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4x5 printing

Chris Autio , Oct 04, 2007; 07:03 p.m.

I get hard-edged vignetting from my 135 mm Schneider Componon. It isn't much, just a 1/4 inch for 20 x 24 inch prints. I'm a stickler for detail and want to take full advantage of the image size. Do I need a larger lens, like a 150 mm? It is for a Beseler 45 M if that is of any importance. Thanks, Chris


Mike Earussi , Oct 04, 2007; 07:48 p.m.

I'm assuming you're using it at f11 and not wide open.

Frank Schifano , Oct 04, 2007; 08:12 p.m.

With what size of negative and what sort of light source on the enlarger? We need to know at least that much before making even a guess. That said, it should be fine with 4x5 and smaller negatives. I have one on an Omega D4 with a color head and it works fine - no vignetting.

I'm not terribly familiar with Beseler 4x5 designs, but here are the usual suspects:

1. Wrong condenser set, or if adjustable, incorrectly adjusted condensers.

2. Wrong sized light mixing box for diffusion type light sources. On the Omega D - series enlargers there are different sized light boxes for different film formats. I have one for up to 6x7 and one for 4x5. I never use anything bit the 4x5 mixing box for everything. It's the largest, broadest light source available for that machine.

Ronald Moravec , Oct 04, 2007; 08:33 p.m.

135 is too short for 4x5. People get away with it for smaller prints because it becomes longer effectively due to focus bellows extension.

150 will solve the problem and you will need more column height.

135 was really made for 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 format or some currently obscure even larger format like 3x4, but not 4x5.

If you can`t make a 11x14, the problem is somewhere else. But if you can make smaller sizes, you need the 150.

Doremus Scudder , Oct 05, 2007; 04:34 a.m.

From the Schneider web site:

"This [Componon-S 135mm] is a 135mm f5.6 lens most commonly used to make photographic prints with 4x5 inch large format negatives. The 135mm focal length allows print sizes 10% larger than the 150mm focal length lens often used for this format. It is equipped with user conveniences such as an illuminated aperture scale with click stop override. This model has 50mm x 0.75 mounting threads."

Obviously Schneider intends the 135mm to be used with 4x5 negatives.

If lens vignetting is the problem, it will clip only the corners first, since the lens image is a circle. I have used a 135mm to enlarge 4x5 up to 16x20 with no vignetting, but maybe 20x24 the coverage starts to fall off (as Ron mentioned above).

I would suspect (in the following order)

1. Your negative carrier (especially if the vignetting is not circular) 2. The light source (not large enough or positioned incorrectly) 3. Lens coverage

With respect to the latter, if you are using a cold light or diffusion source, make sure the top bellows on your 45M is in the collapsed position. If you are using condensors, make sure it is extended to the proper position for the lens you are using.

If the negative carrier is the problem, file it to the proper size.

If the lens is the culprit, you'll just have to acquire a 150mm. (I got one on eBay not long ago for about $65).

There may be other causes of vignetting as well, but I can't think of any more at the moment.

Good luck, and let us know the cause of the problem. I'm interested in if the 135mm lens really vignettes at that degree of enlargement.


Doremus Scudder


Kevin Bourque , Oct 05, 2007; 08:15 a.m.

Turn the enlarger on as if to print. Then stick your head under the lens an look up. You should be able to see what's in the way.

I used a Componon with great success with a DeVere 504.

Eric Rose , Oct 07, 2007; 12:07 a.m.

I've made huge prints with my 135mm lens and 4x5 negs. No problems. If you are getting image cutoff we need more specific information to give you any real help. A scan of a print might help.

Chris Autio , Oct 10, 2007; 05:56 p.m.

Thanks Ron,

135 is too short for 4x5.

150 solved the problem for my particular enlarger M45

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