Enlarging lens for close Ups ???

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I want to shoot close ups of flowers with my 8x10 camera. I have a 300mm lens and currently my bellows ext. is 40 " and I am still not filling the frame with my subject. Obviously I could get a shorter focal lenght lens and this would shorten my bellows. Can an enlarging lens be used ?? I am trying to fill a 8x10 frame and the subject (flower) is only 4x4 inches. I have several enlaging lenses and all my exposures are long ones so I do not need a shutter. Any suggestions?? Thank you in advance !!!!!

-- Richard Warren (richardwarren@rcn.com), June 01, 1999


Yes, absolutley, a reversed enlarging lens will work just fine as a close-up lens.

This used to be a more common practice than it is today, but folks still do it in a pinch or when they can't find/afford a 50mm lens for an 8 X 10. Some even go so far as to dedicate a board to an enlarger lens and epoxy it in place. When I did it I used a 150mm Rodenstock on 4 X 5 and because the way the board was made had to mount it inside the camera, but you can work out the mechanics yourself on your end.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), June 01, 1999.

Doing a little math, I see that you are trying to do a roughly 2:1 enlargement of the flower. Sounds neat! With your current 300mm lens you'd need roughly 1200mm of bellows and camera.

A 150mm focal lens should do the trick. If you need slightly more extention try mounting the lens on a family size soupcan that you then mount to lens board.

If your 150mm is or can be mounted in a "tub" style enlarger lensboard (like for old Omega D-2 enlargers) you might be able to mount this directly to your camera with no need for a lens board on the camera

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), June 01, 1999.

hi life size i.e., 1:1 would mean a bellows draw of twice the focal length. trying to fill an 8X10 frame with a 4X4 subject is something like a 2X magnification. a shorter focal length would allow you to shorten the bellows extension but then you have to contend with the broader angle of view which will give you more of the background (which may or may not be an issue since it is blurred by the shallow dof). positioning the lens and film plane becomes really critical at high magnifications and can be quite a pain. also, your lens is actually collecting a lot more light (i.e., only a small amount of the light collected is ending up on the film area). all the extra light is going to be bouncing around the place, reducing contrast and saturation. re process lenses, i don't think they will solve your bellows extension problems which is essentially one of focal length and magnification. the one advantage might be the fact that they are optimized for performance at small distances as opposed to regular lenses which are optimized for longer subject distances. another option (if you use that format) might be to use a 4X5 which would let you work at 1:1. hope this helps. dj

-- N Dhananjay (ndhanu@umich.edu), June 01, 1999.

An enlarging lens should work fine. You will probably be using the lens cap as your shutter (like they did way back when -- still works) I used to use my 203mm/f 7 ektar which normally lived on my 4x5 camera for doing 1:1 on the 8x10. Very sharp, it covered to full format with a bit left over for swings.

-- tony brent (ajbrent@mich.com), June 02, 1999.

An enlarging lens will work fine. Schneider sells an adaptor ring to adapt a standard 39mm enlarging-lens screwmount into a #1 shutter. You could also of course use tape; it's a close press-fit.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (jbh@magicnet.net), June 03, 1999.

A sidebar to this thread.... Is it possible to use a flat field lens optimized for 1:1 as an enlarger lens? I have been thinking about the 150mm F9 G-Claron for sometime but cannot justify the cost. Perhaps if I could use it as enlarger lens as well I could rationalize the purchase. As an alternative, if I have a 150 mm enlarger lens to use for close ups, mounted in a shutter, would it perform at lower magnifications or even to infinity? All long range planning, my 35mm enlarger has been in storage since the kids were born, just planning ahead to my LF darkroom in a few years.

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), June 04, 1999.

I've used a 210mm G-claron and 180/9 Fuji AS for enlarging 5x7, and they both work great. As a sanity check, I made prints from a 4x5 inch negative at 16x20 size to compare a 135 componon-s vs the 210 G-claron. They were identical in sharpness, except of course the 210 was a bit sharper at the edges. In another test, the Fuji 180 and componon-s 135 were also identical in sharpness, but the Fuji had slightly more contrast. I also compared this 210 to a 90mm Apo Rodagon on a 6x6cm Ilford panF/PMK pyro negative at about a 10x10 in print size. I think anybody would have a hard time telling them apart. After going through all this it seems that the only advantage a real enlarging lens has over a G-claron or Fuji AS is wider aperature.

-- Vishal Mathur (vmathur@my-dejanews.com), June 04, 1999.

I use a G Claron 150 mm as my 4x5 enlarging lens. It even came in a Schneider enlarger mount.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), June 04, 1999.

