24-120mm f4 and TC-14E ll ?

Started Jan 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: 24-120mm f4 and TC-14E ll ?

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Guidenet wrote:

I'm not so sure about this. Most of the more modern glass seems to have higher amounts of chomatic abberations....

The coatings on both these top designs have been modernized as time has past just as other lenses are. Both have gone through several evolutions in coating.

Lenses designed originally for film often work as well or better in the digital age. Note Leica and Zeiss designs, some which have been in production for over 50 years and still some of the best disigns out there and unmodified for digital use.

I use some of this glass daily in professional use and they perform exceedingly well. Even some really old designs like the 55 f/3.5 micro....

That hasn't been my experience in the lens tests I've done. I've been using older heralded lenses with adapters on a couple m43 cameras, with adapters, and they are really disappointing compared to the latest Olympus and Panasonic glass.

Modern glass is computer designed with more aspherical elements and "nano" coating technology that wasn't available 20 years ago. These new lens designs don't scatter the different frequencies of light, like the old simple convex designs did, and the coatings cut down on internal reflections and increase light transmission, greatly improving contrast. The improved transmission efficiency also allows the use of more complex lenses with more lens elements and lens groups.

Yes, modern cameras can correct for chromatic aberrations, pincushion distortion and other things, but the real beauty of the lens technology coupled with the computer technology is they can now optimize the lens tradeoffs.

Take for example the latest Nikon 50mm F1.4 and F1.8G lenses. According to lens tests, these are the sharpest 50mm lenses Nikon has ever made.

I'm not saying the old lenses are cr_p. I'm just saying that they generally aren't as good as the modern choices.

Aspherical elements is an extremely old technology. It certainly is not a digital age design whatsoever. Moreover, it is not useful in many designs and is why you don't see it that much even on modern marvels. What is new about aspherical elements is today's ability to do it cheaper both cost wise and IQ wise. What I mean by that is some of these new cheaper ways of creating aspherical elements are cheaper to make but nowhere nearly as good. They use molded glass and plastic where aspherics used to be ground.

One of the greatest asperical designed lenses was the 20-35 f/2.8D AF superwide built at the time for film cameras. It's still considered a great lens. The aspherical element had to be hand ground and was somewhat expensive at the time. Aspherical design was really first invented by a French theorist, René Descartes, in the 1620s. That's quite a long time prior to digital cameras I think.


I'm not saying the old lenses are better than new. I'm just pointing out, if you know what you're looking for, some of the older lenses are superior to many of the newer ones, especially the 3rd party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. Again, not all, but some especially the pro-grade Nikonauto focus models. Nano technology is a whole different story and the 3rd party makers don't have it either. Most Nikon lenses also don't have it.

As far as mounting lenses on m4/3rd, that might be an entirely different story. You're talking about less than a half frame sensor there. It's a much smaller format that needs an adaptor to get the registration distance accurate enough to mount the lens. I'm not sure anectdotal conclusions based on this kind of testing is indicative of optic performace using that gear.

On the other hand, I've been using Nikon glass since I switched from Pentax in 1968. I test all my gear before using it for client images. I currently use a D700, D3S and a D800. I can tell you some of the not very old pro-glass Nikkors perform brilliantly today mounted on these cameras.

Here's my pristine copy of a Nikon 35-70 f/2.8D AF mounted on a D700 as an example. Notice this is an all metal quality design with superb output.

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Cheers, Craig
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