6x6 small enlargements - focal length?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by c41, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    I've got a Durst M70 (does up to 6x7) enlarger with a couple of El-Nikkors, 50mm and 80mm.

    I'm finding myself printing from 6x6 negatives onto 5x7 paper more frequently, so very small factor enlargements.
    This pushes the 80mm towards minimum height so I'm thinking it'd be more convenient to have a longer focal length lens for this setup.

    Can anyone recommend what'd be a good focal length (and lens) to look for? I'm guessing I don't need 'the best of the best' given the very small enlargement factor involved. I don't want to splurge on another lens then realise it wasn't quite what I needed, thanks.


    Probably interesting to no one in the universe backstory -
    I've recently acquired a mat cutter and mat board etc. to start on that journey.
    It's only since being able to actually cut my own and see/feel how it all looks first hand that I realise, for the time being at least, I prefer these 5x5 up to 5x7 prints in an 8x10 mat.

    I tried 16x20 mat for some 8x10 prints and it's way too indulgent for me right now. I wouldn't have anywhere to put these massive pictures and maybe lack some confidence to make such a 'grand fuss' over my pictures.

    I'd originally been printing small to just get things on paper and see how they looked and felt, but now I'm nearer to an actual framed print, I'm going to pursue small prints for the time being.

    Funny to use medium format for such small prints but I'd guess others might agree that the tone/detail possible still makes it worth it over 35mm enlargements. Maybe I'll 'grow' into bigger prints some time into the future.
    Happy to hear of anyone's advice/experience in that area if anyone read this far :smile:
     
  2. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    If you used 105mm FL, your neg-to-easel height is increased by 30% for the same on-baseboard magnification
     
  3. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    A 105mm or 135mm. I'm finding myself in a similar situation. I'm making some 4x6 postcard prints from 6x9 negatives. I plan to start with a 135mm El Nikkor. I find smaller matted prints lovely. 6 1/2 square or 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 nice too.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I use a 105mm lens for small enlargements from 6x6. There is a reasonable chance that a lens with that focal length will work on your enlarger, whereas a longer lens might not.
    If you have a manual for the enlarger, it might say, or it might not.
    If there is a problem with a 105mm lens, hopefully someone here who has tried one on that model of enlarger will chime in.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    Thanks all. Sounds like 105mm would be a good place to start investigating. 30% would be perfect heightwise.

    I just checked the manual for the Durst and the enlarger column has a scale for 50,80,105 so looks good.
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I agree that's the next logical step and since you own EL Nikkors already get one from that series. They are excellent.
     
  7. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    You might consider just getting a recessed lens board and using the 80mm lens. Durst decided to give all of their parts names instead of part numbers, so figuring out what you need is hard unless you have a manual. Maybe it's a Siriotub?
     
  8. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    'bellows length' only changes the minimum distance at which focus can be achieved (allows the range of minimum magnification factor to be made smaller), it does NOTHING to move the negative itself farther or closer to the easel for a given magnification factor!
     
  9. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    I have a nice 105 Nikkor (latest one) laying around if you are interested. Just want to get rid of some of the extra stuff after this hurricane fiasco.
     
  10. OP
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    c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    Thanks Patrick, I'll drop you a PM, much appreciated, hope you weren't directly affected by the hurricanes.
     
  11. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    I read the original post to be a problem with the bellows compressing too close to the negative for ease of use, and a recessed lensboard will help with that--it'll move the front of the lens stage farther away from the negative, easing the bellows compression (by the amount of the recess), though the lens itself will be in the same place relative to the negative. It has nothing to do with the magnification, just the mechanics of the mounting.

    It could be, though, that the problem was more the height of the enlarger head, and then the recessed lensboard won't help.
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    A recessed board will move the lens closer to the negative, what you're thinking of is a "top hat" board.
    In the end though he still needs a longer lens.
     
  13. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Yes, a recessed lensboard will bring the lens closer to the negative, and thus the bellows will have to be racked out farther, to bring the lens back to the same distance from the negative to achieve the same focus. The original complaint reads to me like the bellows are being compressed too much. Recessed lensboards let you compress the bellows less than a flat lensboard.
     
  14. OP
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    c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    Thanks all. I've taken up Patrick's offer on a 105mm El-Nikkor and will give that a whirl.

    I did mean originally that the height of the enlarger head was too low, making for an awkward working space and short exposure times even stopped way down.
    I do have a couple of lens boards, and they do have weird Durst names, something like Siriotub (recessed one for 50mm) and Sirioplan (for 80mm+), off the top of my head.
    I do have the manuals for everything, although they are a bit generic given the modular focus on all the associated Durst blurb.

    I'll give the 135 a whirl. Printing small is just more practical for me all round right now, especially wrt space.
     
  15. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    I'm sending Richard a cherry picked 105 EL Nikkor. Should be perfect for him. Right time, right place, you get lucky! Lol. Like they say, timing is everything.....
     
  16. OP
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    c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    Thanks Patrick, a win/win for all, my little pictures thank you!
     
  17. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    He does not need a recessed lensboard, he needs a longer lens to make smaller enlargement.

    Long winded example follows:

    If he were making a 6x6 enlargement from a 6x6 negative (1:1) he needs an 80mm lens extended to 160mm and his working distance between the lens and the paper will be darn short. So a longer focal length lens will require more bellows extension to get down to 1:1 but the working distance between lens and easel will also increase. If his bellows will not extend that far he could add a extended lensboard rather than a recessed.

    For his example of a 4x5 print just adding another slightly longer lens will help a lot. The 105 el-Nikkor sounds good.