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  1. #1
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Nikon vs Rodenstock enlarger lenses

    I was printing 35mm negs last weekend. I want to print smaller so I used my 80mm Rodenstock lens and I think the prints look sharper than printed my Nikon 50mm. Is it my imagination? Are Rodenstock enlarger lenses sharper than Nikon enlarger lenses?
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  2. #2

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    Back in the old days the Rondenstock Rodagon were more expensive than the Nikkor. Of course price isn't a sure indication of quality but it generally is.

  3. #3
    AndreasT's Avatar
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    Well, well, is there a difference? I have used Rodenstock from 28mm to 300mm, a few Nikons 50, 63 and 80mm. The odd Schneider.
    There are quite a few different types of Rodenstck lenses for different purposes like the Apo's the G lenses.
    Out of my experience is that the 63mm Nikon lens is better than any Rodenstock 50mm lens for 35mm film unless you go big, real big then you need a Rodenstock G lens. Personaly I also prefer a 80mm Nikon over a Rodenstock.
    Often I do believe we see what we want to see when it comes to different lenses.
    It could also be that since you used a 80mm for a 35mm film you only used the center of the lens which is always sharper and more brilliant than the edges of a lens.

  4. #4

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    Some of that difference can come from using a longer lens than the standard 50. You also get the added benefit of having the bellows extended slightly more making the lens stage to negative stage alignment slightly less critical.

  5. #5
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Hey thanks for your tips from experience. Saved me from GAS.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  6. #6
    walbergb's Avatar
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    See Chapter 6 Enlarging Issues in Post Exposure by Ctein. It's a free download.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  7. #7

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    There are variations from sample to sample, from model to model and sometimes you prefer one brand in one focal length and another in another.

    FWIW I find the top Nikon lenses comparable to the late model rodagons. My most used lenses are:

    63 Nikkor
    105 Rodagon
    135 Componon-s / 150 Rodagon

    I certainly prefer 50mm Rodagons to Schneider Componon-S lenses. Its something to do with the tonality/contrast of the latter I don't like as much but its entirely personal.

    One brand consistently better than the other? Not to my eyes.

  8. #8

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    I agree, it's mostly a 80mm Versus 50mm thing in this case. An 80mm will always win for 35mm smaller prints.

  9. #9
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I've been printing for over 30 years and never knew that. Thanks for all the responses! I'll a look at the links.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  10. #10

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    I have used both makes of lenses and currently use a Nikkor 50mm F2.8. As far as I can remember the Rodenstock Rodagon 50mm F2.8 was about the same standard - that is both were/are damn good, but I may give the Rodenstock Rodagon a bit more credit when printing colour especially if it was the APO version. The Nikkor did seem however to have the better build quality.

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