I "inherited" an Omega enlarger that came with 3 lenses, a Schneider Componon 50 mm (f4), Schneider Componon 80 mm (f5.6) and Schneider Componon 135 mm (f5.6) - I know next to nothing about enlarger lenses, but I suspect they are the weakes t link in my "quest" for sharpness. What would be the "top of the line" equivale nt to the Componon 80? Rather than blindly throwing money at the problem, I did a little testing: projected som USAF target slides onto 16x20 paper (the largest I want to go). With a grain focuser, I can clearly resolve line pairs that cann ot be seen on the developed print. Wouldn't this suggest that the lenses do proj ect more than adequate and that the weakest link is actually the resolving power of the paper? If that's the case, upgrading the lens wouldn't do any good. Thus my question: Has anyone ever observed a sharper print by using a more modern le ns than the Componon???
On a related note: I also had some trouble establishing the "best f-stop". Using the grain enlarger, I saw best resolving power of the lens at f8 (one f-stop be low max), closing the lens any further reduced resolution (due to diffraction I suppose). However, the line pairs where I observed this diffraction effect could not be resolved when printed onto paper, no matter what the f-stop. Judging fro m the prints, I found the best f-stop to be f16. Why this discrepancy???