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07-24-2013, 10:14 AM   #1
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Enlarging lenses

I have been looking into going beyond the capabilities of what my 100DFA WR with Raynox DCR-250 and Raynox MSN-505 can do. I have been reading on enlarging lenses quite a bit lately but I was looking for some suggestions on what you may use if you were to try and go anywhere from 5X-30X magnification.

I have looked into microscope objectives but man, the cost of those things are insane for the quality or sharpness I am looking for. I am not prepared to spend a ton of money on something that wouldn't see everyday use. I already shucked out a small fortune (for me) on a stackshot rail system. Now I feel I need to be using it more often than what I currently do. I do not like lugging it around for field work so I have mounted it to some fiberglass panels that were used for an old computer case. It is stable and I have stacked some images using the raynox diopters just to play around. Will post them below.

I figured I'd get some cheap enlarger lenses to play with. I hear it is addicting. Heck, I just get a thrill off of changing out raynox diopters so I can imagine the thrill in playing with a bellows and different enlarger lenses. It makes ya feel like you are doing some super science or something. lol

I am curious what kind of working distance some of you have gotten using enlarger lenses for certain magnifications. What cheap to moderately priced enlarger lenses would you start off with?

I have

a Asahi Pentax Bellows Unit, M42 mount on the way that I purchased via ebay auction.
M42 to RMS adapter from when I thought I was going to go with microscope objectives. I do have some amscope objectives I will play with. I hear they are not overly great.
K mount to M42 adapter
extended Stackshot rail system with controller and all the goodies

I know I will need to get an M42 to 39 adapter. No big deal there.
And I will be getting some led lights to diffuse before I melt my metz flash

So if you could list what enlargers you use, what magnifications you get from them (You do not have to be precise), and what working distance you have between the lens and subject (doesn't have to be overly precise either) then it would be greatly appreciated. It seems like a lot of this information is strung out over a ton of threads on a ton of different sites. I wish there was a consolidated forum or listing of enlarger lenses with the statistics or what can be achieved with them but I have yet to find a good one even though there have been a few attempts at it.

Yes, I know going the way of ELWD Nikon objectives or Mit objectives or luminars etc... is apparently the best but I'm looking to have some fun while not going through a long buyer's remorse phase of, "OMG, I just had to sell a kidney to get that just so I could make some shots that I probably won't sell."

:P

Thanks in advance.

Oh and here are those stacks. A lot of CA and edge softness on some of these due to the raynox diopters. Great lenses but I'm ready to step up if I can. Forgive some of the stacking software artifact. I did the best I could in post on some of these. These were done using the MSN505 that a friend gave me for free.

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07-24-2013, 10:48 AM   #2
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Awesome images!
07-24-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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Thanks.

I guess it was a little misleading posting image stacks that were taken with the Raynox MSN505 when the title of the post is about enlarging lenses but I posted those images to show what I am currently at and what I'd like to move beyond while using enlarging lenses.
07-24-2013, 12:02 PM   #4
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I guess I should have said what camera body I am using. For these it was the K5iis but once the bellows arrives I will be using my older K5 since I do not want to run the risk of bellowing any dust into my newer body. I have heard of using a tc to between the bellows and body to prevent dust from entering the camera but...ya know...more glass and all. I'd rather avoid that.

To tell you the truth, I do not even know what all magnifications are possible when using different enlarger lenses. If it was overly wishful thinking in wanting to get anywhere around the 5-30X range then forgive my ignorance. If that can only be achieved through use of microscope objectives then I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and save up for some while eating nothing but ramen noodles. :P

With those shots up above using just the 100mmWR and the MSN505 at full lens extension I had about 20mm worth of working space between the subject and lens. Not sure what magnification was achieved since I haven't calculated it. I have seen the formulas. I'd be happy if I can achieve that much working space but could go down to 10mm if I had to.

Thanks again if anyone can tell me from personal experience some lens options and the results they achieved.

07-24-2013, 01:10 PM   #5
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Wow, at what point do you just buy a microscope? Some steromicrope (platform types) have camera ports.
07-24-2013, 01:10 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Which RMS adapter do you have? There are flat plates and cone shaped? The cones would be more practical as the lens to object distances are so tiny that the bellows rails often get in the way.

You're pretty much set if you are getting the M42 to M39 adapter.

I use enlarger lenses (rarely) on various bellows units. You should be aware of several things:

The shorter the lens the more magnification. I picked up very cheap 25mm enlarging lens (used for 16mm negatives). I get a magnification of ~8.4x on the Asahi Auto Bellows and ~9.4x on my Minolta Auto Bellows III with a glassless MD to K mount adapter (see my post in the non-K-mount lens adapter thread).

