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I own a Helios-44, it has a m42 screw mount and does not own a focus ring. Is it possible to use this lens as a magnifying lens for analog prints, with a standard photo enlarger for analog prints. With a m42 to m39 adapter it could be screwed on the enlarger, will it give a decent quality compared to real magnifying lenses like a lower quality 50mm 3.5 Rodenstock Trinar.

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  • Do you mean, use it as a macro lens at the front of a bellows? – rackandboneman Dec 16 '18 at 13:11
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    No, I like to use it as a analog magnifying lens to make analog prints. – Penta Dec 16 '18 at 14:08
  • Ahhh, an enlarging lens :) – rackandboneman Dec 17 '18 at 9:58
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It is unclear from the wording of your question, how you intend to use this lens. That being said, likely this lens is a Russian-made camera lens -- probably 58mm (focal length).

Camera lenses can be mounted on an enlarger in lieu of a proper enlarger lens. Camera lenses generally perform substandard for this application. What is needed is a flat-to-flat projection lens which is the specialty of an enlarger lens. A camera lens often yields blurred edges, but many find such a presentation to be acceptable.

You might be attempting to make copies of photographic prints using your camera. Most cameras will perform this task without the need to make optical modifications. If your camera won’t allow close-focusing, a simple fix is to buy an inexpensive close-up lens. These you mount before the existing camera lens. Consider buying a +3 close-up lens.

The tried and true solution to make close-up pictures is to buy a macro lens. These can be quite costly and therefore out-of-reach for your budget.

Could this Helios lens work for your camera? You would need to figure out how to mount and how to focus. This could be a daunting task and costly. Keep in mind, your existing camera lens and camera will likely allow you to make close-up pictures. It won’t do you any harm if you read your camera manual to find out how this is accomplished.

  • Sorry, for the misunderstanding. I like to use this lens on an analog enlarger to make analog prints. I have m39 screw mount lenses from Schneider and Rodenstock which I use for this task, but this Helios is a much better corrected lens as my Trinar 50mm f/3.5. With an adapter I could use the lense there, but would it make sense? – Penta Dec 16 '18 at 21:23
  • This lens will work as an enlarger lens however an enlarger lens is corrected to work from a flat negative and project an image onto flat photo paper. A camera lens is corrected to work a curved field and project on flat film. I don’t think you will gain however, as an experiment, go for it! – Alan Marcus Dec 17 '18 at 4:14
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To use the lens with your enlarger:

  • If you own a metal lathe, you could reduce the size of the screw on the lens.
  • You can switch the m39 mount with an m42 mount on your enlarger.
  • You can use a step-up ring with a male-m39 and female-m42. Such a ring is available on everyone's favorite auction site.

As far as quality is concerned, I defer to Alan Marcus. You might as well get a real enlarger lens. They are not very expensive.

  • I already have two enlarger lenses. Just courious how well this lens can keep up with real enlarger lenses. – Penta Jan 16 at 16:54

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