the uncoated lens and the filtration benefits of? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have read many comments regarding using uncoated lenses. Some people claim good results with black and white but unsatisfied wwhen shooting color, stating washed out low contrast etc.

Q: would one of these older uncoated lenses benefit from a polarizer, possibly a warming filter or color enhancing filters (what exactly is a color enhancing filter anyway? do they work?)

I am sure this question has been asked before but I could find no traces of it. Thanks, (my pockets are not as deep as many others on this list. I often shop old innexpensive lenses, currently looking for a 240-270 for portraiture)

-- paul schuster (, April 11, 2000


I use a polarizer often with uncoated lenses, and they are just as effective as with a coated lens.

-- Ron Shaw (, April 11, 2000.

The "washed out" look of color with uncoated lenses is due to internal flare which reduces contrasts; in black and white one compensates for it by slight overdevelopment. For color where you have no control over the development, you can either use a more contrasty film or change the lighting. Actually, since most outdoor scenes are too contrasty for color films, the "fault" may even help -- not however for controlled studio light.

Use of a good (i.e. deep) lens hood will solve most of the flare problem from uncoated lenses unless you are shooting into the light. I have some great side-lite snow scenes shot in very bright weather using an uncoated Tessar which print very well on normal grade paper in spite of the blinding glare.

-- John Lehman (, April 11, 2000.

Paul: Uncoated lenses can at times be beneficial. The internal flare can boost the light level in the shadows. I think what may acturally happen is the internal flare brings the exposure level in the shadows above the threshold of the film. I have noticed increased shadow detail in several shots made outdoors. Some of the lenses, such as the Tessar formula, are quite contrasty whether coated or not. As long as you use a good lens shade and don't shot directly into the sun, uncoated lenses can do a great job. All of the great photographs made before the late 1930s or early 1940s were made with uncoated lenses. When used with color, the internal flare can cause a color cast from the scene surrounding the main subject. An uncoated lens ought to be great for portraits. Look at the work of the great Hollywood portrait photographers.

-- Doug Paramore (, April 11, 2000.

I've also found some interesting color shifts with old lenses, especially when using Polacolor film. I had one old Wollensak that always leaned toward green; I suppose a magenta CC filter would have fit the bill.

-- Chad Jarvis (, April 12, 2000.

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