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  1. #1

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    Can filters IMPROVE lenses?

    Lots of vicious flamewars have been fought over whether to use UV or other protective filters on high end glass -- whether there is any loss in image quality, and whether it is worth it.

    But how about this: what about using a good, multicoated filter on older lenses prone to flare? Can a multicoated filter actually improve the image quality of an older lens that has few coatings, if any, or coatings damaged or worn away by years of cleaning?

    I have several 50+ year old Leica and other lenses, that are supposed to be prone to flare, etc., and I'm wondering if it would improve things if I put a filter on them.

    Summar 5cm f2
    Summicron 5cm f2
    Elmar 5cm f3.
    Culminar 135mm f4.5
    Jupiter-8 5cm f2
    Jupiter-12 35mm f2.8

    For that matter, I have some older non-Ai Nikon glass that may benefit, too. What do you think.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeDexter View Post
    Can a multicoated filter actually improve the image quality of an older lens that has few coatings, if any, or coatings damaged or worn away by years of cleaning?
    Without going into the physics of why...the simple answer is NO.

    Think of it this way, adding a filter adds two more surfaces of glass....which increase flare. The multicoated filter would only increase flare by a smaller amount but it would still be an increase.

    You may want to try using a good lens hood with those older lenses.

  3. #3

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    I doubt it. A filter has never improved a lens for me. Filters have improved images when used to change contrast ratios, or correct color temperature. But a crappy lens or worn out coating really don't seem to be correctable. I have also experienced "improvement of images" by using a lens hood on lenses, especially older uncoated lenses... that that I consider int eh same category of improvments as mentioned above when discussing contrast or CC filters. Even a lens hood doesn't necessarily imoprove a lens but it can improve the image taken with a lens. So semantics aside of wheter filters/hoods improve the lens or the resulting images... use a lens hood on your old Leica lenses and you'll likely like the results.

  4. #4
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    for what it's worth, the mtf of a system is the product oall mtfs. so, if one element is perfect(mtf=1),the product will not improve, but only be stabilized at best. consequently, the answer must be 'no'.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  5. #5

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    Most definitely not. The best thing you can do with an uncoated or beat up lens is to be diligent flagging stray light off the front element. If the only light hitting it is image-making light then you are getting the best that lens can do.

  6. #6

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    Ok, that seems to be a consensus. Thanks for the info.

  7. #7

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    A lens hood will help reduce flare.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    A single colour filter (e.g. a yellow Y2) can certainly improve the black and white performance of a lens that otherwise suffers from chromatic aberration.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9

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    Ka-chink

    Awesome. I believe (from what I know) you really nailed that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    A single colour filter (e.g. a yellow Y2) can certainly improve the black and white performance of a lens that otherwise suffers from chromatic aberration.

  10. #10

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    I confess to keeping a UV filter as protection on a Sonnar, which is a beautiful lens but which also has very soft glass.

    For those older single-coated lenses, a lens shade/hood works really great at reducing flare.

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