coated vs. uncoated lenses

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by blarg_., Apr 10, 2008.

  1. I'm trying to decide between buying coated or uncoated lenses for my Salyut-S.

    Obviously, the uncoated lenses are much cheaper. I do a fair amount of
    long-exposure photography at night (all B&W) and I'm wondering if the coatings
    provide me with any advantage shooting at night.

    Right now I'm considering a 30mm 150mm and 250mm lens, but I'm shooting a
    Vega-12 right now, which is uncoated. If there's a significant difference, I
    might consider replacing the Vega-12 with an 80mm Volna-3 MC as well.

    I am occasionally getting flare on my shots, but there doesn't seem to be any
    consistency to it...I can take 3 shots in a row from the same position on a
    tripod and get flare on one.

    Also, from what I understand, there is no way to get an uncoated lens coated at
    a price that makes it a reasonable thing to do considering the lenses cost under
    $ that right?
  2. Uncoated? Are you sure you aren't confusing uncoated with single-coated?
  3. I don't know. The information on the lenses is a bit spotty.
    Here's what I came up with.

    Zodiak-8 (30mm) uncoated
    Arsat 30 MC multi-coated

    Jupiter-36 (250mm) uncoated
    Arsat 250 MC, multicoated

    Vega-12 (90mm) possibly single-coated - I can't really tell

    Volna-3 MC (80mm) multi-coated

    I'd love to be wrong and buy the cheaper versions.

    I'm pretty sure that the difference between multi-coated and single-coated lenses isn't worth paying double for.
  4. Buy the cheaper version. Single-coated and uncoated lens are just as good as multi-coated lenses, and only in very few situations there might be a noticeable improvement with modern multi-coated lenses. Check out the Classic Camera forum for many excellent photos taken with vintage, un- or single-coated glass.
  5. well if it HAS a coating I agree Bueh. The multicoating might reduce the severity of the flare, but if it's going to flare, it's still going to flare, right?
  6. It really depends on where you're getting the lenses from. The Arsat lenses you list are - or so I'm told - the exact same lenses as their un/single-coated counterparts physically - same glass, same metal, off the same assembly lines - which are then gone over by Arsat after the fact. They do - or claim to do - quite a bit more than just multicoating the elements. You pay a hefty premium for all the value-added service they provide, and the peace of mind of knowing you're not buying a "dog". So, if that sort of thing is really important to you... go for the Arsats. Otherwise, buy the non-rebranded lenses from someplace with a good return policy.

    That said, the difference between otherwise good - and identical - uncoated, or single-coated, lenses isn't worth worrying about.

    Have you flocked the film chamber of your camera? I did that to my Kiev-60, and it made a world of difference. Like you, I shoot a lot of photos at night and under other unusual lighting conditions, and haven't ever run into flare with the 80mm Volna. I sometimes run into problems with the 45mm Mir, but that's kind of to be expected.
  7. well the non-arsat lenses are used, but are from someone who is selling his own personal gear and was quite happy with it.

    I have not flocked the camera yet, but I'm planning to send it to Arax this summer to be flocked, adjusted, and the shutter replaced with a titanium one. I just wanted to shoot some film before I send it out just to make sure I've caught all the quirks that need to be adjusted. So far, the only problems I've noticed are:

    1) static fog (probably due to sloppy handling while loading the film on reels

    2) flare/fog at night on some shots when doing long exposures (1-30 minutes) (might be due to internal reflection...hard to tell what the source is)

    3) sometimes (especially when using a cable release) film doesn't advance when I cock the camera. Don't know if this is a back or camera problem

    4) back needs to be twisted to the right to release from the camera. Don't know if this is a back or camera problem either.

    However, these are minor annoyances and for the most part it works great. According to the serial number I believe it's a 1980 manufacture. I suppose I could send the lenses too if I find problems with them.
  8. It's not just flare that coatings help with, but the overall contrast as well. At night you're almost always shooting directly into lights, a situation guarenteed to maximise flare problems. So unless you actually want washed out pictures I would suggest you buy lenses with the best coating you can.
  9. that's exactly why I'm asking if there are 2 versions of these lenses with different coatings.
  10. Whichever the brand, whatever the situation, the best possible lens shade is advisable and more so with non- and single-coated objectives.

    Photography at night may well present situations with street lighting and/or vehicle lights outside the image frame. These will in many cases degrade the exposure. Eliminate them with a shade.

  11. Is there any such thing as an uncoated Arsat?

    Generally, in relatively simple fixed-length lenses, there is little practical difference between single and multicoating. Multicoating becomes more important as the number of lens elements increases, and significantly improves contast in zooms and complex wide angle formulas. Night shooting will probably be one of the situations that shows up the difference most clearly, as the light from bright spots will visibly bleed into the very dark surrounding field. A lens shade is relatively little help in night shooting, since the flare-producing light sources are mostly within the field of view and will not be shielded by the shade.
  12. It might be worth your while to try shooting a couple different films; some B&W films have much better anti-halation backings than others, and the differences tend to be most noticeable at night; you might also run into weird spectral-sensitivity issues with some lights at night.

