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180-200mm f2.8 Jena, Minolta, Isco and Nikkor
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:58 am    Post subject: 180-200mm f2.8 Jena, Minolta, Isco and Nikkor Reply with quote

I was able to score a Nikkor 180mm 2.8 ED which had "cleaning marks" for 80$ so i took some quick comparison shots of my 180-200 fast Tele lenses if anyone is interested. I mainly collect them because the design and quality of these lenses are really impressive and they are very cheap compared to the 50mm-85mm lens range.

All lenses have been disassembled and cleaned so no dust ect.

Isco-Gottingen 180mm f 2.8 early version,

Some dirt and dust in cemented front lens group, spots on coating.

Minolta 200mm f2.8 APO early non high speed version

Traces from fungus removed on inner surface of front lens group

Zeiss Jena 180mm f2.8 Olympic

Spots on front and rear lens coating

Nikkor 180mm f2.8 ED

Cleaning marks ended up looking like someone cleaned the rear element with sandpaper, front element has several scratches ( if anyone has seen or heard of anyone with a junk or parts Nikkor 180 2.8 I would be very interested in the rear lens !).

Set of full resolution photos and additional shots can be seen at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmENACZp I didn't want to make this post too long.

All shots on tripod, daylight white balance, aperture priority -.25 EV no edits at all, just conversion from RAW. One surprising result was that the Isco lens had a much higher shutter speed than the other lenses, like it was letting in much more light at f2.8, can anyone explain this?

Isco-Gottingen @ 2.8





Zeiss Jena Olympic 180mm f2.8 @ 2.8





Nikkor 180mm f 2.8 ED @ 2.8





Minolta 200 2.8 APO @ 2.8





To my eye the Minolta 200 is still the clear front runner which is not surprising, I think the Nikkor is close behind followed closely by the Isco with the Jena a distant fourth. What do you guys think? Either way these old lenses are really impressive and perform surprisingly well against newer glass.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The results for the Nikkor 180mm f2.8 ED don't look half bad for a damaged lens!

Can you post a photo of this sanded rear element?


PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sure, here are a couple pictures. The two pictures also are a good illustration of how easy it is to hide scratches by getting a good reflection off the coating. Seems like you see that a lot in online advertisements. i knew it was scratched but this is probably enough to hurt IQ, at least the ED part is in the front element so I can use any 180 2.8 rear element as far as I know. It does take pretty good pictures, even in back lit scenarios.





PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that's a bad rear element. Sorry. You're right though, it shouldn't be too hard to swap it out if you can find a replacement.

What's your opinion about the weight and handling of these lenses? How do they compare in that regard?


PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all those hidden cleaning marks, you had to be pleasantly surprised to find out the IQ on the Nikkor was still better than the Jena. At least it doesn't glow as much wide open.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KEO wrote:
Wow, that's a bad rear element. Sorry. You're right though, it shouldn't be too hard to swap it out if you can find a replacement.

What's your opinion about the weight and handling of these lenses? How do they compare in that regard?


As far as handling goes, I would say

1. Nikkor, feels like a normal manual focus tele lens, a little heavy but that is to be expected.

2 Minolta very close behind the Nikkor, Much lighter and well balanced but the focus ring is not dampened and a very short throw since it was designed as an AF lens.

3 Jena, not very fun to use just because of the massive size and weight of the lens, also the focus ring has an extremely large diameter like its meant for a giant.

4. the Isco is terrible. Not only is it an Exakta External mount lens and much heavier than the Jena, but the front lens group is extremely heavy. Solid glass about the size of a baseball and you have to rotate it and the aperture ring to focus.

The main reason I keep the Isco and Jena are just because they are such interesting old lens designs and have a unique rendering with enough aperture blades to always keep the highlights round, not because they are any fun to use...


PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:
KEO wrote:
Wow, that's a bad rear element. Sorry. You're right though, it shouldn't be too hard to swap it out if you can find a replacement.

What's your opinion about the weight and handling of these lenses? How do they compare in that regard?


As far as handling goes, I would say

1. Nikkor, feels like a normal manual focus tele lens, a little heavy but that is to be expected.

2 Minolta very close behind the Nikkor, Much lighter and well balanced but the focus ring is not dampened and a very short throw since it was designed as an AF lens.

3 Jena, not very fun to use just because of the massive size and weight of the lens, also the focus ring has an extremely large diameter like its meant for a giant.

4. the Isco is terrible. Not only is it an Exakta External mount lens and much heavier than the Jena, but the front lens group is extremely heavy. Solid glass about the size of a baseball and you have to rotate it and the aperture ring to focus.

The main reason I keep the Isco and Jena are just because they are such interesting old lens designs and have a unique rendering with enough aperture blades to always keep the highlights round, not because they are any fun to use...


HA! That's about the order I expected, but I had no idea the Isco was so heavy. Good to know.

Thanks again for this comparison. I really like this focal length and speed combination, and I love old Zeiss and Isco lenses, and I have the Nikkor as you know.

