I decided to do a comparison of the 75mm lenses I have laying around. When I got them all out, I had 15 of them (!) so the comparison took a while. I took overall photos and then did a 400x400 crop near top edge of photo (the WE in IGWT). All shots were at f8, which is not the best aperture setting to maximize the differences between the lenses, but is a good compromise since every lens was stopped-down at least one stop from max. Some lenses are designed to work wide open, while others are not. f8 seemed a good compromise. Note however that these shots are at approx magnification of 0.8:1, so the effective aperture is something like f14. At this aperture some amount of diffraction is happening, and indeed the best lenses in this test appear diffraction-limited and would have benefited from a wider aperture. Oh well, it was the best I could do across a wide range of lenses.
I prefer 75mm lenses to all other lengths for coin photos. They are short enough to get good detail shots on bellows with reasonable maximum length, yet long enough to still image coins larger than dollars on bellows with reasonable minimum length.
Coin was my trusty well-toned 1957-D Lincoln Cent, possibly the most photographed coin ever!
Camera was a Nikon D7000 in full manual mode, tethered via Camera Control Pro 2. Picture setting was custom with no sharpening and no saturation adjustments. I must emphasize that there is likely NOT a 'RAW' setting on your camera unless you specifically create one. Even the "normal" or "standard" or some such name setting does some amount of post-processing. Even if you are shooting in 'RAW' mode, the post-processing still occurs. If you know it's there you can remove it if you are shooting 'RAW', but if you shoot JPG the output is permanently modified before it leaves the camera.
Bellows was a Vivitar Bellows in T-Mount. One of the lenses was native T-Mount and required no adapter; one was M40 (the Tominon) and required a M40-T-Mount adapter; and all the rest were M39 and required a M39-T-Mount adapter.
Lighting was two Jansjo LEDs, 100mm above the coin, touching each other (taped-together in fact), at approx 11:00 and 13:00. No diffusers/reflectors/directors were used, just the bare LED.
OK, now for the overall photos. These are in reverse alphabetical order by lens model name. I will post the WE detail pics a little later, and later still I'll post a photo of the group of lenses:
Vivitar LU 75mm f3.5 (enlarging lens)
Tomioka Tominon 75mm f4.5(macro lens from the Polaroid MP4 system)
Spiratone Flat Field Macro 75mm f3.5 (macro lens made by Hama)
Spiratone Flat Field Macro 75mm f3.5 (relabeled Hama enlarging lens, smaller than previous lens)
Highly interesting, in the sense that none of the lenses provide results less than excellent, regardless of cost. One is reduced to pixel-peeping in order to differentiate. The color representations run a wide gamut, highly interesting given the identical lighting.
The Schneider-Kreuznach is no slouch; I wouldn't expect it to be. Tremendous depth-of-field. Unbelievably affordable on the resale market; I'm tempted. Componon-S units are going for less than $100!
The Apo Rodagon still moves me, though.
rm -rf /Reality subst My Own
Catman, Gary Burke, Bigg Fredd, coinguybrian, numismo, Johnny54321 - CCF members emeritus, now part of Heaven's Own Coin Club.
Yep, that's the point that dougsmit was making. At the small picture sizes post-able on the forums, it's relatively hard to tell the difference between these lenses. You have to "pixel peep" at 100% to see much difference in performance. As you point out SuperDave, color presentation is a big variable that I left to chance. I set white balance using the Perfex, and left it alone so that differences could be seen. If I had white balanced each lens, as you of course would if you owned any of these, you would not be able to tell the difference in color at all and the lenses would look even more similar!
Nice thing is that since very few folks are printing any more, these excellent enlarger lenses are available on the market for good deals. Their price has risen in the last few years as folks have discovered they are good Macro lenses, but in general prices are still quite low. The companies that survived in the business and are still making these lenses have even re-branded their product lines as "Macro" (Schneider, Rodenstock) to maintain a market for them!
Enlarging lenses, even the cheapest models that came as "kit" lenses with the enlarger purchase (like the Beslar, EL-Omegar, Rolleinar, etc) are still quite good for Macro work, with excellent flatness of field (makes sense...) and color correction (again...), two of the most important features of a Macro lens.
I forgot to upload pics from one of the lenses, the Vivitar, so I've added it to the previous post and to the details shown below. That makes 15 75mm lenses!