    I love Efke/Adox film, and use a lot of it, but it suffers from some really weird halation issues when shot at night - and, when processed as DR5 positives, at least, does the Sabbatier thing as well. If you've been shooting old-school B&W films, it might be worth shooting a roll or two of, say, Delta 100, or XP2, to see what if any effect that has on flare...
  13. well in one of those odd ebay quirks the lenses got bid to more than anyone should ever pay for them...I could just get new multicoated lenses for $30 more, so let it go. If they could be had for $50 or so, they'd be a bargain and worth trying...but at $200 I'd rather spend $230 and get a new multicoated lens.

    My night shooting has been all efke 100 and 25 film. I'm still experimenting with it, but I like film to learn it's quirks so I can shoot it well. One of the things I discovered last time was you can get some wicked static if you don't load it on developing reels carefully.
  14. After my expeience with the 30 mm Arsat single-coated version I would strongly suggest to try a multicoated one. It is very prone to flare.

  15. With my Arax K-88, I own several MC-Arsat lenses (30mm fish-eye, 80mm, x2 converter), and also a Jupiter 36b 250mm/3,5 which isn't coated (or maybe only a little, I can't tell :). However, I find that this last lens yields good results when used with its lens hood.

    Maybe a telephoto lens with a good hood does not need so much coating ? Any other opinions ?

  16. Oh and Blarg. : this is my experience about your 3/ film doesn't advance when I cock the camera. I had such problems with my second film, so I did tests (with dummy films) to analyse it, and to conclude :

    When you shoot with a Kiev 88, after 2 or 3mm, you notice a first click which seems to ready some mechanisms inside the box (brakes, etc.). Continuing, you go into the sequence /mirror goes up - shutter release/. But if you do not continue to push the shutter release button all the way it goes, then the back may sometimes not register that you have been taking a photo, and its flag may not have turned red (anyway, not completely) ; and in this case, shutter cocking will not advance the film to the next view.

    So, just after taking a view and before cocking the shutter anew, you should check if the flag of the back really turned red ; if not, press the shutter release button all the way again (indeed not taking a photo, as the shutter is not cocked), to make sure that the back correctly registered the shooting and its flag turned really red.

  17. Paul, yes that's exactly what I noticed too. If it doesn't advance, if I take off the back, release the shutter, replace the back, and push the shutter release once or twice, it will release the flag on the back and advance normally. Problem is, when I'm shooting in the dark, I can't see it. I've learned to watch the winding's easier to see if the winding knob is turning or not. Usualy this only happens when I'm using a cable release.

    However, I'm wondering if this is something that can be fixed if I'm going to have the camera sent out for repairs and if this is a back or camera problem.
  18. Blarg., I don't think that this minor unconvenience could or should be fixed, because it's simply a consequence of design. Anyway, it never malfunctions if you take care to push the shutter release button ALL THE WAY.

    In my opinion, it's not even a design flaw (or poor design) ; it's the simplest and most effective design that you could imagine. That's why :

    On the box, the flag turns red because of a spring loaded mechanism of the shutter release, that's OK. But to register the same information with the back, instead they use a rectangular rod pointing out of the box, that is directly coupled to the moving of the shutter release button, and begins to act on the back mechanisms just a little farther than actuation of shutter release on the box (so that this takes place when for sure the photo has been taken).

    I think that's a good idea. Alternatively, this registration could also have been spring loaded in the box, or even directly related with the spring loaded shutter release, but in this case, it would have been forcing against the dark slide blocking in case the slide were mistakenly still in place to cover the film window. Instead of that, the simpler chosen design is moreover effectively hindering shutter release action in such case, which is a nice additional feature.

  19. I'd say, even MC ones can flare.

    First, flock your body insides to avoid light reflections, that really are a pain in the
    ass, considering painting of the inside parts has been cheaper and cheaper from one
    generation to the following. For example, I have a Zenith80 ('73), a Salyut-S ('80),
    and a Kiev 88 ('86), the black is matte in the first, little less in the second, to finish
    nearly glossy in the last one.

    You must pay attention on the fact the lens' body is adapted to the type of lenses it
    has to wear.

    For example, the Industar 29 can be an excellent one, even without MC, because
    it's body has been designed with a hood. If you try a Volna-3 with the sun on it's
    front, you can get worse results than you would have with an Industar. With the
    hood, Volna will probably be better than the industar, at least concerning the flare,
    we won't debate about sharpness between these two, some consider the Volna has
    had random quality issues.

    For a Mir, I would advise to take the more coated one, Mirs always have a
    proeminent front lens, that catches light from almost everywhere, and no hood can
    get in the light's way without getting in the field. This stands for the fisheye
    (Zodiac/Arsat) too.

    For your fog at night, beware of body/ambient temperature difference, to avoid lens

    For the cable shutter release, it is a cable problem, sometimes, mine can't even fire
    at all, the shutter is too hard to push, so the cable "tube" extends. Try to find one

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