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coated vs. uncoated lenses

Blarg . , Apr 10, 2008; 02:09 p.m.

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 $300...is that right?


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Dan Fromm , Apr 10, 2008; 03:07 p.m.

Uncoated? Are you sure you aren't confusing uncoated with single-coated?

Blarg . , Apr 10, 2008; 03:19 p.m.

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.

Bueh B. , Apr 10, 2008; 03:28 p.m.

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.

Blarg . , Apr 10, 2008; 03:31 p.m.

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?

Michael Gilday , Apr 10, 2008; 03:54 p.m.

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.

Blarg . , Apr 10, 2008; 04:07 p.m.

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.

Mike Earussi , Apr 10, 2008; 05:33 p.m.

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.

Blarg . , Apr 10, 2008; 05:48 p.m.

that's exactly why I'm asking if there are 2 versions of these lenses with different coatings.

Jenny Jaques , Apr 10, 2008; 07:53 p.m.

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.


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