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MC Biometar Microcontrast - Higher than the Volna?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:20 am    Post subject: MC Biometar Microcontrast - Higher than the Volna? Reply with quote

I know the Volna-3 80mm can resolve just as high as the Biometar but has anyone compared the two in terms of micro-contrast? I know many Zeiss lenses are famous for delivering that dimensional type rendering but is the MC Biometar one of them?

I can't say I have seen too many pictures on Flickr that show that characteristic depth. I almost would think it would be easier to attain because of the greater range of tonality and detail that comes with medium format, but I don't know, it doesn't look very "zeissy".

Any thoughts?


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most older Zeiss lenses don't have much pop, some have a bit.

1960s Meyers have a fair bit of pop.

I have a Star Wars style Biometar 80, only made a few shots with it but it's a very sharp lens stopped down.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think microcontrast doesn't matter that much on medium-format
Microcontrast looks always high there

I would guess that the Biometar might have a little more microcontrast than the Volna but if there's a difference it's not that much.
I wouldn't care much about it - difference is very small and on 6x6 even smaller.

Generally Ian is right, old Zeiss lenses don't have the famous high microcontrast as the modern Zeiss lenses, especially not the ex-GDR (Zeiss Jena) ones.

I don't know when they startet to optimize their lenses for microcontrast.
Maybe Zeiss Oberkochen from that time might be more modern, but I think they only made 6x6 lenses for Hasselblad mount.


Last edited by ForenSeil on Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:22 pm; edited 5 times in total


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they are equal lens.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was speaking specifically about the MC Biometar, which I would not necessarily consider an "old" zeiss lens. They were made up to 1989-90, I believe. The 2.8/180mm MC Sonnar shows incredible micro-contrast (noticeably more than the zebra, in my comparison) as does the Pancolar 1.8/80 and they were made around the same period. I did not think it was unfair to assume that maybe the MC Biometar was "better" than its zebra counterpart in those terms.

Maybe it all has to do with design? Maybe the Biometar scheme simply does not render that way?


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

themoleman342 wrote:
I was speaking specifically about the MC Biometar, which I would not necessarily consider an "old" zeiss lens. They were made up to 1989-90, I believe. The 2.8/180mm MC Sonnar shows incredible micro-contrast (noticeably more than the zebra, in my comparison) as does the Pancolar 1.8/80 and they were made around the same period. I did not think it was unfair to assume that maybe the MC Biometar was "better" than it's zebra counterpart in those terms.

Maybe it all has to do with design? Maybe the Biometar scheme simply does not render that way?


I think depend of your vision, experience only and how to use it. I found nothing special on 35mm digital camera. I found absolutely stunning on medium format with slide or b&w film. On 35mm digital camera I have mixed experience with Sonnars 180mm for example even very old ones can perform outstanding and latest MC can perform avarage.

http://www.mflenses.com/gallery/v/german/zeiss/sonnar/?

http://www.mflenses.com/gallery/v/german/zeiss/sonnar/olypic_sonnar180mm/carl_zeiss_olympic_sonnar-180mm_f2_8-024.jpg.html

look selected photo made one of the oldest post-war Sonnar 180.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The zeiss lenses, as another brands, can chage from copy to copy and models to models. My first two lenses in my nex were two 20 mm zeiss. The F/4 and the F/2,8 (both my brother's lenses). The 2,8 were newer, of course. But I like the F/4 rendering more. In my nex and to my eyes.

The sensors can change subtlely from copy to copy on the same model and more strongly from models to models.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comparing medium format lenses with small format lenses on the common basis of a small format camera
always leads to a letdown about the medium format lenses.
The fact is simply that no medium format lens can really compete with a same level small format lens.
So Biometar (and Volna 80mm) can not stand a comparison with small format Pancolar, Pancolar wins hands down.
Medium format lenses should be evaluated on medium format film (or digital) only.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not mean to confuse the original question with mention of the 80mm Pancolar. I only referred to that lens because several of the initial responses said that "old" zeiss lenses do not "pop" and I wanted to point to the Pancolar because it was from the same era. I'm not comparing them both on 35mm. I am purely interested in an evaluation of the Biometar's micro-contrast on the full 6x6 frame.

I've always really liked my Volna. I've now had three zebra Biometars that were not nearly as sharp. At f4 they were performing as the Volna does wide-open. I like that the Volna can focus closer too. It's a much more versatile standard lens. I have a tough time believing I got three lemon Biometars that perform equally with each other.

