Three companies have made what are sometimes referred to as "enla units" for making enlargements from their subminiature cameras. These enla-units can be thought of as "something more than an enlarging lens", yet "something less than an enlarger". The problem with making enlarger lenses for the subminiature formats is that the extra-short focal lengths will not work with many enlargers -- especially larger format enlargers, such as 4x5. Why not?  Well, many of the bigger enlargers will not allow the lens to get close enough to the film with the smaller formats, even with recessed lensboards. The focal lengths of the lenses are just too short and the extra-long bellows of some enlargers will not compress enough.  Minolta, Mamiya and Yashica made special enlarging units, "enla-units", to solve this problem.

The enla-unit is comprised of a standard subminiature enlarging lens -- with a negative stage, negative holder and condenser assembly attached to the top!  They can only be used in conjunction with a normal enlarger. The "normal" enlarging lens is removed from the enlarger, and the enla-unit is screwed-in in its place. The submini negative is then placed in the negative holder of the enla-unit and enlarged on the baseboard. Since the enla-unit has its own condenser assembly and focusing mount, the minimum focusing distance of the enlarger itself is no longer an obstacle to printing.

These units were never very popular and are very hard to find. Here are the details on the enla-units that we are aware of:

Instruction manuals for:



In some instances, you can even make your own enla units.  Here's an example.

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