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12-03-2010, 09:05 PM   #1
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Compare/Contrast: PENTAX-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR & Voigtlander 90mm F3.5

I am going to have as part of my kit one of these two lenses. I don't mind manual focus (I've done it that way the majority of my life), but AF is nice to have; and I don't need macro so much, the Voightlander's close focusing ability is good enough (though, again, macro at 100mm would be nice to have). Really what matters most to me, by far, is IQ. Does anyone have experience with both lenses who can compare and contrast their IQ?

Thanks,
Les


Last edited by les3547; 12-03-2010 at 11:50 PM.
12-03-2010, 10:09 PM   #2
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Les,
We (the Pentax community) have a great choice of lenses about 100mm:

Pentax D FA 100 f2.8 WR
Voigtlander 90mm f3.5
Sigma 105 mm
Tamron 90mm

All are regarded as great lenses. The Lens Users' review rating are impressive:

Pentax D FA 100 f2.8 WR: Rating = 9.80 (12 reviews)
Voigtlander 90mm f3.5: Rating = 10.0 (6 reviews)
Sigma 105 mm f2.8 EX: Rating = 9.50 (16 reviews)
Tamron 90mm f2.8 SP Di Macro: Rating = 9.33 (18 reviews)

Both the Sigma 105mm and Tamron 90 mm SP received a "Highly Recommended" award from www.photozone.de, while the Voigtlander 90mm received an impressive score (4.5 stars out of 5). (The Pentax 100mm WR is not tested at Photozone.de.)
Voigtlander SL 90mm f/3.5 APO Lanthar (Nikon) - Review / Test Report
Sigma AF 105mm f/2.8 EX macro DG (Nikon mount) - Review / Lab Test Report
Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report-

It is rare that we have such an awesome choice and variery of superb lenses for a focal length.

On a personal note, I have a Voigtlander (Nokton 58mm f1.4). I am very impressed by the lens' image quality (IQ), its solidity and the built quality. A real pleasure to use and superb shots. I read a similar story with the Voigtlander 90mm. In comparison, my Tamron 90mm feels like a 'plastic toy'.

Food for thoughts....
12-03-2010, 11:07 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Les,
We (the Pentax community) have a great choice of lenses about 100mm:

Pentax D FA 100 f2.8 WR
Voigtlander 90mm f3.5
Sigma 105 mm
Tamron 90mm

All are regarded as great lenses. The Lens Users' review rating are impressive:

Pentax D FA 100 f2.8 WR: Rating = 9.80 (12 reviews)
Voigtlander 90mm f3.5: Rating = 10.0 (6 reviews)
Sigma 105 mm f2.8 EX: Rating = 9.50 (16 reviews)
Tamron 90mm f2.8 SP Di Macro: Rating = 9.33 (18 reviews)

Both the Sigma 105mm and Tamron 90 mm SP received a "Highly Recommended" award from www.photozone.de, while the Voigtlander 90mm received an impressive score (4.5 stars out of 5). (The Pentax 100mm WR is not tested at Photozone.de.)
Voigtlander SL 90mm f/3.5 APO Lanthar (Nikon) - Review / Test Report
Sigma AF 105mm f/2.8 EX macro DG (Nikon mount) - Review / Lab Test Report
Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report-

It is rare that we have such an awesome choice and variery of superb lenses for a focal length.

On a personal note, I have a Voigtlander (Nokton 58mm f1.4). I am very impressed by the lens' image quality (IQ), its solidity and the built quality. A real pleasure to use and superb shots. I read a similar story with the Voigtlander 90mm. In comparison, my Tamron 90mm feels like a 'plastic toy'.

Food for thoughts....
Thank you for your insights. I hadn't investigated the Tamron or Sigma lenses -- interesting.

One thing that appeals to me about the Voightlander is its relative compactness and light weight. By the middle of next week I'll have my new Voightlander 58mm, so I will be able to experiment with it's manual focusing mechanics and IQ.

But I do also have trust in highly rated Pentax lenses. My thoughts about the Pentax D FA 100 f2.8 WR are that it seems to be a lot of lens considering it offers WR, AF and macro. Yet I would sacrifice all that if the Voightlander's IQ was superior.
12-03-2010, 11:16 PM   #4
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Check this thread for samples from the Voigtlander. Also this page.

If you care about the 1:1 macro, I'd say to go for one of the other lenses. The Pentax also has WR, if you need that. But otherwise, I'd go for the Voigtlander.

12-03-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
By the middle of next week I'll have my new Voightlander 58mm, so I will be able to experiment with it's manual focusing mechanics and IQ.
Les, you will enjoy your Voigtlander Nokton 58mm. A beauty!

When I bought for a 90-100mm lens, I consider all 4 lenses (Pentax 100mm WR, Sigma 105mm, Tamron 90mm and Voigtlander 90mm). Based upon prices and weight, I short-listed the Tamron and Voigtlander. I was tending for the Tamron because I was interested in a AF prime to complement the Nokton 58m (MF prime) to expand my experience, and I got a good deal with the Tamron. I am not disappointed by the Tamron's IQ, but I think that the Voigtlander 90mm is a very good choice if you do not need a large aperture (f2.8).
12-03-2010, 11:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Check this thread for samples from the Voigtlander. Also this page.

