Best cheap lens for 6x6 neg.
Old 05-19-2007   #1
clintock
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Best cheap lens for 6x6 neg.

Hi,
I had the (mis)fortune of finding a 6x6 negative holder for my ol' omega b22..
Naturally after buying a gaggle of TLR with my fresh g.a.s. excuse, I will be needing something other than the 50mm lens I have on the enlarger..
I have both the 39mm and the smaller-holed lens plates, so the choice is huge for used lenses out there.
I even thought of trying my CV APO 90/3.5 as an enlarger lens, but as cheap as proper enlarger lenses go for now, that's probably stupid, not to mention it might not work (it would be an interesting experiment though!)

What's the word on under-valued mf enarger lens brands/models? I see many nikons in various conditions go for almost free..
I guess I need an 80mm.. that's about all I know right now..
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Old 05-19-2007   #2
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I've been using a 75mm F/4 Nikkor with great results, but have heard that the lens won't cover 6x6. So what does that mean? Is there more than one version of the lens and I stumbled on one that happens to work?
Anyway, you could try your CV lens, but it wasn't designed for close focus OR to cover a 6x6 neg. If it gets the job done, why not? It wouldn't take much effort to find out.
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Old 05-19-2007   #3
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Nikkor 80mm. Get one. Or an 80mm Schneider (Spelling?). In that order. I can't remember the name of my Schneider lens-Componon Something. I liked both & the Nikkor seemed better although I didn't have them at the same time.
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Old 05-19-2007   #4
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ps: Don't go cheap. Buy the best enlarging lens you afford. Spend more than you want to if you must.
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Old 05-19-2007   #5
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I got a Schneider Componon 80mm for GBP20 a few weeks ago, no doubt one of the best lenses there is for medium format.

Nikkor, Componon or Rodagon are usually considered to be the best ones. You shouldn't have to pay much more than I did for any of them. If you want to kick some b*tt in the darkroom, go for any of the above in apochromatic design (with a pricetag to match).
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Old 05-19-2007   #6
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Cheap was a poor word choice, I should have said best value..
I'll look for nikkor and componons. It seems one's dollar goes a long way today in the used enlarger lens market..
Thanks for the replies..
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Old 05-20-2007   #7
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I knew what you meant. Yes, great enlarging lenses are very good value today.
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Old 05-20-2007   #8
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You really want an 80mm or 90mm enlarging lens. The 90mm APO CV lens won't work- I don't think it'll cover the 6x6 negative, and anyway it's much better as a shooting lens. Venchka is right- get the absolute best quality enlarging lens your means will allow. Most enlarging lenses over the past 50 years have sorted themselves out to 6-element/4 group optical designs, and any of these will work admirably well. The modern APO lenses will be a bit sharper, especially for big enlargements, but plenty of non-APO lenses are really great too. As others have said, look for any good late Schneider, Rodenstock or Nikkor.

To get into some specifics: for Schneider, the current Componon-S series is about their best, and these are a step up from the older Componon series- although those were very good, too. The APO designs are of course even better. Rodenstock Rodagons are great, and the APO Rodagons are considered by many to be the best (sharpest and best contrast control) general purpose enlarging lenses ever made. Rodagon-G lenses are also very good, but are specifically optimized for HUGE enlargements, and they are indeed better at making really big prints than they are at more normal 5x7 to 12x16 inch range. All the Nikkors are very good lenses, and dollar for dollar are very tough to beat. The coatings improved over time, so try to find a later one for better contrast and tonal control, although the older ones are excellent too. Just look for one in good condition, as many of the Nikkors were put into heavy professional lab use. Probably more Nikkors were used in pro labs than any other brand, due to their excellent price to quality ratio.

With the switch to digital rampaging around us, you should be able to find very high quality enlarging lenses on the used market for often ridiculously low prices. I have a range of Componon-S lenses for various film sizes which I found used in various places, but mostly eBay. None of them cost me more than $100. Have a little patience, look thoroughly, and the deals are out there.
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Old 05-30-2007   #9
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My personal favorites ar the Nikkor EL lenses, Schneider Componon-S, Rodagon and Fujinon EX series. The 80mm Nikkor is my favorite in 8o's but the Schneider and Rodagons are tops too. For value vs dollar the older Componon or even Comparon Schneiders are great. Stay away from Voss and Schneider componar lenses. There are plenty of really bad enlarging lenses out there and plenty of cheap superb lenses.

You really don't need apo lenses unless you're doing extremely large prints.
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Old 05-30-2007   #10
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Another vote for the EL Nikors. Very reasonable prices these days and great lenses.
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Old 05-30-2007   #11
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Thanks for all the helpful replies-
While looking for some of the suggested models, I saw this poor unloved 50mm and bid-
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=260121699721
I wonder if it's any better than the nikkor 50 f4 I already have.. we'll see.
now to keep looking for an 80/90.. Pearched like a vulture I wait for the 80/90mm to stray from the heard.. misspelled, miss catagorized.. poorly represented.. waiting.. watching..
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Old 05-30-2007   #12
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One more point, get the modern models as they will most likely be coated. For example the old silver and black EL Nikkors ar not coated, but the modern black ones are. Also Beseler HD series lenses are rebadged Rodenstock lenses.

One more detail. You want a 6-element design. Schneider and Rodenstock have a 4-element "economy" series with very similar names to the better lenses.
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Old 05-30-2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finder
One more point, get the modern models as they will most likely be coated. For example the old silver and black EL Nikkors ar not coated, but the modern black ones are. Also Beseler HD series lenses are rebadged Rodenstock lenses.

One more detail. You want a 6-element design. Schneider and Rodenstock have a 4-element "economy" series with very similar names to the better lenses.
I use both the old and new versions of the EL Nikkors. BOTH ARE COATED! The coatings changed in later years but both are coated and give equal results.

The 50 schneider that you just purchased is a 50mm Componon-S. Great lens but no better than the 50 2.8 Nikkor EL but is better thn the F4 version.

Great buy!
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Old 05-30-2007   #14
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A vote for Fujinon. All mentioned are very good, Fujinons just don't have the rep here because of limited distribution. If someone can show me real world evidence that they're inferior, I'd be interested. For 6x6 I used the 105. The 75 would cover, but I always went longer (with any enlarging lens) so as to hit the sweet spot.
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Old 05-30-2007   #15
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You might want to look for an 80mm f5.6 Vivitar VHE enlarging lens. Despite the "Vivitar" name they were made in Germany. Very high quality and inexpensive.

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Old 05-31-2007   #16
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The Fujinon's are excellent but hard to find. I was looking for a really good 135 and a local pro lab recommended the Fujinin EX over the Rodigons. Personally I like my EX better than my Schneider Componon-S or Rodagon.

The Vivitar VHE is a Schneider Componon-S.
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Old 05-31-2007   #17
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Yes, the "high end" Vivitar line was also a good, and less expensive, choice.

DO Optics was (is?) the NA distributor of Fujinon lenses. I have 50, 75, 105 & 150 enlarging lenses, and 90, 150 & 400T LF lenses. They're my enlarging/4x5 Zuikos.
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Old 05-31-2007   #18
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Well soon I'll have a 100mm Componon s to play with-
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=150126154222
and another nikkor f4-50 along for the ride..
Maybe I can make some kind of freaky close up rig for a TLR with the two nikkor 50s I'll have now! Or maybe stereo tabletop slide projector? Oh I know, collimator.. somehow.

My only fear is that my little omega b-22 may not go high enough stable enough to use the 100mm with 6x6.
As cheap as these gems are, I'll still probably nab an 80 of some sort just to see if that handles better...
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