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  1. #1

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    Whats the skinny on old US enlarger lenses?

    I've always regarded Schnieder Companon and El Nikon to be the gold standard, but since getting into LF I've become curious about the offerings of Kodak, Ilex and Wollensak. How to the late models of these manufacturers stand up when compared to Schnieder Companons for B&W work?

  2. #2
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I can only remark on one, an Ektanon 105 I just got. I've done a few prints with it and remain unimpressed - when comparing it with those "gold standards" you mention. More careful comparisons are necessary before I declare it a waste of money, but for now, in every format other than 6x9, I think I'll stick with the Companons.

  3. #3

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    I have a Wollensak Raptor 135. It's way better than the "Schneideritus"-challenged Componon that is part of my biggest bad ebay deal to date.
    I just got an El-Nikkor 135 and for casual comparisons the Wollensak is fine. I've not made a really critical comparison between the two though.

    In prior discussions in here it's been pointed out that a lot depends on how big you are printing.
    In my case, for 4x5 enlarged to 8x10 the Wollensack and Nikkor are barely distingushable, if at all, in the printing I've done so far with the Nikkor.

    Anybody want a nice Schneider "portrait" lens?

  4. #4

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    162mm Wollys are cheap and plentiful, and I would think they'd have a bigger sweet spot than a high quality 135 or 150, but (assuming theres enough column to make equal sized prints) would the performance of the longer wolly be an advantage or would the overall quality be a disadvantage? Perhaps the later ones might challenge the 'golden ones' for performance---or would they?

    I have a 135mm Omegaron (OK, so its not the latest Rodenstock product) on the D-II and I'd like to try something longer someday. A 150 Companon or Nikor would be spiffy but the 162 Wolly has me thinking...I wonder if I'd have to get a longer lens cone to use one?

    I do have an Ilex Copy Paragon on my 8x10 enlarger---absolutely stunning but it is short (229mm) for 8x10 work, I've been thinking of reserving it for
    5x7s. Sometimes I think of replacing it with a 300 or 360 Companon (a wee bit too expensive for me) but perhaps I can find a Ilex/Wolly/Kodak equivalent of the copy paragon.

    Is anyone else using old stuff? Any more opinions? Any funky LF enlarging lens 'sleepers?' Maybe a dagor series IV??

  5. #5
    JLP
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    Have a 7.5" Ektanon in the drawer that i need to compare to a 210 El Nikkor with a little bit of haze and a coming 210 Rodagon. Need a Lapla for my 138S so i can mount it.


    jan

  6. #6

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    Do you find it to be an advantage using a 210mm lens for 4x5 enlarging over a 150mm or 135mm?

  7. #7

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    I started with a Wollensak 50mm f/4.5 and, and it produced some very nice prints at 5x7, but when I moved to 8x10, things just fell apart. When I upgraded to a Nikon 50mm f/2.8, it was like night and day. My 5x7's were were as sharp as I could ever hope for, my 8x10s were very nice, and the few 11x14's I've made have been quite agreeable as well.

  8. #8
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    The DeJur 135mm lens on my 50-year-old DeJur enlarger seems about as good as the 135mm EL-Nikkor that replaced it. Perhaps there is a difference above 11x14 prints, but I haven't tried that.

  9. #9
    JLP
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    John, I use a 135mm Componon S for 4x5 not the 210 The 210 only for 5x7 When i find a lens board for the 7.5" Ektanon i will try it on 5x7


    jan

  10. #10

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    Try an ektar. I have a 4.5/75 that is every bit as good as my 80/5.6 Componon. I paid $5 for the Ektar.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

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