Classic Camera and Multi-Coated Lenses

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marco_vera|1, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. When did lens multi coating start? Is it possible that any of the
    classics had multicoated lenses?

    I was playing with my Voightlander Barndoor Vitessa and the Ultron
    shows multi colored reflections under light...Bad mushroom
    consumption on my part?
  2. as a general rule, lenses made after WWII were coated...about 1970, multi-coating was first used in the market by Pentax
  3. <p>
    for an orginal ad
  4. My understanding is that Asahi Pentax was just the 1st to really advertise the use of multicoating, but that Zeiss & Leitz had already started multi-coating a few years earlier. I don't think the multi-colored reflections necessarily mean that the lenses are multicoated.
  5. In a simple single layer coating, the coating thickness is targeted to a specific part of the spectrum - usually near the center of the visible range, where it blocks reflections most effectively in green and results in a purplish looking surface. However, even the simplest lens has 6 coated surfaces, and in some cases the manufacturers chose to vary the coating thickness a bit from one surface to another so that the overall effect wouldn't be so concentrated on one color. If they did this, then different surfaces of the lens elements would appear as different colors; and looking in the front of the lens you would see all of these different colors because you're looking through all of the surfaces. Certainly not all manufacturers did this, so not all coated lenses show this multicolor effect.

  6. thanks rich - i never understood why there's a difference in the colour of reflections from the coated elements of a lens... It's clear now.
  7. Here's an article with some background info about multi-coating:
  8. Jonathan:

    Did you notice that the photos in the mentioned article are a stereo pair?
  9. I remember having read that Minolta started making multicoated lenses around 1958.

    First attempts for (single) coating had been made some years before WWII, it seems that Kodak and Zeiss had been working on similar projects with similar results. Due to the war hardly any coated lens was sold to the public. There are some originally (not re-coated) Leitz lenses from 1944 or so, and I have read that some german officers were given binoculars with coated lenses.

    It seems that after the war lens coating became widespread quite quickly. At least some early french cameras could be ordered with or without lens coating in the early post war years.

    BTW some pre-war lenses (even one from 1931 I have) sometimes have a slight blueish shine - this has nothing to do with coating but is due to corrosion of the glass surface. I have read in a book about applied optics from the 1950s that some glass alloys were corroded on purpose (by applying mild acids) to achieve a surface with similar properties as a coating.
  10. Thanks for the answer, I new it was out there...

    The following statement by Leica made me laugh..

    "Leica obviously distinguished itself by stating that multicoating was of little help and reducing the number of elements was better for flare control."

    I guess the solid beatings by Carl Zeiss in the pre-war years made them eventually understand a few things, at least by the time the 70's rolled by...
  11. Laboratory studies reported below of identical coated and multi-coated lenses clearly show that the benefits from multicoating are minimal for typical medium format and similar lenses of up to 6 or 8 elements. If you use a zoom lens with many elements, then multi-coating is essential. But multicoating is much less critical for fixed focal length lenses which usually have only 4, 5, 6 or at most 7 elements typically. Consider this quote:

    "Canon should also be lauded for its attitude towards multicoating. They have publicly acknowledged that the only really useful reason for multi-layer coatings is to increase light transmission. They have, therefore, ignored any possible gains in terms of flare and ghost elimination (which, as we've shown, isn't really such a valid function of multicoatings in most cases), and instead, they have concentrated on improving light transmission with their Super Spectra Coating." [Source: Multi-Coating, Asset or Gimmick, Bennett Sherman and Hiroshi Kimata, Modern Photography, June 1975, p.147; emphasis added]


    Multicoating vs. Single Coated Lenses
    Although multi-coating is often more of a sales tool than a decisive optical advantage, it does serve as a useful marker. If a lens is new enough to be multi-coated, it is almost certainly equal in quality to just about anything being made today. The advantages of multi-coating itself will normally be apparent only in adverse conditions, as when shooting under a white sky without a lens shade, or directly into the light. We would never willingly use uncoated lenses. from Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz in Medium and Large Format Handbook, p. 105
  12. that IS an interesting statement for Leitz to make; it was the advent of coating that reduced the value of Zeiss' unique small-surface-count designs and placed more value on the additional corrections that could be obtained with more elements, which worked strongly in favor of Leitz and against Zeiss in the 1950s. They of all people should be sensitive to the value of more effective coatings.....

  13. Hello,

    is an true fact Carl Zeiss Jena coated first lenses in 1937.
    The Inventor is Mr. Smakulla a Zeiss worker. The first coating are one layer with thin blue shinning, but all Zeiss lenses are not coated and the beginning war interupt the production. The prae-war Zeiss lenses engraved with a red T are rare.
    After the world war II. in end of fifthees and early sixtees years the coatings are not only blue, but different in brown and purpel shinning for a better quality, but are not multicoated layers.
    In the end of sixtees Zeiss West-Germany invented the red T* (with a star)sign for multicoated lenses.
    The different of any layers on lenses and multicoated are not to count the layers or the colors from layer.
    In multicoating lenses the layers specifical to any lenses in the lens system.
    The Pentax SMC multicoating are specifical any lenses, but different too.
    Pentax SMC multicoating include lenses prefered for the lens system all. Is an high class multicoating.

    Minolta multicoating started in the middle of seventees with a greenish shinning. The earlyer Minolta coatings includes much layers, but are not multicoating too.Please remember multi - or any much layers are not a result of multicoating.

  14. From Modern Photography, November 1980, p. 18, View from Kramer column:
    My protars are beautiful, but they are anything but crisp. Their contrast is less than impressive, and having the lens coated (as I have) doesn't help much. Coating has no effect in the scattering of light within the glass. It cuts down on reflections between air spaced elements, but the lower contrast of old lenses is a result mostly of poor scattering characteristics due to the qualities of the old optical glasses. Generally they [older lenses] are softer and flarier than modern lenses.
  15. This is a scan of an old Rollei ad from 1954...
  16. I recall Pentax being among the first and most audacious to tout their multicoatings.

    However, as Victor's copy of the Rollei ad shows, multicoating dates back further. The Rollei filters for my Rolleiflex 2.8C are visibly multicoated. Interestingly tho', the camera lenses themselves are not obviously multicoated. They may be but it's not as obvious as with more current lenses.
  17. Hello,

    is the same story too.
    My Rolleiflex T Tessar lens not multicoated only a red T engraved, but the skylightfilter is multicoated with an red R engraved.


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