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Thread: really stupid question

  1. #1

    really stupid question

    The fact that I'm new to LF is about to become pretty obvious; I've used MF for a long time but still have problems getting to grips with lenses for LF in terms of 'standard', 'long' and 'wide angle'. but what I really don't understand is the difference between camera and enlarger lenses.

    During my years with MF I've picked up a couple of LF bodies and quite a few enlarger lenses. If I fit one of these lenses to a large format body I get an image on the ground glass - and through a loupe it looks pretty sharp. OK, so it's not going to be up there with the very best, but what's the real difference between, say, a Rodagon 240mm enlarger lens and a similar spec designed for a camera?

    It's taken me about a month to screw up the courage to ask this and I've trawled the posts hoping to find someone else dumb enough to have asked previously. I can hear the howls of derision already, but I just have to ask.....

  2. #2

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    Re: really stupid question

    The distance at which they are best corrected.

  3. #3
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Re: really stupid question

    Glad you asked, Barry. I've been wondering that, too.

    Scott, interminable noob

  4. #4

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    Re: really stupid question

    Quote Originally Posted by barry crallan View Post
    The fact that I'm new to LF is about to become pretty obvious; I've used MF for a long time but still have problems getting to grips with lenses for LF in terms of 'standard', 'long' and 'wide angle'. but what I really don't understand is the difference between camera and enlarger lenses.

    During my years with MF I've picked up a couple of LF bodies and quite a few enlarger lenses. If I fit one of these lenses to a large format body I get an image on the ground glass - and through a loupe it looks pretty sharp. OK, so it's not going to be up there with the very best, but what's the real difference between, say, a Rodagon 240mm enlarger lens and a similar spec designed for a camera?

    It's taken me about a month to screw up the courage to ask this and I've trawled the posts hoping to find someone else dumb enough to have asked previously. I can hear the howls of derision already, but I just have to ask.....

    Barry the 240mm rodagon you mention is designed to enlarge a negative in a range from say 2x (2:1) to 7x (7:1) (Bob Salomon could supply the exact figure) whereas a camera lens is designed to take a distant scene and reduce the size, 1:20 or 1:10 depending on how it's optimised. Now if you are doing macro work, that is photographing things bigger than they are in real life, an enlarging lens can work well, although you have to turn the lens around backward when you mount it on a camera. For distant objects an enlarging lens does not work well, although some people will use them on very large format cameras (ULF). Those images are rarely enlarged so the optical compromise of using an enlarger lens as a camera lens is not evident.

    Basically speaking, use a camera lens on a camera and an enlarging lens on an enlarger.

  5. #5

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    Re: really stupid question

    Hmm, so all the commercial photographers through the years that preferred componons in shutters over symmars just didn't know it??? In reality it's a balancing act, I use both symmars and componons and for tabletop work, the componons get used very frequently, it's about a 50/50 mix on landscape and the like, though I challenge anybody to tell me which is which from looking at a negative.


    erie

  6. #6

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    Re: really stupid question

    enlarging lenses can work for closeup but are not designed for distant subjects.

    If you are new to large format may I suggest some reading

    User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone
    Using the View Camera that i wrote

    try your local library or Amazon.com

    go to the View Camera magazine web site and click on Free Articles. There are several that might help you.


    www.viewcamera.com


    steve simmons

  7. #7

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    Re: really stupid question

    I was using Rodagon 180 mm mounted in Compur shutter as a taking lens for a while. It was one of the sharpest lenses I was ever using. On the other hand I never had any modern taking lens and I am comparing to Satz Plasmat, Heliar etc. Even though it was not designed and optimized for distant subjects, it was really razor sharp. I hated it's bokeh though.

    Jan

  8. #8

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    Re: really stupid question

    Quote Originally Posted by barry crallan View Post
    It's taken me about a month to screw up the courage to ask this and I've trawled the posts hoping to find someone else dumb enough to have asked previously. I can hear the howls of derision already, but I just have to ask.....
    We are not that bad. We welcome all questions and are willing to openly and honestly help all newcomers. Every question seems obvious to someone on this forum. It's why one asks such questions here-there are a lot of experts. Next time don't beat yourself up for a month-ask and you will get an informed answer without an attitude. There are a lot of good folks here. The answers above to your question are evidence of this.
    Cheers,
    Dave B.

  9. #9

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    Re: really stupid question

    Lots of folks use enlarging lenses, copy lenses, etc. with excellent results. You will get a lot of conflicting opinion on this issue. The only way you will ever know for sure is to mount it up and go take a few pictures. If it satisfies you, that's all that counts. Right? I won't even go into some of the weirdo lenses I have. They all have their own little personalities and uses. Good luck, and most of all, enjoy it.

  10. #10

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    Re: really stupid question

    Quote Originally Posted by steve simmons View Post
    enlarging lenses can work for closeup but are not designed for distant subjects.
    steve simmons
    However - keep in mind also, with this already having been said, that the operative word is 'designed' - you may also find that there are a small number of lenses which offer excellent performance at infinity, either as result in design or as a 'manufacturing defect'... you just don't know until you try.

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