Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/02/02

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Enlarging lens
From: D Khong <>
Date: Tue, 02 Feb 1999 17:18:06 +0000

>Thank you for the comments.
>Although I feel like I am getting excellent prints from my 50 & 80mm Nikkors
>and 50 & 80mm Rodagons I felt that there may be another level available to me
>by going to the Focotars.  Your words about the APO Rodenstock are positive
>and I should take a look there before jumping into the Focotars.  Do you have
>any experience with the Focotars?
>Thanks for your comments.
>Bob Bedwell

Hi Bob

I do not have a Focotar but did receive a set of three B&W prints from my
friend Henry Chu, a LUGger in Denver who did a comparison study with a
Focotar, an Elmar and  an EL-Nikkor, all 50mm lenses.  The picture was of
his daughter seated in a convertible, wearing sunglasses, in bright
sunlight and so the pics have plenty of bright and dark tones to look at.

Again there was a tough fight between all three.  I looked at all three
prints after shuffling them around so that I did not know what was written
on the back of the pics.  It took me a while to decide that I did not think
the print with "EL-Nikkor" written on the back was not on par with the
other two.  It just did not have the microcontrast of the Focotar and Elmar.

Then it took me a longer while to decide that the print done with the Elmar
was a tad better than the Focotar.  I like microcontrast in shadows which
gives me the impression that the lens possess the capacity to resolve
shadow details well.  The Elmar did possess that quality, not in the
darkest parts of the pictures but in the mid-grey portions.  This
comparison is purely subjective based entirely on what I like to see in a

As far as sharpness is concerned, all three are about equal.  Henry does
not have an Apo-Rodagon otherwise I'm sure he would have given me the
pleasure of scrutinising a 4th print.

Dan K.