Hello, I don't like to post on forums too much but I was asked to write about lenses a bit; someone I know is interested in buying the Nikon 105mm f/1.4. The other thread concerning element counts has a lot of posts in it and I felt it would be rude to start arguing with multiple posts at a time; it's easier for me to write one long post.
There are a few people (I'm not talking about any specific forum) that tend to dismiss what others have said because they're not a professional photographer or their work isn't very good. I tend to follow a "formula 1 racing" style approach in that if I wanted to learn about engines, I'd be more inclined to speak to the techie guy that repairs engines rather than the guy that drives the car. If I wanted to know about handling, that'd be a different story altogether. I'm not an expert photographer but I do know a bit about science, optics, lenses and whatnot. Moreover, if an argument is valid, then it is valid. I hope the fact I'm a nobody doesn't make you dismiss some of my arguments. You can try all of this yourself, but some of it you might have to research if you don't believe my claims e.g. radioactive materials were used in old lenses.
I was linked to an off putting video made by Theoria Apophasis. I haven't tried the lens in question; I cannot tell you if it has good micro-contrast. I can only say that this video should not be trusted. Ultimately his primary argument that the lens is bad, might be accurate; I have no way of knowing.
A high element count does not necessarily mean a low micro-contrast or low transmission lens.
Think of glass like a piece of wood and a bullet (photon) has to go through it. You could have ten extremely thin planks of wood and a bullet would have no trouble going through all of them. If you had one plank of wood that's twenty times thicker than all of them put together, the bullet might struggle. In this instance, it is the volume of wood rather than the quantity of wood that defines whether or not the bullet can penetrate.
With glass, there's also the complication of the chemicals used to make the glass and to coat the glass. You could have an equal amount of elements and an equal volume of glass but one lens would perform substantially better than the other if its inherent proprieties were better.
If you research old, obsolete lenses, you'll find various companies used Lanthanum and Thorium amongst other chemicals (Lanthanum is still used but it's 1/10,000 as radioactive as Thorium); this helps with refractive index. A Geiger counter will clarify the presence of a radioactive material. Companies don't just use Lanthanum or Lead, and they don't simply stick with one type of coating and leave things be; technology evolves. Lenses aren't just pieces of glass. Lenses are obviously different to wood and there are negatives (there are also positives) to multiple elements but my point here is that you cannot blindly assume a high element count lens will be a bad lens. If you haven't been told the volume of the glass, just what calculations would you be doing?
I've seen two photographs to demonstrate "poor micro-contrast" and in my opinion, they're an excellent photograph to debate. It is something the average person might look at and think "wow, look at the difference."