'flareproof' nikon glass?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jean_marie_dederen, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. When I am out taking landscape shots I always admire views that have the sun fully or partly included in it. I am hesitant to take the shots because flare has spoiled so many of them. Some lenses are said to be able to face the flare challenge. Are there any that you can recommend? I only know of the 28 f2 and the newer 20 f4 (all manual focus old glass; I only use black and white and my old F, F2 or FM2). Also is there anything in the nikon arsenal that resembles the hasselblad fits one fits all lens hood? It is clumsy and a pain to carry around but it does the trick. I find nikon hoods difficult to come by.
  2. Some common information is perhaps true is below:
    Nano coated lenses ("N") are more resistant to flare.
    Wider lenses are more prone to flare than narrower angle lenses.
    Fewer elements lenses are more resistant to flare.
    There is no lens totally flare free.
  3. The Nikon 45mm f/2.8 P is VERY flare resistant - I inclide the sun regularly. Also the earlier 28mm f/3.5 with 'H.C' designation takes in the sun without trouble. Zoom lenses (especially older) are the worst as there are more elements to give flare.
  4. Excellent, that's the kind of info I need. I have a 45mm 'pancake' lens but it isn't the 'P' from what I remember (unfortunately it is 5 hrs drive away from here). Was there more than one version then?
  5. Yes, there are basically two versions; the "GN" version (originally from the sixties) and the "P" version, that appeared in the 2001 together with the FM3A (if I recall it correctly). The later version is "chipped". The earlier one, with an interesting mechanical system to make flash use more friendly.

    If yours is a very recent one, without "rabbit ears" (coupling prong or fork), is the "P" version. If it`s a pre-Ai one, will have that "rabbit ears", then the "GN" version.
  6. BTW, both are simple designs, four elements in three groups (Tessar?); probably the reason of a good flare resistance.
  7. Thanks Jose; the rabbit ears tell me that mine is the older (if not the oldest, it is a 1973 model) and although the lens formula is the same i doubt that it is as flareresistant as the newer one. I cant remember it being very resistant; the newer one was seemingly modified for closer focus and different macro use.
  8. Jean-Marie: Thank you, I've been meaning to get around to asking this exact question for a couple of weeks. :)

