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Thread: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

  1. #1
    Dave Karp
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    Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    Hi all,

    I am getting ready to try some contact printing using my enlarger as the light source. I had been using a bare bulb in a reflector, but want to try something different.

    What lens do you use when using the enlarger as the light source. I have 50mm, 80mm and 135mm enlarging lenses.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    I use a 135 on my 4x5 enlarger. Thinking about what's happening on both sides of the lens, it handily covers both the entire light source (for shortest printing times), and the largest negatives I want to print (11x14/7x17 on 16x20 paper).

  3. #3
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    Thanks Oren.

    I came to that conclusion after a stint in the darkroom. I found that I had left my 135mm at home (I was using another person's darkroom), so I had to use the 80mm. This worked fine with the negatives I printed on Kentmere Fineprint VC, which is really fast. It was way too slow with the Adox MCC 110, so I had to set the head at an uncomfortably low height.

    Thanks for the confirmation. I will get the 135 and try again tomorrow.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    The longer lens should give less falloff at the edges. Make sure you stop down, many enlarging lenses have horrible falloff when wide open.

    I gave up using collimated light for contact printing because every speck of dust on both sides of the glass and on the top of the negative was in clear view on the print

  5. #5

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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    When using Azo, I take the lens and lensboard out and blast away. I get comfortable printing times for Azo, but it wouldn't work for "regular" papers. I use my 150 for "regular" papers.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "More Finely Focused."
    www.bwbarlow.wordpress.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    Why would you use a lens at all? You aren't focusing on anything when you contact print and a lens will tend to create light fall-off near the edges of the paper. If your times are too short without a lens you should be able to deal with that by raising the enlarger head.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  7. #7
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    I've found a clamp-light with a 150w bulb to be sufficent.

    less than $12 at wal-mart for the two together after tax. gives nice even light about 3.5 feet above the contact frame, and darn tootin cheap !

    -Dan

  8. #8
    Moderator
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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    Why would you use a lens at all? You aren't focusing on anything when you contact print and a lens will tend to create light fall-off near the edges of the paper. If your times are too short without a lens you should be able to deal with that by raising the enlarger head.
    Back when I was doing contact prints, I ran out of room to raise the enlarger head just to make the light dimmer, unless I removed the (empty) negative carrier, in which case the condenser would show so much falloff that I would have issues with that. I always used a lens so that I could control the light and make predictable adjustments. If I were making fine prints as contact prints, then I would really want to stretch out that time under the enlarger to make dodging and burning in a little less of an exercise in dexterity.

    I guess I never had enough of a problem with dust to worry about it. Maybe a sheet of diffusion glass in the contact frame would address that issue.

    Rick "who does have dust issues when scanning" Denney

  9. #9

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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    I remove the lens

  10. #10
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Lens for contact printing using enlarger

    Thanks all. I wanted to use the enlarger, because I was not at home, the location of my bulb and reflector. I wanted to use the lens, so I could adjust the aperture as a means of controlling the light intensity. Seems to work well. I just compressed the bellows all the way.

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