7 lenses at 4X

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dmillard
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7 lenses at 4X

Post by dmillard »

I just tested seven lenses at 4X magnification, an action inspired by the thread previously posted by Tonikon here:

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... php?t=6318

The contenders:
Image

The arena:
Image
Attacus lorquini forewing (slightly mangled by my cat), D200, Nikon CFN PlanApo 4/0.20. stacked in HF, Method A

I took the majority of the images at 4X, plus or minus 1%, determined by using a micrometer scale and ImageJ, a free image analysis program. The 28mm Componon picture was inadvertently taken at 4.15X, but then resampled to the appropriate size. The moth wing was illuminated with a Vivitar 283 flash through three fiber optic light guides, and the light intensity controlled with a Vivitar VP-1 variable resistor to give similar histograms on the camera LCD. The light was diffused through a small cylinder of theatrical gel (Roscolux #116 Tough White Diffusion). The positions of the light guides were probably slightly different for the 28mm Componon and the Minolta images, since I needed to dissasemble the illuminator to replace a blown bulb before using these lenses.

All images were taken as JPEGs, and were processed minimally in Photoshop, receiving equal Levels adjustments, and minor USM sharpening after resizing for posting. I'm a little perplexed by the apparent greater saturation of the Minolta image. The following images are actual pixel crops.


Image
Nikon CFN PlanApo 4/0.20


Image
Nikon CFN Plan Achromat 4/0.13


Image
Rodenstock f/4 35mm Rodagon (6 element lens)


Image
Zeiss 40mm f/4 Luminar (3 element lens)


Image
Canon 35mm f/2.8 Macrophoto (6 element lens), taken at f/4, where it performed slightly better than a tested f/2.8


Image
Minolta 25mm f/2.5 Bellows Micro-Rokkor X (6 element lens), taken at f/2.8


Image
Schneider-Kreuznach 28mm f/4 Componon (6 element lens)


I need to attach some caveats to the test results. These tests speak to the potential of some of the lenses, but one cannot generalize about the shortcomings of the others. I only used a single sample of each lens, and there may have been considerable variation in quality at the time of manufacture. I bought all of these lenses used, and some of them are decades old. I have no idea how they were treated or stored during that time. Additionally, the previous owners may have tested sets of lenses, and offered the ones for sale that were not the pick of the litter.

The Nikon PlanApo gave the sharpest, cleanest images, but it also produced the greatest transverse chromatic aberration, as revealed in the corners of the image of the micrometer scale. This deficit can be easily corrected in Adobe Camera Raw or in PTShift (Windows only), or it could be eliminated by cropping the edges of the image (or using a camera with a smaller sensor). Alternatively, the CA could be diminished by increasing the image magnification, either through adding extension, or by using a teleconverter.
Last edited by dmillard on Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

Some nice optics there!
Canon 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

David, great tests!

A couple of comments/questions...

1. About the Minolta colors, I suspect a color management glitch someplace in the pipeline. If I convert the Minolta image to an Adobe RGB profile, then assign it back to sRGB, the resulting appearance and color histogram become strikingly similar to the other images. I'm wondering if perhaps all the images were shot as Adobe RGB, and only the Minolta was converted to sRGB while all the others were assigned. Does the same color difference appear when you look at the original JPEG's in Photoshop, bypassing HF?

2. I don't see any color fringing in either image that you've posted from the Nikon PlanApo (the arena or the crop). Has this image already had the fringing removed, or does it appear only in the corners, or is the "greatest" TCA just not very much?

--Rik

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

Dave,

Thanks for posting this. I know what a PITA it is to do comparative testing, so your efforts are appreciated.

Aside from the Luminar and 4 element Rodagon (which, at least in this in this batch of lenses, were clearly outclassed) it is interesting how the results are pretty close, and seem to correlate well with the effective apertures.

