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  1. #1

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    enlarger lens for 35mm B&W APO lens

    Right now I use a Nikon 50mm 2.8 enlarger lens, exclusively print B&W and am wondering if the APO series of lens currently available will make a difference when printing onto FB paper. I don't use T grain films usually but use mostly Fuji Neopan and Acros developed in Xtol, Rodinal or HC 110.

    On the B&H website, there are 2 available, the Schneider 40/2.8 APO-Componon HM http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Enlarging.html and the Rodenstock 50/2.8 APO-Rodagon N http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Rodagon_N.html

    I do use APO lenses for my 6x6/6x7 and 6x9 negatives but I don't have anything to compare it to as I have no other lenses.

    1) is the 40mm Schneider lens a focal length that would be appropriate for 35mm negatives?
    2) would tonality be improved using an APO lens?

  2. #2
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    An APO lens should not make a difference for B&W printing.

    Graded paper is sensitive to blue light; variable-contrast to blue and green. Neither is sensitive to red, which is why safelights are red.

    Non-APO lenses are corrected for blue and green, so the additional red correction provided by an APO lens is not needed.

    I use Schneider Apo-Componon HM lenses for all my enlargements.
    They're superb lenses, but as I said the APO correction is probably of no benefit for B&W work.
    I only do B&W now, but I used to also do Cibachromes using an additive-light head, which is why I bought the APO lenses.

    I think 40mm is a bit short for 35mm; I use 45mm.

    - Leigh
    Last edited by Leigh B; 10-27-2011 at 12:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato

  3. #3

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    I have 50mm Nikonf/2.8 and Apo Rodagon 50mm f/2.8 (without N, old model). The result, Nikon better. Two years ago I have a chance got a Leica Focotar 50mm f/4. From that time, I forgot those two lenses. My 90mm Apo Rodagon 90mm f/4 still for medium format, 6X6 lens since 1984.

  4. #4

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    I use the rodenstock 50mm apo for my printing. The only thing I've noticed is sharper corners at lower apertures, which gives me more room to play around with. If you do notice an overall difference, I imagine it would be minimal at f.8-11, but would likely take place if you find yourself printing at 2.8-5.6.

  5. #5

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    You haven't said how large you are printing, but generally you aren't going to see a huge difference with an apo lens compared to your Nikkor. If you don't have them already you should use the money to purchase a laser alignment tool and a top notch grain focussing tool. Those will make a difference; much more so than the difference between your Nikkor and an apo.

  6. #6
    ath
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    Read the book "post exposrue" by Ctein (it is available as free download on his webpage); he compared quite a few enlarger lenses.
    The late Barry Thornton writes in his book "edge of darkness" about testing quite a few enlarger lenses. IIRC he came to the conclusion that sample variation might be of more influence that the lens design itself.

    Personally I have never used APO enlarger lenses. My Nikkor 50/2,8N is impressive and beats all 80mm lenses I've compared it against (Rodagon old & current, Schneider Componon, Meopta Anaret, unnamed japanese lens). The "lowly" 4 element lenses held up very well, sometimes being better in the center that the 6 element lenses. These had the advantage in the outer borders.
    Regards,
    Andreas

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ymc226 View Post
    Right now I use a Nikon 50mm 2.8 enlarger lens, exclusively print B&W and am wondering if the APO series of lens currently available will make a difference when printing onto FB paper.
    I presume you are going to be making some massive enlargements. In that case the edges will be sharper with your big enlargements, compared to the Nikkor. The Nikkor does not have as big of a useable image circle, so when you are making those big 25x enlargements, the edges will be compromised. You can also use those 45 and 40mm HM lenses for enlargements less then 25x but I never do. Because the enlarger head is so low, I can't open the printing easel.

  8. #8

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    Schneider 40 & 45, 40 Focotar all give awful corners with condenser enlargers, however they work fine with diffusion machines. i have 7 enlargers from 35 to 4x5 that print all formats and tried them every which way, single glass, double glass, no glass carriers, you name it. Do not buy them for a condenser machine.

    I will have to disagree reguarding APO. There is a "clarity' difference that is unmistakable, sharpness not so much, but it is there. I have tried all versions of Leica Focotars, Rodenstock N APO, and older Nikors. The German are the best.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all of your responses. Presently, I have 2 LPL (Omega/Saunders) 4x5 diffusion enlargers that I use with the VCCE module specific for B&W.

    I enlarge from a minimum of 8x10 (rare) to 11x14 (usual) to 16x20 (rare) using FB multi-grade papers (Ilford MGIV, ADOX MCC) or lith using Fomatone.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Lointain View Post
    You haven't said how large you are printing, but generally you aren't going to see a huge difference with an apo lens compared to your Nikkor. If you don't have them already you should use the money to purchase a laser alignment tool and a top notch grain focussing tool. Those will make a difference; much more so than the difference between your Nikkor and an apo.
    Thanks for the suggestion but my LPL enlargers don't allow for alignment as they are factory adjusted. I do use a Peak 1 grain focuser.

    I guess my problem is that I want to like 35mm more given the money I've spent on 35mm cameras/lenses and the ability to reload less given 36 exposures/roll. I keep on coming back to MF for the beautiful tones and large negatives.

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