G-Claron for enlarging???

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Would the G-claron make a good enlarging lens? Thanks, David

-- david clark (doclark@yorku.ca), March 22, 2001


I have been using a 305mm G Claron to enlarge 8X10 negatives with excellent results. The maximum aperture of f9 is not terribly bothersome. I focus using a grain focuser at working aperture out of habit. The G Claron is a graphic arts lens and is quite suitable for enlarging. My lens is shutter mounted. I also use it to expose negatives. It produces really crisp negatives at close distances.

-- Steve Barth (wsbarth@networld.com), March 22, 2001.

YES! Pat

-- pat krentz (patwandakrentz@aol.com), March 23, 2001.

G-Clarons are flat field lenses and should work very well. When I started enlarging, I have even used an ApoSymmar and it worked great too. But ratios were 1:4 and more.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), March 23, 2001.

Compared to what?

A quality enlarging lens? Not even close.

Some other lens?



All lenses are flat field since all project the image onto a flat piece of film. Lenses to project onto a curved film plane are rare.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), March 23, 2001.

Hi David

I prever my f 5,6 150mm Rodagon, but if you have a very strong light on your enlarger, then just try it, if it works for you just use it! And if you are happy with the results why not! I think in the beginnig even holy Adams did such things! But of course Bob would prever to sell you a enlarger lens, and there is also nothing wrong with thad!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), March 23, 2001.

The G-Claron is one of a number of process type lenses that may be extremely appropriate for enlarging use. How appropriate depends on your expected degree of enlargement. Here's some of what Schneider, the G-Claron's maker, says about it:

"The G-Claron is a lens of symmetrical design with six elements in four groups, optimized for 1:1 reproduction. The normally used range of linear magnifications is 5:1 to 1:5. The G-Claron may also be used for distances up to infinity by stopping down to f/22 or less."

So, depending on what focal length G-Claron you get, and what size negatives and prints you will use it with, it could be a good choice. If you stay within its design parameters, the only difference you might notice between it and an enlarging lens would be 1 1/3 stops less light for composing and focusing on your easel. If you were to compare a G-Claron to an enlarging lens not designed for the magnification you're using, you might well see better results from the G-Claron.

Note that St. Ansel didn't only use process lenses "in the beginning;" if you look closely at the film "Ansel Adams, Photographer" made near the end of his career, I believe you'll see a 305mm Apo Nikkor process lens on his horizontal 8x10 enlarger. That lens is also optimized for 1:1, and, unlike Schneider, Nikon wouldn't admit to any range of usable magnifications beyond same-size, but I wouldn't expect complaints about the quality of an Adams print made with it.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), March 23, 2001.

"Compared to what?" -To my RODAGON WA. Are you happy? It is true that the f9 opening of the Claron can be a problem if your enlarger light is dimm and if you are going for large prints. As for performances differences from a true enlarger lens, I wouldn't be worried. The repro lenses and enlarger lenses demands are very similar. Only a top class apo lens such as an APO-RODAGON from RODENSTOCK distributed by HP MARKETING would perform slightly better with color enlargements. They will deliver a crisp image at f11. Claron may need f16-22. But ask Bob a quote and compare with the used Claron you are about to buy for a piece of bread! If you start from large negs you will hardly see a difference.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), March 23, 2001.

Paul - You're a pip!

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), March 23, 2001.


I use one in an enlarging mount that I got for next to nothing for 4x5 enlarging. It is the 150 mm focal length. I have no complaints at all. I always thought it was designed for this purpose.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), March 24, 2001.

For shame paul,

I thought you were experienced enough to realize that the Apo Rodagon N has:

better illumination across the field better contrast better resolution corrected for greater range of magnification corrected for a greater range of apertures hits optimal aperture sooner

How are any of these related and beneficial to color printing only?

Additionally you should know that all process lenses under 600mm are optimized for f22.

