150mm EL Tube Lens Test Results

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RobertOToole
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150mm EL Tube Lens Test Results

Post by RobertOToole »

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After some delays my 150mm EL tube lens test is finally up:

https://www.closeuphotography.com/150mm-tube-lens-test

Here's the list of lenses:

Nikon EL-Nikkor 150mm f/5.6 A Enlarger Lens
Rodenstock Rodagon 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens
Schneider Kreuznach Componon 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens
Schneider Kreuznach Componon-S 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens
Schneider Kreuznach Comparon 150mm f5.6 Enlarger Lens
Schneider Kreuznach G-Claron 150mm f/9 Reproduction Lens


All tested with the Schneider 2.8/35 as the front lens in a stacked configuration at 4.28x with the A6300, APS-C sensor camera.

Click on any 700 px thumbnail image to open the full size file

Uncropped test target at 2500px (CNP-S rear lens):

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Test target with crops areas outlined:

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Click on any 700 px thumbnail image to open the full size file

100% center and corner crops:

Nikon EL-Nikkor 150mm f/5.6 A Enlarger Lens

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Rodenstock Rodagon 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens


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Schneider Kreuznach Componon 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens

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Schneider Kreuznach Componon-S 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens


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Schneider Kreuznach Comparon 150mm f5.6 Enlarger Lens



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Schneider Kreuznach G-Claron 150mm f/9 Reproduction Lens



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Thoughts on the results:
Frankly the EL lenses really performed better than I expected. None are totally unusable, other than the Comparon, the other 5 are sharper and have less LaCAs than a typical telephoto lens. The top 3 are really good. I've used the Componons since this test with other lenses and they do a great job with fine details without adding LaCAs.

The black Componon with the 19 blade iris deserves a special note, this was a last minute addition and cost me just $35, and is one of the best, there is a bit of a warm cast but the LaCAs are really well controlled.

Don't over-pay for any of these, I don't think any cost me more than $100 with box and caps.

My final ranking order:

Best of the test:
Schneider Kreuznach Componon-S 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens

Almost as good:
Schneider Kreuznach Componon 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens

Not as good as the other two:
Rodenstock Rodagon 150mm f/5.6 Enlarger Lens

Not the best, and not the worst award:
Nikon EL-Nikkor 150mm f/5.6 A Enlarger Lens

Not as sharp as the Nikon but less CAs:
Schneider Kreuznach G-Claron 150mm f/9 Reproduction Lens

Worst performer in the test:
Schneider Kreuznach Comparon 150mm f5.6 Enlarger Lens

Questions, comments are welcome.

Best,

Robert

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

Robert, great work! I'm gong to try some of these combos right now on some flowers I have to photograph.

Can you tell us where you stopped down the front lens? I see on your website that you stopped it down to 3.1 but you don't mention whether this was by closing the aperture or by adding a paper aperture. Did you check which method was better for this particular combo?

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Lou Jost wrote:Robert, great work! I'm gong to try some of these combos right now on some flowers I have to photograph.

Can you tell us where you stopped down the front lens? I see on your website that you stopped it down to 3.5 but you don't mention whether this was by closing the aperture or by adding a paper aperture. Did you check which method was better for this particular combo?
Very good question Lou.

Was it f/3.5? that sounds about right.

This was a paper disk between lenses.

What I do with a new lens is try both, factory iris and paper disk between the two. I have found some lenses, its rare, where the factory iris is better, but generally the between lens position is best for IQ.

Also I have seen that a paper disk between lenses can cut flare, even though the paper disk is not stopping down, the exposure is constant, there is better contrast!

Also for best IQ, I flock all tubes and adapters whenever possible even before I take the first test image, and I include a snoot or hood on the reversed lens, most seem to perform a little better with one.

Best,

Robert

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

Thanks a lot Robert for this information. That will help the rest of us approach your beautiful results.

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Two more things I need to mention:

Be sure to click on the first wafer image, the one at the top, for the 2500px
sample image of the CNP-S 150+CNP 2.8/35.

and

Next test up is the 135 Tube Lens Test with 8 EL lenses which is about 80% or 85% complete so I plan to post that later this weekend or early next week.

typestar
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Post by typestar »

RobertOToole wrote:Next test up is the 135 Tube Lens Test with 8 EL lenses ...
Robert,
thankyou again for your work and showing the 150 mm Tubelenses.

As I have a 135 mm Nikon EL and a Tominon 135 mm only, I am very curious about the 135 mm results, as this shorter FL could bring even stronger results (?)

Good luck for all testings :D !

Christian

chris_ma
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Post by chris_ma »

great to see all these lenses, and interesting that they all perform rather similar.

two questions since you've tested so many different setups:
it looks to me like in stacked setups the front lens usually gives a larger deviation on the final result then the back lens. would you agree with that?
or maybe it's simply that longer focal lengths are closer in their results?

related to that, I also wonder if something like a 50mm/150mm combo is more likely to work well then a 28mm/80mm combo for 3x mag.