    I was assuming that it would be a race between the new designs (that have better coatings) and the older ones (that tend to have fewer elements) - I'd forgotten that the 45mm presumably has the latest coatings (well, SIC, not NCC) but also few elements. I guess that may be the best option until there's a lens with NCC on all internal surfaces.
  9. The GN 45mm is also the only short focus nikon MF lens I know with an F32 aperture, which I must admit I have never tried out.
  10. Garrard, sorry my last remark only reached the tread just after yours popped up. We don't have to wait for a new lens: have you tried the old MF 28/2? even straight into the sun the results are astonishing; truly a flareproof lens. There must be others that are equally resistant (the 28/3.5 has been mentioned earlier on). The 20/4 also has a reputation for being capable to face direct syun, but I have never tried one; the even spread of contrast and definition are said to be inferior to the 28/2 though. I was hoping somebody could confirm.
  11. Ah - thanks, I haven't. I'll keep an eye out. (Always good to have another reason for NAS!)
  12. Although not Nikon glass but 'glass for Nikon' most of the Zeiss ZFs are outstanding for flare - certainly the 25mm, 28mm and 35mm. Less so the 21mm which does flare but is brilliant in many other ways.
  13. Firstly, Nikon's Nano-Crystal (N) coating doesn't necessarily make a lens resistant to flare. It's applied to designs that are inherently prone to flare or low contrast and improves, but doesn't eliminate, their propensity to flare. For example, the otherwise exemplary 14-24mm f/2.8 Zoom Nikkor is still plagued by flare spots when pointed anywhere close to a light source, despite the application of Nano Crystal coating.
    Secondly, because of their simpler construction and lower number of elements, on the whole prime lenses will show lower flare than zooms, and lower aperture primes are generally better in this respect than their more complex high-aperture counterparts. That's a sweeping generalisation and there are exceptions - like the f/2 28mm Nikkor mentioned. It doesn't help us Nikon users much, but the wideangle lens with the highest flare resistance I've ever seen is the little Pentax 35mm f/3.5 SMC Takumar.
    WRT lenshoods: 1) A lenshood won't help at all if a strong lightsource is included within the picture area. 2) Most lenshoods provided with lenses are next to useless, especially the round variety or those petal hoods provided for zooms. A "flag" to shield the source of light from hitting the lens is usually a much better and more effective option. A flag can be improvised from a small piece of card or just your hand held in the right position. A good compendium hood is handy but not very convenient. Anyway, if you want one the firm SRB-Griturn make a good self-supporting bellows shade that fits into a Cokin P type holder. Unfortunately it doesn't lend itself to use with wideangles. Below is a picture of mine.
    PS. Another good flare resistant design is the 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor.
  14. Some dedicated lens hoods can be improved with third party ones, those made with rubber, but it`s not a rule; I have found wonderful ones for some lenses, but none for my wideangles.
    Have you already checked Rorslett site? (linked his wide angle list) For those intersted, he use to mention flare levels of almost every lens in his database. (BTW, once I`m in one of his lists, I wrote "flare" in the search window, and then all "flare" words appear highlighted along the list. Very fast and easy to read all that valuable info).
  15. Thanks, Jose. I don't know why I didn't think to check Bjørn's site - it's usually on my list when checking out lenses, especially for features not usually tested. Entering research mode... :)
  16. Zeiss ZF lenses have excellent flare resistance. If flare resistance is your highest priority, you should at least rent a Zeiss lens and test it.
  17. The 45/2.8 GN was not the only manual focus Nikkor to stop down to f/32. A number of manual focus Nikkors stop down to f/32. The earlier 45 GN had 9 blades. The later 45 GN had 7 but also had the C marking with the better coating. Mine is the C version. What's odd about the 45 GN lenses is that focusing ring turns counter- clockwise to reach infinity rather than clockwise like all other manual focus Nikkors.
    I find the 28/3.5 AI and the 35/2.8 'K' lenses do well in flare situations. There was an article in Pop Photo a few years ago about shooting into the sun. I think Super-Multi-Coated Takumars were used.
  18. The sun's *brightness level* has a lot to do with the flare being good or bad with any given lens.
    If enough crud is in the sky, the sun will be less likely to create flare problems. If you have a very clear sky, the sun will be a problem with just about any lens recording that ultimate light source in the sky.
  19. Because the ghost flaring on the Nikkor 15mm f3.5 can make that lens unworkable more times than not, I tested the 14-24 f2.8 due to it's apparently superior resistance to flare.
    That lens is not going to help with the original F/F2 cameras because it's a G series lens, but the discussion here about it is worth reviewing in this regard: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00RPzn
    That might give you an incentive to upgrade your camera so you can handle the newer nano-crystal coated lenses, and hopefully experience a bit less flaring.
  20. The regular Nikkor 300mm f4.5 Ais, not the fancy ED-IF, is very flare resistant. There are some good night examples too on the K_n R_ckwell site with mixed night source lights. I have shot mine almost dead into the sun glare and it holds up well.
  21. Well, you said "flare proof". The Nikon 85mm f1.4G is probably the most flare resistant lens out there - from any manufacturer. You might also consider shooting stopped down (f11-f16). This reduces the amount of light that bounces around after the aperture. This in itself reduces flare as the light beam has been reduced. Here is a shot looking directly into the sun taken with the DX Fuji S2 and Nikon 12-14mm lens. http://dustylens.com/Salinas_Pueblo_Mission-small.jpg or with Velvia and 24mm. http://dustylens.com/Bagpiper_sunset.jpg
  22. Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 AIS. This thing never flares, even with the sun right in the frame, looking directly into the lens.
    On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 (all of them). This lens flares and ghosts readily.
  23. With every lens stopping down to the smallest available aperture will help significantly.
  24. It's applied to designs that are inherently prone to flare or low contrast
    That's not it. It's something that they put on every new or slightly redesigned high-grade FX lens, irrespective of whether the design is inherently prone to flare or ghost. Only budget lenses (and of course, lenses that were designed before the nano-coating was introduced to camera lenses) seem to be left out without it at this point.
    But you're of course right that it doesn't completely eliminate flare or ghosting nor is this necessarily desirable.
    The 105 DC is one of the older autofocus lenses which has excellent resistance to flare and ghosting.
  25. Ilkka. By my count, N coating is applied to only 17 lenses out of the 58 or so in Nikon's current catalogue, and even then it's only applied to one or, at most, a few surfaces within the lens. The "simplest" design that carries N coating is the 85mm f/1.4 with 10 elements, and all the other designs are more complex, use more glass or have more extreme surface curvatures. Since optical complexity and innovation nearly always carries a hefty price tag it's not surprising that there's a strong correlation between price and the application of N coating.
    If you read the account of the development of nano-crystal coating by Nikon's optical design engineer, you'll see that it was indeed developed to make some designs practical that would otherwise be almost unusable due to their propensity to flare. The fact that it's now become a USP for Nikon and more widely applied is pretty much irrelevent.
    Footnote: As long ago as 1980, Nikon filed a patent for a 20mm f/2 lens. This design used up to 15 elements and some very steeply curved surfaces. I'm sure that one of the reasons it never got to market was because the flare inherent in such a lens (as well as its cost at that time) would have made it unsaleable. Shame we'll probably never see that lens produced.
  26. I have always thought my 105 F2 DC was my most flare resistant lens, I don’t have any of the new nano coated lens to compare with.

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