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01-19-2008, 09:07 PM   #1
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da* 50-135mm or voigtlander 125mm macro

Hi,

I am looking for a sharp mid-tele. My Sigma 18-200m was good priced but not sharp enough and too slow in long end. I was aiming at DA* 50-135mm (US$800). However, my friend told me that he can get a Voigtlander 125mm Macro for me for the same price. I did some research on the Internet, the Voigtlander has no negative reviews and it is very hard to get one now. The DA* 50-135mm has mixed reviews, some said that it is perfect, while some complained about its contrast being too strong and color looks dull comparing to the old FA* 80-200 and the limiteds. May be it is not fair to compare, but I havn't see a shoot from the DA* that can be compared to the Voigtlander in terms of sharpness.

In terms of usefulness, they both looks attractive to me, but I can only pick one due to $$$.
DA* 50-135mm: useful zoom range, weather proof, sharp but contrast too strong. I was told if I get this lens then I won't need to buy a 77mm ltd as the IQ are very close.
Voigtlander 125mm: It produced the sharpest photos I've ever seen on the Web, has 1:1 Macro, but manual focus, and probably not an everyday lens compare to the DA*.

Does anyone has both of them? For the same price, is the Voigtlander a better buy then the DA*? Thanks.

01-19-2008, 09:21 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWL Quote
Hi,

I am looking for a sharp mid-tele. My Sigma 18-200m was good priced but not sharp enough and too slow in long end. I was aiming at DA* 50-135mm (US$800). However, my friend told me that he can get a Voigtlander 125mm Macro for me for the same price. I did some research on the Internet, the Voigtlander has no negative reviews and it is very hard to get one now. The DA* 50-135mm has mixed reviews, some said that it is perfect, while some complained about its contrast being too strong and color looks dull comparing to the old FA* 80-200 and the limiteds. May be it is not fair to compare, but I havn't see a shoot from the DA* that can be compared to the Voigtlander in terms of sharpness.

In terms of usefulness, they both looks attractive to me, but I can only pick one due to $$$.
DA* 50-135mm: useful zoom range, weather proof, sharp but contrast too strong. I was told if I get this lens then I won't need to buy a 77mm ltd as the IQ are very close.
Voigtlander 125mm: It produced the sharpest photos I've ever seen on the Web, has 1:1 Macro, but manual focus, and probably not an everyday lens compare to the DA*.

Does anyone has both of them? For the same price, is the Voigtlander a better buy then the DA*? Thanks.
I don't have both of them, but I do have the 50-135 DA*, and it is a superb lens. I don't need the macro as I have a SMCP-M 100/4 which is also extremely sharp. They have different uses - analyze your photo preferences and decide based on that.
01-19-2008, 10:40 PM   #3
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How you define "better buy"? Utmost in quality ignoring the restriction of only one focal length (or a couple if you use TCs) and needing to always manually focus (unless you use the 1.7x AF TC which I've used with it to much success)? Or very good quality, and flexibility, with some quirks? (which I won't go into, as it will all by regurgitated of things I read, that you've read no doubt)

Personally, I feel the DA* is 'more' for your money thus a better buy, but that's as I define it. But that's not where I put my money, after seeing the images in the Voigtlander appreciation thread and other places. It's the near lack of CAs & purple fringing that did it for me.

And personally, I feel the Voigtlander is the most 'contrasty' lens I have. I always though high contrast was a very good thing. It's the only lens I have that I most always have to put contrast on 0 in Lightroom converting RAW to JPEG. I didn't catch those discussions regarding the DA*tho so I'm not sure what the issue is.

Last edited by m8o; 01-19-2008 at 10:45 PM.
01-20-2008, 08:11 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWL Quote
In terms of usefulness, they both looks attractive to me, but I can only pick one due to $$$.
DA* 50-135mm: useful zoom range, weather proof, sharp but contrast too strong. I was told if I get this lens then I won't need to buy a 77mm ltd as the IQ are very close.
Voigtlander 125mm: It produced the sharpest photos I've ever seen on the Web, has 1:1 Macro, but manual focus, and probably not an everyday lens compare to the DA*.

Does anyone has both of them? For the same price, is the Voigtlander a better buy then the DA*? Thanks.
I have both and they are both fantastic lenses. I recommend the DA*50-135mm if you can only get one right now. Unfortunately, I believe that the price on the Voigtländer will go up- and will only be available on the used market, when you can find one for sale.

The advantage of the DA*50-135mm is that the IQ is nothing to sneeze at, it is very good! It is also weatherproof and autofocus.

01-20-2008, 08:48 AM   #5
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Its a tough comparison because these two are so different. The DA* zoom with weather sealing and SDM focusing, and the voigtlander with all metal build and manual focus. speed wise they are similar, the vl having a very slight edge but not a big difference. The vl can do macro which the zoom cannot.

In terms of value, the zoom is more value of course, it is a very good zoom as far as zooms go and has a great package of sealing and sdm to make it very attractive.

in terms of IQ, the VL 125 is just so extremely good, at least my copy, and from the pictures, lots of other ones too. Nevermind the zoom, I dont know any other prime that maches it either, it is the best lens available for PKA mount imo, am sure others will protest to that though . I am looking for primes that match it though, so I can get them. But the DA* is also superb and its not a fair comparison we are doing here, note also that the DA* is best around 50 and "worst" around 135 so in a direct comparison you are comparing the weak side of the DA*.

I think in your case I would say go with the zoom. If you are unsure about manual focus as well. I dont mind it but I have a split prism focusing screen. You wont complain about the IQ of the zoom (unless you get a dud, which you can exchange)

get the DA*...
01-20-2008, 04:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies!

I decided to get the DA*! I probably won't need to get any prime in this range if I purchase this lens, (at least for a while I guess...). I already has the 43mm ltd for portrait/low light and am quite happy with the Sigma 10-20mm for wide, so I will be waiting for the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 for my next purchase.

Actually my friend is tempting me to get the Voigtlander SL 125mm, may be he wants to borrow from me if I got it... I dunno why they closed its production, if it is $600 as mensioned on the photozone review, then I might go for it without too much consideration. May be Cosina is upgrading it to version 2? Just like SL II 40mm f/2?

Andrea, you mensioned about a split prism focusing screen. Is it for K10D? and how much does it cost? I tried to use the MF on 43mm ltd, but it is not easy particularly in low light.
01-20-2008, 05:48 PM   #7
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Good on you, get te DA* and be happy with it, dont think twice about your decision once you have made it

I belive the 125 is now 800$ because of low supply.

I use a split prism for the k10d yes. It was cheap but it was a one time sale from an online auction site. There are some alternatives now, such as katz eye and haoda etc. There was recently. this is a whole other issue and you can read about this in this thread amongst others: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/18413-new-focusing-screen.html
01-20-2008, 08:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWL Quote
I decided to get the DA*!
Good choice! You will not regret it. I took mine out to the zoo today and took some photos. I am constantly amazed how clear and sharp this lens is!

Here is a quick example:



Last edited by TomInJax; 01-21-2008 at 06:00 AM.
01-21-2008, 05:23 AM   #9
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Voigtlander 125 macro produces the look that some zooms would not do at all.

This shot is very surreal. But you were pretty close to the thing right ?
01-21-2008, 05:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
This shot is very surreal. But you were pretty close to the thing right ?
Not THAT close! We didn't have to run for our lives!!!

I would guess that we were about 200 feet (60 meters) away from the beast. He was looking for something to play with and I was happy to be out of reach on a viewing platform.
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