Sometimes in the world of photography we fall into the trap of ‘must buy that expensive lens everyone has been talking about’. However it is possible to use rather humble lenses to take good photos and they can often produce very high quality images for what is a very modest outlay.
Enter the Hoya Super EL 60mm f4 enlarger lens. This one cost me the princely sum of £30 on ebay. Here’s the lens;
As mentioned above this was a lens for an enlarger. It has a rather unusual 8 element 4 group lens construction and was designed to cover 6x6cm. The thread is M39 (common for enlargers) and is easy enough to adapt to M42 which is mountable to most cameras with an adapter. I used a helicoid on mine to, to allow me to vary the focus more easily.
What are the images from it like? Here’s a few from the garden, taken at either f8 or f11 on my Canon Eos 5DS R and hand held. I’ve reduced the resolution for easier sharing here.
Overall I like the images it produces, and the colours are nice. But how about resolution? The image below was pretty much the full frame of the original shot.
And now a crop from the middle of the flower image, kept at the original pixel resolution (i.e. not reduced for sharing).
I think there is plenty of sharpness there.
Enlarger lenses like this tend to make very good macro lenses and can often be had for very little money. Normally they are M39 threaded as well, so once you have the right adapters for your camera it is easy enough to swap between them if you want to try different ones.
We often want the latest and greatest in terms of equipment, but always keep in mind that new equipment isn’t everything. Also, check out the abundant web resources such as the MFlenses forum, and Photomacrography.net for inspiration and get snapping.
Thanks for looking and if you’d like to know more about this or my other work you can reach me here. And please remember that the images in my site are copyrighted to JMC Scientific Consulting Ltd. If you’d like to share them, please ask first.