View Full Version : Coated Vs. Uncoated Lenses...?
What's the deal? What are the gains of coated lenses? Does one lose contrast or does the lack of coating make the lenses flare-prone? Inquisitive minds... :confused:
Thanks a lot! :D
It allows the manufacturers charge us more.
If you own a non-coated older lens, you get to say that it produces images with that "Classic" look.
It is the only way they make them now.
Good question, is there anything to know other than what we are told?
I don't have any experience with really old lenses, but from what I've read, the coated lens, especially the modern, multi-coated ones, greatly reduce flare and improve contrast.
For the skeptics among us, the easiset way to see the relative merits/demerits of coated optics is to compare some old uncoated binoculars with some modern multi-coated ones. This is probably the most extreme test just to show the differences. Long focal length, multiple air-glass surfaces, harsh backlight, etc.
Incidentally, eyeglass wearers can now purchase prescription lenses with multicoating, called non-glare lenses. The results are quite remarkable, but the cost and durability are dissappointing.
Oh, I love you guys having to look at that little face.
This is from my Uncoated 9cm F4 Elmar, out of the Sun. Yes, as the "Technically Incorrect" discussion shows, it will flare when you "Let the Sunshine In".
When I got this roll back, I swore I was looking at the the 8.5cm F2 Jupiter but could not remember using it that day. Then I saw the camera/lens used listed on the roll. No "increase contrast/saturation/or other photoshop stuff". Just used auto-levels, which made it look like the 5x7.
This was a $43 lens; it is about 65 years old.
It has the wonderful warm color characteristics of photos made in the 1940's and 1950's. the kind that you would see in Life magazine or National Geographic.
Now... you guys got me floored. I thought I was going to hear oodles of admonitions about the benefits of coating and what not... and Brian has to show that neat and very warm shot done with the very same kind of lens I agreed to buy for $50! :eek:
OTOH... when do you find Leica glass for that much!
Sure, that Elmar must be something in the "big" department, right? Please, Brian, expand and expound... :)
One last thing... pshinkaw, I have a shot almost like yours, done with a Canonet. Check it below...
I picked the Elmar up on EBay for $43. Cosmetically, wear on the paint and chrome. Functionally, perfect. A lot of buyers stay clear of uncoated optics, and if it is not in mint condition, the collectors stay clear of it as well. A camera shop, Houston Camera Exchange, listed this Elmar 9cm as a user, and I think it had a total of two bids on it. The RF coupling is right-on; it works well on my Canon 7 amd on the M3 with an adapter.
Other underrated lenses that go for Cheap: The Hektar 13.5cm F4.5. You can get one in M-Mount for a little over $100; the Summarit 5cm F1.5 (but probably will need a CLA, about $150; and the Jupiter 9cm F2 in LTM, about $50.
I see a "cheap Leica Glass" review coming.
Hektor Monkey; Reston Virginia Zoo.
Brian, a while ago I started a similar thing: cheap alternatives for Leica glass. Got a number of replies!
There's only one thing that kept me from buying a Jupiter 35mm lens: the extreme protruding back element that I didn't know if would wreck the shutter curtains in my M6TTL. However, I was seriously considering the Jupiter 9 (the 85mm thingy), when I was offered this Elmar. Considering that looks aren't that important if I want to go unnoticed, well, I said yes.
Not an eBay seller, by the way, but from Photo.net. Don't you hang out at times in their Leica Forum?
The Elmar at $50 is the way to go. The Jupiter, which I will post some shots with, gives a great picture, but the mechanical feel of it is not as smooth as the Leitz lens. Between the Elmar and the Jupiter, the Elmar got the M Adapter to the M3.
I have shot mostly Nikon over the last 30 years. The "look" that I get from the Leitz glass is so different from the Nikkor's, and the feel to the Leica M3 is so different from Nikon cameras used, I am trying to keep the non-Leica glass off of it. I am just trying to "see different" after 30 years.
The Nikkor's, Canon's, and Jupiter's in LTM get used on the Canon 7.
I have read the "alternative glass column"; and will be adding to it.
HEY! Buying a Canon 7 for those non-Leitz LTM's would be cheaper than 3 Leitz M adapters, and give a second body with a steel shutter...
I do hang out on the Photo.net Leica forum; but I find it more and more like driving on the DC beltway. I have enough to deal with, without the "cheap shots". The "photography is not real art" thread did me in.
Total purchase: Elmar lens plus shipping: $55.85. I still have to get the adapter and try it on my M6 (let's hope I don't do anything to the camera's innards... :( ) Well, I doubt it: lots of people shoot "modern" bodies and "old" lenses, so I'll be fine. I decided that, if as I imagine, it's a looooong, unwieldy lens, well, I'll use it with care and sparingly. If I like the results, then I'll use it more.
