Pls help to choose 50mm enlarger lens
I have choice of :
Rogonar 2.8/50 - 100 EUR
Rogonar-S 2.8/50 - 200 EUR
Componon-S 2.8/50 - 250 EUR
and also Rodagon , which is similar in price to Componon-S
there is 2x difference in price between Rogonar-S and Rogonar - does it means it's twice better?
I'm going to print BW only , and up to 30x40cm (11x16" )
but I'd like to have occasional (very rare) possibility to print 50x60cm with floor projection, although never tried that and I think it's a complicated job
I guess those prices are for new lenses, but these days, you'd have to be nuts to buy a new enlarging lens--especially 50mm. You can get a top quality used Componon-S, Rodagon, or Nikkor lens for a small fraction of those prices.
I would go with one of the six element, four group lenses. They produce superior results - at least to my eyes.
Last week on fee-bay I noted at least 5 50mm El-Nikkor f2.8 lenses for auction. I have one, and it's a gem. You could probably get two for 250 EUR.
I also own a Rodagon and a Componon-S (210mm and 150mm, respectively) and they're both fine lenses. I wouldn't hesitate to use either brand, but the 50mm El-Nikkor is famous for being a tack-sharp lens at wide apertures.
Many (but not all) manufacturers name their 4-element lenses with "-ar" suffixes and their 6-element lenses with "-on" suffixes -- so the Rogonar lenses are 4-element designs and the Rodagon and Componon lenses are 6-element designs. Nikon doesn't follow this practice, but the Nikon 50mm f/2.8 that's been mentioned is a 6-element lens, whereas the Nikon 50mm f/4 is a 4-element lens. There can also be differences within each line based on coating quality and other factors, but the number of elements is probably the most important determinant of quality. Based on what I've read and seen in the half dozen lenses I've tested myself, brand-to-brand differences are much less than those based on number of elements, or even on sample-to-sample differences within a single model.
Whether a 6-element lens produces results that are "twice better" than a 4-element lens depends on how you quantify print quality. You'll get plenty of opinions, but really, the only way to know is to judge it yourself, since calibrating your standard of quality against mine or anybody else's is almost impossible, at least without having actual prints to compare -- and if you've got actual prints, you can judge the matter yourself.
I do agree with some others that used lenses offer far more value for the money than new ones, at least in today's market. You can get an excellent 6-element lens on eBay for US$50 or less (I'm not sure about the European eBay markets, but given the value of the US dollar, a European can shop on the US eBay and get good value, even with shipping). Even if you get a dud the first go, the cost of two or three used lenses will be less than the cost of a single new one.
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I own a 50mm EL Nikkor f4.0 (no half stop clicks), 30+ years old and tack sharp right into the corners of the frame and no noticeable light fall off at wide apertures. Seems to have more contrast than my 100mm Componon-S f5.6, (for MF) - Japanese lenses generally have more contrast - I'm not sure that's a plus. I'm happy with both brands.
Originally Posted by Deckled Edge
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
FWIW, I own both the f/4 (4-element) and f/2.8 (6-element) 50mm EL Nikkor lenses. The 4-element lens is the worst of the 50mm lenses I own, including a couple other 4-element lenses, whereas the 6-element lens is the best of my 50mm lenses. I've seen others say that the Nikon 4-element lens is pretty good, so either I happen to have some extraordinary 4-element lenses (a Durst Neotaron and an Industar-96U) or my Nkon f/4 is in bad shape.
Originally Posted by panastasia
Prices on eBay are such that if you're buying a used lens, the cost difference between 4- and 6-element lenses is tiny. Thus, I see little reason to buy a 4-element enlarger lens, at least on the used market. If you must have new, then the cost difference is bigger, but I'd rather have a used 6-element lens than a new 4-element lens.
I've owned a 4-element bargain lens and an older 6-element el nikkor 50mm f2.8. The nikkor was sharper all around. Go used if you can, it's really not worth it buying new.
I still use older six element Rodagons and Companons. I believe my best lens for 35mm is my 60 (sixty) mm 5.6 Rodagon. I also have a 105 5.6 Nikkor for MF. In ye oldene dayz having a bit more focal length than needed for proper coverage was considered a good thing. I use a grain focuser, so the dimmer image from the slower lenses is not too much of a problem.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Remember, this is the most important lens you own.
All your prints are made with this lens.
There is no point having fancy expensive glass on the front of your camera and a poor enlarger lens.
I would always go for a 6 element/4 group lens - every time
Nikon, Schneider & Rodenstock - they are all good
If you are prepared to be adventurous and money is tight try e-bay.
If you can afford it - buy a new Componon-S or Rodagon and have a great lens for the rest of your distinguished photographic career - after all 250E is not that much realy when you look at the cost of most peoples photographic kit
The other choice is to find a shop (physicaly go, phone or e-mail) which sells second-hand darkroom equipment and pick one for yourself. The cost will be about half way between e-bay and new - that way you can pick up a great lens at sensible money without risk of picking up something that has suffered years of misuse and neglect.
You have more come back with a shop - Second Hand Darkrooms are worth a browse - http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/
Its a choice we all go through from time to time - only you know what is the right choice for you and what you can afford