I probably try to find some generalisation where there is none, but I'm fascinated by this stacked lens business :)

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

I probably try to find some generalisation where there is none, but I'm fascinated by this stacked lens business
Me too, and it is exciting to see Robert carefully documenting so many examples when stacked lenses beat the same lens unstacked. When I argued in favor of stacked lenses a few years ago on this forum, based on theoretical grounds (the EA advantage: EA = aprox f*m for stacked lenses instead of f*(m+1) for a reversed lens), I got some very strong criticism, because I did not have many examples proving that this potential advantage could be realized in the real world. Now Robert, and also Miljenko, have provided a detailed roadmap for how to realize these advantages in real life.

By the way, I've just tried one of Robert's combos described above (-35 Componon 2.8 + 150 chrome Componon 5.6) on full frame instead of APS for a series of photos I needed for a project, and it works at least to an image circle of 28mm (my subject has nothing in the corners or far edges so I can't vouch for the performance in that region). [Edit: the corners of APS are that far apart anyway, so I have still not added anything not shown already in Robert's test] No CA at all, just like Robert noted. In my case, out of laziness I used the front lens' aperture rather than the right way , which is to use a paper aperture between the lenses. My experience and Rik's theoretical analysis is that the paper aperture is best, but experience suggests that when the front lens is much shorter than the back lens, there is usually not much difference between using a paper aperture and using the front lens' aperture. Robert has noted that the paper aperture between the lenses also reduces flare.

My 150mm Componon is an all-chrome version rather than the nice chrome-ring version used by Robert, but otherwise it looks the same.

Edited to add that I just tested the combo on a wafer, and even the far edges are perfect. I still can't say anything about the corners because my tube flocking causes hard vignetting. Will have to change that. New edit: I see I had accidentally stopped the lens down more than Robert had done...
Last edited by Lou Jost on Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

I've just now visually tested the full-frame corners and they are bad. The front lens has to be stopped down two stops to make them acceptable. A paper aperture may give better results here.

chris_ma
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Post by chris_ma »

that's unfortunate, but I guess the larger the image circle the harder it will be to find good combos.

so would it be correct to generalise that at mag of 3x to 5x, microscope objectives with tube lenses can give excellent center but rather limited coverage, stacked lenses can give good overall sharpness with somewhat larger coverage at low cost, and high end industrial lenses can give very good sharpness and large coverage but only at high cost?

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

I think the last two things are true, but I don't think you can generalize about the microscope objective coverage. The Lomo 3.7x has pretty good coverage, with or without tube lens. And is super-cheap. I don't remember how it does in the corners of FF though. My recollection is that it was very good.

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Post by Antal »

The Lomo 3.7x has pretty good coverage, with or without tube lens
My copy is poor on FF on edges and worse on corners. Hafe not tested with TL, since I have to find a 100mm TL first (on 100mm 2.8 Canon hard vignetting)

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

chris_ma wrote:great to see all these lenses, and interesting that they all perform rather similar.
When you take a close look they are all different on how they handle CAs.

But then again, I spend way too much time comparing wafer images so maybe I am tuned in more than anyone else.

But I do have to admit all the lenses, except for the Comparon, are all very good, that was unexpected.

two questions since you've tested so many different setups:
it looks to me like in stacked setups the front lens usually gives a larger deviation on the final result then the back lens. would you agree with that?
I agree Yes.

There are really special combos that seem to work some kind of magic together on the results.

Also some of the lenses, like a makro-Symmar seem to make almost all front lenses look good.
or maybe it's simply that longer focal lengths are closer in their results?
Yes, true, lenses over 100mm in FL always seems to give better results.
related to that, I also wonder if something like a 50mm/150mm combo is more likely to work well then a 28mm/80mm combo for 3x mag.
Definitely. 40/120, or something similar should be really good.

BTW, since you brought up the 50/150? You would think that would be a great combo but I've been searching for a long time and other than the Tominon E35 48mm I have nothing in the 50mm FL that is really good. I have at least 4 of the SK CNP-S 2.8/50s and they all have soft corners and CAs. Same with the APO-Rodagon 2.8/50. Leica 4/50, really bad.

Give me some suggestions for a good 50mm that would make a good lens to stack. I can't seem to find anything. I am thinking maybe the M-Componon 4/50?

BTW, I've already tried fast 50s and they are the worst for stacking.

28/80 sounds good also but 80 rear lenses are hard to find, the Componon-S 80mm seems to be okay. I would like to look into good 80mm lenses for stacking a bit more.
I probably try to find some generalisation where there is none, but I'm fascinated by this stacked lens business :)
Same here. The results are almost always interesting with some nice surprises if you put some time into experimenting with different combinations. Let us know if you find anything really good. :D

Best,

Robert

typestar
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Post by typestar »

RobertOToole wrote:Give me some suggestions for a good 50mm that would make a good lens to stack. I can't seem to find anything. I am thinking maybe the M-Componon 4/50? ....

28/80 sounds good also but 80 rear lenses are hard to find, the Componon-S 80mm seems to be okay. I would like to look into good 80mm lenses for stacking a bit more.
Hi Robert, you know I am looking for a goodpriced M-Componon 4/50 for you...
but no luck, so far...

About 80 mm -- Did you think about the Olympus 80mm / f4 Macro?
I think, as far as I remember, Ray showed, it has some power...

All the best again,

Christian

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Thank you Lou for all the encouragement and help with the stacking technique over the years :D

It would have taken a lot longer, or maybe I never would have gotten around to it at all without your help.

Mijenko deserves some credit also for his eye-opening test results!

Best,

Robert

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