Need recommendations of 50mm or higher lens that is sharp across the lens - any brand

dsiglin

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Here's the reason why I'm asking: I'm going to "scan" film with my Sony Nex. I therefore need sharpness across the lens. I guess I'd need something that can focus fairly close so that the negative fills the sensor. The lens brand doesn't matter since almost any lens kind has a Nex adapter. That said I don't want to buy a modern pricey lens just to "scan" negatives.

Now, the El Nikkor line of enlarging lenses are sharp across the lens but I'm not sure how/if they can be used as a normal lens to take photos of film.


So, I was wondering if you good folks might recommend a lens to me. Thanks in advance.
 

Derrel

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Nikon's 60mm f/2.8 AF-D Micro-Nikkor is pretty good across the film plane and will not break the bank. Sigma's 70mm EX Macro is an exceptionally sharp lens too, also readily available.
 

480sparky

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Will a 50 or 60mm lens focus close enough to get reasonably close to the film?

Sharpness is one thing... having to crop out 75% of the frame would be a step backwards.
 
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dsiglin

dsiglin

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That's a good question sparky and one I don't know the answer to because I've never done this before. I did find this helpful site but I'm still digesting what all he is saying: http://www.scantips.com/es-1.html
I'm hoping someone here will know.

I should have added I'll be scanning mostly 6cmx4.5cm negatives.
 

amolitor

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You can definitely use an enlarging lens for this application. This is a fine use case. You should get a bellows as well. You can get an outstanding lens and an adequate bellows for under $100 total off ebay, I suspect.

Then you need a NEX adaptor for whatever mount the bellows has on the camera end, of course.
 

480sparky

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That's a good question sparky and one I don't know the answer to because I've never done this before. ............

I should have added I'll be scanning mostly 6cmx4.5cm negatives.

It should be easy to calculate the minimum size for a given lens. Medium format film will make it much easier, compared to shooting 35mm negs. You may need an extension tube or two.
 
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dsiglin

dsiglin

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Amolitor - would the enlarging lens be facing toward the negative (attached to end of bellows) or toward the camera (reverse mounted on camera)? I do have an Asahi Pentax Autobellows II M42 mount. I had an El-Nikkor enlarging lens but in my quick and dirty tests (I used toilet paper roll in place of extension tube) I had to be very very close to the subject and it was greater than 1:1 magnification. For use a my Nex I need something more along 1:1.5 magnification so that the image doesn't get cropped by my sensor.
 

DiskoJoe

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Sounds like you would need a macro lens. There really arent great macro lenses in E-mount at this time. You could get something with an adaptor like the 60mm darrel talked about.
 

amolitor

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Honestly, I think you can do it either way around with an enlarging lens. Whichever point the lens at whichever side is supposed to be bigger. It sounds like maybe you're shooting 35mm or larger negatives onto a crop sensor? So lens points toward the negative.

Get a longer lens if you're finding yourself uworkably close. You should be able to get a 75mm or an 80mm lens for peanuts on ebay, and you might get lucky on a 150mm or so (those are a lot rarer, I think. The 80mm lens lengths, for enlarging medium format, are pretty common).

You're still looking at a working distance of a a couple inches, though.
 
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dsiglin

dsiglin

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Schneider-Kreuznach Componon-S 80mm f5.6 seem to be going for around $50, not bad for one of the highest regarded enlarging lenses. I am indeed shooting 35mm and mostly 6x4.5 onto a APS-C sensor (1.5x crop). Maybe this is a dumb question but are enlarging lenses capable of doing 1:1? Going to venture a guess and say "yes" depending on the position of the bellows but want to be safe. Still trying to wrap my head around the math. :p
 

amolitor

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Any lens can go 1:1 ;) That's the facile stupid answer.

The question you meant obviously is "how do they perform at 1:1" and I think they answer is that they're OK, but maybe not as OK as a macro lens? I just spent a few minutes poking around the web, and that was the sense I got. The enlarging lens is really really flat-field, but the macro lens is going to be better optimized for very high magnification, I guess.
 

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Any lens can go 1:1 ;) That's the facile stupid answer.

The question you meant obviously is "how do they perform at 1:1" and I think they answer is that they're OK, but maybe not as OK as a macro lens? I just spent a few minutes poking around the web, and that was the sense I got. The enlarging lens is really really flat-field, but the macro lens is going to be better optimized for very high magnification, I guess.

Go easy everyone knows Sony users are a cent short of a dollar
 
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dsiglin

dsiglin

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Thanks amolitor, just weighing the pros and cons of an enlarging lens vs macro lens. I don't need 1:1 but something close for 35mm and something more like .3 for 6x4.5. I guess if I were truly bold and feeling helpful I'd snag an enlarging lens and a macro and do some test comparisons. :)
 

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