The details below are 400x400 100% crops of the WE in IGWT (IN GOD WE TRUST). The WE is at the top most point of the Lincoln Cent and makes a good visual point for comparison. The crop shows part of the edge of the coin (sloping down at top left and right of cropped pic), the rim, the field, and the device (WE). It's not at the very far corner of the field, but it's as far from the center as you can go and still see some of the coin! The differences between the lenses now becomes more obvious, though you still have to look pretty close.
I have no idea. It is marked LMIJ but that's all I can deduce. Interestingly, it was sent to me by mistake in place of a 75 f4 EL Nikkor! Otherwise I would not have purchased it not knowing anything about it.
I've done my own ranking based on edge performance of these 15 lenses. Let's see if folks agree: 1 Apo Rodagon D (by some margin) 2 Perfex 3 EL-Nikkor 4 Rolleinar 5 Rogonar-SC 6 Spiratone (enlarging) 7 Roganar-S 8 Comparon 9 Fujinon 10 EL Omegar 11 Tominon 12 Spiratone (Hama) 13 Vivitar 14 Beslar 15 Industar
I did not rank them by center performance yet. That will be next step...
None are poor, even the Industar. This was my point to dougsmit, ie that you can get quite good results for small $$. Prices I paid for these lenses averaged around $60, and ranged from $15 (Vivitar) up to >$200 (75ARD1). That extra $$ for the 75ARD1 buys you quality, but even it is not so much better that it's really needed except for critical applications.
I'm working on a 105mm shootout now (actually, 90mm-110mm range). The 75mm shootout did not include any dedicated macro lenses, as not only don't I own any but I'm not aware of any available except for cine work. And I don't think any of those come close in quality to what I am showing. I'll include some Micro-Nikkors in the 105 group, as well as some exotics.
Speaking of exotics, I started the 105 shootout with the 105mm Printing-Nikkor, and thought I'd post it separately first before I complete the rest. The 105PN is such a joy to use. So easy to focus, even at f8, since critical focus is not limited by lens aberrations, and diffraction is just starting to show its ugly head.
Here are the overall, WE, and Cheek details for the 105PN:
Yes, the 105PN is clearly the best out there for work around this magnification. The 75ARD1 is just behind it, though.
I've completed my 105mm Shootout. Turns out I have 13 lenses in the 90-105mm range. Some are enlarging lenses, some dedicated macros, and two bellows lenses. I used to have a Nikon 105 Bellows lens, and also a Pentax 100 bellows lens, but I sold both of those some time ago. Anyway, here are the overall pics. I'll post the WE and Cheek details later, along with my ranking of these lenses:
My personal recommendation is an 80mm or 105mm EL-Nikkor. They're relatively cheap compared with a dedicated macro lens, and outperform many of them. A Rodagon or Rodagon-S in 80mm or 105mm will do just as well but. If you just want to go a little cheaper, go with the 75mm EL-Nikkor. If you want to go very cheap, or just to try out the concept, buy a Vivitar 75 or 105.
Don't go shorter than 75, or longer than 105. Keep in mind that these fixed lenses don't have the annoying focal length shortening of most dedicated macros, and thus maintain their focal length vs magnification. In this way a 105mm enlarging lens is about the same as a 150mm macro for coin shots since the 150mm shortens its focal length to achieve close focusing. The 75mm enlarging lens is actually longer than most 100-105mm macros for coin shots. Sorry if this is confusing, but it is...
Thanks Ray, recently I bought on ebay an unopened EL -OMEGAR 3.5 - 75MM ENLARGING LENS- for about $25ish, I still need to get the bellows and a camera to attach it to, I asked about the 105's for the same reason, one step at a time... One thing I think about, if one uses a bellows, and a decent enlarging ring for coin purposes, you don't need the expensive macro lenses...of course your obviously stuck into the macro mode for close ups, and the camera with out the traditional lenses is useless in general for what most people use a camera for LOL...
The EL-Omegar is a big step up from the Vivitar, and you got it for cheap! I think you'll like that Rodenstock lens.
One consideration is that if you do a lot of "regular" photography with the same camera, being able to remove it from the setup and come back easily later may be important to you. Having a dedicated setup all configured and stable helps with this. Just pull the camera off the bellows, mount your "regular" lens, and off you go. When you're done, take the lens off, mount the camera to the bellows, and you're taking coin pics again...
Thanks ray, but yet I am not a camera guy..so I'm really not interested in the full use of the camera's possibilities for only one purpose, coins....the camera's I have can do the point and shoot of general photagraphy without going high end of things I wont see with my eyes...but for Macro...Is why I write and ask of these things...