Stopping down to f22 for optimal performance in enlarging can put you into reciprocity failure.

Also the illminated aperture is very useful in a darkroom as are the pre-set aperture and dis-engageable click stops that are standard on most enlarging lenses but that are not on most process lenses.

lastly David should not just ask for opinions that are ging to mislead him.

If he is going to spend the time, effort and money reuired for 45 he should simply test, side by side, the process lens and an enlarging lens for him self.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), March 24, 2001.

OK, Bob- I have searched for that quick in the pants and accept it. But I don't think I have said something contrary to these assertions!? I think nobody is trying to mislead David. If he asked the question, it is certainly not because he was having a hard time trying to decide between an ApoRodagon N and a G-Claron, was it?

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), March 24, 2001.

We don't know what he was deciding about. Since the uestion isn't specific.

Woukd it make an enlarging lens? Yes

Would it make a good enlarging lens? No when compared to an enlarging lens.

It's that simple.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), March 24, 2001.

Hi All, and thanks to everyone who responded here, what I am deciding about is: I can get either a 210 or 240 G-Claron for a good price. I've been using a 135mm Kodak enlarging lens for 4*5, and I understand that might be a little small for 4*5. I'm enlarging 4*5 negs to no larger that 8*10 prints. I understand 180mm and up is best for 4*5. I don't know if G-Claron would be better than the Kodak enlarging lens I have now. I do B&W only. Now I can get the above lenses in barrel or I can have them mounted in Copal. Either way, I can use the lens on my Speed Graflex in barrel or any 4*5 if in shutter, and I may be able to use the 240mm on 8*10 camera.

I've heard some pretty good things about G-Claron as a shooting lens. I'm not so sure about the f22 rule for landscape, I mean how much can f16 or f11 degrade. My eyes aren't all that good anyway. For the front of my Graflex, these are nice small lenses where older long lenses for Graflex are big and heavy. From what I read here, this dual purpose use might be OK. I just don't do the kind of shooting that demands top of the line gear, on the other hand I didn't want to buy one not knowing that they couldn't be used for enlarging.

Thanks everyone, David

-- david clark (doclark@yorku.ca), March 24, 2001.

Hi David, I cannot answer your question on the G-Claron. I must tell you though, there is no need to get into ROCKET SCIENCE over the minute differences over a Rodagon Rodenstock enlarging lens and process lens performances. What I can tell you is that there is a Nikor 260mm f10 process lens hanging proudly from my Omega F 10x10 enlarger. And it's lighting up the South Florida Everglades on paper. I used to have a f=360mm 1:6.8 Rodenstock Rodagon hanging in it's place, but no more. Why? cause I only have an eight foot ceiling. I like large prints. Now the Rodagon is in a lens board and shoots from my Master view, which in turn , joins my other lenses, and makes the images for the Nikor process to print on paper. Yes, I shoot Black & White and my point is that it is how it all ends up looking on paper to you, not the size of your wallet.

-- Dan Kowalsky (dank99@bellsouth.net), March 24, 2001.


How interesting. My first 4x5 enlarging lens was a 135 mm Kodak Ektanon, too. The results when I switched to the G-Claron were obvious. A big difference. No comparison. I often use it wide open or stopped down one stop, to f11. Maybe Bob can tell a difference between f11 and f22 on the G-Claron, but I can't.

I'm not sure, though, that your Speed Graphic has enough bellows extension for a 240 mm Claron; better check first. A 210 will probably just barely fit. The 240 might, I just think it is going to be close.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), March 24, 2001.

I hope Tuan won't mind my pointing out that Mr Cad in the UK (www.mrcad.co.uk) is currently (March 2001) having a clearance of used enlarging lenses, which includes some absolute bargains, particularly in the longer lengths. I have no connection with them, other than having happily bought stuff from them in the past. Worth struggling with their molasses-powered website.

-- Struan Gray (struan.gray@sljus.lu.se), March 26, 2001.

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