I'm going to be satisfied with my Nikkor, I think.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Nikkor is a great lens for sure, I’m not sure if it will replace the Minolta unless I get the rear element replaced, even then the across frame sharpness on the Minolta is much better wide open. I doubt I will ever get one but I think it’s real competition would be the Zeiss Contax 180 2.8...

I think the one upside for the Isco even though it is a pain to use is just how well it is corrected for CA being so old, really impressive design. it is much like the Isco 135 2.8 in this regard. The Isco 135 2.8 to my eye has much less CA even than a Zeiss Contax MM 135 2.8 I had and much less than any of the Japanese lenses I have such as the Takumar 135 2.5 and Minolta 135 2.8’s.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:

Most scratches on the surface of a lens are just "beauty defects" and do not affect the performance of the lens. Note in the photo above that the reflections at the edges of the lenses are probably more important than the scattering of light by the fine scratches on one of the lens surfaces.





Who does not have much experience with photo lenses is easily impressed when he first does a "flashlight test":


Who does not know yet, maybe would like to read Ken Rockwell's article on the "flashlight test":
https://kenrockwell.com/tech/flashlight-test.htm


In the end, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", ie, use the lens to see in practice if the scratches have any visible effect on the image. Most of the time, the scratches are just ... beauty defects!


PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:
The Nikkor is a great lens for sure, I’m not sure if it will replace the Minolta unless I get the rear element replaced, even then the across frame sharpness on the Minolta is much better wide open. I doubt I will ever get one but I think it’s real competition would be the Zeiss Contax 180 2.8...

I think the one upside for the Isco even though it is a pain to use is just how well it is corrected for CA being so old, really impressive design. it is much like the Isco 135 2.8 in this regard. The Isco 135 2.8 to my eye has much less CA even than a Zeiss Contax MM 135 2.8 I had and much less than any of the Japanese lenses I have such as the Takumar 135 2.5 and Minolta 135 2.8’s.



Good points all around!

Time to Check out the Isco. I am a sucker for native CA correction.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gerald wrote:
Mr.Bittacy wrote:

Most scratches on the surface of a lens are just "beauty defects" and do not affect the performance of the lens. Note in the photo above that the reflections at the edges of the lenses are probably more important than the scattering of light by the fine scratches on one of the lens surfaces.





Who does not have much experience with photo lenses is easily impressed when he first does a "flashlight test":


Who does not know yet, maybe would like to read Ken Rockwell's article on the "flashlight test":
https://kenrockwell.com/tech/flashlight-test.htm


In the end, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", ie, use the lens to see in practice if the scratches have any visible effect on the image. Most of the time, the scratches are just ... beauty defects!


Gerald, good point! Maybe I am overreacting to the rear scratches a little.. Its hard to tell without a mint example to compare directly to it.. it seems like there may be some haze or drop in contrast when I shoot in harsh backlighting but I don’t have a good reference..

I don’t mind buying a scratched lens if I plan on keeping it because like you say they usually work just fine and you can get a great deal... The downside is how scratches kill the resale value if you decide to sell the lens...


PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blazer0ne wrote:


Good points all around!

Time to Check out the Isco. I am a sucker for native CA correction.


If you are interested In the 135 mm this is the version I have, I cant say anything about the other versions. The feeling I got from people is that they went down hill after they went plastic but I am not an ISCO expert at all, I'm sure there are some guys on here that could explain the models. I included a couple shots, the one with the purple flowers was impressive to me because usually when I try to take pictures of them they fringe pretty bad and it is hard to correct because of their color.





2.8 @ MFD



4.0 @ Infinity



PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 180-200mm f2.8 Jena, Minolta, Isco and Nikkor Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:
One surprising result was that the Isco lens had a much higher shutter speed than the other lenses, like it was letting in much more light at f2.8, can anyone explain this?

I have seen similar effects when using un-coated lenses for high-contrast scenery: The shadows are lightened up and appear quite a bit brighter, compared to images taken with a modern multi-coated lens. This effects the light metering system of any multi-metering camera.


Mr.Bittacy wrote:

To my eye the Minolta 200 is still the clear front runner which is not surprising, I think the Nikkor is close behind


I only have the two AF versions (MinAF 2.8/200 APO HS and Nikkor AF 2.8/180mm ED). The Nikkor has visibly stronger CAs and less contrast wide open - not surprising at all since the Nikkor has only one ED lens while the Minolta AF APO has two AD lenses. In addition the Nikon ED glass in the 2.8/180mm ED has Abbé number of 80, while the Minolta AD glass has a higher Abbé number of 83.

Mr.Bittacy wrote:

followed closely by the Isco with the Jena a distant fourth. What do you guys think? Either way these old lenses are really impressive and perform surprisingly well against newer glass.

While I've never seen the ISCO, there's a nice vintage Sonnar 2.8/180mm (first computation) in my collection. I have adapted it to my Sony A900, and i really like it for b/w street photography. Lots of detail, low contrast, a bit of "glow", and precise, smooth manual focusing ...

Stephan


PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen, thanks for the good info! I didn’t think about different lens coatings and how that could effect light transmission and therefore the shutter speed... Good info on the Nikkor and Minolta too, that would explain why the Minolta still seems to have a noticeable lead on the Nikkor ED. I really like the Minolta but focusing it manually is not a very enjoyable experience...


PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been taking a few shots with the Nikkor 180 2.8 ED, I think that the rear element scratching will be just fine, pretty good quality. Plus it is much easier to manually focus than the Minolta 200 2.8 APO allowing me to focus on fast moving objects. Some samples, most of the birds were cropped as well.













PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent!

Like 1 small


PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:
I've been taking a few shots with the Nikkor 180 2.8 ED, I think that the rear element scratching will be just fine, pretty good quality. Plus it is much easier to manually focus than the Minolta 200 2.8 APO allowing me to focus on fast moving objects. Some samples, most of the birds were cropped as well.


Great shots!

I know that from the first time I started using my 180 Nikkor ED 2.8 I was thinking how great were the overall feel and ergonomics. It's a joy to shoot with that lens. I love the focus ring, and I don't normally like focus rings with rubber grips.

I'm still sorry about your rear element, but it doesn't seem to have harmed your shots. I wonder whether it would give you problems in bright light or some similar situation.


PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real test would be a side by side with an undamaged version of course. My guess is with that much damage you would get noticeable degradation to contrast. I picked up a Minolta AF 200 APO 2.8 for not too much with a similar, though not as egregious, story. Sold on an auction the barrel to protect the focus ring when using AF was badly scratched. It also had "coating damage". I scraped the remaining paint off with my fingernail and the coating damage was barely noticeable. Looks and works excellent now. Like the OP I don't really care for the extremely short focus throw when using in manual mode but it has a really great IQ.


PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'm honestly surprised that that Nikkor is providing such good photos, considering the condition of its rear element. I know from personal experience, however, that the front element can take a severe amount of abuse and the image won't be affected at all.

I've told this story here before, but I'm gonna go ahead and tell it again because it is pertinent to the topic here. I've owned only one Nikkor 180/2.8 ED and I bought it from a working photojournalist. I got it for a great price because it was in amazingly bad condition. That lens looked like it had been dragged behind a car on a rope. The exterior was heavily scarred and scratched, plus the front element had about a 1 sq cm gouge take out of it, a really deep chunk was missing. About the only part of the lens that wasn't totally messed up was the rear element, which was still in good condition. But I tell you what -- that lens was an amazing performer. It was without question, the sharpest, contrastiest lens I owned back then.

I took this at an air show back in about 1990. This is WWII P-47 ace, Paul Conger, posing in front of his own P-47. Nikon F2A, Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED, Fujichrome 100.


Parked right next to Conger's P-47 was a US Navy A-6 Intruder. Same camera, same lens, same film. I've always felt this image rivals a digital image in sharpness and clarity. Note Garfield.


PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1


PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was also surprised that the lens is performing this well, there are also scratches and a good gouge on the front element.. really makes me want to try the 300mm 4.5 ED lens... I think the fact I use an L bracket on the camera really makes it feel more balanced...

I didn’t think I would use anything other than the Minolta but the experience of using this Lens is just so much better and I think the pictures are comparable, mainly because it is harder to get the fast manual focus with the Minolta, I’m usually a tiny bit off and much slower...

Those are some good pix with the nikkor cooltouch, really showcase the lens and your skill..

The Sagebrush Mariposa Lily shot was near backlight conditions, I’ll have to take some more backlit shots and see how it does, I took a few landscape shots at f8 into the sun and there was a significant amount of veiling haze and loss of contrast, it seems to be fine at wide aperture and closer range...

Now I just need to force myself to use the Gottingen and get some walk around pictures... the Ergos are just so horrendous...


PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:
I didn’t think I would use anything other than the Minolta but the experience of using this Lens is just so much better and I think the pictures are comparable, mainly because it is harder to get the fast manual focus with the Minolta, I’m usually a tiny bit off and much slower...


I've seen you're using the A7 II. How do you adapt the Minolta lens? I'm using quite many Minolta AF lenses on my A7R II with the LA-EA4 and the AF is quite nice and fast.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve just been using a cheap aluminum adapter and focusing and controlling the aperture manually, I only have the 20mm 2.8 and 200mm 2.8 and every time I get money in the camera fund I end up finding another lens I need to get instead of the LA-EA4..


PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some walking around the yard shots with the Isco-Gottingen 180 2.8 for comparison, all wide open, there is a small amount of CA. I really want to dislike this lens because it is so awkward but the rendering is just too pleasing to my eye. Not as sharp as the Nikkor but I feel like the shots have a certain "feeling" to them. Will have to use it more often to get some better shots.












PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr.Bittacy wrote:
Some walking around the yard shots with the Isco-Gottingen 180 2.8 for comparison, all wide open, there is a small amount of CA. I really want to dislike this lens because it is so awkward but the rendering is just too pleasing to my eye. Not as sharp as the Nikkor but I feel like the shots have a certain "feeling" to them. Will have to use it more often to get some better shots.


I have a similar "problem" with my Minolta AF 2.8/200mm APO vs Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8/180mm (early version for Exakta). Of course the Minolta has better contrast / colors and less CAs, but for b/w street photography i often prefer the Zeiss.

S