I would suggest you do not use the dials on the color head for contrast control and instead buy a set of under the lens contrast filters from Ilford.
This way you will have full gradation usable (color head often do not permit a true grade 5 ) and it will be easier to switch contrast if need arose on the same print.
As you've got a Nikon lens for 35 mm I would suggest buying a Nikon 80 or 105 lens for the 6x6 or 6x7 negatives. Tis way you'll be consistent. The threads should be the ubiquitous 39 mm Leica for this kind of lenses but you may encounter very old second hand lenses with a smaller thread, say 25 mm. If you stick to modern Componon-S, Rodagon or Nikon or Fuji or Minolta, the 39 mm thread is "de rigeur". You just have to ensure to buy a 6 lens design from a reputable manufacturer and won't make a mistake.
Last but not least, I would also suggest getting a glass neg carrier. This will prove universal and help your negatives stay totally flat. These days, we often see former beyond the Iron Curtain manufacturers doing film that curl crazy. And of course, if you've not a glass carrier, the wonderful image would prove unprintable because you can't achieve focusing simultaneously at the center and the corner.... Been there, done that....
As for products, I would suggest getting Ilford papers and chemicals. They are really good, not so expensive and as Ilford is an APUG sponsor, you help a bit...
Hope this helps
Thanks again for all your great responses. It is a great credit to APUG members that in less than an hour I had the answers to all my questions.
I have now ordered the multigrade paper and developer (I already have stop and fix from my negative developing routine).
I have been searching around now for an 80mm lens. 2 have appeared that look reasonable value. One is a used Rodagon f4 and one a new Componon-s f4.5. The Rodagon is the cheapest (£25 versus £40). Anyone have an opinion about these?
On the face of it (and assuming the used Rodagon is in mint condition) either should do the job.
I have what sounds like the same Rodagon and it's very good. If that one has been abused of course then it might be a lemon, but you could always ebay it back out.
Does anyone know whether the f4.5 Companon S is the equivalent Schneider? If have a f5.6 (I think it's that anyway, it's been a while since I checked) but that's a lesser model and I'm not impressed...
Georges - What I love about this wonderful obsession we share is the way that people can approach it so differently and yet still get great results!
I've tried Ilford filters and glass carriers and got dust spots and Newton rings for my trouble! Now I use the standard colour head and a pair of glassless carriers and am happy with my results. For you the reverse is true, thus we're both right!
I'd also forgotten about Minolta enlarger lenses; sharp as a tack! Thanks for reminding me.
All the best,
The destination is important, but so is the journey
I've a couple of additions to make:
First, an earlier post suggested using separate B&W filters rather than the color filter dials on the head because the filters enable you to maintain a constant exposure. Well, this can be true of the color filter dials, too. Manufacturers often publish two filter tables, one for shortest exposure that uses a single filter (say, Y30 for a particular grade) and another for constant exposure that uses both filters (Y50 + M20, say). Using the two-filter value will let you change effective grades without adjusting the exposure time, although the exposure times will be longer than you'd get with the single-filter method.
Second, regarding lenses: Most enlarging lenses use either four or six elements, with 6-element designs being preferable. Schneider and Rodenstock both give their 6-element lenses names that end in "-on" and their 4-element lenses names that end in "-ar", so these are pretty easy to distinguish. Nikon doesn't do this, unfortunately, but I know that in 50mm, the Nikon f/2.8 is the 6-element and the f/4 is the 4-element. Fuji gives their lenses two-letter names, with EP and EX being 6-element designs (EX having better coatings), but I don't recall what their 4-element designation is. I don't know offhand how Minolta names their lenses. Of course, none of this will help you determine which used lens is in good shape and which one's been used for juggling practice, but it's a start.
I have just had a call from the seller of the enlarger and an 80mm Nikon lens has been found with it which they are including so I guess I now have the complete outfit at least to get me started. Can't wait.
I have also just been reading Barry Thornton's book Edge of Darkness and he seems to dislike the Componon-S he had and says he got comparable results with a lowly Anaret. He also seems to like the Meogon. Perhaps these (Czech?) lenses are also worth considering? I actually used to have a Meopta 35mm enlarger well over 10 years ago with an Anaret lens, but I can't say I really knew what I was doing in those days.
Last edited by mrtoml; 10-12-2007 at 11:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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The Nikon 80mm is nice. The only reason I picked up a F/4 lens was for some very very dense cross processed negatives . Anything normal was fine.
What Barry was trying to get across is that paying a lot of money for a lens does not guarantee that it will be significantly better that a cheaper version. Indeed it is often simply a matter of cheaper versions having less rigorous quality control. So, you may get a superb example of a cheap enlarging lens, but then you may get a mediocre one.
Originally Posted by mrtoml
As to the Componon I seem to remember that once he sent the lens back to the manufacturer and got it repaired he was perfectly happy with it. Looks like a case of an expensive lens having poor quality control
Unless you've got a couple of lenses to compare, how will you know how good your lens is? This is equally true of Barry's faulty componon and just a poor lens.
I wouldn't bother with the under the lens filters either just yet. Use both the Magenta and Yellow filters and you will get consistent times for each grade. Admittedly you can't get a true grade 5, but you'll get pretty close. The other advantage of using the in built filters is you can experiment with fractions of a grade; something that I've found useful on occasion. If you find that you are having problems then go ahead and spend the money on the filters, but remember that you'll still have to change the exposure times for grades 4 and 5 as these require an extra stop of light.
Whatever, you decide to do have fun. Like most things in life there are multiple ways of achieving the same result, it's whatever suits you best.
If the enlarger does not come with the manual send me a PM and I'll can send you a electronic version.
Last edited by Brian Jeffery; 10-12-2007 at 12:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Thanks, Brian. The enlarger should arrive on Tuesday so if I need the manual I will be in touch.
I am sure I will have many more questions next week...
I second Barry Thornton advice regarding Meopta lenses. They are tack sharp and were damn cheap when the iron curtain was down. Unfortunately, now, Czech people have seen (happy for them) their wages going up so the bargain is a less good one than it was.
But, if you find a Meogn 50 and an Anaret 80, buy them (and tell the seller you make him a favor giving him a quid for the pair ;-) ) you will not be disappointed.
Honestly, I've always got neg carrier with glasses. Provided you have a plain glass under the negative and an anti-Newton rings one above, you'll be good. As to dust specs, if the room is quite clean and the enlarger grounded, you can manage with a sable brush not to have spots and dust marks on your prints. But as usual, YMMV !
Last but not least, do not use film fixer for paper. Keep two separate mixes. Film often contain silver iodide which is difficult to fix pushing the fixer to its limits. Same for stop bath.
Thanks, George. I didn't know about that fixer issue.
It was interesting reading the Thornton book again - I read it last year, but didn't read the enlarger chapters because I basically have been using scanned film and printing digitally so I only read his chapters about film development and so on.
The stuff he says about using glass in the carrier is interesting. I assume that I can get glass carriers for the 7700. I will start another search. :rolleyes:
The reason I am concerned about lenses is that I use Leica in 35mm and anything from Bronica for MF to Rodenstock in a field camera. So there doesn't seem to be much point in scrimping on the enlarger lens and having that become the weak part of the chain. There seems to be a large number of relatively cheap enlarger lenses on the used market and after I have got to grips with the lenses supplied with my current purchase I may well try out some more.