Creative uses for an EL-Nikkor 50mm enlarger lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by greglyon, May 31, 2005.

  1. I've been going through my old camera gear planning to sell some stuff. I was set on selling my EL-Nikkor 50mm f2.8 enlarging lens until I saw the dismal resale prices for them. I don't really imagine myself spending time in the darkroom anymore...I'm one of those who is more than happy to put that behind me, but back to the topic and more importantly, the Question: What other uses might I put this lens to? Would it be good for any sort of macro or copy photography? On bellows? Reversed? Other creative possibilities? Or, should I just admit that it's not worth much anymore and let it go? (e-bay sales have been as low as $25 recently) Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
  2. macro on a bellows might be cool. however if you decide to let it go i might be interested. i might be really interested in an enlargeer too if you have one to get rid of.
  3. You can always try using it as a macro lens. On bellows facing normally (back to film) up to 1:1, reversed (back to subject) above 1:1.

    The biggest problem is finding mount adapters. I b'lieve it is in M39x1 (Leica thread mount). There are a variety of adapters that got from female M39-to-male Nikon F. Nikon El-F, for one, Novoflex NIKLEI for another. I'm not at all sure what its front threads are, so can't make a sensible suggestion for a reversing ring.

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. Might make a good peep hole for your front door....Also I heard they were good for UV photography, I couldn't fing the adapters though...
  5. err... fing sould read find, hehe...
  6. Huh, UV could be interesting...Just gotta figure out the adapter thing. I've been playing with a variety of stuff. I suppose I could take an old body cap and cut an appropriate hole in it. I wonder how I'll focus.
  7. "Might make a good peep hole for your front door"

    LOL. Agreed.

    Probably it works fine as a macro.
  8. James, I'll keep you posted if I decide to get rid of it. The only enlarger I have anymore is REALLY bad. PURE Junk. It has black tape all over it where each light leak is. No gears for raising/ gotta lift the whole thing and then crank the tightening knob. I musta been a masochist back when I used the thing. (Actually I was just broke.)

    Dan, Pablo thanks for the tips. I suppose I could do the body cap combined with extension tubes for set magnification work. Might be fun for UV flowers etc.
  9. BORG, a Japanese telescope manufacturer makes a comprehensive helicoid system for M42 mount lenses and it makes also adapter rings to convert M39 thread to M42, so you can use your EL-Nikkor effortlessly.

    Here is the link of its website:

    Everything is written in Japanese and you will be blessed with strange lines of random alphabets:) But you'll enjoy the pictures and see what is all about.

    Hope this helps,

  10. Thanks for that link Akira.
    I used Google translate, so I got THIS page instead. Looks very doable, just haven't figured out the cost yet. (I have just glanced at the page).
    Do you know if there is any US distributor of the adapters?
  11. hmmm...Looks like ~~$145 for the system. Nice though in that it allows for focusing.

    So, have any of you tried using this lens as a macro lens? Does it 'do' things that my AF 105 micro nikkor or mf 200 micro won't? Perhaps it's a better bellows lens? (I have a bellows customization project in the works; I'm trying to adapt a canon FD auto bellows for use with my Nikon system.)

    One thing I plan to try is reversing it on the 200 micro. I think it will vignette, but only one way to find out!
  12. The 50mm F2.8 El Nikkor is a great lens; it came out as a 5cm F2.8 in 1956; sort of a Componon clone maybe. later it lost its chrome; then grew bigger numbers; then got a plasticy shell; I believe then illumination. A optical design change was made a decade? maybe ago; that made the rear exit pupil larger. This meant less falloff in illumination far off axis at F2.8; F4; maybe f5.6 some. The front filter size is 40.5mm; with a 0.5mm pitch; on the metal 50mm F2.8 El Nikkors. The older lens has a nominal focal lenght of 51.6mmr<BR><BR>The 50mm F2.8 El Nikkor is relay lens for the Nikon F's Speed Magny models 45 and 100. The 45 model uses regular 4x5 film holders.<BR><BR>Many El Nikkors were used on bellows in the 1960's;and with slide copying. Both Nikon F to 39mm; and Nikon F to 40.5mm adapters were made by Nikon. Spiratone; Cambron; Soligor sold scads of 39mm to nikon f adapters. The cheapies were about 3 dollars in the 1960's. They are still availbale in older camera stores; like the ones folks here have problems with :)<BR><BR>Your can also just reverse the lens; and hold in a paper tube; with a T mount holding the other end of the tube. I shot macro with an Exakta like this long ago. If the object is a ladybug 3mm in diameter; and the image on the film is 12mm in diameter ; you are at a 4x magnification; larger than life. Here you want the 39mm threaded rear to face the bug; the 40.5mm front to face the film.
  13. loupe. i don't think you can buy a better one for a thousand dollars.
    until i "broke down" and bought a 4X Schneider, i used the 50mm enlarger
    lens. i use the Schneider because it's lighter, handier, and the volume of stuff i look at somewhat critically has spiralled upwards. but optically i don't think there's a better 4X optic than this nikkor one might use as a loupe.
  14. Kelly: thanks for the very in depth info and suggestions for the lens. I have just such a one of those camera stores a few miles away, if it's still there (haven't checked in a year or so)...I'll look for the adapters.
    Yoni: thanks, I'll try that. While I'm mostly shooting digital these days I do have a backlog of about 2000 slides to go through. I consider myself a 'constipated photographer'; I take TONS of pictures; b&w, then chromes, now digital, BUT I hardly output anything. It's disgusting really! OK, OK, I'm actually just a terrible editor, so I put it off and put it off...
    James: it looks like I won't be unloading this lens just yet. Lots of stuff to try out with it, sorry!
  15. Hello, Greg,

    I just called BORG and found out that Hutech is distributing BORG's variety of parts outside Japan:

    You can combine the parts #5003, 7843 and 7844 to mount your EL-Nikkor directly to the Nikon camera and you can connect the helical focusers 7840, 7841 or 7842 between 7843 and 7844.

    Also, you can reverse-mount your EL-Nikkor via 40.5-52mm step-up ring and Nikon's BR2A reverse mount adapter. This combination will give you greater magnification ratio than mounting the lens normally using above mentioned adapter ring set.

    Hope this helps and you'll enjoy your macro photography.

  16. You can use an enlarging lens to homebrew a rig that can operate like a camera with a fully adjustable bellows.

    The simplest rig I've made consisted of a black plastic bag from a box of 8x10 printing paper. I cut a hole in each side to accomodate the lens and lens mount. The lens was attached via a Cokin filter bracket and the lens mount via a T-mount.

    To use it I mounted the camera on a tripod and triggered it with a cable release. I handheld the lens to get the desired framing, tilt, shift, swing, etc. I used fast film to ensure faster shutter speeds since I was handholding the lens.

    Another rig I plan to try is similar but more stable. It's just about as dirt simple and coyote ugly and allows for shifts or rise/fall only. The lens board is held in place with rubber bands.

    So far I've tried only an 80mm enlarging lens. I don't know how well a 50mm would work.

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