You were using a glass carrier and had properly aligned your enlarger?

If not you did not get the results that your enlarging lenses are capable of.

OTOH all process lenses shorter than 600mm are optimized to perform optimally at only one aperture. F22. 600mm and longer are designed to be used at f32.

Your tests were done at f22 in a glass carrier with a properly aligned enlarger? Or were they just prints made as conditions permitted with a glassless carrier in an enlarger that had not been properly aligned?

And were your comparison prints from the same negative made on the same paper with the same developer and time?

Or were you comparing different prints from different scenes on possibly different paper and different processing?

If all else is equal a quality enlarging lens. Used within its optimization range, within it optimal aperture range, printed in a properly aligned enlarger with a glass carrier will be a far superior performer to

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), June 04, 1999.

Bob raises a good point; in my experience process lenses were usually used in the range of f22-f45. When using high-contrast materials and/or halftone screens, there's very little concern about the effects of diffraction. Otoh, we sure don't want to print at f22 and smaller apertures.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (jbh@magicnet.net), June 05, 1999.

I should have put in the details of the tests... The enlarger was perfectly aligned using mirror tools, negative sandwiched between two glass plates, same negative, developer, paper, and print session. The negative was a 5x7 Trix negative developed in Rodinol, masked down to 4x5 size. The scene was of a wet rock on Pebble Beach in late evening light, with lots of fine detail of textured wet rock, tiny water puddles, wet pebbles in the shade of the rock, and fine specular highlights. I thought this would be a good test of an enlarging lens due to the sharp grain of the negative, the micro details, the extreme contrast, and highlight seperation.

I tested a 135mm componon s, 180mm Fuji AS, 210 Gclaron, a 180mm Rodagon (with slight coating damage) and an old 190mm enlarging Raptar. Print size was 16x20 on Agfa Multicontrast RC paper (did not want to baby sit Fiber for this test). The negative was carefully focused using a Peak grain focuser, and grain was sharp corner to corner. Each lens was focused on the center of the negative.

All lenses were set at f11, thinking this would be closer to the optimum aperature for the 135 reference. The prints were examined at about 1 foot viewing distance in bright light. Except for the 190, which was noticably soft in the corners, all the others were equal in sharpness. Only the Fuji was noticably better in "snap", and had a bit better highlight seperation. The 135 and 210 looked almost the same, except the 210 was slightly sharper in the extreme corners. The 180 rodagon, in this and some other tests, was very slightly less sharp, but it was not a perfect specimen anyway.

These results were not what I expected or wanted to see, since I'm trying to convince myself to buy a new 210mm enlarging lens. More testing may reveal different results. But I think a greater improvement to print quality will come from more printing practice than the differences in these lenses. None of these lenses would reduce the enjoyment of a well conceived image and well executed print. I'm sure that an enlarging lens, optmized for the task, is better than the process lens. But for moderate size prints from large negatives, it was not apparent.

I live in the SF bay area, and anyone is welcome to see these prints. Maybe you will see something I did not.

-- Vishal Mathur (vmathur@my-dejanews.com), June 07, 1999.

>> I tested a 135mm componon s, 180mm Fuji AS, 210 Gclaron, a 180mm Rodagon (with slight coating damage) and an old 190mm enlarging Raptar. Print size was 16x20 on Agfa Multicontrast RC paper (did not want to baby sit Fiber for this test). The negative was carefully focused using a Peak grain focuser, and grain was sharp corner to corner. Each lens was focused on the center of the negative.

Why would you test a lens with visible damage? If the lens was mis-treated enough to have visible damage then it could also easily have internal problems that are not visible.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), June 07, 1999.

I guess you mean the 180mm Rodagon with coating damage, it also has a dent -- it's seen better days. Amazingly, without comparison to the 180 Fuji or 135 Componon-s, the prints look great. I tested it and the 190 Raptar just out of curiosity to see how bad a lens could be and still deliver decent results. The glass on the others is visibly perfect.

-- Vishal Mathur (vmathur@my-dejanews.com), June 07, 1999.

Thank you to all who have respond to my original question; using an enlarging lens for Marco work. The tread has now changed to testing enlarging lenses. That's ok- the learning curve never ends. I did not know that Fuji made enlarging lenses. The idea with the enlarging lens is just to try it out and see If I even like this type of images. If so then I will buy a proper macro lens. I have heard that G Claron, Rodenstock 150mm f9 and red dot artars are good for macro work. Any thoughts on a macro lens ???

-- Richard Warren (richardwarren@rcn.com), June 07, 1999.

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