If you care about the 1:1 macro, I'd say to go for one of the other lenses. The Pentax also has WR, if you need that. But otherwise, I'd go for the Voigtlander.
I don't care so much about 1:1 macro (though I do own the 35mm Ltd. macro, as well as the Raynox 150). The Voightlander is "close focusing," and that is what I mostly do anyway when I am in a close up mood.

Thanks for your input. The Voightlander almost has a mystical appeal to me, and I have no idea why except something about the shots with it I've seen always please me.
12-04-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
The Voightlander almost has a mystical appeal to me, and I have no idea why except something about the shots with it I've seen always please me.
They are special - build is superb, only the Zeiss have similar build quality - I actually prefer their build to the Limiteds. Only the Pentax might come close from the lenses that were suggested above, but being an AF lens, it would not have the same smooth focusing mechanism. If you enjoy manual focusing, you'll love the Voigtlander.

My experience is based on the Nokton. The only reason I don't have this lens as well is because it was released recently and I already got this focal length covered with other options. But if it were available when I was looking for this focal length, it would have been my first choice.
12-04-2010, 08:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
If you enjoy manual focusing, you'll love the Voigtlander.
I often find myself turning off AF because I want the lens to more easily focus somewhere the AF point isn't; plus I like low light shots with long exposures, and AF has trouble with that.

One thing I worry about is if I can trust my eye. I was reading a post by someone who focused manually and when he processed his pictures found many out of focus. So far my eye seems okay, but I know a split screen is an option if not. Someone in some thread asked if a split screen affected the AF technology, but no one answered him. Do you know about this? Thanks.

Les

12-05-2010, 09:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Someone in some thread asked if a split screen affected the AF technology, but no one answered him. Do you know about this? Thanks.
I use a magnifier loupe, not a split screen. From what I know, split screens that are effective at wide apertures become ineffective when stopping down the lens, so that may affect AF at smaller diaphragm openings. But I have no direct experience - I considered focusing screens but just got the O-ME53 loupe.
12-06-2010, 07:18 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
One thing I worry about is if I can trust my eye. I was reading a post by someone who focused manually and when he processed his pictures found many out of focus. So far my eye seems okay, but I know a split screen is an option if not. Someone in some thread asked if a split screen affected the AF technology, but no one answered him. Do you know about this? Thanks.
Focus screens do not affect AF at all, but they can affect metering. AF sensors get their light from a portion that passes through the mirror (the AF sensors are in the bottom of the camera body). The rest of the light is reflected up through the focus screen, and the sensors that deal with metering are past that, so changing the focus screen can affect how the camera meters, depending on the scene.
12-06-2010, 07:41 AM   #11
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Great thread idea. I have the Voigt and have considered selling it to fund the D FA 100mm WR. Look forward to everyone's input here, to help with that decision.

But, as others have said, there is something special about the Voigt 90mm (and likely all Voigtlanders...this is my only experience though). I have been stunned by the results on my K-7. I find myself staring at even mundane test shots I've taken with the lens. I'm not a good enough photog to put in to words, I can only recommend you search flickr or flickriver for examples. I think you will see what others are talking about.

I struggle to consider parting with this lens, even though it shares the stable with my 85mm SMC Tak f1.8. I believe that also speaks volumes of it's special qualities.
12-06-2010, 08:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WiseOx Quote
Great thread idea. I have the Voigt and have considered selling it to fund the D FA 100mm WR. Look forward to everyone's input here, to help with that decision.

But, as others have said, there is something special about the Voigt 90mm (and likely all Voigtlanders...this is my only experience though). I have been stunned by the results on my K-7. I find myself staring at even mundane test shots I've taken with the lens. I'm not a good enough photog to put in to words, I can only recommend you search flickr or flickriver for examples. I think you will see what others are talking about.

I struggle to consider parting with this lens, even though it shares the stable with my 85mm SMC Tak f1.8. I believe that also speaks volumes of it's special qualities.
Of course I'm curious why, if you feel that way about the Voightlander, you'd consider trading it for the 100mm. Is it the WR feature or macro or . . .
12-06-2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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The 100 WR is really a great lens--it has the colour, contrast and bokeh you'd expect from some fancy MF lens

I posted shots from my old VL 90/3.5 in another thread here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/122750-voigtlander-90mm-lens.html, but here are some from the 100 Macro.



12-06-2010, 09:56 AM   #14
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Excellent question. My thought process is that I need to be more practical about what I'm really going to carry around in my bag. The 100mm WR will give me autofocus, WR, and proper macro.

I have too much stuff in this range. The 85mm Tak, the Sigma 70mm macro, the Voigt 90mm. Would never stick all 4 in my bag for an outing (should I get the 100mm WR). And while I like the Voigt 90, I find I use my Tak 85mm more....and she's faster, which is useful for indoor work as well. The Sigma is stunning as well....but heavy, and macro at 100mm is preferred

Bottom line, it's stiff competition for bag real estate. But, one of the major reasons I have not parted with the Voigt, is they have officially stopped making it in the Pentax mount. Worried I'll regret parting, and not find another.
12-06-2010, 10:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
The 100 WR is really a great lens--it has the colour, contrast and bokeh you'd expect from some fancy MF lens
Well, thanks a lot Farfisa . . . for adding more indecision to the pot! .

But now that you have with those are lovely shots from the 100 WR and, say, if you had to live with only one lens or the other, which would you choose?

Last edited by les3547; 12-06-2010 at 11:08 AM.
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