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View Full Version : Lenses with E-6 Emulsions...Multi vs. Single Coated Lenses



audioexcels
27-Dec-2007, 03:16
I know there's a number of threads going on with respect to lenses and modern vs. older, etc...but I'm curious about what people can see with their color film shots that a multi-coated lens shows and that a single coated does not show. In other words, are there differences between lens manufacturers of coated and uncoated lenses?...even old lenses (take your pick of make and non-coating vs. a multi-coated lens)

Take two examples:

1) Differences between multi coated Rodenstocks/Nikkors/Schneiders/Fujinons.


2) Differences between the above in multi-coated vs. single/non-multi-coated such as the Fujinon series with the writing on the front of the lens vs. their EBC series with writing on the barrel.

Walter Calahan
27-Dec-2007, 06:21
Some times you do not see any difference.

The real difference is noticed when lighting conditions go beyond what a single coated or non-coated lens can handle well with clarity.

You'll find you answer by studying why multi-coatings were invented in the first place.

Ole Tjugen
27-Dec-2007, 06:27
Uncoated - 4 elements in 2 groups: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71733804@N00/1396906969/

Uncoated - 6 elements in 2 groups: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71733804@N00/787831456/

Single-coated - 6 elements in 2 groups: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71733804@N00/214819096/

Compared to the difference between uncoated and single-coated, the difference between single- and multicoated is minimal. So is the difference between different makes of lens.

But now I have to admit that I own only ONE multicoated LF lens, and I haven't shot colour film with it yet...

Ole Tjugen
27-Dec-2007, 06:31
... The real difference is noticed when lighting conditions go beyond what a single coated or non-coated lens can handle well with clarity...

Or when the lighting conditions go beyond what a coated lens can handle at all - see my two examples from uncoated lenses. I took one of them with a coated lens too, but that slide was practically unscannable with absolutely no detail in the shadows. The exposure was exactly the same too, I used the FP shutter on a Speed Graphic.

Ted Harris
27-Dec-2007, 07:04
Ole has just scratched the surface. If you search the archives you will find many threads on this subject, including a number of actual performance comparisons with images to illustrate the comparisons.

Robert A. Zeichner
27-Dec-2007, 09:16
......The real difference is noticed when lighting conditions go beyond what a single coated or non-coated lens can handle well with clarity.


And sometimes astonishing differences can be seen with the exact same lens fitted with a proper shade! The attached negatives were made with the same 165 mm single coated Angulon within a minute of one another. The one on the left was made with a round rubber lens shade and the other using a homemade barndoor shade. I have to believe that similar differences would hold true for chromes.

BrianShaw
27-Dec-2007, 11:04
I subscribe to the principles of postings 2 and 6, but especially 6. With uncoated lenses I use Kodak Series shades (which I suppose would be more akin to Robert's round rubber shade than his homemade barn doors). I believe I can see a difference between using a shade and not using a shade, but have never done a side-by-side comparison like Robert has done. This is with both transparency material and B&W negs.

I must admit that on first glimpse of the scans I had expected the left to be 'no shade' and the right to be 'with shade' rather than being a comparison between two different shade types. Quite a surprising difference!

audioexcels
29-Dec-2007, 05:25
So if one can control flare, why would anyone ever buy a multi-coated lens when the single/non-coated ones can be had a lot cheaper?

Peter K
29-Dec-2007, 05:45
So if one can control flare, why would anyone ever buy a multi-coated lens when the single/non-coated ones can be had a lot cheaper?
Multi-coating was developed for e.g. zoom-lenses with many air-glass surfaces. And it's a reason used by advertising, see this thread. When the high-vacuum evaporation apparatus is installed in the factory, multi-coating itself is as cheap as single-coating.

Peter K

Robert A. Zeichner
29-Dec-2007, 07:00
So if one can control flare, why would anyone ever buy a multi-coated lens when the single/non-coated ones can be had a lot cheaper?