I don't know what to take from my experiences. The general consensus seems to be if you have to money go for the Zeiss but the Volna is great lens too. If I stopped investigating now, my conclusion is that the Volna is cheaper AND better.

I wanted to give the Biometar one last chance with the purchase of a later MC version. I honestly don't think it can be sharper than my Volna but I do like the Zeiss look and wanted to see if maybe it held an advantage in that micro-contrast department. The zebras certainly didn't.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

themoleman342 wrote:
I did not mean to confuse the original question with mention of the 80mm Pancolar. I only referred to that lens because several of the initial responses said that "old" zeiss lenses do not "pop" and I wanted to point to the Pancolar because it was from the same era. I'm not comparing them both on 35mm. I am purely interested in an evaluation of the Biometar's micro-contrast on the full 6x6 frame.
I've always really liked my Volna. I've now had three zebra Biometars that were not nearly as sharp. At f4 they were performing as the Volna does wide-open. I like that the Volna can focus closer too. It's a much more versatile standard lens. I have a tough time believing I got three lemon Biometars that perform equally with each other.
I don't know what to take from my experiences. The general consensus seems to be if you have to money go for the Zeiss but the Volna is great lens too. If I stopped investigating now, my conclusion is that the Volna is cheaper AND better.
I wanted to give the Biometar one last chance with the purchase of a later MC version. I honestly don't think it can be sharper than my Volna but I do like the Zeiss look and wanted to see if maybe it held an advantage in that micro-contrast department. The zebras certainly didn't.


I think you will not find big difference with Volna.
I had both the Volna 80 and the MC Biometar 80 and to me they looked similar. Neither of them did ever thrill me.
I don't want to sound like a snobbish guy (which I am not at all), but the only real difference I experienced using a medium format
standard lens happened when I first used the Planar 2/80 of Contax 645 system. With that lens, I have found the same brilliance
I was used to from the Zeiss small format lenses.
I expect the Hasselblad Planars to be similar to the Contax 645 lens (although slower).
Amongst the Pentacon Six lenses that I have tried, only the Flektogon 4/50 was somehow comparable to Zeiss small format lenses image quality.
Have you tried the Mir-38B f/3.5 65mm.?
Although not as good as the Planar, it's still way better than both the Volna and the Biometar, at least in my personal experience, and only slightly wider in FL.
After having sold all my Pentacon Six cameras, I only kept three P6 lenses, and the MIR-38B is one of them.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used the Mir 38: http://forum.mflenses.com/into-the-fog-stasia-mir-38-kiev-6c-new-portra-160-t45934,highlight,%2Bmir+%2B38.html
It is an incredible lens to be sure. I need to use it more, like pretty much all of my equipment.

Well, I'll try to get the biometar and see what comes from it. Thanks everyone!


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
Comparing medium format lenses with small format lenses on the common basis of a small format camera
always leads to a letdown about the medium format lenses.
The fact is simply that no medium format lens can really compete with a same level small format lens.
So Biometar (and Volna 80mm) can not stand a comparison with small format Pancolar, Pancolar wins hands down.
Medium format lenses should be evaluated on medium format film (or digital) only.

+1


PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a reason why medium format lenses don't perform as well on smaller formats?

I mean, the resolution isn't necessarily less, many medium format lenses can resolve 50lp/mm or more in the centre which is in line with a top 35mm format lens.

Are there other reasons I'm not thinking of?

I have tried a couple of Ross Xpress large format lenses on digital and they were sharp, one is an uncoated plasmat type with many air-glass interfaces so contrast was very low but it was very sharp, the other is coated and is very sharp with excellent colours and best of all, zero CA.


PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had the MC Biometer 80 and used it with APS-C sensor. First of all it totally lacked contrast wide open, where I like to shoot. At f/4 and beyond it had a very good contrast, but I did not experience a lot of Zeissy microcontrast 3D pop without some PPing.

/T


PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:

Medium format lenses should be evaluated on medium format film (or digital) only.


I don't understand the part or digital.
Why do you mean a medium format lens would perform poorly on 35mm film but perform fine on a sensor (APS, fullformat, etc.)?


PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Is there a reason why medium format lenses don't perform as well on smaller formats?

I'd also like to know.

Quote:
I mean, the resolution isn't necessarily less, many medium format lenses can resolve 50lp/mm or more in the centre which is in line with a top 35mm format lens.


