View Full Version : Nikkor LF lenses

28-Aug-2015, 12:46
Hello all, I'm just back from a trip to Southern Europe, where I shot with a variety of lenses I had not used before. Mainly light process lenses as I need(ed) to shed weight on my kit. Anyway, I brought a few nikkors. A 120 8 SW, 240 5.6 W (only shot from the trunk of the car because of weight) and a 300mm M.

I've got a few to go, but have developed and scanned the bulk of my work by now. Mainly 5x7 and 4x5. At first, I was not so surprised by a slight variation in sharpness, contrast and in particular saturation for the color slides. Than, when tagging and labeling my index files, I noticed something. Almost all shots with the SW and W lens were superb. The M lens shot were in a different (lower) league. Sharpness for all three is superb, but the 300 M produces much flatter images and the saturation in the color slides is notably lower. For B/W this is partly resolved by using a yellow filter, but again, the other lenses with the same filter render nicer images (I use the same Lee filters on all my lenses).

I've ruled out atmospheric conditions, DOF and other factors as the cause, based on a large series of images shot with either lens. Just out of curiosity, am I the only one experiencing this? Is it just my sample of the 300mm or is there another logical explanation? (I've compared slides shot with process lenses at 300mm+ on another occasion and they came out nicer than the nikkor M).

Thanks for chiming in.

John Kasaian
28-Aug-2015, 12:54
The M is a Tessar design, IIRC.

Drew Wiley
28-Aug-2015, 13:14
With only six multicoated air-glass interfaces, the Nikkor M should render higher contrast and color saturation than any MC plasmat, by anyone. The only lens I've
ever seen for any format which exceeded the M series would be the rare Kern 14" multicoated dagor, with only four interfaces. So something is haywire with your
results. Flare or lens haze, I have no idea. The M should logically OUTPERFORM your other Nikkors in this respect.

28-Aug-2015, 13:27
Hi Drew, thanks for your observation. That is what I would have expected too. I'm absolutely positive the lens is clean, the coating is fine, it's pretty much like new. Beats me. I have done a lot of lens CLA work over the years and am comfortable pulling a lens completely apart, but I've thoroughly inspected the lens prior to the trip (glass, coating, aperture settings, shutter times, etc) and it's all good. Double checked for haze, fogging and alignment once I got my results, but all is good again. Flare was an issue in one or two quick (reads like lazy) shots as I did not bother with the compendium, but it could not be an issue on the remainder of the shots. Anyway, the shots are perfectly usable, but just not what I had expected. Will try another series under optimal conditions against a 360 apo ronar when I find the time. Love the portability of the 300 M though.

28-Aug-2015, 17:47
I have owned 5 Nikkor Ws or SWs and I find the saturation and sharpness second only to the more recent Rodenstock and Schneider APOs/XLs. The M's in my experience are very sharp but I agree are not perhaps quite as saturated color with slightly lower contrast. The "T" series I find a little less contrast perhaps and maybe not as saturated vs the Ws and SWs. My own experience. I've own the Nikkor 210 and 300 Ws presently and again the color saturation is really quite wonderful. These lenses are generally cheaper than Rodenstock and Schneider APOs/XLs. Enjoy them all.

Paul Metcalf
28-Aug-2015, 18:23
Was exposure the same for all lenses accounting for any extension beyond FL (i.e did you use the same process for determining exposure for each lens)? I ask because the wide lenses (especially on smaller formats than their coverage) can under expose and under exposed transparencies (you did say slides right?) will have more color saturation (until the under exposure becomes obvious).