Thoughts on using vintage loooong lenses?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Hatchetman, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I just picked up a Takumar 500mm f4.5 for $200. This lens was probably built in the late 60s. From what I can find on-line it suffers from low contrast and moderate chromatic aberration. It has a nice big hood. Due to the size, filters can only be mounted on the rear. I have a nice strong tripod for it.

    I realize I'm not going to get results like a modern $10K lens, but does anyone with experience have any thoughts on maximizing performance here?

    Thanks.
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Late 60s is vintage?:whistling:

    Make sure the lens is clean internally and use a lenshood.
     
  3. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    What's the smallest aperture? That's the one you want to use. I have a 1960s Soligor 5.6/350mm and it's actually rather sharp stopped down. I only paid $9 for it too.
     
  4. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    It's f45, but I don't have all day.:laugh:
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    f:45 will put you well into diffraction. Try f:8 or so.
     
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I have that same lens, took it out of a dumpster with a Miranda attached to it! My copy is pretty good at all apertures.
     
  7. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    Agreed with stopping down a bit, at least one stop, maybe two. Use a heavy tripod too.

    I have a Canon FL-F 500/5.6 which I use on my old F-1. This lens uses a fluorite lens element so it's pretty damn sharp, wide-open, even by today's standards. Big and heavy though.

    Jim B.
     
  8. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    F45 on 500mm is probably too large for diffraction to have much effect, the aperture would still be larger than f16 on 50mm.
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Sorry. Diffraction depends solely upon the stop, it has nothing to do with focal length. The diffraction limit in LP/MM can be approximated by dividing the stop # into 1500. At f:45 the diffraction limit is about 30 LP/MM regardless of the focal length of the lens.
     
  10. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    And the F stop is a fraction of the focal length. :wink: f16 on a 500mm lens is a whole lot larger than f16 on a 50mm lens. It's the relation of the size of the hole to the wavelength of light going through it that causes diffraction.
     
  11. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    The folks here have a nice write-up on this:
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm

    Pity they aren't clear between "aperture" and "aperture ratio", f/16 most definitely being the latter. But I see this mistake thrown around a lot; it's good digital cameras are removing the need to think from photography. That way the Art can shine through.

    s-a
     
  12. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Really? I'll be damned. I always thought it was the ratio of light diffracted by the edges of the diaphragm to the undiffracted light coming through the clear aperture. I'll go back to physics 101 I guess.:whistling:
     
  13. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    I'm sure you know what I mean. :tongue:

    (in case you didn't: that diffraction is correlated to the size of the aperture, and the f stop number is a fraction of the focal length of the lens.)
     
  14. ath

    ath Member

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    More precisely it causes a certain diffraction angle. The focal length transfers this angle in a linear blur and that's where the aperture (size/FL) comes into play again.
     
  15. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Technical Note: Independence of Focal Length
    Since the physical size of an aperture is larger for telephoto lenses (f/4 is has a 50 mm diameter at 200 mm, but only 25 mm diameter at 100 mm), why doesn't the airy disk become smaller? This is because longer focal lengths also cause light to travel further before hitting the camera sensor -- thus increasing the distance over which the airy disk can continue to diverge. The competing effects of larger aperture and longer focal length therefore cancel, leaving only the f-number as being important (which describes focal length relative to aperture size).
     
  16. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    The Cambridge In Colour site quoted above specifies that the f/number is relevant, not the absolute diametre of the diaphragm aperture. It says:

    Technical Note: Independence of Focal Length
    Since the physical size of an aperture is larger for telephoto lenses (f/4 is has a 50 mm diameter at 200 mm, but only 25 mm diameter at 100 mm), why doesn't the airy disk become smaller? This is because longer focal lengths also cause light to travel further before hitting the camera sensor -- thus increasing the distance over which the airy disk can continue to diverge. The competing effects of larger aperture and longer focal length therefore cancel, leaving only the f-number as being important (which describes focal length relative to aperture size).
     
  17. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    So, that big chunk of light bending glass in front of the aperture makes no difference?
     
  18. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    Less of a difference than the film format apparently, as per the information given in the link mentioned above. I guess I was a spouting a half truth, the resolution afforded by say a 4x5 format would make the diffraction from a small aperture like f45 basically negligible. However the same focal length/stop used on 35mm would suffer from ill effects of diffraction due to the smaller circle of confusion vs. the diameter of the airy disk. Play with the calculator it's interesting stuff.
     
  19. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    "...the resolution afforded by say a 4x5 format would make the diffraction from a small aperture like f45 basically negligible. "

    Resolution has nothing to do with format size. F:45 on 4x5, using a 150mm lens is noticeably softer than f:22 with the same lens. The ratio of enlargement is usually much smaller with 4x5 though, (as well as shallower depth of field due to longer lenses) so smaller apertures are more commonly used on large format.
     
  20. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    "This calculator shows a camera as being diffraction limited when the diameter of the airy disk exceeds what is typically resolvable in an 8x10 inch print viewed from one foot."

    With that qualification, the smaller the format the more it will be affected by diffraction. Now of course the diffraction won't actually be any different itself for any given format size, it just will be less noticeable for a given print size the larger the format is.
     
  21. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    Let me (not a physicist) ask this: I can see the above being the case for a simple long focus lens, but what about a true telephoto where the focal length is greater than the physical length of the lens? (I know this has something to do with one of the nodal points but I barely remember my optics class.) The light's "distance traveled" could include some distance before it actually crosses the aperture edge. Or is this simply magnification and not "distance traveled" and a non-issue?

    s-a
     
  22. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I have a Lentar 450mm f8.0 and a 500mm f8.0 mirror lens with some camera shop name on it. Both do a good enough job to get 16 X 20 prints from 35mm. The mirror lens is a little low in contrast, but nothing a no. 4 printing filter won't fix. I say use them and enjoy them. Just hold them still, preferably on a tripod, unless you're panning race cars or something. I've got some pretty good shots panning, and they work fine.
     
  23. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    As I remember, the 500mm came out about the same time as the 1000mm. The UK magazine, Amateur Photographer did a test around about 1963 on the 500 and it wasn't at all bad. What struck me was the fact that it was a very simple lens with actually only 3 elements, of which 2 were cemented together and the two groups were at opposite ends of the tube. The 1000 was the same as the 500 but bigger, again the same optical setup.
     
  24. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Another way to put it is that "Long focus lenses magnify the circles of confusion and Wide lenses make the circles smaller with the same linear aperture size."
    All, in all it works out the same "F number" (not linear aperture size) across lenses gives the same CoC size on the film.

    When the physics of optics gives such an elegant solution, why do some not want to believe it :blink:
     
  25. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Great story!