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02-13-2009, 05:09 PM   #16
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...and if I'd been the least bit thorough I would have observed before posting that those A*300's I'd seen in marketplace awhile back are still listed as for sale! Sloppy of me.

When those were first posted, I contemplated as companion to the Toki but decided I didn't need >200 often enough to justify. Weren't back on my radar right away as I converted to DA50-135.

New hypothesis: if both a VL 180 @ $400 and a A*300 @ $600 were available, shell out the extra & live with weight for the reach of the A*300? Or save money, space in my bag & seize what may be a much rarer opportunity & grab a VL 180?

02-13-2009, 05:18 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
...and if I'd been the least bit thorough I would have observed before posting that those A*300's I'd seen in marketplace awhile back are still listed as for sale! Sloppy of me.

When those were first posted, I contemplated as companion to the Toki but decided I didn't need >200 often enough to justify. Weren't back on my radar right away as I converted to DA50-135.

New hypothesis: if both a VL 180 @ $400 and a A*300 @ $600 were available, shell out the extra & live with weight for the reach of the A*300? Or save money, space in my bag & seize what may be a much rarer opportunity & grab a VL 180?
You can expect my answer, take the 300. But that is me.

As I said, going from 135-180 really is only a slight crop in on your 135 so I don't really see the value in it.

The 300 is a whole different story, as it is more than double the focal length you have now.

I shoot wildlife, and have lots of long and heavy glass, and the weight does not bother me all that much, but if you are not into wildlife, or perhaps performances from a long way away, or sports, I can understand not needing anything over your present 135.

also, what rare opportunity are you going to get for the remaining $200? anything rare probably has the $200 as the down payment
02-13-2009, 05:28 PM   #18
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There is usually a reason a photographer is going to be in need of a lens with focal length of 300+mm--that is shooting birds, wildlife, sports etc. along with using a tripod and other infrastructure. There is an implied committment to eat the weight and get the best possible shot. I've gone on backcountry shoots with older photogs who bring along funky handbuilt carts to haul all their older bombproof gear.
And then there are the guys lugging their 4x5 stagecoaches. . .but that's another story.

M
02-13-2009, 10:25 PM   #19
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Attachment to VL 180 eroding...

OK, OK: Me, I'm a lazy wannabe wildlife photog (and definitely not a birder). I hardly ever get to do it, I'm bad about tripods (picked up a Velbon for my latest trip--hardly ever used it). I also have some occasions, through theatre ties, to be shooting discretely from the back of a hall or outdoor amphitheatre. not nearly as much as I'd like.

Now, $400 VL 180/4 that's a small commitment for small extra reach erodes into $600 A*300/4 (but where am I going to find one? oh look, currently available in marketplace!) and just this eve what happens? Canadian selling DA*300!

I get it I get it! Except the cash!? Mama miya! We aren't in $400 Kansas anymore, Toto!

And for all that, I bet the VL 180 is better with CA (specifically the PF was my one optics beef with the Toki I'm getting rid of) than any of these pricier choices I'm being talked into.

Oh oh, go with a SMC 300/4 you say? Yeah, if the CA on my Toki bugged me, I've seen some scary examples of how the SMC 300 can go awry.

ARG!

OK, that Canadian DA*300 is calling pretty strong now...

DW

02-13-2009, 10:30 PM   #20
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David,
Why don't you just save your money for a top-notch lens (get both the Voigtlander and the DA* 300mm) for a few months? Excellent 300mm lenses come up in the Marketplace every few weeks if not more frequently. With a depression happening, I have confidence more and more fine lenses will be available, as their owners may just have to pay the rent or their kid's medical bills.

M
02-13-2009, 10:53 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
Attachment to VL 180 eroding...

OK, OK: Me, I'm a lazy wannabe wildlife photog (and definitely not a birder). I hardly ever get to do it, I'm bad about tripods (picked up a Velbon for my latest trip--hardly ever used it). I also have some occasions, through theatre ties, to be shooting discretely from the back of a hall or outdoor amphitheatre. not nearly as much as I'd like.

