135 Componar ok for printing with classic lenses?

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I finally got a 4x5 enlarger (on ebay) but it came with a 135 4.5 Schneider Componar lens which the previous owner warned me was less than stellar above 11x14. As my lens kit consists of a Schneider 90/6.8 and two graflex optars (a 135/4.7, and a 203mm/7.7), is it worth it to drop a mess of cash for a new enlarging lens? i.e. will I see a difference printing black and white negatives from old glass?

-- Ben Smith (bsmith@epe.org), February 04, 2000


If you are worried about the 135 (I don't see why), try your 203 lens, old time photographer's always used the taking lens for projecting the same image. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (krentz@cci-29palms.com), February 04, 2000.

With Schneider enlarging lenses, one has to pay very close attention to the vowels. The Componar is Schneider's budget model, with 3 glass elements in 3 groups. The more expensive lenses are made with 4 elements in 3 groups (Comparon) or 6 elements in 4 groups (Componon). A top quality 6 element lens will probably have noticably better performance, particularly in the corners. These can be found used at reasonable prices: Schneider Componon, El-Nikkor, Rodenstock Rodagon. Any of these from the past several decades should be a good performer, and the older ones with older styling can sometimes be found at bargin prices. Why not buy one from a seller who will let you return it and give it a test drive? Use both lenses to make the largest size print you intend making, from a negative will good detail in the center and in at least some corners, using a reasonable f-stop, like about 2 stops down from maximum aperture. Compare the prints, examining the center and corners. Then you will know. Be sure to check the alignment of your enlarger.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), February 05, 2000.

The only way to be sure is to try it. I suspect that if you compared the results with a Componon-S 150mm (which isn't very expensive), you wouldn't want to return the Componon-S.

-- Alan Gibson (Alan.Gibson@technologist.com), February 06, 2000.

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