Enlarger Lenses: FAQ

Here are a few soundbites in response to FAQs unasked: • What’s the best enlarger lens for general taking at sub-1m distance?Of the growing number of lenses thus far tested outstanding results have (unsurprisingly) been recorded by the most expensive lenses. However, several lenses with market values of around £100 have achieved an elite 90%+ […]

Enlarger Lenses: Fuji

In the mindset of US and European buyers, Fuji enlarger lenses occupy a tier below the Big Three of Nikon, Rodenstock and Schneider. Fujinar models were replaced by the Fujinon range in the early 1980s and were available as four-element Tessars, designated ES, in focal lengths from 75-135mm and apertures from f4-f4.5; and premium six-element […]

Enlarger Lenses: Nikon

This article will focus on the Nikon EL-Nikkor N range. It’s hard enough to find good examples of these relatively recent lenses without trawling through first-generation examples that require a lifetime of miraculous caretaking to still be useable in 2022. Anecdotally, it’s reported that the new versions are optically superior – with better coatings. However, […]

Enlarger Lenses: Rodenstock v Schneider

At this (comfortably ignorant) distance the commercial rivalries of our German brethren across the water seem to be civilised affairs predicated on fair play and the just reward of striving for excellence. BMW v Mercedes; Aldi v Lidl; Leica v Zeiss. May the best win, and may they receive sincere admiration from the loser. It’s […]

Enlarger Lenses: Reviewing the Reviews

Dr. Klaus Schmidt, creator of www.macrolenses.de, told me in 2014: “Save your time. That has all been done multiple times.” Indeed: why compile and publish another group test of enlargers lenses? In 2022? In the October/November 1967 edition of Camera magazine Arthur Kramer “put the best through the wringer” and concluded: “Enlarger lenses are very […]

Enlarger Lenses: Choosing & Using

Some oddballs get a buzz deploying stuff intended for Job A on ‘Mission X’. To them, the common man’s planetary gear is a can-opener, coat-hook or toast-slice-holder. In their homes lamps are recycled teapots, whisky jars and welded-together-cutlery. Their toilet-roll holders are made of copper plumbing. The concept of shooting with a Sony-mount lens on […]

Old School Zooms

Nikon 28-80mm v Nikon 28-85mm v Nikon 28-105mm v Nikon 35-70mm With photographers abandoning bijou mirrorless systems for full frame SLRs, May 2020 feels like a great time to review the walkabout lenses of another century. Bored by the low-hanging fruit of optically faultless 24-120mm kit lenses, today’s image-makers crave the creativity-testing limits of zooms […]

Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 v Sigma 14-24mm f2.8

Le Roi est Mort! Yes, Roy is dead. For many years the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 reigned over wide angles. For some months after its launch, the review we wrote back in 2007 was attached to the wall in Nikon’s R&D HQ in which we demonstrated its superiority over the erstwhile wide champion, the Zeiss 21mm […]

Samyang 10mm f3.5

What can I compare you to? Shall I compare thee to a Samyang 14mm? Thou art more panoramic and more divergent. Shall I compare thee to a fishes eye? Thou art commensurately wide, yet in fashion rectilinear.  Like a woman dressed as a man in a forest, I find myself musing “Can one desire too […]

Speedboosting: Part 2

Metabones Ultra v Viltrox II Metabones did it first, but so did Xerox (with Windows) and look how that turned out. Is the superficially identical, significantly cheaper Viltrox Speedbooster a democratically-priced refinement, or a second rate rip-off? For many, the pricetag is the most important stat. A Nikon user perusing eBay faces the persuasive maths […]