Now, $400 VL 180/4 that's a small commitment for small extra reach erodes into $600 A*300/4 (but where am I going to find one? oh look, currently available in marketplace!) and just this eve what happens? Canadian selling DA*300!

I get it I get it! Except the cash!? Mama miya! We aren't in $400 Kansas anymore, Toto!

And for all that, I bet the VL 180 is better with CA (specifically the PF was my one optics beef with the Toki I'm getting rid of) than any of these pricier choices I'm being talked into.

Oh oh, go with a SMC 300/4 you say? Yeah, if the CA on my Toki bugged me, I've seen some scary examples of how the SMC 300 can go awry.

ARG!

OK, that Canadian DA*300 is calling pretty strong now...

DW
I know where you are coming from on all this David. Because I'm going through exactly the same thing in deciding on a new car. Blech!

I think what you are discovering is that when it comes to lenses you can have it cheap or good. Pick one.

You'll like that DA*300. Good lenses hold their value really well. A digital body will be worthless within 2-3 years. But as a general rule you will be able to resell a good lens for between 2/3 to 3/4 its new price; just consider the time you own it as "rent". Some Pentax * lenses are even selling for much more than their original new prices, which is quite an achievement.
02-14-2009, 01:00 AM   #22
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I got the VL 180 from fleebay, not a big price to pay for me thats from sweden. Heck, it only cost me as much as a da 40. A DA*300 would set me back 2000$

Imo the VL series is the best looking glass in the world.
02-14-2009, 06:32 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
David,
Why don't you just save your money for a top-notch lens (get both the Voigtlander and the DA* 300mm) for a few months? Excellent 300mm lenses come up in the Marketplace every few weeks if not more frequently. With a depression happening, I have confidence more and more fine lenses will be available, as their owners may just have to pay the rent or their kid's medical bills.

M
I was waiting for someone to say that! Actually, to be frank the factor that's really holding me back (or at least on top of everything else) is: what will my significant other think? I think (though I wasn't sure last night) one more lens & declaring my lineup complete & stopping spending masses of time scanning the marketplace every few hours is tolerable even for one big lens. Two--or worse, one now and continued scanning for the next few months--and she'll worry she's lost me to the forum.

At first I was thinking the DA*300 would make her kick me out, but honestly I'm thinking now the VL 180 + continuing to haunt the marketplace as i find myself longing for even more reach would be even worse. That may be my answer.

QuoteOriginally posted by tranq78 Quote
I know where you are coming from on all this David.
[...]
You'll like that DA*300. Good lenses hold their value really well [...] just consider the time you own it as "rent".[...]
Thanks. I've been trying to remind myself of this. I'll be taking a loss when I sell the Toki, but the difference should amount to quite an acceptable "rent" for having had an 80-200/2.8 with me in the Galapagos. If I had an immediate need for the 300 it would be easier to swallow. But while I wasn't planning on spending so much on a lens now, I do have the cash and I will want the reach and I do have a Canadian seller before me. Ooooooooh boy.

QuoteOriginally posted by melander Quote
I got the VL 180 from fleebay, not a big price to pay for me thats from sweden. Heck, it only cost me as much as a da 40. A DA*300 would set me back 2000$

Imo the VL series is the best looking glass in the world.
Great, twist the dagger a little more will ya? Except I gather you're looking at VL 180 for about 1:4 or more price ratio to the DA*300? I'm looking at perhaps 2:3. In that context the DA*300 opportunity seems better. If ever I'm tempted to fill the gap, with the 300 in hand I could happily wait a long time to stumble on a good deal on the 180/4--or maybe I'd find that the gap in lineup just doesn't matter.

