enlarger lense

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What is the difference between a 135mm and 150mm lense? I have found a Nikon 135 for $180.00. I have not been able to find a 150mm Nikon for less than $300.00. I have found a lot of Raptar 162mm for around$50.00, are they any good? What other 150mm enlarger lense would be a good one in the $200/$300 range? When printing only a part of the negative would a 50mm or an 80mm be best? Dose raising the cold light do the same thing to print only a section of the negative?


-- Tim Kimbler (starman2@gte.net), November 25, 1998


Generally a 150mm lens will cover a wider area than a 135mm enlarging lens. This allows you to print a 4x5 negative full frame with less light fall off in the corners, especially at larger magnifications (16x20 vs. 8x10). I had a 135mm Raptar for about six months and sold it when I found a Nikkor 150/5.6 for $375 mounted on a Beseler board. The Raptar was an excellent lens for the price, but not as sharp as the Nikkor, and did not exhibit the smooth tonal gradations I get with the Nikkor, but I couldn't see the differences unless comparing prints side-by-side.

I guess if you are only printing from the center of a 4x5 negative you could use a shorter lens, but then why shoot 4x5? Raising the cold light in the housing causes vignetting in the corners of the projected image on my Beseler 4x5 enlarger.

I'd stick with the major brand names for enlarging lenses: Nikkor, Rodenstock, Schneider. Be patient and look around. Used enlarging lenses are relatively cheap. I found an old Schneider 150/9 lens last winter for less than $100.

-- Darron Spohn (sspohn@concentric.net), November 25, 1998.

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