Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/10/19[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]
Dennis asked what the difference is between the older 50mm f2.8 El Nikor and the new version. two years ago I was looking for a new lens/enlarger combination because I wanted to get into using variable contrast and color papers. I had a Focomat 1C without the filter drawer above the condenser (it was not the 1C Color version), and I used it to test the Leica 50mm f4.5 Focotar and Focotar-2 lenses, the older and the new 50mm f2.8 El Nikors and the 50mm f2.8 Schneider Componon. The older Nikor has a rear element that is about 1/2 the diameter of the front element, whereas the new (current) Nikor has a rear element that is about the same size as the front element. It is truly an f2.8 lens on a diffusion enlarger, whereas the older one is not, but it is on a condenser enlarger. On a condenser enlarger the condenser focuses (i.e., condenses) the light onto the rear element of the enlarging lens, so that the old Nikor is an f2.8 lens on a condenser enlarger. Anyway, the old Nikor is much better than the new Nikor on the Focomat 1c in terms of contrast and color fringing at f5.6 and smaller apertures. I would not use the new one on the Focomat or any other condenser enlarger. I think the old Nikor was designed for condenser enlargers and the new Nikor is designed for diffusion enlargers. The Leica Focotar-2 is the best of the lot listed above both in terms of resolution, contrast, color fringing and performance at higher magnifications (larger prints) and at smaller apertures (f11 & 16). And it allows autofocusing on the Leica enlargers (even the V35 can be modified for it). The older Nikor and the older Focotar are about the same in performance at f5.6 and f8, where you should use them, and can be recommended without reservation (except that there is a better alternative in the Focotar-2) for use on condenser enlargers, and probably diffusion enlargers.