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02-16-2008, 09:42 PM   #1
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1 minute Voigtländer overview?

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Could someone in the know give a quick overview of the Voigtländer lens lineup? I'm interested in finding out more, but would like to start out with the very basics, like:

1) What/who are they? Own company, subsidiary, etc?

2) Are these only MF?

3) Looks like there's a 180/4 and a 125, what others for K mount?

4) Which are their best lenses?

5) Where do you buy these?




Thanks for any info!



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Last edited by jsherman999; 02-17-2008 at 05:32 PM.
02-16-2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
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Could someone in the know give a quick overview of the Voigtländer lens lineup? I'm interested in finding out more, but would like to start out with the very basics, like:

1) What/who are they? Own company, subsidiary, etc?

2) Are these only MF?

3) Looks like there's a 180/4 and a 125, what others for K mount?

4) Which are their best lenses?

5) Where do you buy these?

I see a 'cameraquest' sight, but it's got to be one of the most confusing, befuddled web sites I've seen in a while, and it's hard to determine what's even for sale. If Willy Wonka and Dr Suess started a web design business together that would be the result.
Voigtländer lenses are designed and built by Cosina (which is also currently licenced to use the Voigtländer name):

ƒtƒHƒNƒgƒŒƒ“ƒ_[-TOPƒy[ƒW

Voigtländer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Their lenses are MF only

Most of the old series SL lenses are no longer being built and stocks are depleted if not exhausted at most retail outlets. They are currently engaged in producing a new series of Carl Zeiss lenses which bear and similar resemblance to the Voigtländer SL lenses.

The 125 is an extraordinary lens which I can vouch for first hand, most of the other lenses also get pretty good user appraisals from what I've read.

cameraquest is Mr Gandy's site and though it's a mess I guess he has every right to present it whichever way he wishes. For what it's worth from my personal experience he is honest and very easy to deal with, that's all that counts in the end.
02-16-2008, 11:41 PM   #3
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Previous Lineup:
SL 75mm f2.5
SL 90mm f3.5
SL 180mm f4
SL 125mm f2.5

Current Linup:
SL II 40mm f2
SL II 58mm f1.4

photozone.de has reviews of all these, but not in pentax mount, still interesting read though.
02-17-2008, 02:03 AM   #4
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"Their lenses are MF only"

That's manual focus - not medium format.

"Most of the old series SL lenses are no longer being built and stocks are depleted if not exhausted at most retail outlets. They are currently engaged in producing a new series of Carl Zeiss lenses which bear and similar resemblance to the Voigtländer SL lenses."

The Zeiss lenses use different optical formulas to the voigtlander lenses. They are metal bodies and just top, top, quality. They are similar, if not the same, as the Contax SLR lenses of a few years back with the T-coating lenses.

The thing I love about the 125mm Macro is it is a true macro, magnifying at a 1:1 ratio. It has exposure compensation markings on the barrel so you can work out manual exposure at macro levels. ie when you focus close, the lens moves away. As it moves to a 1:1 magnification you need to compensate loss of light. It also has a square metal lens hood which attaches via bayonet. I also use it for portraits and as a tele-photo lens.

The thing to also realise is that most of the stuff that Cameraquest sells is about Voigtlander rangefinder cameras. I think the site is fantastic, and has lots of good information. But their are other places to buy like MainlinePhotos in Australia or Robert White in UK.

The Zeiss lenses are positioned above voigtlander in price and quality, and a bit below Leica in price - but not quality. But for value, the voigtlanders are superb value.

Voigtlander has a long history, predating photography itself, with optics being made from 1756. There motto is ".... because the lenses are so good". Thankfully this stuff is now becoming available in Pentax K mount and M42 screw mount.

Just make sure you don't try and buy a rangefinder lens for an slr camera. Once you start using top quality glass though, its hard to ever pick up a zoom again.