02-14-2009, 07:51 AM   #24
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I'd have to agree with some of the other posts, and recommend a 300mm lens. It is true that many of the good ones are either new (expensive) or in demand (expensive), but there does seem to be a ~continuing~ market in quality 300mm glass. It might take some watching and waiting, though, to find the elusive occasional bargain. [And, considering the price of the DA* 300/4, even high quality ~new~ 300mm glass is now competitive with the in-demand classics (the f/4 or f/4.5 M*, A*, F*, and FA* 300's).]
02-14-2009, 09:12 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
Yeah, I should relax about size. As I say, it was more an issue with walk-aroundable-ness which doesn't really apply to one long telephoto. But it's a factor.

Another way to frame this, more specifically to me, is:

Let's suppose I can secure a sale of a VL 180 for ~$400, and that's about as much as I'm wanting to spend on a long tele supplement, and that no 300's or other deals on quality 200's are on the horizon (does anyone know otherwise). Is the VL (given rarity, that this would be a good price, and in spite of short reach) the one lens I should pick up now (and maybe contemplate a 300 later)? Or are 300's within acceptable extention of my price common enough that I should suck it up on size & extra cost & wait for an A* or FA* 300 & pounce on that?

This is a question, you can only answer yourself! The Voigtlander is a superb lens - nothing short of that. It is small and extremely well-made. The close-focus (1:4) capability was the reason I bought one, because the Pentax 200mm Macro was out of my reach and at the end of the day, I am very unsure, whether it really can be any better than the Voigtlander. BUT, focusing is slow. It is certainly no replacement for an AF 200/2.8. That at least is my opinion. So if you need a lens to work fast, the Voigtlander would not be the first choice. The old K 135/2.5 (which I also have in my cupboard) is far easier to focus, but has the drawback of not being an A-lens,which makes exposure measurement uncomfortable (yes, I know, there are loads of MF/M-lenses ourt there and I have ten or more of those , but I hardly ever use them).

I personally only use the Voigtlander for close-ups and whenever going out for landscapes or in the city, I prefer my old AF 70-200/2.8. Perhaps not quite as sharp, but the images are as useable (or not, depending on my ability to make good images). I personally I find, that old manual lenses can be fine performers, but using them needs more time, than I or the subject (people, animals, light) can sometimes afford. I also want to concentrate on the image, on the light, the composition, the contrasts and therefore aperture choice is my main concern technically. An A-lens or the AF-lenses support my way of photography much better, than the older lenses.

By the way: If you find a good A* 300/4, that is a superb lens in its own right. It is so small and light, that this particular lens*might be a preferred choice even over a modern AF lens, though wide-open the latest DA* might be a tad sharper.

Ben
02-14-2009, 10:13 AM   #26
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QuoteQuote:
By the way: If you find a good A* 300/4, that is a superb lens in its own right. It is so small and light, that this particular lens*might be a preferred choice even over a modern AF lens, though wide-open the latest DA* might be a tad sharper.
I have both the A* 300/4 and the F* 300/4.5 (two copies of each still), and I can say that the A* (or the M*) is not as sharp at wider apertures as the F* (or the FA*).

On the other hand, the A* is a lot closer in IQ at mid-apertures, and it truly is a delightfully compact (although I'd also call it "heavy") 300 to use.

[From what I have seen, the DA* 300/4 would likely be similar in this regard to the F*/FA*, although I haven't had a chance to try one out (~yet~).]
02-15-2009, 02:51 PM   #27
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Thank you all for helping me sort out what I need!

Thanks everyone for your input. This has led to my single biggest lens purchase, and thanks to your reflections, I'm confident I've opted for a choice that'll suit me well.

In the end, while size had been a factor in moving away from the Toki 80-200/2.8, I was persuaded that the contrasting reach of a 300 should take the lead, and retention of value can mitigate cost. And for size, the 300 is no VL 180 for compactness (!), but it is still measurably lighter than the Toki--and it's the right lens for what I need it for.

The VL 180/4 is I'm sure an excellent lens, and the idea of such top quality compact goodness was tempting, but in the end as a long lens addition to the DA50-135, I'd be trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

So based on the weight of considerations raised from you all, I've pulled the trigger on Drew's DA*300 sale (handy a Canadian seller of just the right lens appeared at just the right time, bringing the ideal lens into a [just barely] acceptable reach!). The transition from one fast telezoom to mid-tele zoom + long prime is finally complete (pending shipment).

So between the two new-to-me lenses, I'll be backing more rather than less, but each lens will be lighter than the Toki, the DA50-135 in particular will be much more walkaroundable (size, FoV and min focus distance). The 300 doesn't need to be walkaroundable, and most importantly I've accepted that while compactness sounds attractive, you gotta haul what's right for the job.

Side Note: I know I've come off as a wuss going on about saving size & weight. For the record, I trekked all around Peru, Bolivia and Equador with a stuffed AW 300 slingshot, so I'm not the wuss this thread has made me out to be!
It left me realizing that size comes at a cost--but I've realized I'm ready to pay that cost to have the right tools for the job.
02-15-2009, 03:22 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
Thanks everyone for your input. This has led to my single biggest lens purchase, and thanks to your reflections, I'm confident I've opted for a choice that'll suit me well.

In the end, while size had been a factor in moving away from the Toki 80-200/2.8, I was persuaded that the contrasting reach of a 300 should take the lead, and retention of value can mitigate cost. And for size, the 300 is no VL 180 for compactness (!), but it is still measurably lighter than the Toki--and it's the right lens for what I need it for.

The VL 180/4 is I'm sure an excellent lens, and the idea of such top quality compact goodness was tempting, but in the end as a long lens addition to the DA50-135, I'd be trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

So based on the weight of considerations raised from you all, I've pulled the trigger on Drew's DA*300 sale (handy a Canadian seller of just the right lens appeared at just the right time, bringing the ideal lens into a [just barely] acceptable reach!). The transition from one fast telezoom to mid-tele zoom + long prime is finally complete (pending shipment).

So between the two new-to-me lenses, I'll be backing more rather than less, but each lens will be lighter than the Toki, the DA50-135 in particular will be much more walkaroundable (size, FoV and min focus distance). The 300 doesn't need to be walkaroundable, and most importantly I've accepted that while compactness sounds attractive, you gotta haul what's right for the job.

Side Note: I know I've come off as a wuss going on about saving size & weight. For the record, I trekked all around Peru, Bolivia and Equador with a stuffed AW 300 slingshot, so I'm not the wuss this thread has made me out to be!
It left me realizing that size comes at a cost--but I've realized I'm ready to pay that cost to have the right tools for the job.
I don't see how yo can go wrong with this choice, congrats. And I absolutely know what you mean re size, no arguments there.

Look forward to seeing some shots in this forum - for whatever reason, the DA* 300 does not make an appearance too often.
02-16-2009, 03:13 PM   #29
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I can't compare VL180 and DA*50-135. In fact I used both but never have chance to compare them. Now I have Sigma 100-300, VL180/4 and Leitz Elmarit 180/2.8. All of them are similar sharp and have nice bokeh at f4.

Sigma is great performer during my trips and nearly always with Sigma TC 1.4. Of course it is not small

VL 180/4 is really very compact and I used it once on my trip to France. It works well with Pentax AF1.7X.

Pentax *ist DS ,Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar +AF1.7X, 1/750s f/6.7 iso200


Pentax *ist DS ,Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar 1/750s f/4 iso400


At the end Leica is great because of f2.8 were it is sharp and has beautiful bokeh.
Leica is much bigger than VL.
02-16-2009, 03:37 PM   #30
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Yes, Piotr, I'd come across those and other of your terrific shots with the VL 180/4. Indeed this was part of what drew me to it. I may not be buying one now, but I won't soon forget its merrits. I need to give my LBA a rest, but I think this one will haunt me...
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