View Full Version : Enlarging lens for 5x7, what focal length??

Gene McCluney
11-Nov-2007, 19:37
What is the common focal length enlarging lens suitable for use on a 5x7 enlarger?
210mm, 240mm, 270mm? What (in your opinion) brand and model is best, Rodagon, Componon, Apo-Geronon?, etc. (Best in the sense of widely available used, not esoteric stuff).

John Kasaian
11-Nov-2007, 19:42
It kind of depends on how large you intend to print and how high the column is on your enlarger. I've had very good luck with an Ilex Copy Paragon---dirt cheap (I think I paid $29 for my 229mm) reasonably bright with a lovely blue coating. Heck it even makes a good camera lens!

Donald Miller
11-Nov-2007, 19:45
Focal lengths for 5X7 typically range from 180 mm to 240 mm. I personally have a 240 mm Componon S for my use. That focal length can also be used for 8X10

Jan Pedersen
11-Nov-2007, 20:03
As John said, depend on the print size. I use a 210 Nikon on my 138S and the smallest i can print is somewhere between 8x10 and 11x14 the other end is untested but 20x24 should not be a problem.

Walter Calahan
12-Nov-2007, 05:43
Traditionally an enlarger lens equals the focal length of your 'normal' lens for any particular format. Thus 35mm uses a 50mm enlarger lens.

The easiest way to calculate the focal length of your 'normal' lens is the diagonal length of your film, measuring from corner to corner. Works for whatever format you use.

Bernard Kaye
12-Nov-2007, 20:19
There may be good reason for Adams to write, "The longer the focal length of the enlarging lens, the better definition and coverage it affords; however, choice of equipment must be determined by available space."

When my sons and I did it all ourselves in our darkroom, we used a 60mm. coated Leitz Focotar, not the usual 50mm. because the late Walt Erickson at Cooter's Village Camera in Dallas advised it based on advice from Leitz. We also tried 50mmm. Leitz and Rodenstock lenses, Leitz was correct, certainly as to coverage for enlarging to large sizes.

We experimented with 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 on roll film, same result.

Perhaps the people at Leica in New Jersey will talk with you, or other experts. I just followed advice, found it to be sound, went for focal lengths longer than the diagonal; the corners tell the story; I gave similar advice to pros when I worked in camera-photo retailing; they agreed, based on results.


Ole Tjugen
13-Nov-2007, 01:39
I use a 180mm Rodagon for 5x7", because that's what I have and it works well enough with the condensers I have. I also have a 210mm Rodagon, but haven't been able to find a cheap lens board for it (yet).

On the 138S it goes easily from 5x7" to 12x16" print size - and that's the largest paper I've tried. Maybe it goes even bigger? I haven't had a need to find out yet.,

Chauncey Walden
13-Nov-2007, 09:32
I use a 150 EL Nikkor (the old one with the 53mm threads!) and a 180 APO-Rodagon.

Michael Graves
13-Nov-2007, 09:36
I had an older 180mm Componon that was a trifle soft at the corners. When I got my 180 Rodagon, that problem disappeared completely. It has adequate coverage for the entire 5x7 format. Very nice lens.

Clyde Rogers
13-Nov-2007, 13:01
I use a 210 Componon-S in a Durst, and have done from 7x10 to 20x24 (slightly cropped) without any issues.


Kevin Crisp
13-Nov-2007, 14:43
Gene: The 210 Nikkor is available used for very little money. It is superb for 5X7 and in fact covers 8X10 as well on my Beseler. It is quite large and using under the lens VC filters is kind of unworkable since the filter just aren't big enough. I got around this by putting the Ilford sheet filters above the negative.