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.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
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.
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.
Originally Posted by LJSLATER
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 ..
Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.
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.
BTW2: I can't afford it, but would love to try the Voigtlander 40 mm Nokton Classic S.C. on my Leica M4-2.
BTW3: don't forget Ansel Adams saying: " ... avoiding the common illusion that creativity depends on equipment alone ... " (quote from his book: The Camera)
"Have fun and catch that light beam!"
Bert from Holland
my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
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* I'm an analogue enthusiast, trying not to fall into the digital abyss.
* My favorite cameras: Mamiya C330f, Nikon S2, Hasselblad SWC, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T, Nikon F4s, Olympus Pen FT, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras.