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UV-Nikkor 105/4.5 vs. EL-Nikkor 105/5.6 - surprising results?

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#1 Adrian

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 09:37

I have, after many years of trying, been lent a UV Nikkor, 105mmf/4.5 (thank you JMC!) ,and have shot images to directly compare with an elderly 105mm El Nikkor. The results shown here, are straight from the camera - no editing at all.

Technical specs: Nikon D300 full spectrum conversion, 400 ISO. Baader U filter. 2 x full spectrum converted Metz flash guns. All images at f/8
The UV Nikkor is the left hand image, the El Nikkor on the right.

There is little difference between them, maybe a half stop density difference, and slight colour shift. The UV Nikkor is definitely sharper when viewed at high magnification. I have read, been told, and indeed written, that the UV Nikkor is 2 - 3 stops effectively faster than an El Nikkor. Are these results surprising to members, or as expected?

Attached Images

  • Attached Image: sarracenia comp lo res 1.jpg
  • Attached Image: rudbeckia lo res comp 1.jpg
  • Attached Image: N. reinwardtiana comp lo res.jpg

Adrian Davies
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#2 nfoto

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:03

This shoot-out may reflect more on the UV source than the UV capability of the specified lenses.

I would expect little difference between a UV-Nikkor and any lens capable of dealing with say 380-390 nm band. If the UV illumination on the other hand delivers enough deeper down in the UV range *and* the camera is capable of recording it, the difference should be much bigger.

Under my studio settings using two Broncolor studio units with uncoated Xenon tube, the difference between specialist UV lenses such as the UV-Nikkor or CO 60/4 to the better non-specialist lenses might be 1-2 stops if only exposure is considered. However, non-specialist in UV will not deliver full sharpness wide open and really need to be stopped down. Thus the effective difference easily increases to 3 stops or more.

#3 Adrian

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:37

Yes, that makes sense - thank you! I have not been able to test the output from my flash guns.
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#4 Andrea B.

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 15:35

In a general sense, not surprising. The EL-Nikkor 105/ is a Nikon lens after all, so it is well-made and sharp. And we know enlarger lenses are corrected for UV in the upper range. And that is where most of our efforts in general reflected UV photography lie.

For reflected UV between 350-400 nm, lenses like the UV-Nikkor 105/4.5 or CO60/4.0 are great, but they are not mandatory. If anyone begins to seriously explore the 330-350 nm waveband, then the UV-Nikkor 105/4.5 might prove more useful than the EL-Nikkor 105.

Thank you for this excellent test. I'm going to link it in the Lens Sticky.

Editor's Note: Adrian, I added focal length and lens speed details to your title so that this post will be more searchable. I also added a "UV Lens" tag. I hope these edits are OK?
Andrea G. Blum
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#5 Adrian

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 15:39

Of course!
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#6 Andrea B.

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 17:34

Merci, mon cher.
Andrea G. Blum
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#7 Cadmium

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 18:36

Looking at the Rudbeckia comparison, you seem to be getting a little stronger/deeper 350/360nm transmission from the UV-Nikkor, and that 'yellow-ish-ness' can be seen slightly more in the raw image,
but the two shots are so close that once white balanced, you wouldn't see any difference. I only really see that slight difference in the Rudbeckia shots, maybe a little in the top set.

Edited by Cadmium, 23 August 2018 - 18:37.


#8 dabateman

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 11:52

I would say test in direct sun light to really know. As Nfoto said you are more likely challenging the light source.


#9 NA_joey

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 23:41

I wonder what my Costal Optics 105mm f4.5 APO UV lens looks in comparison... i have never seen a comparison too the Nikon 105mm f4.5 UV....