Some enlarging lenses will work better reversed. This may be a problem as enlarger lenses may not have threads on the front. If they do have threads they may not be the same pitch as used for filters and a step up/down ring may not thread into them.

Budget enlarger lenses have 3-4 elements. The more expensive lenses have 5 or 6 elements and may be coated. None of the budget lenses I've seen are coated. There is a difference in image quality. There is a user guide on eBay that lists which models are budget or not.

With a 50mm enlarger lens you probably won't get more than 3-3.5x magnification. A 50mm El Omegar f3.5 (budget) lens unreversed on my Asahi Auto Bellows only gets 2.1x at full extension. My Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm Macro f4 gets 3.4x at the same extension. I haven't measured the El Omegar reversed. A 100mm lens will probably give you around 1-1.5x magnification.

Using the OEM Pentax M42 adapter there is a some play (the camera body will rotate on the mount). It is always there no matter how tight I screw down the adapters and lock screw on the bellows. If you are stacking photos care must be taken that the body does not shift. Remote release is recommended.

I don't know if this is the case with the bellows models previous to the Auto Bellows (fixed rear standard) but due to the design of the DSLR bodies there is not enough clearance to turn the camera to 'portrait' orientation. The solution to this is to add a short extension tube between the camera body and the bellows. Otherwise you have to turn the entire bellows and camera 90 degrees.

Hope this helps.

Edit: Here's the link to the eBay guide to enlarging lenses
http://www.ebay.com/gds/a-guide-to-selecting-enlarging-lenses/10000000006601424/g.html

Last edited by Not a Number; 07-26-2013 at 12:54 PM.
07-24-2013, 01:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Phosphene Quote
I am curious what kind of working distance some of you have gotten using enlarger lenses for certain magnifications. What cheap to moderately priced enlarger lenses would you start off with?
Focal length is focal length, so a 50mm enlarger lens will provide the same working distance and magnification for a given bellows extension as a regular 50mm camera lens.

Edit: Not so in regard to extension vs. magnification. Focal length is focal length, but I forgot that most SLR lenses up to about 50mm are retro focus designs to allow for the mirror box. Working distance for a given magnification should be the same, however.

As for price...there is no sense bottom feeding. Price new can be quite high, but price used is usually quite reasonable. The names to remember are Schneider, Rodenstock, and Nikkor. Most have preset apertures (stop down via switch or lever) and all have VERY flat fields. As noted above, there are usually budget and premium models for each brand (Google is our friend).


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-24-2013 at 01:43 PM.
07-24-2013, 01:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Focal length is focal length, so a 50mm enlarger lens will provide the same working distance and magnification for a given bellows extension as a regular 50mm camera lens.

As for price...there is no sense bottom feeding. The names to remember are Schneider, Rodenstock, and Nikkor. Most have preset apertures (stop down via switch or lever) and all have VERY flat fields.


Steve
But even these companies have two or three levels of quality. For what you are doing I would go for the best Componon S or APO for Schneider do not know about the rest. Of course if you are just trying it out any enlarging lens should do. Prices range from hundreds to free for the same lens so look around

07-24-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Which RMS adapter do you have? There are flat plates and cone shaped? The cones would be more practical as the lens to object distances are so tiny that the bellows rails often get in the way.

You're pretty much set if you are getting the M42 to M39 adapter.

I use enlarger lenses (rarely) on various bellows units. You should be aware of several things:

The shorter the lens the more magnification. I picked up very cheap 25mm enlarging lens (used for 16mm negatives). I get a magnification of ~8.4x on the Asahi Auto Bellows and ~9.4x on my Minolta Auto Bellows III with a glassless MD to K mount adapter (see my post in the Macro By Any Means thread).

Some enlarging lenses will work better reversed. If you aren't getting the Auto Bellows unit with a reversible front standard this may be a problem as enlarger lenses may not have threads on the front. If they do have threads they may not be the same pitch as used for filters and a step up/down ring may not thread into them.

Budget enlarger lenses have 3-4 elements. The more expensive lenses have 5 or 6 elements and may be coated. None of the budget lenses I've seen are coated. There is a difference in image quality. There is a user guide on eBay that lists which models are budget or not.

With a 50mm enlarger lens you probably won't get more than 3-3.5x magnification. A 50mm El Omegar f3.5 (budget) lens unreversed on my Asahi Auto Bellows only gets 2.1x at full extension. My Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm Macro f4 gets 3.4x at the same extension. I haven't measured the El Omegar reversed. A 100mm lens will probably give you around 1-1.5x magnification.