Cosina is run by Mr Kobayashi. He is an old style fanatical photographer and he knows about cameras. That's why Cosina is making such fantastic gear for us when the digital age dumbs everything down with gimmicks and buttons. They even made the first digital rangefinder camera with Epson.

Have fun.
[/QUOTE]

02-17-2008, 09:04 AM   #5
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I own both the 180 and the 125.

They are truely spectacular lenses. Yes, they are only manual focus.

However, even myself as new to DSLRs as in october 2007 with the K10d - absolutely enjoy the manual focus of these lenses. The lesnes feel really solid and the focusing is very smooth. Once you get the hang for it its very easy to use. I can actually manually focus the 180 voightlander faster and most likely more accurately than my FA 80-320 auto focus zoom that tends to search a bit.

For telephoto the 180 focusing seems to be a bit better in my opinion as the 125 I have found to be very sensitive between infinity and the next metering number.

However, for macro photography the 125 is probably at the top. Many use it for telephoto too as it takes amazing pictures and does colors/detail extremely well.

The 180 is probably about half the price or so of the 125 if you can find either now. 180 is close focusing so you can almost use it as a macro substitue.
02-17-2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Although a lot of this info can be glommed together by endless web searches, it's really nice to be able to ask for a summary in a forum who's members I trust and who's collective experience is vast. Much appreciated.

After being blown away by all the images I've seen on pbase and elsewhere, I've ordered the 180mm f/4 in K mount from B&H.

I'd love the 125 also, but I can't find one, and I also already own the Vivitar series 1 (kiron) 105mm f/2.5 macro, which is also 1:1 and would be hard to beat.

Any other recommendations for other focal ranges? The 75, or some of those newer normals?

Also, if anyone knows where these are being sold that hasn't already been mentioned, please mention!

Thanks again.


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02-17-2008, 11:28 AM   #7
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Just my personal opinion but I don't think you will ever see the 180 "in stock" at BH. I could be wrong but due to the fact they are out of production I think supplies have dried up. Based on that I ordered from cameraquest recently and have been pretty happy.
02-17-2008, 12:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by BeerCan Quote
Just my personal opinion but I don't think you will ever see the 180 "in stock" at BH. I could be wrong but due to the fact they are out of production I think supplies have dried up. Based on that I ordered from cameraquest recently and have been pretty happy.

Thank you *very much for telling me that. When I ordered, they had some blurb suggesting that it would be on backorder an expected 7-10 days, which is fine. After reading this I just called them and asked to be transferred to a supervisor in the sales dept, and he gave me the honest scoop - Voigtlander ships to vendors on a 6 week cycle, and if you're lucky enough to order from a vendor at the beginning of that 6 weeks, you could have your lens in as little as 10 days. If you're at the end, it could be 6 weeks. That's if they don't have production backlogs at Voigtlander itself - if they do, even longer.

He suggested talking to an actual buyer at B&H tomorrow to get an accurate backorder estimate, which I'll do. If it's going to be longer than, say, 3-4 weeks, I'll cancel and order from cameraquest or another place that has it in stock.

Again, thanks for the heads up on that.


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02-17-2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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Cameraquest....

What's in stock is in stock..
125/2.5 APO-Lanthar Outstanding Legendary Apochromatic 1:1 Macro, hood included, PICS ED glass, super sharp, Pentax KA mount now SOLD OUT. ONE 125/2.5 in Olympus OM mount $729

The hardest to find 125/2.5 is probably the Canon EOS mount. Estimated production 100. I was lucky enough to acquire a few of these from a closed camera store. This is a manual focus lens with the metering chip for EOS cameras. $1500 NEW
$729 Olympus OM or $1500 Canon EOS
180/4 APO-Lanthar Close focus PICS ED glass, super sharp, Nikon AIS in stock, only a few Pentax PKA remain, all other mounts sold out and discontinued. A few round lens shades still available, sold only with lens. $355 Nikon or $399 PKA
02-17-2008, 05:32 PM   #10
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I'm going with cameraquest.

Didn't know it was basically a 1 man company, that web site is pretty professional in that case!



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