True beginner

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Marcus McCullough, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Marcus McCullough

    Marcus McCullough TPF Noob!

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    I've decided to get back into photography and start to develop my own pictures. I did a little developing and printing back in college using the school's equipment and I want to get my own. I'm not the type of person who requires new equipment. So, I've been looking online for darkroom equipment. I've been looking at enlargers and I haven't decided on what type/brand to get. I don't care to try to create poster sized photographs. But, I would like the option to be able to print something larger than 8" X 10". I would appreciate anyone's input and/or suggestions.

    I want to produce my own black and white and color photos. Part of the information I'm looking for is about enlarger lenses. Of course, I've found a ton of used enlargers and lenses for sale, but I have no idea what may or may not be compatible. I know not every camera lens is compatible with every camera. So, is it the same with enlargers and enlarger lenses? How would I find out if a particular lens would be compatible with whichever enlarger I decide to get?

    Any information would ne greatly appreciated.


     
  2. Original katomi

    Original katomi TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Hiya welcome
    I just did a bi g web search
    Shutterbug did an article on enlargers and lenses
    Hope it helps
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to TPF! We're happy to have you on board.

    Yes, a good lens in the darkroom is important . Question: are you shooting 35mm or 120 film? You can certainly take a good 35mm negative and get an enlargement to 11x14 with no problem. With a good sharp enlarger lens, you could go a little larger. If you're shooting medium format, of course, you can go way beyond that.

    If you don't mind, I'll move your thread over to the Film forum. You'll get lots of opinions over there. ;)
     
  4. Space Face

    Space Face Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hello.
     
  5. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  6. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Hello and welcome.....
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    M39 is the most common mount for enlarger lenses ~105mm
    If you find a 35mm format enlarger then it most likely is M39.
    Many large format enlargers have various adapters to mount different mount sizes.
     
  8. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I only print BW (4x5 cold light enlarger) and use nothing but Rodenstock lenses (which can be used for color as well). Other than Rodenstock I would suggest Nikkor (Nikon) lenses.

    As for enlargers you can never go wrong with Beseler.
     
  9. Marcus McCullough

    Marcus McCullough TPF Noob!

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    I'm not familiar with Film forum. When I did a search for Film forum it takes me to a forum about movie films. Do you have a link to it?
     
  10. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  11. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Virtually all enlarger lenses have a simple threaded mount. The majority are 39mm in diameter, a few have a smaller 25mm thread. Normally, they come with a threaded ring that screws onto the lens' thread and is used to hold the lens in place when mounted.

    With Beseler enlargers (and many other brands) the lens is simply inserted through a hole in a rectangular lensboard and the retaining ring is screwed onto the other side to hold it in place. Some other brands of enlargers have lensboards that are threaded and you screw the lens directly into the board so no ring is needed.

    Maximum print size depends on the enlarger. Some small enlargers can only print up to about an 8x10 size.

    A Beseler 23C-series enlarger can print up to 16x20 on the baseboard and even larger if you tilt the head and print horizontally.

    Here is some info on different Beseler models:
    Photography Enlarger | Beseler Photography Equipment | Beseler
     
  12. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Enlarger and lenses should be set up to use the standard 39mm mount.
    39mm is probably the most common for the enlarger and lenses. But you may find the odd sizes, like 25mm and 32mm.
    Stick with 39mm.

    Some enlargers use a removable lens board/plate. This lets you use different types and mount lenses on the enlarger, just by using a different lens board/plate.
    Some 35mm film enlargers do not use a lens board/plate. You screw the lens directly into the enlarger. So you are stuck with the mount that the enlarger comes with. IOW, if you get an enlarger with a 25mm mount, you cannot put a 39mm mount lens onto it. However there was a 25 to 39mm adapter, so that you could use a 25mm lens on a 39mm mount.

    Enlarger lens focal length is usually the same as the normal lens for that format.
    Example 35mm film, normal lens = 50mmm, enlarging lens = 50mm.
    You can use a longer focal length to make a smaller image. I did this when lowering the enlarger head close to the baseboard, made it difficult to easily open the paper easel. So rather than use a 50mm lens, I used a 75mm lens. Then I could raise the head higher, and could easily open the easel.

    As for make and models:
    Today, you can get EXCELLENT lenses for a bargain, so you don't have to scrimp like we used to back in the old days.
    The big brands and models are: Nikon, el Nikkor; Schneider, Componon; Rodenstock, Rodagon.
    For 35mm, I would get the newer 50mm f/2.8 lens, not the older/slower f/4 lens. The faster f/2.8 lens is also easier to focus with.
     

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