Bronica S lens to PS, worth of upgrade?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Usagi, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Hi,

    I have Bronica SQ-Ai with a lot of lenses etc. Some of they are older S type lenses. The 3.5/150mm and 2x tele converter.

    The common 'internet fact' is that PS serie gives much better contrast and is not as flare prone as S serie.

    But has anyone really done documented comparisons?

    Would I gain any visible difference by upgrading 150mm S lens and 2x S tele converter to PS serie?
     
  2. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I've not done a like for like comparison between the S and PS lenses - I have a 50mm S, an 80mm PS, and a 150mm PS. To be honest, I can not tell the difference between any of them when it comes down to quality. Unless you are performing tests in a certified lab, I doubt many would discern any real difference between the two series.
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Not sure there's much--if any--advantage. I like the 80/2.8PS/B but love the early 105/3.5S. The S series are older and may show their age with weakening shutters but optically inferior? Haven't seen any consistent, scientific proof. I'd not lose any sleep over not owning PS lenses.
     
  4. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    I'm not a Bronica user, but I have several older manual Nikon lenses, not multicoated like the current ones. I find no sign of inferior results with the older lenses. As has been mentioned already, you'd probably have to go into the lab to notice any difference like flare prone characteristics etc.

    If anything, the older lenses seem more solid construction-wise. If there is a difference, it's usually in the ability of the modern lenses to utilise all the metering modes of later camera bodies, which the older lenses, without the necessary cams cannot.
     
  5. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    I have an ETRS and because of the Bronica marketing hype for some time thought I should upgrade from my MC sereis lenses to the late PE series. I got hold of a couple of PEs to test against my MC and I do not care what they say, I could not see any difference worth spending money on. The only advantage was the PE lens have half stops while the MC have full stops. A function of the shutters and not the lens itself. In my kit I have a smtering of all 3 of the lenses issued dor the ET series camera and no color shifts, no perceivable differences in quality with transparencies and 16x20 enlargements. There has been some discussion that the MC lense and the E and EII are the same just a branding change as the MC that stood for multi-coated no longer was relevant as all lenses were multi-coated. The changeover to the PE was only the change in the shutter. I am not sure if Tamron made all the lenses for the ET series cameras but, if so it would make sense. I understand the company bought Bronica because it was the supplier of lenses for the company and did not want to lose the revenues.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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  7. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I bought PS initially, as they are likely newer than any S units. I believe the S only has full stop detents, vs half stop for the PS aperture settings. My understanding back several years was that noticeable differences might only show up in the extreme focal lengths, the mid-ranges were a toss-up. As I understand it, most of the S series take the same filter size, which is definitely not the case with the PS -- that could be discouraging unless you happen to have a set of the largest filters somewhere and can just use step-up rings to put them on the smaller lenses.

    I do recall claims of some preferring the S 150mm for portraits as being slightly softer than the PS, but for me, that's all hearsay.

    I doubt if I would upgrade unless I was totally overcome with GAS and disposable income!

    DaveT
     
  8. NJS

    NJS Member

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    After few rolls of film here's what I noticed with some S/PS lenses I own:

    - 50mm: S has much nicer bokeh than PS version, though PS lens is much much better in corners and over-all sharpness is better , too.

    - 150mm: S has smoother bokeh and much more 'character' than PS version - in fact, I can't find any advantage of PS version over S, barrel distortions are much more pronounced with PS lens.

    - 80mm: can't find any real differences, perhaps a bit of microcontrast in favor of PS version.

    Didn't do much of the thorough testing, these were all some bits I've noticed, take it as you will.
     
  9. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I notice it says the "S" lenses were not multicoated- is that so? Given that the "E" lenses for the ETR series were, and came out earlier, that doesn't seem to make much sense. The PS lenses came out in 1986, awfully late for multicoating, especially considering that according to their website, they stopped calling the ETR lenses MC in the mid-80's because "the multicoating technique was so universal as to not require that notice".
     
  10. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Thanks! I didn't expect that there is much difference between the lenses.

    The PS-lenses are 'flare prone' enough so I use compendium. 150mm S lens got me by surprise, I didn't expect so much flaring so when I got the lens years ago, my first roll was.... interesting =)


    2x TC, I am satisfied with S version, but there could be some improvements in PS model.



    Of all the lenses I have, The 4/40mm PS is a bit two folded. It performs really well, but in under certain circumstances, there's visible blur on the corners.
    I have owned two different 40mm lenses, first one I bought from here (Finland), the second one I bought from US. Both shares same strange behaviour.

    Here is one sample picture (and zoomed corner here)

    But then again, this picture is sharp, quite sharp even at corners (link to scans from 50x50cm enlargement)

    If I recall it right, I have started some discussions about the lens in different net forums but haven't figured out real reason. Perhaps image circle is a bit too tight and when lens is focused near the infinity, thus the worst area of lens comes visible?


    Out of curiosity, is this kind of lens distortion familiar to anyone?
     
  11. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    You could be right about the image circle and focus distance- also, were the f-stops different?

    And yes, I've seen this distortion before, commonly on ultrawide angle lenses on 35mm.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Not sure I'm buying the categorical ruling either that S lenses weren't multi-coated. Perhaps lenses made at the time of the original SQ roll-out but later? Seems likely they did what Nikon did: better coatings were incorporated as they became available without much fanfare until watershed redesigns comparable to the NAI-AI transition when coating upgrades were already in place(e.g., Nikkor K-series lenses and earlier). Intelligent use of more-or-less correct lens hoods can make a big difference in dodging flare issues.
     
  13. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    Bronica did it with the ETR series lenses so little reason to think they did not do it with their other lines of lenses.
     
  14. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    The original SQ came out in 1980, four years after the ETR; by then multicoating was in wide use, so it seems unlikely any of the "S" lenses were not multicoated. It's of course easy to check if anyone has any "S" lenses.
     
  15. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    How?
     
  16. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    By looking for the multiple colored reflections in multicoated lenses vs. the two or maybe three colors from non-multicoated lenses. The color differences tend to be more distinct, too. The multicoated lenses I have seen all contain a green reflection as one of the colors, and as far as I recall, none of the non-multicoated ones I have seen do.
     
  17. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    My 105/3.5S appears multi-coated. Have seen 80/2.8S examples both ways, the multi-coated examples probably being newer.
     
  18. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    My MC (multicoated) series lenses for the ETR series show much less distinction than the PE lenses, especially in the longer focal lengths, so there's that, too. I guess because of fewer elements than the wide angles. The green reflection is there, though.
     
  19. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    We'll probably never know for certain. Nikon apparently slapped upgraded coatings on lenses during NAI days with no fanfare. There's also the running debate whether Nikon put "ED" glass into the AI 180/2.8 without an ID on the barrels similar to the later AiS version. You'd think we had better things to do, right?
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    If you've seen the same lens both ways, that could be what happened. My impression at the time regarding Nikon is as you stated. It's like they phased in I.C. coating before they started calling it that. Some others didn't seem to make a deal out of it either, like Olympus. Maybe because they were behind others (just conjecture).
     
  21. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Yes, the f-stops was different. Usually around f/8 when focused far and f/16 or f/22 when close.
     
  22. NJS

    NJS Member

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    Swirled and mushy corners is what I usually get from few of my Nikkors, 35/1.4 AIS, for an example, has the mushiest corners even stopped down to f/4.