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Cosina Voigtländer SL APO-Lanthar 180mm f/4


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8 replies to this topic

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#1 ChrisLilley

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 21:03

What is your experience with this lens? This topic will be indexed on our OTHER LENSES  page. Please keep your comments related to your experiences with this lens so that others may draw value from them. Off topic comments will be removed.

You may post sample images taken with the lens in this thread. If you have a question relating to the lens, please don't ask here, use the "Lenses For Nikons" board instead.

Edited by ChrisLilley, 17 March 2011 - 21:45 .

Camera (ˈkæ mə rə), n. Device for taking pictures in bright light
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#2 percafluvialitis

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 12:25

Like all the SL series lenses, the mechanical quality is very high from shiny metal to barrel design. Lens hood clicks into place with a solid click sound. The hood won't bend or come off even when I lift the lens & D3 by holding it from the hood. Well designed in many ways, from focusing feel to turn ratio, half-stops as well for setting aperture.

Wide open is perfectly usable on D3, shows about half a stop of vignetting which is removed stopped down to f/5.6 (or removed if you set vignetting control ON). At f/5.6 sharpness also is as good as you need - very good IQ. Bokeh is awesome smooth as can be expected from 180mm and the near focusing limit of 1.2m. Vivid colors, excellent contrast, very usable for close-ups though not a macro lens. Plenty of photos original size here: Voigtlnder SL 180mm f/4 APO Lanthar

This lens is very rare in Nikon mount, about 750 to 1,000 manufactured. If your gear lust is increasing beware of one potential caveat: due to the field of view at 180mm you can't be sure that focus confirm on your body is accurate. Focusing all the Close Focus designated SL APO Lanthars near to infinity is difficult and requires learning the lens - they are all geared for precise near focusing and are quite touchy to even smallest focus ring turns near infinity.
Vilhelm

#3 Tosh

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 21:20

I've been assembling a lens kit consisting of physically small, but highly capable lenses (1.13" CV 20 3.5, .96" CV 40 2, 3.03" Tokina 90 2.5 macro).
To fill the tele spot, I recently picked up the diminutive 2.3" CV 180 4 SL.
Yesterday, I took the 180 to a local park to see how it performs.

The following test shots are from my D700, wide open at f/4, with the exception of the last two shots which are at f/5.6.

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It's only f/4, but I don't always need a blur party. F/4 on a D700 can handle some pretty dim lighting situs and this lens is sharp at f/4.

Here's f/4 vs. f/5.6 (the aperture with the highest MTF score per Photozone):

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I love my AF 180 2.8 beater, but from my initial experience I can see this little gem becoming a huge fave as well. 
And it should be a fantastic travel lens.


Glenn

Nikon DSLR, Olympus M4/3, Some Extremely Nice Glass and Half a Clue. ( ^_^)

#4 nfoto

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 21:31

The 180/4 APO is an excellent lens. Maybe not up to the very level set by the shorter 125/2.5, but it can't be very far behind. Actually, it improves on the 125 in one aspect and that is for IR photography. No hot spots and it is amongst the very few lenses that can use the Maxmax "multi-IR" filter kit. In fact, there is no significant focus shift for IR at all. Its small size, smaller than the Nikkor 200/4 AIS, makes it an easy lens to bring with you all the time.

My objections go towards the handling. The focusing collar is even narrower than on the 125 and as such makes for an awkward focusing action. I solved this in a pragmatic fashion by putting a second rubberised focusing collar on it (lifted from a wrecked kit zoom lens which I receive on a regular basis from my friendly Nikon repair shop). It is also less resistant to flare and ghosting than I had expected. Not bad in this department, but nothing near top performance either.

I probably will dedicate this lens to IR work and for landscapes. It focuses quite close on its own but then the image quality drops ever so slightly, and why bother when I have the 125?
Bjørn

#5 nfoto

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 08:44

Having spent some additional "quality-time" with D3X and the 180 APO, I can elaborate on some properties not evident from the first series of shooting.

Firstly, the lens is not perfectly apochromatic because one can detect a very slight amount of purple or green fringing towards the periphery of the frame. These aberrations are clearly seen on transgressions with high contrast but upon scrutiny will show up in less contrasty areas as well. The 125 APO steered clear of such problems even on the D3X. A small amount (-0.07 red/cyan)  of CA control in bibble 5 will remove the fringing for all practical purposes.

Secondly, the contrast and colour rendition with D3X remind me of the large-format Nikkor ED lenses: both crisp, yet delicately smooth, at the same time. A special quality of its "drawing"  that is easier seen and recognised than described by words.

Thirdly, the lens is at its peak performance for middle-ground subjects. Up close, sharpness drops, so does it towards infinity. Since we're talking about a small decline from a very high level of performance, this means that the 180 APO even under the less ideal conditions will easily best most other lenses.

I think about adding the 180 APO to my "base" lens kit.
Bjørn

#6 Leon

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:32

Thirdly, the lens is at its peak performance for middle-ground subjects. Up close, sharpness drops, so does it towards infinity.


By trying several copies of this lens in the past (3 at the same time) on a Nikon D80 camera (about the same pixel density as the D3x, only cropped image), I noticed some sample variation by wrong assemblage/adjustment. That is that two of three copies the end stop of focus infinity point of the lens in reality was more close than my infinity subjects. The utmost sharpness point was somewhere about 300 - 400 meters. By using more small apertures, the sharpness region by DOF shall be more wide and reach the behind infinity subjects. But you could notice it by full open aperture settings.

Make some tests if your copy has the same disadvantage. I never dismantled a Voigtlnder lens, but I guess by another adjustment of the inner tube it could be fixed.

Léon

#7 nfoto

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 12:00

My copy of the 180 does focus without any issue to infinity. Confirmed using LiveView and point light sources. But its performance is not as good as in the middle range. However, a notch down from a very high level of performance still is "more than adequate".

The characteristic of the 180 that endears it most to me is the very crisp yet delicate rendition of scene tonality. Just like the old ED large-format Nikkors.

A typical sample given below (riparian forest with alder and rowan, in morning mist). For the pleasure of pixel peepers,  don't look at the entire frame but concentrate on the 100% crop instead.

Attached Images

  • _NG_180APO_B0910274023.jpg
  • _NG_180APO_100pct_DSC_4023.jpg

Bjørn

#8 Leon

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 17:53

Only the square sun shade seems to be a not as nice option.
There are sun shades in two versions, a square one and a round one. For three lenses used Lanthar 75/90/180mm
For use at a 180mm it is some what at the wide side. So it is less adequate as a sun shade.
Than better to try to buy an extra separate round version. These are also for three Lanthar focal lengths, but more comfortable in size. Maybe still available at Cameraquest, but I do not know if Stephen is intended tow sell them separate if it are the last items to include his lenses.
http://www.cameraque...om/inventor.htm
Léon

#9 nfoto

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 19:02

Thr 180 APO has the impractical 49mn filter size. So I have added a 49=>52mm step-up ring to it permanently. This not only allows using the 52mm standard filters, but also a generic round screw-in hood to suit the focal length. The square one is way too short and inefficient.
Bjørn




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