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  1. #11
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamincurieux View Post
    Hi all,

    Can anyone shed any light on the supposed fact that it is better to print 35mm negs with a 60mm lens (or even larger)?

    I've read some comments about it, but have not read any 'facts' for want of another way to put it. Basically, if it is very true then sure I'll run out and get one!

    Thanks, Paul
    ******
    Others have done tests; I have not. But the old lab rats who helped me when I worked with them in the 1960s, assured me that a lens longer than necessary gave better edge sharpness and more even illumination. As a result, I have used a 60 mm 5.6 Rodagon for many years. I am satisfied.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  2. #12

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    Thanks Mick, and by the way you're one of the few to figure out my nickname... just something an old French-speaking ladyfriend used to call me hehe Hmm.

    Aaaanyway, back to the topic. In between things here tonight I've managed to find myself a Rodagon 60mm 5.6 on Ebay pretty cheap, so yeah what the hell I'm gonna try it out. If it works it works, if not then ok too.

    With regards to aligning, mine is a Durst M605 and I'm not sure it is really prone to getting out of alignment to begin with, unless you go fiddling with the bellows, but actually aligning it is as simple as setting it to zero at a couple of points - the tilt head & the bellows. I mean it's not that complicated an enlarger, know what I mean? I don't believe alignment's got an awful lot to do with it in my case. Sure it could just be the camera lens to begin with, but a 35mm Leica lens should be pretty sharp all over. A 20mm Nikkor maybe, but not a 35mm Leica. I'm using a particular image made with that lens as the example here. I feel the edges could be sharper in it. If through experimentation I can get them noticeably sharper then great. I also notice some slight light fall-off around the edges with my enlarger (color head, diffuser), not that it's caused any problems in printing mind you. Running a light meter around the naked light path using a 50mm lens makes it fluctuate a fair bit, the 4 edges are almost a stop dimmer than the center. Like I say it hasn't been a noticeable problem when printing, but if that somehow improves then even better! For a little peace of mind at least. I just want it even all over.

    Well, I can only give it go eh

  3. #13

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    Thanks Mick, and by the way you're one of the few to figure out my nickname... just something an old French-speaking ladyfriend used to call me hehe Hmm.

    Aaaanyway, back to the topic. In between things here tonight I've managed to find myself a Rodagon 60mm 5.6 on Ebay pretty cheap, so yeah what the hell I'm gonna try it out. If it works it works, if not then ok too.

    With regards to aligning, mine is a Durst M605 and I'm not sure it is really prone to getting out of alignment to begin with, unless you go fiddling with the bellows, but actually aligning it is as simple as setting it to zero at a couple of points - the tilt head & the bellows. I mean it's not that complicated an enlarger, know what I mean? I don't believe alignment's got an awful lot to do with it in my case. Sure it could just be the camera lens to begin with, but a 35mm Leica lens should be pretty sharp all over. A 20mm Nikkor maybe, but not a 35mm Leica. I'm using a particular image made with that lens as the example here. I feel the edges could be sharper in it. If through experimentation I can get them noticeably sharper then great. I also notice some slight light fall-off around the edges with my enlarger (color head, diffuser), not that it's caused any problems in printing mind you. Running a light meter around the naked light path using a 50mm lens makes it fluctuate a fair bit, the 4 edges are almost a stop dimmer than the center. Like I say it hasn't been a noticeable problem when printing, but if that somehow improves then even better! For a little peace of mind at least. I just want it even all over.

    Well, I can only give it go eh

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamincurieux View Post
    telkwa, the optimal lens for 35mm negs is a 50mm lens, I know this. I am asking about the rumor that a 60mm is in fact better than the 50mm, for whatever reasons that I'm trying to establish with this thread.... considering that a 60mm lens would mean smaller enlargements than a 50mm I guess.

    Anyone care to add?
    That's easy. The guys who advised using a 60, often used a 4x5 enlarger whose focussing track was designed for a long lens. It was unable to focus a 50mm lens accurately, but COULD just manage a 60. Sound silly, but it is true.

    The 60 Nikkor is a brilliant lens, but the 50s, on a good 35 enlarger (read Leica) are way better. It isn't just the lens, its the ENLARGER and the lens.

    For your enlarger, set up an 8x enlargement, or so, and lay a small mirror on the easel, in a corner, and stop down until you just see a circular aperture. Most lenses have a little mechanical vignetting, and you need to stop down only enough to get a round aperture.

    After you find the clear aperture for your lens, if the falloff remains, you might check the lamp placement in your Durst (if it is adjustable). If you still see falloff, take your enlarger apart and put it back together.

    .
    Last edited by df cardwell; 11-28-2009 at 10:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #15

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    Nikon made the El Nikkor 63mm 2.8 enlarging lens for the 4x4 negative, 127 format, but many found it just as good as the 50mm lens for printing from 35mm frames.