It would be fun to compare a "single" frame image from a lens stopped down in order to obtain DOF equivalent to the stacked version. (But not really necessary as I think all of us enamored by "stacking" results know exactly what we would see! :wink: )

Charlie

dmillard
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Post by dmillard »

rjlittlefield wrote:David, great tests!

A couple of comments/questions...

1. About the Minolta colors, I suspect a color management glitch someplace in the pipeline. If I convert the Minolta image to an Adobe RGB profile, then assign it back to sRGB, the resulting appearance and color histogram become strikingly similar to the other images. I'm wondering if perhaps all the images were shot as Adobe RGB, and only the Minolta was converted to sRGB while all the others were assigned. Does the same color difference appear when you look at the original JPEG's in Photoshop, bypassing HF?

2. I don't see any color fringing in either image that you've posted from the Nikon PlanApo (the arena or the crop). Has this image already had the fringing removed, or does it appear only in the corners, or is the "greatest" TCA just not very much?

--Rik
Thanks Rik -

1) I was suspecting a color management glitch, but I thought I had converted all the images to sRGB , amazed at the changes the conversions produced in the histograms, but it's possible I performed the conversion at a different stage of the process, or, as you suggest, assigned rather than converted. I'm going to look at the original JPEGs again.

2) The "greatest" TCA in this case would be trivial for most purposes. I only saw it in the corners of the image I took of the stage micrometer (black lines on a white background, a very demanding subject, and not displayed here) while examining it at 300%. It appeared beyond the area of the cropped region above, and would probably only be apparent in the corners of other high contrast images.

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

David,

much appreciation from me too, for sharing these tests with us!:D

The expensive Luminar is quite disappointing!

One question about the Rodagon: You wrote that yours is of a 4-element design. As far as I know the Rodagons are 6-element lenses, at least the latest versions, and to me yours doesn´t look too old. :-k
So, do I get this right that yours is of a different, possibly still older design then?

(I take for granted that you took the test shots with the Componon and Rodagon lenses reversed.)

--Betty

Joseph S. Wisniewski
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Post by Joseph S. Wisniewski »

Planapo wrote:David,
The expensive Luminar is quite disappointing!
Yes, but not that surprising. The sturdier my setup gets, the better my stacking, the more disappointing my Luminars become.

There are two problems, the optimal magnification range of the lenses, and the speed. My experience with my 40mm Luminar is that it's pretty sad at 200mm extension (4x). Everything is working against it, it's way too far out of its range, and it's way too slow.

That's the minimum extension of a Zeiss Ultraphot, they go (if memory serves) 200mm to 650mm, and most of the Luminars seem optimized right in the middle of that range.

This can be addressed, get a bigger camera and a longer bellows. Going from 1.5x crop and a range of

Of course, the biggest problem is that it's just too dang slow (f20 equivalent at 200mm (4x), f40 equivalent at 400mm (9x).

The 28mm Componon is similar, it's working range is 200-450mm (MF bellows?), which probably puts its "peak" around 320mm, and for 4x, we're way out of its range at 140mm. And it's another f4 becomes f20 lens.

I have no idea what the design targets were for the Rodenstock, but it's also slow.

The Kwanon, Minolta, and Nikon objectives are doing something much more like what they were built for. They were designed for short bellows or tube, and are in their proper ranges. And you've got speed, the Nikon NA 0.20 at f2.4, Minolta f2.5, Kwanon f2.8, effective f12 to f14 (ignoring pupilary magnification factors).

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

While the Luminar didn't fare too well in this particular contest, they are still legendary, and yet good info about them is not all that readily available.

