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Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by stradibarrius, Feb 22, 2009.
What is a good size and brand for B&W enlarger? I have a nikon 50mm for my 35mm negatives.
I have 3 different El-Nikkors that cover me from 35mm out to 4x5. There are probably better ones out there but I'm happy with them. Something in the 75-80mm range is okay (or a touch short) for 6x7 so will work depending on what size you want to print.
The standard size for 6x7 is 90mm, you can also use 100mm, 105mm even 135mm, these 3 won't enlarge as much as the 90mm. As long as you go with a name brand, Nikon, Rodenstock, Schneider you'll get excellant results. Each brand has an inexpensive line and "pro" line of lenses. The Pro versions are 6 element and have the highest correction and usually faster, 2.8 or 4.0 max f/stop. Enlarging lenses are quite cheap nowadays so you should be able to get the Pro version for very little money. Rodenstock Rodagon, Schneider Componon-s, El-Nikkor. There are also some non-name brands that are quite good, Beseler color-pro, Vivitar VHE and also the Fuji lenses are quite good. One thing to keep in mind, if you are not going to make huge enlargments (20x30) in color you don't need a lens that cost a bazillions dollars. Just my 2 cents.
For 6x7 you normally need a 90mm lens to cover the negative. The EL-Nikkor 80mm is an exception to this rule, as it has a wider coverage than most 80mm lens and can cover the 6x7 negative.
Usually, you use 90-105mm for 6x7. 75mm for 645, and 80mm for 6x6.
I use a 90mm Beseler Color Pro that works well - just be sure that if you are considering the Beseler lenses, it is a Color Pro version that you consider.
If you are happy with a 50mm El-Nikkor for 35mm, you may want to try for a 90mm to 105mm El-Nikor of similar vintage as well, because it can be useful to have similar contrast and ergonomics across your lenses.
I would probably avoid the 80mm El-Nikkor for 6x7, even if it has the coverage. You may find that the additional enlargement from that lens will mean uncomfortably close working distances for small prints.
For some reason, it seems to be slightly more difficult to find 90mm lenses as compared to 80mm or 100mm or 105mm lenses. Unless you are planning to do a lot of large (16x20 or larger) enlargements, it probably doesn't hurt to settle on a 100mm or 105mm lens instead of the 90mm.
You can go even longer (135mm for instance), but that will make it difficult to do larger prints, and some enlargers will need special lensboards to use the longer lenses, because they don't have enough bellows draw.
Their are other lens brands worth considering (Minolta and Meopta come to mind), but before buying anything that hasn't been specifically referred to here, you should make an enquiry here. Some of the manufacturers have several different quality lines, often with similar sounding names (e.g. Componar, Componon, Componon-S), so it is a good idea to check first.
Hope this helps - and have fun!
The Rodagon 80mm will cover 6x7 when stopped down a bit, so if your light source has you able to handle this (enough light for 8-11 function), it is an easy-to-find bargain optic on the used market. I stumbled into an affordable Schneider APO 90mm a few years back and this shows a very, very slight advantage past 8X10 prints. With the 6 element and APO variants, you're splitting hairs about finding differences between them. The luck of the draw for your particular lens has more effect than brand names at the upper levels of enlarging lenses. Don't discount the value of having your lens stage/easel/negative stage alignment in proper tune, especially with the APO optics that tend to perform best opened up a bit more (losing depth of field forgiveness).
I use a 100mm 5.6 six element Vivitar VHE, which I understand is a rebadged Componon. It is totally satisfactory. I bought it long before the digitage for 50 bucks, brand new at a shop that was closing down.
I have an El-Nikkor 105 but find that I have to lift the enlarger head too high, so now I'm going to try with 80mm - also El-Nikkor.
On my Beseler 45mxt and 100mm lens, a 6x7 negative projected image is as wide as my Beseler OEM baseboard at highest elevation.
With a 4x5 neg and 150mm lens, the projected image is way beyond my baseboard, maybe like 40 or 50in wide!
To Strad... :
When I bought my lens for 35mm, 6x7 and 4x5, seems like the consensus and safest route was to buy the "normal" FL lens for the intended negative, or maybe slightly longer. That strategy worked fine as I have no lens caused vignetting or need to burn corners. Plus, I held out for Excellent quality used Componon S for my 35mm and 4x5in needs. This beginner is happy!
50mm Componon S
100mm Nikkor El (my first lens. has worked fine, bought new when I was in a foolish hurry)
150mm Componon S
Just wish I had more darkroom time.
Most spec sheets recommend 90-105 for a 6x7 negative, though many people use 80mm. I use an 80mm schneider componon-s (intended for 6x4.5 and 6x6), and it works fine on 6x7 for me.
me too. For smaller prints, I use a 100mm so the enlarger head is not so close to the baseboard.
I confused...80mm may or may not cover the negative and a 105mm will project too large an image???? Help!
I think you might be confusing two of the previous posts.
tleirto said that the 105mm provided too little magnification for 6x7 and his enlarger
optique responded and said that a 150mm provided too much magnificatio for the much larger 4x5 negative and his enlarger
IIRC, your enlarger won't take 4x5, so it makes no sense to consider 150mm lenses
If you have a long enough column, a 105mm lens might fill your needs, but 90mm or 100mm would be better.
As mentioned, an 80mm that covers will often work well too, but may not be quite as convenient.