Nikon 50mm f4.0 vs. 50mm f2.8

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Shawn H, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Shawn H

    Shawn H Guest

    Hi All,

    Thank you all for your great contribution to this NG.
    I am looking to improve the quality of my prints and I was wondering if
    upgrading to a Nikon 50mm f2.8 or similar 6 element lenses you might
    recommend would show an appreciable difference? I use Tmax 100 in Tmax Rs
    and print to 11x14.
    Regards
    Shawn...
     
    Shawn H, Feb 24, 2004
    #1
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  2. FWIW: I had a 50/4.0 which I sold with my old enlarger and a 2.8
    I bought with my new one.

    I can't tell the difference in the prints I made with one lens or the
    other - and that's with 11x14's examined under a 30x stereo microscope
    (the only thing to use when spotting prints!).

    The 2.8 is one stop faster, but I normally use f8 for printing, so I
    never noticed the speed advantage. Maybe the 2.8 works better at f5.6.
    I am sure it works better at f4.0. And it is easier to focus.

    But better prints? - can't prove it by me.

    As usual YMMV. There can be a lot of variability in lens performance
    from unit to unit and so others may have had different experiences.

    Remember: Some of the world's greatest pictures have been taken by
    some of the world's worst lenses.
     
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Feb 24, 2004
    #2
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  3. There is reason the F4 costs less. I have one of the 50mm f2.8 and love it.
    There is that much of price difference between the two and since any print
    you goes through the enlarger lens its not the place to scrimp. As with all
    things the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The final print is
    what matters, but it can to achieve with lesser equipment. Most six element
    enlarging lenses are far better than 4 element lenses. The main difference
    is usually is contrast in fine, especially at the edges. The El- Nikkor 50mm
    2.8f is bargain at its price.

    Sheldon Strauss
    www.shel.focalfix.com
     
    Sheldon Strauss, Feb 24, 2004
    #3
  4. I do not have one, and I very much doubt they were made in 50mm focal
    length, but I betcha an Apo-Artar would be a fine enlarging lens. And
    they were dialytes: 4 air-spaced elements, IIRC.
     
    Jean-David Beyer, Feb 25, 2004
    #4
  5. Shawn H

    John Guest

    I would doubt that you would see any difference at all in
    B-&-W and probably not even in color negative. Perhaps in printing
    Cibachrome or color separations you might notice a small degree of
    increased contrast with the 2.8 version.

    Regards,

    John S. Douglas, Photographer - http://www.darkroompro.com
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
     
    John, Feb 25, 2004
    #5
  6. Shawn H

    Emerson Guest

    Provided
    1/ your enlarger is aligned
    2/ you use glass negative carrier
    3/ you avoid diffraction (small apertures eg F16 etc)
    4/ The F2.8 lens is a Good Sample

    You should see substantial improvement!
    The best approach is to get the lens on approval and test it!
    Rgds Emerson
     
    Emerson, Feb 25, 2004
    #6
  7. Shawn H

    J D B Guest

    Any comments on a comparison to the El-Nikkor 63mm?
     
    J D B, Feb 25, 2004
    #7
  8. Shawn H

    Mark A Guest

    The El- Nikkor 50mm 2.8f is bargain at its price.
    All El-Nikkors are quality 6-element designs except the 50mm f/4 and the
    75mm f/4. The El-Nikkor 63mm would be excellent for 35mm so long as you
    don't need to enlarge past 11x14 on your baseboard. The longer focal length
    might make it harder to make very large prints with most enlargers.
     
    Mark A, Feb 25, 2004
    #8
  9. Shawn H

    Shawn H Guest

    O.K. I can hear the sighs from here, but how do I align an Omega DII
    enlarger? Is a glass carrier required as well in 35mm format?
     
    Shawn H, Feb 25, 2004
    #9
  10. Shawn H

    Mike Guest

    Glass carrier isn't necessary for 35mm IMHO. If you enlarger isn't
    aligned perfectly, just stop down to f11 or higher.

    The DII has 4 sets of rollers on which the head slides on. There is a bar
    connecting each set, and this bar has a hole in the center. By loosening
    the screws, and sticking a screwdriver in the hole, you can change the
    alignment. Do your best...with just the negative carrier you should get a
    perfect rectangle (not a trapezoid)
     
    Mike, Feb 25, 2004
    #10
  11. It depends. You migth see quite differences when grain becomes visible
    and is all but sharp in the corners. With smaller print-sizes the
    differences become less important.
    I tried thos once. You will not get sharp grain even in a 8x10" print if
    your enlager is slightly out of alignment. Stopping down as far as your
    lens allows (approx. f32, beyond the marked range on that old componon)
    was not sufficient to solve this problem. Anything but aligning it asap
    ist a waste of time IMHO.

    best regards

    Stefan
     
    Stefan Kahlert, Feb 26, 2004
    #11
  12. Shawn H

    J D B Guest

    I agree! I was just curious what others might say.

