enlarger lens for 8x10

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due to a low ceiling, i need a 240mm lens for a zone vi 8x10 enlarger. any suggestions for the best lens with as little edge light fall off as possible. thanks

-- howard schwartz (howards@ameritech.net), February 24, 2002


Howard, I've had very good luck with a 229mm Ilex Paragon. I got it from Photographic Systems in Albaq...Albuqu...Alabu...New Mexico! www.pgsys.com They are new-old stock,coated, and about $60. If I were buying a brand- new -this -is -for- my -business- so -its- got - to -be- the -best -and- I'm-printing-color kind of lens I'd go with a schneider, but this Ilex Paragon suits my B&W needs perfectly. Good Luck!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), February 24, 2002.

If you don't want to pay out the nose for a brand new enlarger lens, a good candidate would probably be a 240mm f/10 Process Nikkor. They're extremely sharp, corrected for high magnifications, and usually pretty readily available through ebay. I bought one for $290.00 in the original box and everything, had it mounted into shutter, and now use it as my primary lens in 8x10. I think it would function very well as an enlarging lens, though I do not have the optical expertice that some other forum members do.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), February 24, 2002.

There is one thing I would consider doing before I went to a 240mm lens. Get you enlarger lower than the standard table top height. I have seen this done by having a section of your darkroom table cutout with stops that you can adjust the easel height lower and therefore get the head higher. Sitting on a chair printing is not the worse thing that can happen IMHO. If you can make this work, I would use a 300mm if at all possible for 8x10.

To your question. Rodenstock makes a 240mm lens for Besler that is relatively cheap (around $650), but I have not heard much raving about it on this forum or elsewhere. I suspect that it does the job but there are better. Any 240 mm will be a wide angle design for which falloff is inherent.

For my Durst 184, the American representative in Portland recommends 360mm for 8x10, 300mm for 5x7 and 210 for 4x5. While I looked hard at the Zone VI, the ability to project horizontal with the Durst (most people inculding me do not have a 10' ceiling) was the tie breaker. Vacuum easel and a laser alignement tool help out considerably.

Good Luck

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@attbi.net), February 24, 2002.


My ceiling is 9 feet and is still not high enough to do vertical projection using a Durst 184 onto the baseboard using a Schneider Componon-s 360mm lens. A 300mm lens is just barely possible. Both the 360 and 300 lenses are really only suitable for wall projection. However, the 240mm works great, vertically. I have a Repromaster 240mm and a Rodagon 240mm. The Repromaster came from a process camera, I believe, and was a real steal at under $200. They occassionally come up for sale used and most people haven't heard about them so you should be able to get a pretty decent deal if you find one.

-- Roger Urban (roger_urban@yahoo.com), February 24, 2002.

Just noticed this other thread on the Repromaster that you might find interesting. It's a very sharp lens. If Schneider and Rodenstock all get Olympic scores of '10.0' then the Repromaster is about a '9.5'.


-- Roger Urban (roger_urban@yahoo.com), February 24, 2002.

Do you have a Zone VI Type I or a Type II enlarger?

If a Type II, the most recent enlarger, a 240mm Componon-S is excellent, probably one of the best. You should be able to get a lense board for it. Or, to save a little money, an older 240mm Componon (Non "-S"). I purchased the latter for $169 off EBay.

As a compromise, one could get a 270 Apo-Gerogon. While Rodenstock decries these lenses for anything except use at f22, I've heard others on this site say that they get good results using this lens. Calumet offers Apo-Gerogons as a less expensive 8x10 enlarger lense.

If you have a Type I enlarger, as I do, then you will find that the stage will accept lenses only up to a certain size. (The lense stage on the Type II is larger, one of Calumet's enhancements.) The older Componon (circa about 1975) just barely fits, but it fits. The Apo-Gerogon 270 also fits.

Out of curiosity, what's the distance between your enlarger base and the ceiling? What is the biggest enlargement that you want to make?

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), February 25, 2002.

I too have a Repromaster 210mm f9 (given to me by a friend and it too came from an Agfa process system of the early 1970s). It works fine on my De Vere 5108, and seems to cover 10x8 without a problem - though I only use it for blowing up contact strips from 35mm and 6x6cm, as I don't have a 10x8 camera as yet. Very sharp. I also have the 150mm version which I use with my 5x4 negs. I guess the lenses were probably made by either Schneider or Rodenstock for Agfa - they have a similar look and feel to the Rodenstock enlarging lenses.

-- Peter Hamilton (peter.hamilton@bardwell-press.co.uk), April 16, 2002.

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