Can a MC lens be too contrasty?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by BradS, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I have a shoebox in my bottom drawer which I call the "screw up" box. I put about 45% of the 4x5 negatives I expose in the screw up box. This weekend, I was reviewing some of these and comparing to my notes....I came across a few that looked pretty good except there was absolutely no detail in the shadows. I looked in my notes...sure enough I had exposed the shots at around 1:30 in the afternoon on what was doubtless, a cloudless summer day here in No. California. The scene brightness probably spanned seven, or more stops...

    There were several shots that day from different lenses. Some modern multicoated and some only single coated. I got to thinking about the older single coated lenses and how the internal reflections result in more light in the shadows...maybe one of those would have produced better results in situations like this? Sure enough, the images from the single coated lens held some detail in the deep shadows areas.

    Are modern, multicoated lenses too contrasty?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2005
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Undoubtedly multi coated lenses can be contrastier then some older lenses..but the increased contrast is usually noticed in local contrast as opposed to overall contrast, in my experience.

    I would be more inclined to think in terms of shutter speeds not being consistant lens to lens...the older lenses may have slower shutter speeds. It may be time for cleaning and adjustment.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Donald, yes. I agree this would seem the more likely explanation except that all three of the shutters in question were recently CLA'd. One of them, I had CLA'd recently by Carol Miller and so I have the measured shutter speed data.
     
  4. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    It sounds like a exposure and development problem to me.
     
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    YES

    We live in a very different world here than on the East coast of the US. In Nevada where I'm at it's even worse. Add elevation and it's worse yet. Extremely dry air with loads of ultraviolet have caused me to gravitate to nearly ALL single coated lenses. The 135 I just listed for sale is in that class. I'm keeping a 125 W Fuji that's just as sharp but single coated. For scenic photos I gravitate to G-Claron's and coated Dagor's. Just one opine and likely more to do with where I live than anything else.
     
  6. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Yes...but, is it an exposure and devlopment problem because the M.C. lens is more contrasty? I mean, are you saying YES. Of course the multicoated lens produces more contrast and you have to be aware of that and possibly compensate in your exposure and development?
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Another way of looking at an MC lens, over a similar lens in single coating, or uncoating, is that the MC lacks veiling flare that is apparent in the deepest blacks, Zone I and II.

    It results in blacker blacks... and for all practical matters images a shorter scale than we usually desire. You need more exposure and less development.

    A lot of studio B&W shoooters ( OK, this is before ViewCamera magazine, when we had to learn photography in the back alleys ) standardized an exposure index and development time and switched lenses to fine tune the blacks. Some of us still do, but we just don't talk about it.

    My favorite 4x5 lens has always been the 240 - 250. I use a 10" Commercial Ektar as a normal lens. If the polaroid is too snappy, I shoot a 10" Protar VII. If I need more zip, a 240 Sironar S. The difference is only in Zone I and II... but that translates to greater local contrast... and overall scale.

    .
     
  8. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Jim, Thanks. I am starting to wonder why I bothered to "upgrade" from a singly coated Symmar-S to a multi-coated Sironar-N....

    Very interesting. I've never heard of this before but, makes perfect sense to me especially in light of my own (totally unscientific) observations alluded to above...

    Maybe there is some sense to Ole's six (or more?) 150mm lenses?
     
  9. lee

    lee Member

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    I agree that it is a film speed issue which will control the amount of density and tonality in the shadows. I dont naturally assume that it is a MC issue. just not enough exposure.

    lee\c
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If any one of them had been multicoated, there might be. But since they are all uncoated or singlecoated, I can't use that as an excuse.

    But there has been a slight "paring down" - I now use the 150mm Apo-Lanthar (single coated, warm toned) for just about everything. The 135mm Zeiss Planar when I need extra speed or shorter DoF (and biting crispness where sharp), and a 165mm Angulon for ridiculous amounts of coverage. The 150 Heliar sits nicely on its original camera; the 9x12cm Bergheil. Serracs, Raptars, Ektars and such sit in "the collection".

    Back on topic: I do agree, the overall flare in an uncoated lens works like a pre-flashing does. In situations with extreme contrast the uncoated lenses sometimes deliver better results by bringing everything into a more easily printable range. In a few hours I'l get to see what an uncoatd 210mm Angulon does on a 30x40cm negative in a high contrast situation :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2005
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Since you are working with sheet film why not give 1/2 stop more exposure and 10-20 less development when using a MC optic?