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09-26-2007, 11:02 PM   #1
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Opinion on macros - A*200/4, SL125/2.5 or ZK100/2?

Ladies and gentlemen of the forum if I may ask, has anyone had the pleasure of trying all three of these? I'm told the ZK is available through popflash now. The price of the Voigtlander SL 125/2.5 APO seems to give it a distinct advantage, though supply is dwindling. Will the Zeiss show the value in its additonal cost in use or is the 125 a steal? Is the A* different enough to entertain among these?

FWIW, I've enjoyed reading through the archives of your use of the 200 and the 125, but the 100/2 has yet to be compared amongst the group. I'm thinking for budgets sake, I'd like to find the 'best' of the three - the most versatile/sharpest. I've read all the stats, now for the opinions!

Thanks in advance.

09-26-2007, 11:37 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by thePiRaTE!! Quote
Ladies and gentlemen of the forum if I may ask, has anyone had the pleasure of trying all three of these? I'm told the ZK is available through popflash now. The price of the Voigtlander SL 125/2.5 APO seems to give it a distinct advantage, though supply is dwindling. Will the Zeiss show the value in its additonal cost in use or is the 125 a steal? Is the A* different enough to entertain among these?
I've had the luck to try an FA 200/4, which is a wonderful lens, sharp as a knife and very easy to use -- at least, as easy as a 200mm macro lens can get . Unfortunately, the hefty price asked by the seller made me cancel the deal. I sometimes regret not to have bought it.

I have since bought the Voigtländer 125/2.5 and 180/4 lenses. They are both very good lenses with superb build quality. The 125 is quite big and heavy but it allows 1:1 macro at 38cm from the subject. The 180 is much smaller and lighter than the 125, but it only focuses down to 1.2m for a ratio of 1:4, which is already quite good on a crop camera. Of course, both lenses are manual focusing only, which is not a big drawback for macro shooting anyway.

Here are two pictures taken with my Voigtländer 125/2.5 (the second picture is a crop from a photograph taken at 1:1; the bug was around 5mm long):





Cheers!

Last edited by Abbazz; 09-27-2007 at 05:43 AM.
09-27-2007, 06:07 AM   #3
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I guess the question is, how close to your subjects can you get? and how close you want to get?

the 200mm offers the same image size at a greater distance from the subject.

What I am not sure about, and someone who works with Macro and has had a chance to evaluate this further, is the difference in depth of field, for a given an image size, with each option. My feel is that the 200mm will have possibly a smaller depth of field, but someone should check
09-27-2007, 06:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My feel is that the 200mm will have possibly a smaller depth of field, but someone should check
Of course, the depth of field will be thinner with a 200mm than with a 125mm lens. The 200mm allows for greater distance between the lens and the subject, which is a good point for shy critters, but it is much more difficult to handhold than a 125mm or a 90mm. Even with a 125mm at 1:1, you will need a lot of sun or a good flash to shoot at 1:1 without increasing the ISO.

Cheers!

09-27-2007, 09:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the insight. One of the key things I'm hoping to realize is that, while the 125 and the 100 are technically and hitorically similar - in fact I've come to realize they are both built by Cosina in the same factory - they differ greatly in price. I'm wondering if the more than double price translates into more than double performance? The test shots from both seem impressive, is there a significant IQ gain between the Zeiss 100 vs the Voightlander125?

FWIW, it makes sense to me why the A* is expensive - supply and demand, but the 100 really must have something going for it at its price point, especially considering the relative bargain the 125 seems to represent?

Thanks.
09-27-2007, 09:39 AM   #6
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When it comes to macro lenses the thing that never gets talked about but is very important is the angle of view.

The longer the focal length the less the background will be included in the image. With a 200mm lens you can really isolate the subject and not have to worry about distracting background clutter. This is an especially important point for macro shots though it rarely gets mentioned. If you look at successful macro images, especially ones taken with a 200mm, you can see this effect quite clearly. This is why I prefer to use at least 90-105mm macro instead of a 50mm.

Another reason to use a longer lens for macro is the flattening of perspective. As far as I am concerned I am just taking a closeup portrait except the subject isn't a person. Not everyone will necessarily agree but all I'm saying is this is what works for me.
09-27-2007, 07:02 PM   #7
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I think the 100, 125, and 200 macros would all have the same depth of field IF image size is the same in each shot. Have the DFA 100 and soon the A*200. Would love to see the Voightlander. Doesn't the Zeiss only go to 1:2 magnification? If so would be no interest to me at all. I work at 1:1 and greater a lot. Even have Pentax bellows.
thanks
barondla
09-27-2007, 07:38 PM   #8
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True about the Zeiss, 1:2. Its darn fast for a macro though... After 24 hrs of agonizing I bought the Voightlander I'll add some samples to the very good ones already on display if I can make some half as nice.

FWIW, I was told that the main difference between the Voightlander and the Zeiss was cost alone, lol. I hope thats true as the Zeiss is coming out with a very high praise.

09-27-2007, 09:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by thePiRaTE!! Quote
After 24 hrs of agonizing I bought the Voightlander
Congrats. I don't think you'll regret it.

Cheers!
09-28-2007, 12:34 AM   #10
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FWIW, I stumbed on a thread that really made me feel good about this decision:

WTS: Lens - Voigtlander Macro Apo Lanthar 125mm f2.5 SL for Canon - ClubSNAP Photography Forums

Being that its 8 pages, I would summarize to say that pics are often breathtaking (credit to the photographer) and a contributor has gone to work for Cosina in Japan and watched them assemble - by hand - the Voightlanders and Zeiss on the same line with the same parts. The only difference is in the design recipe and coatings. Needless to say - I'm very pumped on my decsion. Thanks for the timely advice Abbazz!
09-28-2007, 02:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by thePiRaTE!! Quote
Thanks for the timely advice Abbazz!
You're very welcome. Thanks for the link, great pictures.

Cheers!
09-28-2007, 07:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote



Cheers!
Wow is that an aphid or something? Never seen one up close and detailed like that!
09-28-2007, 09:02 AM   #13
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Oh, I must as well add to the confusion and suggest this monster as well.. Vivitar 105mm f/2.5 Macro Series 1 user ratings
09-28-2007, 01:19 PM   #14
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I would suggest that it is a Greengrocer Cicada (or are they only Australian?). But as I say, only a suggestion.
09-28-2007, 04:37 PM   #15
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Spittlebug w/out the "spit" and not quite mature??????
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