The Phase One 81 MP digital back (54 x 40 mm; diagonal is 80% of the 60 x 60 mm format) has a pixel pitch of 5.2 microns which is not that much bigger than that (4.7 microns) of the 36 MP D800. One would hope that lenses which perform well on the MF format would also perform well on the smaller format. I don't know if they do - but some of the results of using MF lenses on the smaller format appear to be acceptable. There are some nice samples here.


PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sichko wrote:
iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Is there a reason why medium format lenses don't perform as well on smaller formats?

I'd also like to know.


Because in order to obtain finest details from a small format negative/sensor, the lenses need to be pushed to the limit of their possible resolving power.
This is why all the biggest efforts in lens engineering have taken place for small format lenses.
With medium format, all the expense of research and development, of rare and costly optical glass, are not needed, since pushing the lenses resolvance
to extreme limits is not necessary, because the size of the format does largely make up.
If you think of the surfaces of 135 and 120 film in absolute terms (number of millimeters available), instead of relative terms (number of lines per millimeter),
it is easy to guess that you can obtain from a medium format lens of average resolving power the same amount of detail printed on a same sized photographic paper
that you can obtain only using extreme quality lenses on small format camera.

Quote:
The Phase One 81 MP digital back (54 x 40 mm; diagonal is 80% of the 60 x 60 mm format) has a pixel pitch of 5.2 microns which is not that much bigger than that (4.7 microns) of the 36 MP D800.


The two systems are not comparable due to the enormous difference in the signal to noise ratio.


PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand your point Orio, but still, there exist many MF lenses that on paper are as good as anything on 35mm.

One example, the Kodak Special Anastigmat fitted to the Kodak Monitor Attila has, it achieves 78lp/mm central resolution, that's a 1940s lens, 4 element Tessar type. I can't find the page with the resolution statistic now, but they were pretty amazing. 78lp/mm is up there with things like the Contarex Planar 2/50. The Kodak Ektar 7.7 203mm reached 76lp/mm at f16, that's pretty damn sharp and you can have it on a 4x5 negative.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ForenSeil wrote:
I think microcontrast doesn't matter that much on medium-format
Microcontrast looks always high there

I would guess that the Biometar might have a little more microcontrast than the Volna but if there's a difference it's not that much.
I wouldn't care much about it - difference is very small and on 6x6 even smaller.

Generally Ian is right, old Zeiss lenses don't have the famous high microcontrast as the modern Zeiss lenses, especially not the ex-GDR (Zeiss Jena) ones.

I don't know when they startet to optimize their lenses for microcontrast.
Maybe Zeiss Oberkochen from that time might be more modern, but I think they only made 6x6 lenses for Hasselblad mount.

i compared Biometar 80/2.8 with Zeiss Planar 85/1.4(Contax/Yashica) on APS-C 10MP EOS 1000D. not scientific test.
Planar is clearly sharper-microcontrast meant. didnt compare bokeh yet. have also Volna 3/80/2.8 to compare.

must first check infinity of all my old zeiss oberkochen. adapterwise i prefer K+F concept. C/Y-EOS since its holding the zeiss and yashicas very well and goes beyond infinity. yes i adjusted this with taping. adding chip is another task since it needs 0.3mm additional shim beside the L-steel(sold with the chip). i only trust Groundglass.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

torbod wrote:
I have had the MC Biometer 80 and used it with APS-C sensor. First of all it totally lacked contrast wide open, where I like to shoot. At f/4 and beyond it had a very good contrast, but I did not experience a lot of Zeissy microcontrast 3D pop without some PPing.

/T

Biometar. Best is forgetting all Jenas. compared to oberkochen. Yes i also meant the highly praised 180/2.8 sonnar. It may have a special bokeh but only under good conditions. when light is difficult there is only one solution Zeiss Oberkochen. I am speaking of old lenses. a photopro who had to switch from Contax/Zeiss to Nikon told under difficult light Zeiss is better. but meanwhile als nikon learnt. and: earlier even the Zeiss were not at top-level since they were not allowed to produce highest possible quality for consumer market. AND. There is no difference in C/C between FF and MF(Hasselblad)lenses Zeiss told. if there are differences then its film-flatness-problem. for Pentacon Six, Kiev 60 there is a workaround with tape on filmpressure plate.check baierfoto.de. Never use standard thick plastic 120-35mm-adapter in Kiev 60 and similar cams. check kievforum delphiforums for that. get metallic slim one.