While it is impossible to eliminate flare completely with even the most efficient shade, you can certainly minimize its effects dramatically by its use. The application of multi-coating makes it possible to formulate lenses with more air to glass surfaces which can mean better correction of other demons unrelated to flare. That said, by using a more efficient lens shade, you can enhance the performance of older (and possibly cheaper, used) lenses, achieving results satisfactory for your application. This is particularly so when using optics with huge coverage or with film formats that approach panoramic in aspect ratio. As an example, with a lens that is designed to just cover a film size where the length is twice the width, nearly 50% of the light passing through the unshaded lens ever reaches the film. With a lens having coverage more generous than that, the percentage of non-image-forming light passing through the lens can rise substantially.

So your question raises a valid point. If, with an efficient shade, you can achieve substantially better results with older lenses, why spring for a more expensive modern one? If the performance of the older lens is otherwise satisfactory for what you are doing, the answer is simple. Furthermore, there are other pictorial qualities of older lenses that may make them more desirable in some instances. In these cases, knowing that you can minimize flare can breathe new life into flare-prone optics.

Richard Kelham
29-Dec-2007, 10:49
So if one can control flare, why would anyone ever buy a multi-coated lens when the single/non-coated ones can be had a lot cheaper?


Because one can't always control flare, or at least not sufficiently. Having said that, the difference between single- and multi-coating on LF lenses is minimal much less than the difference between coated and uncoated.


Richard

audioexcels
29-Dec-2007, 11:07
One thing I cannot seem to understand when viewing slides/E-6 shots is the older non or single coated lenses do not have the same level of coloration/saturation of the more modern multi-coated lenses. Can someone show me an example of a non/single coated lens that shows excellent color rendition comparable to shots with modern multi-coated lenses?

I did a lot of searching and could find only one thread that showed some wonderful examples of black and white with older lenses.

Ole Tjugen
29-Dec-2007, 11:30
Well - there are my three examples above, one of them is also at http://www.bruraholo.no/images/Lodalen_GF.jpg

But then again I haven't shot LF colour with a multi-coated lens yet - most of my lenses are uncoated and single coated, including all my "standard pack" lenses. I'll try a multicoated lens when the light returns. :)

Peter K
29-Dec-2007, 11:48
One thing I cannot seem to understand when viewing slides/E-6 shots is the older non or single coated lenses do not have the same level of coloration/saturation of the more modern multi-coated lenses. Can someone show me an example of a non/single coated lens that shows excellent color rendition comparable to shots with modern multi-coated lenses?

I did a lot of searching and could find only one thread that showed some wonderful examples of black and white with older lenses.
For what kind of answer are you looking for? E-6 was invented 30 years ago, in this time films with more or less saturation where made. Why not borrow some lenses and try it yourself?

Peter K

mrladewig
31-Dec-2007, 11:02
One thing I cannot seem to understand when viewing slides/E-6 shots is the older non or single coated lenses do not have the same level of coloration/saturation of the more modern multi-coated lenses. Can someone show me an example of a non/single coated lens that shows excellent color rendition comparable to shots with modern multi-coated lenses?

I did a lot of searching and could find only one thread that showed some wonderful examples of black and white with older lenses.

I guess I don't totally understand your question.

This is not processed in the best way as I don't have a scanner yet, but will give you an idea of what is going on.

This was shot with an early 70's pre-MC 150/5.6 Symmar-S on Provia with a 2 or 3 stop GND.
http://www.ladewigs.com/Gallery/d/593-1/Pikes-Peak_01.jpg

This was shot in digital with a Canon 17-40L within a few seconds of the other shot.
http://www.ladewigs.com/Gallery/d/405-2/Pikes_Peak_06_F_03.jpg

They look very similar to me. Not only are the colors similar, but both are faithful to how I remember the scene with my own eyes. In general, I feel that I'm getting very similar results between both of my single coated Schneiders on Provia and what I get out of my digital SLR with multicoated lenses in terms of color and saturation. I have not had any shots where I thought that the colors were off as a result of the lens.

I don't have any multi-coated LF lenses yet, but should have one soon. I guess I can compare at that point, but I really don't expect to see much difference.

There are obviously reasons for multi-coating, but in many situations I don't think that a benefit will be obvious. Proper lens shading seems the best solution to me as well.

audioexcels
5-Jan-2008, 05:17
I guess I don't totally understand your question.

