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Thread: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

  1. #1
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    Back to the Durst L184...I have been using this Nikkor Q 260 f/10 process lens as an enlarging lens. I have been using it with the front of the lens away from the film, as if it were mounted on a camera.

    I am wondering if since I am actually projecting with this lens, maybe I ought to be using it with the front of the lens toward the film? It looks like a very symmetrical design, but I am not sure. The issue is, practically speaking, how do I get access to the aperture ring and read the scale if I have it mounted the other direction.

    I think I just answered my own question...

    Here's the lens.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    EDIT: A little digging found this page, which answered my question. The 260 is symmetrical.

    http://www.galerie-photo.com/apo-pro...ikkors-en.html

    2nd EDIT: Then there is this discussion about using a process lens as an enlarger lens on this pretty cool website...

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ing-Lens/page2
    Last edited by Kimberly Anderson; 18-Nov-2014 at 20:38. Reason: Found more cool info...

  2. #2
    Vanannan
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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    I believe Ansel used a process Nikkor on his custom 8x10 horizontal used with the rear of the lens towards the negative?

  3. #3

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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    Hmm. Taking lenses have a large subject in front of a small negative. Enlarging lenses have a large print in front of a small negative. Same situation, the rear of the lens should face the negative.

  4. #4

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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    One problem using them as enlarging lenses that they are optimized for f22 which is rarely used for printing and less then f22 would not meet the lenses optical potential.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    I print 8x10 most frequently at f22 and f32. Reversing an enlarger lens only makes sense when projecting reductions to film.

  6. #6

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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    I'm not sure about yours but most process lenses are symmetrical because they're designed for 1:1 reproduction. If it's symmetrical it doesn't matter which direction you mount it.

    Never mind... I just saw your edits. If you don't need that lens as a taking lens then you'd be better off selling it and buying a high quality enlarger lens made for the enlargement ratios you prefer.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    Process Nikkors are optically superior to any dedicated enlarging lens I have ever encountered for many aspects of enlarging, provided you don't need speed. I especially like them for very critical applications like making enlarged dupes or internegs onto vac filmholders. I also routinely use them for printing black and white 8x10 negs. They are far more versatile than 1:1. Labs around here once preferred them for mural enlargement, and they work superbly on view cameras even at infinity. But you gotta stop em down to at least f/11 for even illumination and ideal performance. But every process Nikkor I use is dialyte design, not Q.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    Bob - you've passed on a bit of popular mythology. Because process lenses like this have published specs @ f22 for process repro applications specifically does not in any manner mean they can't be used at wider apertures or different scales of reproduction. By f/11 most process Nikkors are deadly sharp, even field, and fully apo. Repro standards have to do with dot shape in reference to a definition of performance way past that of ordinary photography and enlargement needs. I don't state that casually, because you are probably aware that I also use a set of Apo Rodagon N lenses, which are a very high quality item to compare them with. Of course, the ARN's are avail in shorter focal lengths and faster max apertures, so not exactly in the same functional category for enlargement purposes. What I do not have any experience with are the Tessar "Q" series of Apo Nikkors; nor have I even seen them in use (apparently far less popular than dialytes).

  9. #9

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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Bob - you've passed on a bit of popular mythology. Because process lenses like this have published specs @ f22 for process repro applications specifically does not in any manner mean they can't be used at wider apertures or different scales of reproduction. By f/11 most process Nikkors are deadly sharp, even field, and fully apo. Repro standards have to do with dot shape in reference to a definition of performance way past that of ordinary photography and enlargement needs. I don't state that casually, because you are probably aware that I also use a set of Apo Rodagon N lenses, which are a very high quality item to compare them with. Of course, the ARN's are avail in shorter focal lengths and faster max apertures, so not exactly in the same functional category for enlargement purposes. What I do not have any experience with are the Tessar "Q" series of Apo Nikkors; nor have I even seen them in use (apparently far less popular than dialytes).
    Drew,
    Optimal aperture for process lenses shorter then 600mm is f22. For 600 and longer f32.

    Quality enlarging lenses hit optimal apeture about two stops from wide open.

    You were also mentioning, earlier, mural printing, and the Rodenstock series for murals was the Rodagon-G which were far better then the Apo Rodagon-N at extreme magnifications. But they were terrible for normal scale prints where the Apo Rodagon-N was far superior.

    No mythology. That is what the lenses were designed for. Of course most enlarging lenses also have pre-set apertures and illuminated diaphragms and dis-engageable click stops for convenience and ease of working in the dark room. None of the process lenses were equipped this way.

  10. #10

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    Re: Nikkor Process lens as enlarging lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley
    Process Nikkors are optically superior to any dedicated enlarging lens I have ever encountered for many aspects of enlarging, provided you don't need speed. I especially like them for very critical applications like making enlarged dupes or internegs onto vac filmholders. I also routinely use them for printing black and white 8x10 negs. They are far more versatile than 1:1. Labs around here once preferred them for mural enlargement, and they work superbly on view cameras even at infinity. But you gotta stop em down to at least f/11 for even illumination and ideal performance. But every process Nikkor I use is dialyte design, not Q.
    Drew, you are thinking of Apo-Nikkors. Nikon also made a line of Process Nikkors (early examples were engraved Nikkor-Q) for use in short vertical copy cameras where the utmost in image quality wasn't needed. Process Nikkors are not apochromatic. These are 4/4 double Gauss types with bulbous outer elements. Please see http://www.galerie-photo.com/apo-pro...ikkors-en.html to learn more about them. For a picture of one, see http://homepage2.nifty.com/akiyanroo...po/pro260.html Beware, Akiyan's coverage claims are at 1:1. I had a 260/10 Nikkor-Q, didn't like it at all, not particularly sharp at distance. G-Claron WA lenses are similar and have got similar (poor) user reports.

    Lack of precision can be a real impediment to communication.

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