Enlarging Lenses;How good is good

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I presently shoot 4x5 and enlarge up to 16x20 but usually 11x14. Would the switch from my Rodenstock Rogonar-S to a six element design be worht it. I know that one could measure the differences with a loupe or by doing a 8 times elargement of a smaller area, but at my relatively modest elargement ratios would it be blatantly visible when hanging on the wall. I used to shoot 6x6 and enlarge to 11x14 with a 75mm ektar and switched to a rodagon but was hard pressed to see a real difference so what do you think out there?

-- Ronald J LaMarsh (ronald.lamarsh@med.ge.com), January 29, 2002


Hi Ronald

A tricky question but at 16x20 you really should see a difference not only in sharpness but also in contrast. But if you work with the Rogonar always at its best f stop 3-4 stoped down is it not visible or almost not, up to 11x14. But I sleep better with a 6 element Rodagon.

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), January 29, 2002.

The larger the format, the less important the lens is. In any case, the Rogonar-S isn't a 'cheap' lens by any means.

Here's a suggestion: If there's a local darkroom for hire; then why not rent some time in it to print a couple of your favourite negs? Their enlargers will almost certainly be equipped with top-quality lenses. Then, depending on any difference in the prints, you'll satisfy yourself that upgrading your lens would be money well-spent, or not.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), January 30, 2002.

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