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08-06-2016, 07:50 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Enlarger Lens Club

Just got the go-ahead to start a 'club' for enlarger lenses. Yay!

To kick things off, I've acquired the following 1980's glass to start my modest collection:

Vega 105/4 - $27.50 shipped off eBay
Rodenstock Rodagon 80/5.6 - $17.05 shipped off eBay
Rodenstock Rodagon 50/2.8 - $32 shipped off eBay
Schneider Componon 80/5.6 - $45 shipped off eBay

The Rodagon 80/5.6 is simply superb up close and at infinity. See attached images of the Rodagon 80/5.6 adapted to my Sony a65 (body / M42>Sony A mount adapter / 14mm 'close-up' extension ring (not used for general & infinity shooting) / 17-31mm helicoid / M39>M42 adapter ring (under lens) / Rodagon 80/5.6), plus a quick 'brick' infinity test and a text closeup sample for your initial examination. Will post a more exhaustive set to include bokeh and general compositions later. With no need for a bulky bellows, this tiny optic will probably be my primary tripod-mounted hiking/landscape lens along with the 50/2.8 - and hopefully a 35/4 (pricey!) Rodagons.

As my first sample, the Russian Vega 105/4 shoots very nicely. As a macro lens on a bellows it is quicker to shoot with than my Takumars Macros and does as well or better for basic closeups - see the tomato and lens images for those samples. I've dedicated a bellows to this lens for keeping up with flora in my vegetable garden and landscaping blooms.

Have yet to use the Componon 80/5.6 yet and am still waiting to receive the Rodagon 50/2.8.

There's a good selection of these enlarger lenses for decent prices on eBay. After researching, I chose the Rodenstock Rodagons and Schneider Componons as excellent choices for a minimum cost. (New/newer models from these premium brands can be quite pricey and far from necessary as taking lenses.) Just look for clean cosmetic and optical condition when buying - and look for Make Offer listings on eBay as most sellers are looking to unload these on a low-demand printmaking crowd, not shooters. I've saved 40-50% on several transactions this way.

Hope this becomes a popular venue for samples of the many available lens models. Along with photo samples, any details on your adapter methods will be helpful for anyone looking to get into this category too.

Attached Images
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Last edited by bstrom; 08-06-2016 at 08:07 PM.
08-06-2016, 11:35 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting. I love quirky lenses, so this is a treat for me

Is the helicoid the component that allows you to achieve infinity focus with the lens?
08-07-2016, 07:40 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks for posting. I love quirky lenses, so this is a treat for me

Is the helicoid the component that allows you to achieve infinity focus with the lens?
Yes, but you have to determine each lens' infinity position and buy the correct helicoid. They are made in various 'ranges' of focus extension, etc. so figuring that out is part of the process. For the Rodagon, I was able to use the part I listed and add a 14mm extension tube for closeup/macro shots. This isn't an exact science - if it is, I'm not the brightest guy to ask how. The Projector Club is where I cut my teeth on this stuff and am still learning.

You can duplicate my setup with confidence but I won't make any recommendations I haven't already worked with, OK? BTW, I bought the adapter parts off AliExpress which saved a few bucks over the RAFCamera source. Same stuff too.
12-22-2016, 03:27 AM   #4
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I just came into 4 enlarger lenses and am looking at how to use them on my Pentax k-s2, or alternatively my qs1.

I have come across a variety of sizes for the helicoids. And am not sure which ones to get. At $30 a pop, I don't really want to buy all of them....

These are the sizes:

15mm - 26mm
17mm to 31mm
12mm to 19mm


And the lens focal lengths i have are:
90/4.5, 135/4.5, 50/4.5

Any suggestions/ideas which ones I should purchase?

01-11-2017, 07:26 AM   #5
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Wolfiegirl - I'm using a 42>39mm helicoil, along with an M39>M42 step down ring and M42>Sony MA adapter, on my 50mm Componon as shown in the photo above. The 'extension' the helicoil gives you needs to cover minimum focus distance (MFD) to infinity. I measured the distance handholding the lens to determine the infinity distance from the lens' mounting flange to the body's lens flange using the viewfinder/LCD screen and a ruler. You might be able to determine a MFD dimension that way too but I didn't worry about it - I've always got a bellows for closeup work.

My first enlarger adaptation was mounting a Russian Vega 105 enlarger lens on a Russian bellows. It has proven to be an excellent macro setup - very easy to focus and frame.
01-31-2017, 08:43 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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What a great idea for a club. Bravo bstrom!
I use plenty of enlarger lenses as taking lenses, mostly for closeup and macro applications. They do not disappoint. Optimal sharpness is two stops down usually.

