View Full Version : An interesting lens comparison test

Paddy McKay
10-Feb-2016, 21:35
I haven't posted here for quite some time now, although I have always kept current by regularly browsing. So, it's nice to be back. Like some, I became more involved in the digital end of things, once the output quality became more viable. At the moment I'm very interested in alternative process printing, using both trad. & digital negatives for source material.
For some time now, I've wanted to do some lens comparisons, between older vs newer glass, esp. looking at what difference the presence of coatings makes (or not). The lenses sampled here include the following:
1. G-Claron 355mm SC
2. G-Claron 270mm MC*
3. Docter Germinar f/9 240mmW MC
4. SK Tele-Arton 240mm f/5.6 SC

* That's not a typo. This lens is in fact multi-coated, which of course isn't how they were produced. I've had this lens for years, but for some reason, never got around to using it. The results for the 270 G-Claron appear clearly to be on par with the Germinar which does have modern MC from the factory. Please excuse the forgettable compositions, and down and dirty scans. I was out shooting with my friend, and wanted to quickly take advantage of the sun that came out, to utilise some potential for lens flare. All lenses, except the 355mm G-Claron, had lens hoods on, with about 3/4 sunlight across their fronts. So, the 355 G-Claron clearly suffered the most from flare. The Tele-Arton shows lower contrast, which is to be expected for a SC lens, but doesn't seem to suffer too much from flare.

I've got a couple older lenses, in barrels, that I'm going to try next: a Ross 14.5"/8.5" Combinable uncoated, and a Cooke 8.5" process lens SC.

Any thoughts? I'd like to hear what others think.

Paddy McKay
10-Feb-2016, 21:38
So, here are two images I made using these lenses. The Tele-Arton, was shot on a Linhof Tech V, and the landscape was made with my old Agfa-Ansco 8x10 wood field camera. 146399 146400

Lachlan 717
10-Feb-2016, 22:49
Not sure why you included the 355mm due to its a) approx. 50% longer focal length and b) lack of lens hood.

Same with the Tele-Arton, if all of these were shot wide open, given its an f5.5*, not f9.

Just seems too many variables. Perhaps you could clarify what were you actually trying to compare?

Paddy McKay
10-Feb-2016, 23:31
First, I overlooked saying that I shot at f/16 across the board. Sorry for any confusion. Second, my reason for doing this, as I said: "...looking at what difference the presence of coatings makes." , and I'd never used one these lenses before.(ie. the multi-coated 270mm G-Claron) I don't think there were too many variables. The only one was with the 355 G-Claron, and it definitely showed a marked increase in flare/lower contrast, due to the lack of a lens hood. Also forgot to mention that the 355mm Claron had been used with an internal layer of haze, for many years, and I've very recently had it cleaned away. While the other lenses had hoods, I ensured that they received direct sunlight falling across at least half of the front surfaces. I'm not trying to enact the scientific method here. I just wanted to bring a mix of lenses together for a quick performance comparison. Obviously, what the close-up portrait shows, is that under controlled light, a mid 60's SC lens like the T-Arton, will perform extremely well.

Mark Sawyer
11-Feb-2016, 00:01
The difference between coated and uncoated lenses is contrast, especially in the shadows. The difference between single-coated and multi-coated lenses is negligible.

neil poulsen
11-Feb-2016, 11:21
The results from the 355mm G-Claron provide encouragement to always use a lens hood.

Do you know how it happened that you ended up with an MC G-Claron?

Drew Wiley
11-Feb-2016, 11:49
Not an objective test because the 355 G has a staggeringly huge image circle compared to the others, so a lot of extra light contributing to flare unrelated to the
coating method per se. You should compare them apples to apples per focal length, in other words, a conventional 240 G-Claron. They are not particularly flare
prone, even though single-coated.

Paddy McKay
11-Feb-2016, 12:03
Do you know how it happened that you ended up with an MC G-Claron?[/QUOTE]

Yes. Years ago, I sent it off to Arax, in the Ukraine, to be re-assesed for multi-coating. The lens surfaces were originally covered with many very fine micro scratches, likely due to shabby lens cleaning. Arax disassembled the elements, re-polished & re-coated them, and put it back to pristine condition,...but now with multi coating. IIRC, it wasn't terribly expensive either.