  6. #16
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    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that some 60mm lenses are somewhat special purpose - they are designed to permit greater magnification with negatives larger than 35mm (6x6?) using enlargers with shorter columns.

    One possible downside of using a longer focal length is that you will need to have the enlarger's head higher on the column. Raising the head of an enlarger that isn't sufficiently sturdy and rigid, will make it more vulnerable to vibration induced un-sharpness.

    That being said, I regularly use longer lenses to make smaller prints.

    Matt

  7. #17
    JLP
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    Using a longer lens than what the format normally would call for, in this case a 50mm for 35mm film can have another advantage if the enlarger collumn i tall enough.
    Let's assume that the OP have a specific print size in mind and have determined that the lens performs best at f8. Depending on the negative density it could make the exposure to short for complex doding and burning.
    Using a longer lens and thereby raising the head up further would extend exposure time and perhaps make it easier to perform the task at hand.
    _______________
    Jan Pedersen
    http://janlpedersen.com

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamincurieux View Post
    ....
    Aaaanyway, back to the topic. In between things here tonight I've managed to find myself a Rodagon 60mm 5.6 on Ebay pretty cheap, so yeah what the hell I'm gonna try it out. If it works it works, if not then ok too.
    Without the Leitz enlarger I often use a 75mm or even longer lens for 35mm if I can get the size I need in the print. The reason I do this is partly because the center of the field is more consistent in resolution, etc. but also, and maybe more important, the field is more evenly illuminated. When the corners and edges are proportionately farther away from the lens as occurs when a short focal length is used, the edges/corners get less illumination. With a normal enlarging lens, this may not be noticeable, but it may have a subliminal effect. With the shorter lens, it will be more likely to be problematic.

    Imagine hanging a plumb bob from the lens so that the point rests directly on the easel in the center of the projection. If you swing the plumb bob, it will lift off of the surface as it is over different points on the projection. At the edges it will be higher, and at the corners the highest. This distance difference results in diminished illumination. When the focal length is shorter, the line on the plumb bob will be shorter in the center, and when swung, it will be higher above the paper at all other points.

    Typically, we might burn the edges a bit to compensate. While a print made with a normal enlarging lens may look ok without the edge burning, one made with it will look better if compared directly. With a longer focal length, the difference between center and edges will be proportionally diminished; the illumination more even and the lightening toward the edges and especially the corners less visible.

    I believe that this is why some of the "old timers" thought it best to print with the same lens that was used in making the negative, preferably at the same f/stop. The "fall off" or diminished illumination in the negative was supposed to cancel out the fall off in the printing. I don't think that would work very well in practice, though, because the extension of the lens in projection would be very different from that in the taking.

  9. #19
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    When I first started printing I used a 100mm Schneider C-S for printing 35. I built a table with a shelf in order to print with it. Not the ideal setup, but the prints I made back in the day were surprisingly good when I look at them now. These days I use a 60mm Zeiss Orthoplanar because it is so sharp, but any good enlarging lens will give you excellent prints. As mentioned above, alignment is key.

  10. #20
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    Clayne and Mick have given you good answers.
    I have two apo rodagon 90 and I feel they are better than using apo rodagon 80's that I also have. I guess its the coverage as well as kick ass optics. Another wickedly good lens that I use is the APO Rodagon 150 mm which I do all my 4x5 work with even though I do have a APO Rodagon 180mm.
    Going to a slightly longer lens , 60 mm rather than 50 mm will give you a slight bit more space to move the neg around if needed and gives a slightly larger coverage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Fagan View Post
    Curious child, your request can be answered many ways, but the best reason to use a longish enlarging lens for any format I know of, is to reduce your full frame enlargement possibilities.

    For example, say you wish to make a full frame enlargement of a 135 negative that will fit easily inside a ¼ of an 8x10" piece of paper, virtually impossible with a standard lens, but eminently do-able with a 105mm enlarging lens.

    Generally speaking, most enlarging lenses from my experience, are designed for perfect focus and sometimes colour correction, at a set magnification.

    Student, or very cheap enlarging 135 lenses, are normally optimised for enlargements of around 4x to 6x of the negative.

    Some quite incredible Apo enlarging lenses designed for the 135 format I have used are optimised for as "good as it gets" colour correction and focus around 20x or higher magnification. These are the Rodagon G range.

    There is one standout enlarging lens I have used, the 90mm Apo Rodagon (N I think) this lens was always sought after by staff in the industrial lab I worked in. As long as the format could be covered by this lens, one would get unbelievable focus and colour correction in a seemless magnification from 2x through to about 16x. I would rate this actual lens, if it is in good condition as possibly one of the best enlarging lenses ever manufactured.

    That said, whacking any good lens on an enlarger is only half the story, you really need to align your complete set-up.

    Another important piece of information you need to assess, is the bellows length requirement of longer lenses. As in, does your enlarger allow you to extend your bellows enough to accommodate the longer focal length?

    Clayne, has answered most other reasons for using a longer than usual enlarging lens.

    Mick.

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