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Thread: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

  1. #1

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    Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    Hi guys.

    I recently purchased a second hand De Vere 504 with an Ilford 500h head. It's the first enlarger I've personally owned, but I've used this combination before at university.
    In the university darkrooms we had technicians to take care of most of the equipment, so it wasn't required of me to know many of these things. I've been reading and found out that not all enlarger lenses are made the same (discrimination!).
    In the equipment I have there are three lenses - 50, 80, and 90mm. I'm wondering whether the 90mm would be usable to print 5x4 film. If not, what sort of lens would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Rado.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    No, the shortest lens for 4x5 would be a 120 WA. The most commonly used focal lengths for 45 are the 135mm and the 150mm.

  3. #3

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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    My choice of enlarger lens for 4x5 work is 135 and 150mm , all the best on your new journey

  4. #4

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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    Quick response, thanks!

    Okay, then, I'll have to look for some more suitable glass.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    You might want to read up on enalrgers and lenses (links to two excellent free on-line books):

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/49691274/The-New-Darkroom

    http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    150 mm is considered "normal". If you go shorter, like 135, you'll get more illumination falloff. I personally prefer longer, like 180.

  7. #7
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    I prefer a 135mm although I sometimes use a 150mm, I've never had any issues with illumination fall off.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    I'd go 180 or 210, unless you have big prints and a short ceiling above the enlarger.

    Less distortion this way. 210 APO-Nikkor is what I use for 4x5, cost me $75 on eBay shipped from Japan, and is sharp as a tack for all print sizes I've done(up to 20x24 paper).

  9. #9
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    The longer focal lengths like 180mm & 210mm severely restrict the potential size of an enlargement particularly if you have a bench mounted 5x4 enlarger.

    135mm & 150mm lenses are optimised for 5x4 enlarging and don't give any more distortion in practice than longer lenses.

    Ian

  10. #10
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger lens size for 5x4 ?

    Ian, that's true(to a degree), but I've found that using 'longer' lenses allows for me to get less light fall-off issues.
    I don't make murals, and most of my manual enlarging is done from rollfilm(6x6 and 6x8), where I use a 150mm most of the time for that, for the same reasons.

    I can also print at a wider f-stop using longer lenses, less mechanical vignetting which is usually overcome/compensated for by stopping down with those shorter FL lenses.

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