Totally unscientific test but interesting
So I had a few experimentations yesterday. Took some HP5, put it in one camera shot 3 frames, took it out, transferred to another camera etc, and shot the same film on 4 different cameras. same film, same place, same exposure, same lens size, all on a tripod with cable release, and then developed (just for a test) in some old neofin red (rot) @ 15.5 minutes diluted 12.5ml/300ml.
Neg was then printed on glossy MGIV at grade 4.5 with my enlarger at top of the post (about 24x20 off a 35mm neg), developed in usual MG chems, and the print section scanned at 300dpi
Don't know what result I expected, but I was 1) pleased with the level of detail possible - the smallest checkerboard is 1mm squares, and 2) the order of the cameras best - not quite as good. (won't say worst cos they are all good) 3) Neofin Red is grainy.
1) Retina IIIC schneider kreuzenach
2) Kiev 4A Jupiter 8
3) Olympus OM1 50mm 1.8 MIJ
4) Werra 1 with a 50/2.8 Tessar
Last edited by mr rusty; 03-11-2013 at 04:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.
That's interesting, and actually useful. It proves that there really isn't all that much difference, (often none), between any decent brand camera and lens.
I've always had a little trouble convincing myself of that, and this helped. It makes me love my OM-1 even more.
As I say, not too scientific, and here's the thing - when you hold the actual prints in your hand rather than look at the scans, although you can still see the resolution of the Retina seems to go a little further than the OM, the print from the OM looks "better" because I think the lens has slightly more natural contrast. Apart from the Werra which is noticeably not quite up there, the other three are virtually impossible to separate.
It makes me love my OM-1 even more.
I'm not really too bothered about "tests" usually, - I really wanted to try out the old Neofin I had inherited, but didn't want to risk it on "real" images, so thought a "test" would be a good way of seeing if it worked!
Very interesting. I've used Neofin Blue a fair amount, and some Red a long time ago. But it seems to me that Red here has done a pretty good job of resolving a very small part of one 35mm negative -- and HP5 is said to be something of a grainy film. So perhaps it's the HP5 that is the controlling factor on the grain, not the Neofin Red.
Good for you! I bet most of us have intended to do such a thing, but have never quite got round to it.
I wouldn't have expected differences among good lenses to show up with such a grainy film/dev combination. It's good that you tested them in camera, because of course that's how they are used. However, you are testing not just the lens performance but also focussing accuracy.
FWIW, the Tessar design has the reputation of giving extremely high resolution. The only Tessar I have is on a Rollei 35. I can vouch for the fact that when I get the focus right and stop down, and the subject is not low contrast, the Tessar is a match for my Leica Summicrons. When a large aperture must be used, though, the Leica lenses plus rangefinder focussing are in another league. [I wish they paid me to say that! Sigh.]
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all shot at 250 F8, so reasonable depth of field, I doubt focus accuracy was a big variable, although I agree as the Werra was the only zone focussing camera of the 4, it could be. FWIW, the result does tend to bear out what could be expected, as the Tessar in the Werra is only a 4 element lens, as opposed to the 7 element Sonnar clone (Jupiter 8), the 6 element Schneider Kreuzenach in the Retina and the 6 element Zuiko. However with a 35mm neg enlarged to 24x20 I can still barely tell the difference on the prints, so real world outcome is any of these 4 cameras are very capable. Enlarger lens is a componon-S 50mm/2.8 BTW.
However, you are testing not just the lens performance but also focussing accuracy
I did a similar experiment some time ago comparing a 1950's Agfa Sillette with an Apotar lens with a Leica M5 and Summicron.
Under street conditions - hand held, no time for critical focus, smallish f-stops for depth of field, only the center of the image holds interest - there was little difference between the two.
To see a real difference the cameras had to be tripod mounted, working at their best apertures and critically focused. Even then in the center the difference wasn't worth a whole lot and certainly not worth the spread between $20 and $2000. In the corners the Agfa was pretty miserable until f11 at which time the center was beginning to suffer. But if you are going to be carrying a tripod and doing a whole critical-this-and-critical-that slog why not use a 4x5 and do a proper job of it - there is no substitute for square inches of negative.
Of course, you don't get no respect with a Sillette.
Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 03-11-2013 at 01:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Nah! Not interested. As I say, this was just a way to fiddle around with cameras and darkroom on a freezing Sunday afternoon with a few experiments. OH would have had me stripping wallpaper given half a chance I just though as I had got some sort of result I would post up. It IS interesting that the resolution seems to be pretty much limited by the film grain itself, but other than that, it doesn't really matter - its images that count not lens tests! In any case, I was as interested in the Neofin red developer. I still have half the vial I used here left (it's supposed to keep for 3-4 weeks once opened) and another sealed vial for another day.
doing a whole critical-this-and-critical-that slog
Not exactly. The real world outcome is that the 4 cameras are indistuinguishable at f/8 using a relatively grainy film. If that's how you would use them, then they are all very suitable. But I bet that if you repeated the test at the largest aperture those lenses have in common, using Delta 100, the Olympus glass would come out a clear winner.
Originally Posted by mr rusty
From what I recall about lens design (disclaimer: I never knew much, may have misunderstood, and may have mis-remembered), the extra elements are there to allow larger apertures and correct the resulting distortions. A 4-element lens is not necessarily less sharp at its optimum aperture than a 6-element lens is. Wasn't there a Leica telephoto lens with squeeze focus that was just a single piece of glass?