My most used enlarger lens is a Schneider Kreuznach Componon 80mm f/5.6, it is just so tiny and makes for an excellent compact macro setup. I use it inversed on a (but not only) 35-90mm helicoid. I have about thirty others and will try to share my tests and experiences here. Today I'll kick it off with some Componon samples.


I've been spotted
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr


Himantoglossum hircinum - flower detail
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr


Thymelicus lineola
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr


Opilion
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr

02-01-2017, 07:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
What a great idea for a club. Bravo bstrom!
I use plenty of enlarger lenses as taking lenses, mostly for closeup and macro applications. They do not disappoint. Optimal sharpness is two stops down usually.

My most used enlarger lens is a Schneider Kreuznach Componon 80mm f/5.6, it is just so tiny and makes for an excellent compact macro setup. I use it inversed on a (but not only) 35-90mm helicoid. I have about thirty others and will try to share my tests and experiences here. Today I'll kick it off with some Componon samples.


I've been spotted
by Marko Jankovic, on Fli

Himantoglossum hircinum - flower detail
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr


Thymelicus lineola
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr


Opilion
by Marko Jankovic, on Flickr

Marko - excellent images!
I have the same 80/5.6 Componon - what is the filter thread on that lens? I need a step down ring to reverse it.

Do you 'focus' with your helicoil or just use it to establish magnification and then move the camera body to focus? How easy is that compared to using a bellows? Would love to know more about your shooting technique.
02-01-2017, 09:24 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bstrom Quote
Marko - excellent images!
I have the same 80/5.6 Componon - what is the filter thread on that lens? I need a step down ring to reverse it.

Do you 'focus' with your helicoil or just use it to establish magnification and then move the camera body to focus? How easy is that compared to using a bellows? Would love to know more about your shooting technique.
Thank you bstrom. In this post here you can see my setup.
Basically, I made a 25mm diameter hole in the m42 body cap and used a Componon's proprietary retaining ring (the same size is for 4/50mm Componon as well) to fix the lens for the body cap.

m42 body cap I screw into a m42-m42 35-90mm focusing helicoid and I do not reach infinity with this setup (good from 0.15-4m). I focus using the helicoid rather than moving to and away from the subject (i fine tune it like that sometimes).

These helicoids are a bit stiff with the grease that they come with and I dismantled and replaced the original grease with Helimax in all of them. Given that they have an enormous throw, it is a lot easier when the movement is smooth. Helimax is so thin that it takes a finger now to focus.

I use similar approach to adapt all of my enlarger and projector lenses, the only difference being that I sometimes use the screws or glue to attach the lens or different helicoids.

Componon can profit from a small hood (I tested with cardboard) but I find the shots somewhat dreamier without, it suits me more.

And one more link to wrap up the post.

02-02-2017, 07:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
Thank you bstrom. In this post here you can see my setup.
Basically, I made a 25mm diameter hole in the m42 body cap and used a Componon's proprietary retaining ring (the same size is for 4/50mm Componon as well) to fix the lens for the body cap.

m42 body cap I screw into a m42-m42 35-90mm focusing helicoid and I do not reach infinity with this setup (good from 0.15-4m). I focus using the helicoid rather than moving to and away from the subject (i fine tune it like that sometimes).

These helicoids are a bit stiff with the grease that they come with and I dismantled and replaced the original grease with Helimax in all of them. Given that they have an enormous throw, it is a lot easier when the movement is smooth. Helimax is so thin that it takes a finger now to focus.

I use similar approach to adapt all of my enlarger and projector lenses, the only difference being that I sometimes use the screws or glue to attach the lens or different helicoids.

Componon can profit from a small hood (I tested with cardboard) but I find the shots somewhat dreamier without, it suits me more.

And one more link to wrap up the post.
Audi - many thanks for your detailed information.

The only downside I can see is that you must remove the 'cap' to change the aperture. Would not mounting via the filter ring be more convenient for framing/focusing wide open and then selecting f-stops? Just asking...
02-02-2017, 09:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bstrom Quote
The only downside I can see is that you must remove the 'cap' to change the aperture. Would not mounting via the filter ring be more convenient for framing/focusing wide open and then selecting f-stops? Just asking...
You are absolutely right. It would be handier to do so and I can confirm that I've had issues focusing @f/11 on k-x (penta-mirror), but not at all on penta-prism bodies. Also, I am rarely shooting macro at f/5.6, as the DOF is extremely thin and the lens behaves a lot better a stop or two down. I push up the ISO if the speed is an issue. Something can be combined to get the functional filter mounted adapter, but I did not bother to wait for all the parts to come from China so went on with what I had and then got used to it. For general purpose photography, I use the same mounting system, but with the lens in "normal" position, with the aperture ring exposed.

