single vs multicoated / low-contrast vs high-contrast lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Do single coated lenses really give a different look?

    Truthfully I was skeptical but since shooting my Rollei 35 Tessar I'm starting to think that there is a difference:

    [​IMG]
    Untitled by Michael_Sergio_Barnes, on Flickr
    [​IMG]
    Untitled by Michael_Sergio_Barnes, on Flickr

    Ofcourse I can't jump to conclusions because it might just be the lighting, film, and development combination too but my epics look nothing like this. My Leica lenses a little but my epics and hexar look nothing like this but I haven never compared them directly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2013
  2. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I was going to "quip" about this on a Hasselblad SWC inquiry today... I was going to bet the non-T* lenses would be the next big thing.
    Not to belittle what you have shown here. This I guess was the reason I looked for a Petzval before it was "cool". --20 years ago.

    There is something to it... although I do wonder/think that slight exposure adjustment/development will render open shadows and the perception of expanded range you show here.
    Flair opening up shadows seems counter-intuitive to me... but if you get what you want that is all that matters in the end.
     
  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have Mirdanda which are single coated and super tac Pentax with are MC, Retina III c with is single coated and a bunch of K mount and Konica all MC. I do find much of differance with black and white in low fare situitaitons, but do find a differnce with color.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I assume the greatest difference imagewise one could see between a multi- and a single-coated lens (of otherwise identical built) would be within the appearance of aperture images in back-lit scenes. (Somewhere I got such a test-photograph couple and that is what I remember from it...)
     
  5. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    I've noticed that the earlier Pentax lenses have better microcontrast/resolutions than their later SMC counterparts. This has held true for 50/1.4s, 55/1.8s, 135/3.5s, 28/3.5s, 200/4s with multiple copies of the 50/55/135s sampled. The later lenses may have better macro contrast, especially in contre-jour situations, but I've largely moved my M42 kit away from the SMC or S-M-C lenses for this reason. Macro contrast can be adjusted after image capture, but micro contrast largely cannot (again, in my experience). I haven't experimented enough with other brands to say if it applies elsewhere.

    Late model/modern lenses have a look, old lenses have a look.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It depends on the quality of coatings, and single coated is a misnomer as some coated (pre-MC) lenses have more than one coating layer. Another fly in the ointment is some manufactuers skimp by not coating every air/glass surface.

    Let's start with the worst case. Hoya MC lenses, flare was so bad they scrapped the entire range and went back to the drawing board and launched a new range under their Tokina brand name. They'd not coated some internal air/glass interfaces.

    Then early but excellent coating, I have a 1953/4 CZJ 150mm Tessar that has suberb coatings no flare under conditions where a MC lens on my DSLR is unuseable, and a very late 150mm Xenar (about 12 yerars old) is equally as good.

    Strangely the worst flare is often very bright skies (not necessarily with the sun in shot) and in some cases is due to internal reflections inside the camera body, I get this with my Yashicamat, other times it's possible just very slight haze in a lens, or a lightly scratched lens. Shot's like the OP's fall into this area.

    If it's a coated Tessar I'd not expect flare like this unless there's a problem, I don't have issues shooting similar shots with my 1961 Rolleiflex and it's coated Xenotar which in theory would be more prone to flare than a Tessar.

    I had some bad experiences with a Hoya lens and a couple of less well coated lenses and shied away frrom uncoated and coated (non MC) lenses but more recent experience over the last 6/7 years with many coated lenses has changed my view-point.

    Ian
     
  7. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Single, multi-, double-sided or spectral coatings...whatever is there or not will not be helped by placing a filter, or several filters, on the front of the lens. Filters today are several orders of magnitude greatly more effective in dealing with flare on either or both sides of the filter; they are often a good choice for hedging the menace on old lenses with known predisposing factors to flare or image degradation from contrasty light sources.

    I have never ever experienced noticeable flare in just one of the lenses I have owned for a long time, a Canon TS-E 24mm; probably just one tranny somewhere with a tiny distinct purple-orange spot in the lower right where I captured an 8-point mid-morning sun 20 odd years ago (that would have been with a filter, too).