I browse the photo.net threads because some posters are quite lively and I like their wit, but I try to stay away from becoming their target. Also, I've scored some great deals from their FS threads (my Hexanon 35/2, a Leica grip and the Elmar lens so far). There are photo posters with a great eye, but they're not the thread starters. And there have been more "film is dead" threads than I can take in a lifetime. Talk about beating a dead horse!
i love reading the posts over on the leica forum!
those guys are nuts (meant gently).
it ranges from cheap shots to highly opinionated debate to take no prisoners.
i go over there for entertainment value mostly.
what amazes me is, that with all the fancy equipment and preaching about 'how to' do things photographic, is the sometimes very poor photos posted.
just proves it's not the camera...
I think Joe is on to me...
I am going to quit posting over there.
Originally posted by Brian Sweeney
A camera shop, Houston Camera Exchange, listed this Elmar 9cm as a user, and I think it had a total of two bids on it.
Just an aside - I've been to the Houston Camera Exchange, and it's a very cool place. From the funky outside of their building (looks like a camera) to the fantastic old camera junk inside - and camera guys who actually like old cameras and don't gouge. Not that they're the cheapest - but they beat the local prices in Albuquerque - where they price the old junk way up high and let it sit for years - some sucker (like me) will buy it one day. H.C.E. seems to like to actually sell their stuff. I recommend.
One sales guy (John?) actually spent like 2 hours with me picking through old Canon FD-mount lenses to find some cool stuff. He then proceeded to toss in some lens caps and skylight filters and such. I think I spent $45.
Joe, at least in the "Words/No Words" threads it seems the choice of photo to post is based at least as much on topical relevancy as on photo quality >:-)
I like the W/NW threads, as they've gotten me to looking over my contact sheets with different criteria in mind, and seeing the images from a different viewpoint.
I've started a couple of W/NW threads, and to my surprise there have been some interesting shots.
Still, for the entertainment value, it's about the best. Check out a "Britishisms" thread, started by F. Petronio. Interesting stuff...
doug, that's very true.
i guess my comments were based on my own 'old' bias that with a great camera you should be taking great photos. i think in our little forum here, i've seen some very nice photos taken with some very old, non pro cameras and i was trying to contrast that -at least in my mind it made sense.
i also wonder if some of those guys 'grew' into their cameras or just were able to afford them from the start (if so i am jealous).
i see starting out with an oly 35rc (like i did) and learning and moving up the camera food chain as the way to go.
now i'm thinking that maybe my biases are not that old but lurking nearer to the surface than i would like to admit.
sorry for the psycho babble...
A couple of people in the Photo.net Leica forum have observed recently that few images posted there were actually taken with Leica gear. That's certainly true for me, and if my posted pic was shot with something incompatible I discreetly omit mentioning any gear at all. ;-)
I too wonder about some of those guys that seem to have a half dozen assorted M Leicas and lenses in each focal length, even with multiples of various apertures!
Then I wonder if maybe this is their only kind of gear, and look at my closet shelf with multiple Pentax 6x7's, Fuji 645's, and other such gear like the Bronica RF... So my only lonely Leica is an ancient M2 that I paid all of $150 for 35 years ago, plus $164 for a new 35 Summicron. But back then I made only $118/wk starting wage as a draftsman at Boeing, so it was still a sacrifice.
I read somewhere that Robert Frank used an uncoated lens, and that part of the quality of his photos came from that. And if you look at his work, or that of HCB and many others, aren't there more important factors in their work than the sharpness/contrast of the lens?
Good observation, zev! Yet some cameras cooperate more with a better user experience, making it easier to get good photos. Intangibles like reliability contribute too, since broken gear inhibits good photos as well. ;-)
True enough, Doug, I'm not denying the importance of a good camera, and maybe I'd buy a Leica if I had the money to spend, maybe not. But from what I've read about the photographers I like and admire, they talked about the quality of the photos, not of the lenses.
Yes, certainly it all comes down to the photos, that's what really counts in the end. And some older lenses have interesting and attractive character that leaves its stamp on the pics.
Coatings don't only affect the amount of visible light transmission, but many also influence a lense's respons to UV. So I'd guess that uncoated lenses are great for studio portraits and the like, but may require a UV filter when in strong sun.
Of course where I live, it feels like it's overcast 365 days of the year so for me the point would be moot. (2004 is a leap year so we might be lucky and have one day of sun... :-)
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