    I use the 63mm for 35mm and the 80mm for 6x6. It's arguable that
    there's less light fall-off at the edges. I don't really know, having
    not made a comparison test. But, I'm happy with my lenses.

    Cheers!
     
    J D B, Feb 26, 2004
    #12
  13. Shawn H

    Mark A Guest

    Any comments on a comparison to the El-Nikkor 63mm?
    There is definitely less light fall off at the edges of your prints, since
    with the negative size you use for these lenses (which is less than the
    rated negative size), you are not using the edge of the lens. Resolution is
    better also.
     
    Mark A, Feb 27, 2004
    #13
  14. Shawn H

    John Guest

    It'll be better at the edges. One of the labs here in town
    (Chromatics) has used the 63mm on all of their enlargers. This lab is
    known to be the very best in the area and they don't compromise on
    quality.


    Regards,

    John S. Douglas, Photographer - http://www.darkroompro.com
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
     
    John, Feb 27, 2004
    #14
  15. Shawn H

    John Guest

    One should never over-enlarge a negative anyway. 35mm looks
    best at 7X9.


    Regards,

    John S. Douglas, Photographer - http://www.darkroompro.com
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
     
    John, Feb 27, 2004
    #15
  16. Shawn H

    John Guest

    I wonder what the diffraction limit is on a 50mm enlarging
    lens ?


    Regards,

    John S. Douglas, Photographer - http://www.darkroompro.com
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
     
    John, Feb 27, 2004
    #16
  17. Shawn H

    Mike Guest

    I honestly have no idea if my enlarger is aligned or not. I transported
    it in the car and assembled it without aligning.

    My prints look fantastic.

    Maybe I'll have to try a newspaper test or something (take a picture of
    newspaper text, make a print, and check for sharpness).
     
    Mike, Feb 27, 2004
    #17
  18. Shawn H

    Bob Salomon Guest

    I honestly have no idea if my enlarger is aligned or not. I transported
    it in the car and assembled it without aligning.

    My prints look fantastic.

    Maybe I'll have to try a newspaper test or something (take a picture of
    newspaper text, make a print, and check for sharpness).
    [/QUOTE]

    As well as not being equally sharp (with a glass carrier and a quality
    lens) an out of alignment enlarger will not be able to reproduce round
    objects as perfectly round. There will be foreshortening and an out of
    alignment enlarger will produce more oval shapes or round objects.

    it is best to assume that an enlarger is not in perfect alignment until
    you have actually tetsed it and seen that it is in or out of alignment.
    A tool like the Zigalign tests alignmets to about 1/5000".
     
    Bob Salomon, Feb 27, 2004
    #18
  19. Shawn H

    Jorge Omar Guest

    Jorge Omar, Feb 27, 2004
    #19
  20. So you can use the extremely simple and extremely accurate alignment method I
    used for my Beseler 23C. I adapted the method given by Conrad Hoffman
    (http://members.rpa.net/~choffman/beseler01.htm), which uses two mirrors to
    set the negative stage and baseboard plane-parallel to each other. Basically,
    you cut one large piece of mirror and put it on the baseboard. The other piece
    is cut in a narrow strip that gets clamped in the negative carrier. This piece
    extends out the side of the enlarger and has a hole in it through which you
    can view the other mirror. (My modification to his method was to simply
    scratch the reflective coating of the mirror off in a small spot, rather than
    going to the trouble of drilling a hole in the mirror. Worked fine.)

    You shine a light up at the upper mirror and view through the hole. The idea
    is to make the "hall of mirrors" effect--multiple receding
    reflections--collapse to a single reflection (in both X and Y axes), at which
    point you can be sure that both mirrors, and therfore the enlarger parts, are
    in perfect alignment. Forget the Zigalign and its vaunted 0.00000000005"
    alignment claims.


    --
    It's fun to demonize the neo-cons and rejoice in their discomfiture, but
    don't make the mistake of thinking US foreign policy was set by Norman
    Podhoretz or William Kristol. They're the clowns capering about in front of
    the donkey and the elephant. The donkey says the UN should clean up after
    them, and the elephant now says the donkey may have a point. Somebody has
    come out with a dustpan and broom.

    - Alexander Cockburn, _CounterPunch_
    (http://www.counterpunch.org), 9/17/03
     
    David Nebenzahl, Feb 27, 2004
    #20
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