    Flare in a known optic can be very creative as an adjunct to atmosphere. It can be put to excellent creative use in pinhole cameras; by their very design, they can often make it a beautiful feature. But flare — the possibility of it, how much, when and why, does not interest me unless it is something I have to absolutely avoid (based on knowledge of a particular lens) in the composition. All the images in this thread do not trouble me for the presence of flare.

    In your last photo sea spray will definitely exacerbate the effect of flare with sun behind it.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Is the lens clean?
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I'm puzzled:
    First you state that a filter does not affect the result any coating of a lens has. (What I agree to, with the exception that a colour filter might cut off just the part of the spectrum a lens coating is less effective on.)

    Then you state a filter to be a remedy against flare on old lenses due to contrasty light sources.

    Does the latter hint at using a colour filter to cut-off/reduce the luminance from an obstrusive light source?
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Angels belong to heaven not on the top of a pin..
     
  11. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Ian, your post makes the most sense to me. I have no expertise in the field of optics, but it seems to me that coatings become more and more important as the number of elements and glass-to-air surfaces increases.

    My old 135/3.5 (four elements, three groups) has single coatings and my slightly more modern 18/4 (13 elements, nine groups) has more advanced multi-coatings, but the earlier, simpler telephoto definitely packs more of a visual punch.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A Rollei 35 Tessar isn't that old a lens, so you'd expect the coatings to be reasonably good, even if not Multicoated.

    I'd double check the camera and lens (and any fiklter if used), I have had issues like this with an enlarger lens and it was caused by internal condensation leaving a fine layer of dust, luckily easily cleaned. You need to shine a point source through the lens looking for scatter, laser pointers do the trick.

    Ian
     
  13. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I agree. Many single and uncoated lenses were designed to be sharp and flare resistant. By using low number of elements and cemented groups, reflections were minimized.

    In addition, there are many more things that go into a high quality lens. This is rarely discussed. Proper glass composition, polishing, alignment, and spacing make a huge difference. For instance, in the Zeiss tessars, the cemented surfaces are curved. This adds to the expense. I've heard that some other manufacturers use a flat surface in order to cut costs. I don't have any examples offhand sorry.

    When you consider many modern lenses have ten or more elements, coatings and construction must all be done extremely well ..
     
  14. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    This is what Cameraquest says about the Voightlander 40 mm Nokton - SC and MC edition:

    " ... Cosina introduced TWO versions of the 40/1.4 at Photokina 2004. The standard "Nokton Classic" version is multi-coated. The limited production version for the Japanese home market is the 40/1.4 "Nokton Classic S.C." This is where it gets confusing. Cosina already makes multi-coated SC lenses (no periods) in classic Nikon Rangefinder mount. The 40/1.4 S.C. stands for "Single Coated". Why you ask? Because there is more to photographic imagery than super sharpness and the best possible lens test results. To quote Cosina's President Mr. Kobayashi "The 40/1.4 SC lens was produced for those who believe single coated lenses give more beautiful imagery in Black and White." Some Japanese photogs prefer the imagery of single coated lenses to multi-coated lenses ..."

    As is often said: MC is better suited for color film and SC for B&W film. The best way to test this equation is to use two of the same type of lenses in MC and SC version (like this 40 mm lens) at the same subject & time and at the same camera & settings.

    The rest is probably subjective and personal taste .....

    BTW: if you want the old B&W style, just get an old lens. I have an old Leica lens Summar 5 cm f1:2 (collapsible, CHROM, from 1937) for my Leica III (from 1936). A beautiful lens for beautiful soft, old style B&W images.
    Leica_5_cm_Summar_2.jpg

    BTW2: I can't afford it, but would love to try the Voigtlander 40 mm Nokton Classic S.C. on my Leica M4-2.
    Voigtlander_40_SC_b 1.jpg

    BTW3: don't forget Ansel Adams saying: " ... avoiding the common illusion that creativity depends on equipment alone ... " (quote from his book: The Camera)
    ansel-adams-3books.jpg