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Thread: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

  1. #1

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    305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    My 305 G-Claron works wonderfully with 11x14, and I find that if I need axial moments in the field working near or at infinity, I can usually mitigate issues with falloff and/or edge performance by adding a lateral movement to keep the axis of the image circle more or less centered with the films central axis. And while I've thus far been making only contact prints from these negatives, closely examined results look promising enough to allow me the confidence to ask the following:

    Has anyone tried using a 305 G-Claron to enlarge 11x14 negatives? Yup...I know - lots of flashing red lights/warning buzzers/gong-show hooks appearing - but bear with me. My thoughts are that by utilizing this optic to enlarge up to around 40x60 (closer to appx. 38x49) I would gain a logistical advantage of a relatively short light path, allowing for a DIY bench mounted horizontal enlarger - much like the one I've cobbled together here for 5x7:

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    A 305 would likely allow me to utilize a DIY 11x14 enlarger on that same bench/worktable - although a slight extension of this might be necessary (but I don't think so, table is 8 ft. long).

    At any rate...given the great success I've had using the 150 G-Claron to make such "space saving" large prints from 5x7, I figure I should give this a try. But first...I just wanted to ask around. Thanks!

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    If it covers 11x14 at infinity it would have a lot of promise to work on your enlarger. Due to the angle of the rays at the edges of the frame and the distance from your light source to negative, you may have issues with light source coverage. Should be easy to check; let us know how it works.

  3. #3

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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    Part of the reason that the 150 G-Claron works so well for 5x7 negatives is that the Heiland LED VC light source is sufficiently oversized to help mitigate ray-angle issues.

    But...no way, no how that I'll be getting an "oversized for 11x14" Heiland unit anytime soon! So I'll likely either find a decent LED light panel, or cobble something together myself...and will make sure that it is indeed "oversized." (thinking that something along the lines of 14x18 should about do it).

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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    So I'll likely either find a decent LED light panel, or cobble something together myself...and will make sure that it is indeed "oversized." (thinking that something along the lines of 14x18 should about do it).
    Finding a decent LED panel is going to be the problem.

  5. #5

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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    Yes...thinking also that this will also involve a bit of diffusion material and some long...long....long exposures!

  6. #6

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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    Not exactly what you're planning on or even the same size negative, but I used the 305 G-Claron for years enlarging 8x10 negatives. Any faults in the prints were due to other weaknesses in the chain, not the lens. Basically, my setup was something I cobbled together using my 8x10 Deardorff. I built a glass negative holder that attached to the rear standard, used an Aristo 12x12 cold light as the light source, and had everything attached to or sitting on a custom-built base. I had a steel panel on the wall where the paper was held using magnets on the edges and corners. The biggest issue I had was maintaining parallel planes to ensure good focus across the entire image area. The largest print I made was 16x20" mainly because I couldn't reach the camera to focus when trying to make larger prints.

    Would love to hear how this all works out for you, once setup and you're printing. Good luck!

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    Everything is a trade off. If the diffusion material is too close to the negative, any imperfection or dust might show in the print. A pragmatic approach would be to ignore an inch or so around the perimeter of the ground glass when composing and be done with the issue.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    I've done some enlarging tests with G-Clarons. They're decent at that, but not fantastic. But at only about 4X that you're contemplating, it shouldn't matter except toward the corners. Depth of field management when shooting 11X14 to begin with is the dominant factor anyway. Controlling illuminance falloff might still be a serious issue, depending on the evenness of your illumination source and whether you're willing to do some corner burning. Just depends. I'd at least try it before you go out and buy a dedicated enlarging lens. And you'll probably need to stop it down to at least f/16; so hope your light source is bright enough.

  9. #9

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    Re: 305 G-Claron As W.A. 11x14 Enlarger Lens?

    I'm working myself into another 11x14 camera build...and for this one I think I want to design it for exclusive use with the 305 - to help keep things simple and (relatively) compact and light(ish) weight.

    Would be equally great if I could use the same lens for enlarging from this format, and given my darkroom/workroom setup parameters such a focal length would be about perfect.

    But before I go purchasing anything else I'll do a feasibility test with an existing negative or two, a couple sheets of glass, and an array of my LED gallery lights. This should tell me something I think.

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