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  1. #1
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    Enlarging Lens for Med Format

    Just developed my first roll from my Minolta Autocord TLR. Under a lupe the negatives look impressive. I'm mostly a 35mm shooter and use an El-Nikkor 50/2.8 for enlarging I'm happy with.

    I know nothing about med format enlarging lenses but want something the equivalent in quality of my 50mm lens. In looking on ebay I'm totally confused. All the brands have different levels of lenses. The 80mm 5.6 seems to be more expensive than the f4 lenses. How many elements should I look for, etc? Some guidance would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    I think most folks will agree that the six element lenses are much more desirable. Unless you're on a very limited budget and given the current market for used darkroom equipment, there's no reason not get a first rate lens.
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    Anyone can appreciate a fine print. But it takes a real photographer to appreciate a fine negative.

  3. #3
    papagene's Avatar
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    The above post is correct on two fronts: a 6 element lens is preferable; and you should be able to find real good bargains on the used market.
    If you are happy with the El Nikkor, a six element 80mm would do you well. I use a Rodenstock Rodagon 80mm f4 for MF printing. Schnieder makes a 80mm f4 Componon-S which should be a very good lens.
    But if you can get a real good buy on a APO lens from any of the manufacturers, go ahead and grab it.
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  4. #4
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    You might also look at getting a 105mm lens if you think you might shoot 6x7 or 6x9 in the future. A 105mm will work for film up to 6x9. I use mine for all 6x6 to 6x9 film. The downside is you can't enlarge as much.

  5. #5
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Normally I use a 90mm, but when I'm making full frame (sq) 8x8's I use my 135mm lens so I can have some room to dodge etc. I have a 75mm lens but haven't used it in over 3 years.
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  6. #6

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    Yeah a 105 makes sense. It is no more expensive and gives you the option of 6x9 later on. You will need to raise the head higher to gain the same image size tho, so consider the stabilty of your enlarger and anticipated print size first. I have a 50 f 4.5 minolta, 80 F4 rodagon, 105 f 5.6 rodagon, 135 componon-s, 150 rodagon etc as some came with enlargers etc (I did not waste money buying mroe lenses than I require. All I will asy is that all were second hand in varying condition and age. All are superb beyond criticism. I am certain that unless you get a dog, you can buy any of the lenses mentioned by others with confidence; its just a case of waiting for the bargain. Look to spend no more than $60-100 or so. My 105 F5.6 was $80 (£50).

  7. #7

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    I use an Schneider 80mm Componon S that is very good. I don't know the new price for it these days. The used price for such lenses should be low given the increase in digital darkrooms.

  8. #8

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    Good Evening, Geraldatwork,

    I used an 80mm Componon for over thirty years; it delivered fine results until in developed some internal cloudiness. I replaced it a year ago with a newish 75mm ƒ4 El-Nikkor purchased used on E-Bay for a low price ($50??); again results are excellent.

    Konical

  9. #9
    Adrian Twiss's Avatar
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    I can vouch for the quality of the 80mm f5.6 EL Nikkor. I purchased it after being very impressed with the quality of of the 50mm f2.8. Friends of mine also swear by the quality of the Schneider Companon S

  10. #10
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    Couple of Sleepers...

    ...if you're the type that enjoys a bargain, the Vivitar VHE series like this one;

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...839147645&rd=1

    are Schneider in generic rap. Likewise the "Beseler Color Pro" Series of the mid 1980's were Computar's. Both 6 element and top quality.

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