This is not processed in the best way as I don't have a scanner yet, but will give you an idea of what is going on.

This was shot with an early 70's pre-MC 150/5.6 Symmar-S on Provia with a 2 or 3 stop GND.
http://www.ladewigs.com/Gallery/d/593-1/Pikes-Peak_01.jpg

This was shot in digital with a Canon 17-40L within a few seconds of the other shot.
http://www.ladewigs.com/Gallery/d/405-2/Pikes_Peak_06_F_03.jpg

They look very similar to me. Not only are the colors similar, but both are faithful to how I remember the scene with my own eyes. In general, I feel that I'm getting very similar results between both of my single coated Schneiders on Provia and what I get out of my digital SLR with multicoated lenses in terms of color and saturation. I have not had any shots where I thought that the colors were off as a result of the lens.

I don't have any multi-coated LF lenses yet, but should have one soon. I guess I can compare at that point, but I really don't expect to see much difference.

There are obviously reasons for multi-coating, but in many situations I don't think that a benefit will be obvious. Proper lens shading seems the best solution to me as well.

Thank you for the example. The LF shot looks wonderful, capture both foreground and background very well. Lighting wise, the LF shot captured it much better than the Canon IMHO. What Canon body was used?

mrladewig
5-Jan-2008, 06:55
Rebel XT or 350D at ISO 100.

Frank Petronio
5-Jan-2008, 08:19
Once photographers take care of scanning and digital image processing, it is impossible to realistically compare results, especially with jpgs online. The only real way to see differences is two chromes on an evenly lit light table. Everything else introduces additional variables and any skilled scanner operator can easily adjust (or auto adjust) to compensate for the contrast and color differences between lenses.

And the lenses should be roughly the optical formula to be fair too. Like an early and late Symmar for example.

In general, when photographing a point source, like a lamp/headlight/street light in the distance of an architectural or environmental photo, the amount of "glow" and haze around the source will be more or less depending on the amount and type of lens coatings AND the lens design. Some lens designs flare more than others. I had a Leica Summilux that flared at the slightest provocation. I've also had some lenses I could point into the Sun and they would still maintain control of flare.

Another practical consideration is that some of the early single coatings were not very durable and easily damaged by even gentle cleaning.

And the general reputation is that the German lenses (Rodenstock, Scheider) are warmer and smoother than the Japanese (Fuji, Nikon) which emphasis sharpness over all other factors. But only Schneider/Rodenstock have introduced a newer generations of lens designs (Sironar-S and APO-L) while the Japanese have been dormant.

Schneider 150mm Symmars are cheap these days. Why not buy an older $200 one and a newer $350 one and shoot a box of chromes and see once and for all? eBay makes selling your mistakes easy.

Ted Harris
5-Jan-2008, 08:38
Further to Frank's and a lot of similar "which do you like best" or "which is better" sorts of questions which pop up again and again. You can only go so far with subjective comparisons. For the most part, that is all the farther you need to go ... let the final image be the test and let it be your final image and your eye that makes the decision. If you want or need to go farther then you need to do some reading. My first suggestion is always Image Clarity by John Willilams (OOP but readily available used) and several of Rudolf Kingslake's books on photographic optics, his most comprehensive is probably Optics in Photography. You will need some basic grounding in color theory and optics as well. You may also find some simpler but till useful discussions i something like The Way Things Work. I have always felt that my general knowledge of color theory and optics helps me in my photography but that is very subjective. Point here simply is that if you want to delve deeply into this lens v. that lens o a level other than subjective opinions then you need to do some reading.

Dan Fromm
5-Jan-2008, 11:34
Frank, you left something out.

Reversal films are very sensitive to exposure errors. In particular, even slight overexposure reduces saturation. For that reason, the only fair film-based comparison between two lenses requires using the same shutter for both and exactly the same illumination. Using two shutters introduces the possibility of unintended exposure errors.

A propos of measuring a lens' rendition of colors, the only way to measure a lens' transmission by wavelength is with a spectrophotometer. Film-based methods are much too hard to control. Film-based measurements are garbage, but this doesn't stop people from blathering about lenses' rendition of colors based on examination of film as shot and processed (not as scanned).