Old versus new Nikkor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by neil_califano, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. I've been having some fun taking D40X side by side pictures with the Nikon AF-S 18-55mm zoom and my vintage Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 H.C. The first thing I notice is that for the exact same settings and lighting, the newer lens produces a brighter picture. Is this due to improved internal lens construction or newer coatings?
  2. More elements/groups/glass-air surfaces in the variable aperture zoom???
  3. Coatings on modern lenses do help light transmission, but there are also aspherical elements and computer design that maximize efficiency also.
    Kent in SD
  4. Excellent. I've got a 28/3.5 Nikkor-H here but the only thing I've found it particularly useful for is leaving an IR filter on.
  5. Neither of the two. I would be more procline to variations between the nominal and the actual aperture in the old lens. If you want to make a comparison you should have the same histogram not necessarily the same settings. It is true that modern glass has better light transmission properties but a modern zoom has also more lenses leveling out the advantage.
  6. Perceptions of differences in brightness could be real, due to physical variations between lenses, and could be due to improved contrast and saturation with sophisticated optical designs even with today's budget zooms.
    Could be due to minor deviations from nominal specifications, a common occurrence with manual lenses. Setting the aperture via the ring isn't as accurate, consistent and repeatable as an electronically controlled aperture.
    Some of my AI and AI-S Nikkors have a bit of slop, just enough that a nominal f/8 might be f/7.6 one day and slightly above f/8 the next. Just depends on where the detent happens to stop.
    There's also a bit more deviation between apertures even at the same EV with manual focus lenses. My old 180/2.8 non-AI, pre-ED Nikkor is about 1/3 EV different from f/4-f/11 than at f/2.8, and at least a full stop off above f/16. Probably aging springs, I don't know. Doesn't matter since I don't use that lens fully stopped down.
  7. Andrew, I find the excellent 28 f3.5 invaluable for shooting against the light, it is very resistant to flare and ghosting.
    If you have an interest in this type of shot, try your lens. You may find it useful for more than just IR.
  8. The 18-55 is actually surprisingly flare resistant too. The thing about the 28mm is it doesn't meter on my camera - but the meter's useless in IR anyway.
  9. Helpful answers. Mario, I have been comparing the histograms and everything is shifted to the right on the newer lens.

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