As you suggested, alternative for inverse mounting is an m42 (x1) to 29.5mm (x0.5) adapter, that I've never managed to find (29.5 male to 37mm female are readily available, 37 male to m42(x1) male are rare).

Durst Componons have a thicker name ring and mounting them via filter thread is not possible without modifying (thinning) the name ring.

Edit: 29.5mm is the filter thread on the 50mm Componon, it sems to be 30.5mm on the 80mm lens.

Last edited by Audi 5 cyl; 02-02-2017 at 09:26 AM.
02-02-2017, 01:09 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
You are absolutely right. It would be handier to do so and I can confirm that I've had issues focusing @f/11 on k-x (penta-mirror), but not at all on penta-prism bodies. Also, I am rarely shooting macro at f/5.6, as the DOF is extremely thin and the lens behaves a lot better a stop or two down. I push up the ISO if the speed is an issue. Something can be combined to get the functional filter mounted adapter, but I did not bother to wait for all the parts to come from China so went on with what I had and then got used to it. For general purpose photography, I use the same mounting system, but with the lens in "normal" position, with the aperture ring exposed.

As you suggested, alternative for inverse mounting is an m42 (x1) to 29.5mm (x0.5) adapter, that I've never managed to find (29.5 male to 37mm female are readily available, 37 male to m42(x1) male are rare).

Durst Componons have a thicker name ring and mounting them via filter thread is not possible without modifying (thinning) the name ring.

Edit: 29.5mm is the filter thread on the 50mm Componon, it sems to be 30.5mm on the 80mm lens.
I wondered how you were dealing with that 'reversed' lens! I found a solution:

Your link to the Componon info states a 30.5mm filter size for the 80/5.6 - if I'm reading it right. The source below on eBay in Portugal makes the reversing rings to fit an M42 mount for various enlarger filter thread sizes for about $25 shipped to the US. This will thread right on my NEX>M42 dumb adapters and also a bellows via the little skinny A-mount adapters I already use. I'll confirm my Componon 80/5.6 filter size and order one. I've already ordered a helicoil based on your setup.

Reverse Adapter 30 5 mm to M42 for Rodagon and Componon | eBay

Last edited by bstrom; 02-02-2017 at 01:24 PM.
06-18-2017, 01:22 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 on strawberry



It is almost summer here, so good time for enlarger lenses. The photo above is part of small strawberry flower shot with the EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 (older version) reversed on some empty lens (deglassed Pentax A 50) and deglassed A-teleconverter. I set f 8.0 on camera body, image cropped. This is just kind of bump - please add your great enlarger lenses photos here!
06-18-2017, 02:43 PM   #13
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Omegaron 90mm f/4.5

at f/4.5
https://app.box.com/s/9gfuw9upkdme0ku4t7pddsj7ip1v5fmw

at f/11
https://app.box.com/s/itz57rvnupsc9k2myq4838vn56fzxvsr

Set up on the Pentax Bellows M
https://app.box.com/s/rtg5x7e46biew1kn6zyh3juerphg6arr
06-18-2017, 07:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Piotrek K Quote

It is almost summer here, so good time for enlarger lenses. The photo above is part of small strawberry flower shot with the EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 (older version) reversed on some empty lens (deglassed Pentax A 50) and deglassed A-teleconverter. I set f 8.0 on camera body, image cropped. This is just kind of bump - please add your great enlarger lenses photos here!
Outstanding Piotrek - keep 'em coming!

I am using my Rodagon 80/5.6 for land and street scapes too. Shoot well at infinity.

Last edited by Takumar105; 03-16-2018 at 10:37 AM.
06-27-2017, 09:34 AM   #15
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I'm thinking of doing this. Years ago I used an enlarger lens on a bellows I no longer have. I should still have the lens, but where? But I was just looking at some of the enlarger lenses on the auction site. I have another m42 bellows, acquired recently, which is where I would first try out any new enlarger lens, in order to learn what extension amount I need for infinity, then a helicoid could be a later purchase. The colors look great in the samples people have posted in this thread.
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