I don't have anything with good overall specs but I have collected a few PDF's on Luminar use, and there is some interesting info to be found in them:

http://krebsmicro.com/Luminars/

Here's a clip from one of those Zeiss PDF's

Image

So, looking at the above, at the "Maximum performance" magnification recommended by Zeiss, the effective apertures (Luminar used at max aperture) are as follows:

16mm....16X....f42.5
25mm....10X....f38.5
40mm.....5X.....f24
63mm.....3.2X...f15

Easy to see why they can't compete for resolution with the the Nikon 10/0.30 objective at 10X, with it's effective aperture of about f18.4; or with the Nikon 20/0.40 objective at 20X, with it's effective aperture of f26. The Luminars are far too "deep" into diffraction for the sensor sizes we use. (Back in the 4x5" film days, it was not really a problem). Of course without "stacking" the microscope objectives would be pretty useless because of the ridiculously shallow DOF.

Charlie

Tonikon
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Post by Tonikon »

Great work Dmillard! Excellent test and very useful results.
The Nikon CFN PlanApo 4/0.20 is clearly the sharpest (but also prone to produce CA, probably it don't cover the sensor size), but the Minolta 25/2.5 is also very very good and the Canon 35/2.8 is on the same level.
Anyhow, the Minolta is pratically a Leica Photar 25/2.5 rebranded (it comes from a "commercial accord" between Minolta and Leica, like the 12.5mm f/2). The Canon 35 at f/4 is very good and outclasses clearly the old Luminar 40/4.5 (I have both of them). The Canon 35mm is clearly underestimated, but at f/4 produces excellent pics.
Infact, examining minutely your pics, the Canon has less contrast than the Minolta, but even a bit more resolution on the scale-texture.
The Luminar 40 is simply not good, but others Luminar have other performances...on my site (www.tonipuma.it) very soon I'll pubblicate a comparative test between a Zeiss Luminar 63/4.5 (last type, blue dot) and a Macro Nikkor 65/4.5 (from Multiphot) and the rusults are very very interesting...

Ciao

Toni

Joseph S. Wisniewski
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Post by Joseph S. Wisniewski »

Charles Krebs wrote: I don't have anything with good overall specs but I have collected a few PDF's on Luminar use, and there is some interesting info to be found in them:

http://krebsmicro.com/Luminars/
Charles, thanks once again for sharing all this wonderful stuff.

One can only wonder what other amazing things you have scanned ;)

dmillard
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Post by dmillard »

Planapo wrote:David,

One question about the Rodagon: You wrote that yours is of a 4-element design. As far as I know the Rodagons are 6-element lenses, at least the latest versions, and to me yours doesn´t look too old. :-k
So, do I get this right that yours is of a different, possibly still older design then?

(I take for granted that you took the test shots with the Componon and Rodagon lenses reversed.)

--Betty
Hello Betty -

I'm happy you appreciated the tests! You're right about the number of elements in the Rodagon (I've corrected the original post). I was a little disappointed in the results from this particular lens sample; it's a very compact lens and mechanically very smooth, and it has a hexagonal aperture instead of the pentagonal apertures of some other enlarging lenses. You're also correct in your assumption that I reversed the Componon and Rodagon lenses.
Tonikon wrote:The Luminar 40 is simply not good, but others Luminar have other performances...on my site (www.tonipuma.it) very soon I'll pubblicate a comparative test between a Zeiss Luminar 63/4.5 (last type, blue dot) and a Macro Nikkor 65/4.5 (from Multiphot) and the rusults are very very interesting...
Hello Toni,

I look forward to seeing the results of your tests! (at 3X?)

Best regards,
David

NikonUser
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Post by NikonUser »

Hi David:
Do all these lenses have similar working distances?
I am particularly interested in the WD of the Nikon 4x Achro, what is it?
NU.
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sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
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Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

NU,

Nikon CF N 4/0.13 Plan Achromat working distance is 16.22mm.

(Nikon CF N 4/0.20 Plan Apo working distance is 15mm)

NikonUser
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Post by NikonUser »

Thanks Charles.
Darn it; 16.22mm is too little for 3-dimensional bugs using my single flash setup.
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

AndrewC
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Post by AndrewC »

Why use only a single flash ? Most (but not all) flash units have built in slave units and it would be incredibly easy to sync a second flash. You can use any manual flash and a peanut slave to do the same thing.

Andrew

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