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Related: APO, Brian Caldwell, Coastal Optics, Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO-Macro, macro, optics
Full review of the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO MACRO is found in DAP.
The Coastal Optics 60/4 UV-VIS-IR APO macro is a reference lens for other lenses, and uniquely capable of imagery across the UV/visible/IR spectral bands simply not possible with any other lens available today. On a scale of 1 to 5, it is a 5+.
Update May 2012: the Coastal 60/4 shows some weakness until f/8. This is easily observed on cameras like the Nikon D3x or Nikon D800. This is unfortunate because f/5.6 is already limiting peak performance on the 36-megapixel Nikon D800.
Lens designer Brian Caldwell states:
The coma and oblique spherical disappear quickly on stopping down, which is why performance in the extreme corner suddenly gets great at f/8. If the problem were truly field curvature then the improvement would be much more gradual.
While the price of the Coastal 60/4 APO is high in absolute terms, its value in relation to the unprecedented and unique capabilities it offers is in line with other specialty lenses (unless one is pricing lenses by the pound/kilogram!).
Paying for the unique capabilities of the Coastal 60/4 is no different in principle than paying US$4500 for Nikon’s 300/2.8 AF-S VR or US$8000 for the 500/4 VR—such lenses are designed to perform for specific uses, and those needing them (sports and wildlife photographers) realize that fact. The mental hangup comes from expecting a $4500 lens to weigh 6-10 pounds and be huge and heavy, which is a silly way to evaluate the value! The Coastal 60/4 is a a diamond among lesser optical gems, and worth its price.
Coastal should supply a lens hood with the 60/4, perhaps simply obtaining a supply of the 52mm B+W rubber telephoto lens hoods.
Coastal could broaden the market appeal of the 60/4 by offering a Canon-mount version, even if it were to be via a (certified-compatible) adapter option.
Coastal should offer filter options with the 60/4, eg those for UV and IR and visible usage on full-spectrum and/or modified cameras.
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Both Amazon and B&H carry the B+W 092 filter in various sizes. Search for “B+W 092”.