Dear Nikonians, I'm new here. I hope someone can help me with this frustrating problem:
I do a lot of landscape and architectural photography and happily use the following Nikkors, often shooting close to or even into the sun, without any serious flaring or ghosting to cope with : AIS 20mm f2.8 AFD 28mm f2.8 AFD 28-70 zoom f3.5-f4.5
I also have a second hand AF (non-D)version of the 24mm f2.8 which has reasonably good definition, although it is not up to the standards of the above lenses. However, this 24 mm lens flares and ghosts considerably more than I would wish for - unlike the other lenses. Very frustrating because the angle of view of this lens (82°) is essential in many photographic situations.
QUESTION: what do you suggest as a low-flare, low-ghosting 24mm lens that would fit my analogical Nikons ?
Does anyone know if the NIC coating on the 24mm AFD version is better in this respect ? Or the 24mm f2 AIS perhaps ?
Rupert, have you had a chance to check the inside of your 24mm carefully? I've owned 24mm 2.8 Nikkors for years: first a MF AIS and more recently an AF. They perform identically as far as I can tell and neither has a problem with flare.
Try shining a light in your lens and examining it for either spiderweb-like items on a lens surface (fungus) or some kind of cloudy residue. The latter might be something that can be cleaned off with a stronger lens cleaner like Eclipse (methanol) or its equivalent and a microfiber cloth if it's on either of the two outer surfaces. Fungus is usually harder to deal with. Both of these would reduce contrast and sharpness and increase flare.
Another thing to check: are you using a protective UV filter? If so, make sure it doesn't have any sort of film on either side of it. Sometimes there will be some out-gassing (not sure from where) that can be trapped between the lens and the filter; this problem is exacerbated if the filter is left on the lens all the time. If there is a film, remove it by careful cleaning as described above. Also, try shooting without a protective filter if you have one on the lens. It could have poor coatings and could be causing the problem.
The reason I suggest checking the above items is that the 24mm is an excellent lens in about every way I can imagine. I wouldn't suggest replacing a 24mm 2.8 with one of the others to improve optical performance or flare characteristics, at least not in general. It should be as good or better than the other lenses.
Dear Rick, Now this sounds really helpful to me. Thanks for those tips.
I don't use any filters on my lenses because most modern films (I use Agfa RSX II and Fugi Velvia ) incorporate anti/uv layers.
Leitz forbids Leica users to mount filters on their lenses because the extra, uncalculated glass reduces optimum performance, they say. I'm sure the same principle should apply to our high quality Nikkor lenses . The only filters I occasionally use are polarisers and graduated greys to reduce the bright Tuscan skies to a readable level.
I shall take your advice and check the lens under a powerful light. If I cannot see anything obvious myself (my eyesight ain't that good nowadays) I'll have the excellent Nikon service fellowship in Florence do a thorough checkup and, if necessary, dismantle it for cleaning.
I've got the late version of the 24 F2.8 AIS. The SIC on the lens elements I feel really help with the flare as I understand that's what SIC was engineered for. It's a great lens that Galen Rowell used a lot. That's a pretty good reference.