Using the OEM Pentax M42 adapter there is a some play (the camera body will rotate on the mount). It is always there no matter how tight I screw down the adapters and lock screw on the bellows. If you are stacking photos care must be taken that the body does not shift. Remote release is recommended.

I don't know if this is the case with the bellows models previous to the Auto Bellows (fixed rear standard) but due to the design of the DSLR bodies there is not enough clearance to turn the camera to 'portrait' orientation. The solution to this is to add a short extension tube between the camera body and the bellows. Otherwise you have to turn the entire bellows and camera 90 degrees.

Hope this helps.

Edit: Here's the link to the eBay guide to enlarging lenses
A Guide to Selecting Enlarging Lenses | eBay
Thanks. Nope, unfortunately I got the flat M42 to RMS adapter. I guess I could order the cone one in the future.

I have mounted a vanguard ball head to the platform I was using and have rotated everything I was using into portrait (Stackshot rails, camera, and lens) and felt that I almost needed to put a set of outriggers on the platform to keep it from tipping over. There was a lot weight I was leaning when doing that. I probably need to build a vertical stacking station anyways since this current one takes up too much space.

I guess when I said cheap I was not thinking 20 bucks cheap when it came to the lenses. I would pay a couple hundred or so if need be but I wasn't wanting to go on up to the cost of some of the better Nikon objectives, luminars etc... So it sounds like if I am ever wanting to push beyond 10X then I would have to go by way of microscope objective on a tube lens (if infinity corrected) or straight to bellows if using finite. Those magnification levels can not be achieved via enlarger lenses eh?

Good to know on the OEM Pentax M42 adapter. I have not used it yet. What would you suggest that I use instead to eliminate that problem since I really could not deal with having any movement if I were to do this right.

If enlarging lenses do not take me as far as I may want to go in the future, do you have any suggestions on decent microscope objectives that won't break the bank. I know I shouldn't be so tight when it comes to that technology considering they are specialized lenses that are probably worthy of the cost considering what I have paid for regular prime lenses in the past.

Forgive my ignorance. And thanks again.
07-24-2013, 01:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Focal length is focal length, so a 50mm enlarger lens will provide the same working distance and magnification for a given bellows extension as a regular 50mm camera lens.

Edit: Not so in regard to extension vs. magnification. Focal length is focal length, but I forgot that most SLR lenses up to about 50mm are retro focus designs to allow for the mirror box. Working distance for a given magnification should be the same, however.

As for price...there is no sense bottom feeding. Price new can be quite high, but price used is usually quite reasonable. The names to remember are Schneider, Rodenstock, and Nikkor. Most have preset apertures (stop down via switch or lever) and all have VERY flat fields. As noted above, there are usually budget and premium models for each brand (Google is our friend).


Steve
Thanks.

Yes google is my friend but a lot of that information is scattered to the four corners of the web. Though I do see some brands that do crop up more than others. I just was hardly finding much information on what magnifications were being achieved via certain enlarger lenses nor information on the working distance when using them. Though I very well may not have been looking in the right places or missed some of that information so please forgive me on that.
07-24-2013, 01:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Wow, at what point do you just buy a microscope? Some steromicrope (platform types) have camera ports.
I have a trinocular microscope but the objectives on it are not all that great from what I understand. I will be trying it out shortly though once some of my stuff I have ordered arrives.
07-24-2013, 02:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Phosphene Quote
Yes google is my friend but a lot of that information is scattered to the four corners of the web.
Schneider: Componon over Componar
Rodenstock: Rodagon over Rogonar
EL-Nikkor: Nikkor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Steve

(...a properly formed query is very effective in drawing in the four corners of the Web...but then again, Pentax Forums members are so very obliging in answering questions...)
07-24-2013, 02:29 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I use JML21mm up to about 2.5x, componons to 7x, a Nikon CFI from 7-10x and a JML for 20x. Componon 28 and 35 are both good and easily obtainable on ebay.A mitu is a bit out of my budget.
07-24-2013, 02:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
I use JML21mm up to about 2.5x, componons to 7x, a Nikon CFI from 7-10x and a JML for 20x. Componon 28 and 35 are both good and easily obtainable on ebay.A mitu is a bit out of my budget.
Thanks. What JML are you using?

7X for the componons. cool. That is the type of info I was looking for. I hope I didn't take up too much of your time.

Thanks again.

Last edited by Phosphene; 07-24-2013 at 02:43 PM.
07-24-2013, 02:42 PM   #15
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50 mm Apo-Rodagon is quite good. Reversed should give better IQ greater than 1:1.
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