Enlarger and Lens Feedback
First post here and brand new to darkroom processes, and film. I've been shooting digital for about a year with my 6D.
I recently bought a second hand 35mm EOS body, and love the look of analog photos. I like the idea of making, developing, and enlarging without having to depend on anyone.
I'm hoping more knowledgeable folk than I can share some advice/wisdom on my current equipment.
I have two used enlargers:
- Durst M600 (Made in Italy)
- Prinz Model 66 Deluxe (Berkeley Scientific Co, Made in Japan)
They came with a total of three lenses. An image of them is attached.
- Camron 50mm f3.5-16 (10 blade aperture) Made in Japan
- El-Omegar 50mm f3.5-22 (6 blade aperture) (Simmon Omega, Div. Berkey Photo)
- Iscorit 75mm f4.5-22 (4 blade aperture) Made in Germany (Isco-Gottengen)
I suspect these are all entry/low-mid range lenses. What I mostly would like to know is which lens is most worthwhile, and which enlarger I should spend more time with. I'll be keeping an eye out for the infamous Nikkor 50mm 2.8.
I'm working with 35mm so I understand the 50mm lenses are primarily what I should be using, unless I'd like to make smaller prints with the 75mm.
Also, I'm wondering if anyone here knows the "sweet spots" for these lenses. With cheap lenses I imagine they are best in their center. Any f-stop recommendations?
Wordy for a first post, but hopefully someone can shed some light.
Thanks in advance, guys!
I asume all these items are "pre-owned". If that is the case there is a possibility that the piece of equipment that was the better enlarger or lens when new might perform lousy today. An enlarger or lens might be out of alignment. So you really need to see which combination works the best for you. And, normally, a lens is at its best a couple of f-stops below it's maximum aperture. Good luck.
Welcome to APUG .
Stop the lenses to f5,6 or f8. If you will not go bigger than 20x30 cm - and alignment of enlarger is ok and illumination is even - this equipment will do the job just fine.
Based on its name, I expect the Prinz enlarger is usable with 6x6 negatives, or smaller. I know the Durst 600 is. So the 75mm lens will be usable with that larger format.
The other lenses are probably serviceable, as long as they haven't been damaged.
If you are just starting out, and are doing moderate enlargements (11x14 or smaller), you will probably have to practice a bit before you will notice much of a difference with a "better" lens.
Buy a bunch of paper - 5x7 is good to learn with - and a good waste-basket. After lots of fun and a short time later, you can decide if it is necessary to upgrade your lenses.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Can't go wrong with an EL Nikkor. High quality, not too expensive.
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Like Darko says. Yes, a 50/2.8 EL Nikkor or Rodagon or whatever woudl be "better", but these lenses should be totally fine for an 8x12" print when stopped down to f/8. The better lenses are needed only if you're enlarging super-fine films fairly large, e.g. a 16x24" print from TechPan or the like.
Since you're just starting out, read through the FAQ in my signature and hopefully it will preempt a bunch of your questions.
Depending on what size print you will make, I have found that I used the 75mm lens for 35mm film.
The 75mm lens projects a smaller image than the 50mm lens, at the same enlarger height.
This way I don't have to lower the enlarger head soooo far down to make a small print. Or put a stack of books under the easel to raise the easel closer to the head, when the head can't get down far enough.
Use what you got and keep an eye out for the better lenses.
They are out there at decent prices, you just have to watch and wait.
My EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 lenses perform very well at f/4 and f/5.6. A high magnification grain magnifier shows slight loss of sharpness at f/8 and more loss at smaller apertures due to diffraction. Adam's lenses will likely need to be stopped down more than the EL-Nikkor.
The Durst is by far the more precise enlarger.
The 75mm is for 6X6 but if you want to use it for 35mm you're using the sweet spot of the lens.
The advantage to the 75mm with small prints are greater distance between the head and base board and longer exposure times. with the 50mm and 5X7's times would be around 5 seconds or less depending on how the negative is exposed. The 75mm times may run 10 seconds.
When you run very short times even one second has a greater effect on exposure. IE 1 sec=20% of a 5sec exposure or 10% of a 10 second exposure.
The 50's are pretty much a toss up and I doubt that anyone starting out will see any difference. The Nikkor is very good as are the Schneider Componon(s?) and Rodenstock Rodagon.
Heavily sedated for your protection.
Well, the condition of the Prinz was slightly better, so I cleaned it up first. The glass plate on the Durst slide carrier is cracked and I haven't been down to the glass shop for a replacement yet.
Long story made short: I made my first prints with the Prinz last night! What a great experience
Used the 50mm El-Omegar stopped down most of the way.
Still, for 8x10 the exposure time was only between 5 and 10 seconds, depending on how the negative was exposed.
They turned out great, and as sharp as I expected, being that the negatives were landscapes shot free-hand and the film is a somewhat grainy 400 ISO.
More than happy with the results. Exceeded my expectations.
Once I get the Durst all fixed up I'll give it a whirl too!
Thank you all for the tips