cause diffraction and degrade the image.

    Any comments? Remember, I'm quoting from the article and not stating it myself as fact.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl Dunbar View Post
    I mostly use the next focal length up for coverage. I.e., unless I needed larger size, I'd use the 75 for 35 mm, 105 for 6x6, etc. The 150 for 6x9 would be fine.

    Good to know they're still available new; don't know how common they are on the used market.
    In the Japanese market, there are many both new and used ones, and the used ones are getting real cheap now. But at the same time, there are not that many foreign-brand lenses available, so that's sort of the trade-off, I think.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm View Post
    I read in an article that enlarging lenses perform best wide open or close to it. In fact, the author wrote, closing an enlarging lens down to f/8 or smaller will cause diffraction and degrade the image.

    Any comments? Remember, I'm quoting from the article and not stating it myself as fact.
    If wider than F8, you start to get the edges less sharp and/or blurry, and the light gets more focused on the center of the image. For some prints that's ideal, but for others not really.

  10. #20
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    O/T

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerzy View Post
    There is plenty of other literature.
    And, I am honestly trying to avoid Chinese products, and I am not spending my holidays in Cuba despite it is several hundreds $$$ cheaper.
    If you avoid every product which is suspect of having exploited people unjustly somewhere in its production line, you'd soon find that you'll have nothing in your larders, cupboards, closets, or anything on your floor for that matter

    Which is more evil? Avoiding products imagined to have been made by prisoners of some oppressive state apparatus, or those which have been from people who were exploited by profit-driven capitalist industries?

    For instance, an average coffee farmer/worker in some thirdworld South American, African, or Asian country would not be able to afford a serving of Starbucks coffee. His day's wages can be lower than what one grande mug would cost, or perhaps because buyers of the large corporations dictate that he should sell his produce at 1/100th of their fair value. Same could be said about pineapples and bananas.
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