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voigtlander,the best leica lenses in the world


steve 1959

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I personally wish they would not fit fixed lens hoods to some wide angle lenses. As they are often used for landscapes would prefer to be able to use 'Lee' type filters for ND Graduated and other effect filters (10 stop etc).

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22 hours ago, steve 1959 said:

I much prefer the heliar image.

 

18 hours ago, fotografr said:

I also do.

 

Although it's often done, I find it strange when evaluating lens character to compare the wide open rendering of one lens to a stopped down rendering of another lens just so they can both be at the same aperture. Just because the apertures are the same in a comparison doesn't make the comparison meaningful, IMO. The Lux is designed for optimal character at f/1.4.

Edited by hdmesa
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30 minutes ago, hdmesa said:

 

 

Although it's often done, I find it strange when evaluating lens character to compare the wide open rendering of one lens to a stopped down rendering of another lens just so they can both be at the same aperture. Just because the apertures are the same in a comparison doesn't make the comparison meaningful, IMO. The Lux is designed for optimal character at f/1.4.

It's not strange at all to want to have the DOF approximately the same for each lens when doing this type of comparison. I was attempting to show a comparison of overall rendering and it would seem inappropriate to use different apertures.

Edited by fotografr
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5 hours ago, fotografr said:

It's not strange at all to want to have the DOF approximately the same for each lens when doing this type of comparison. I was attempting to show a comparison of overall rendering and it would seem inappropriate to use different apertures.

Agree to disagree. It’s like asking an Olympic sprinter to race you, but you insist they have to hop on one leg.

If you want to know f/2 vs f/2, of course. But why? My point is it’s not meaningful because the Lux was not designed for its most characterful rendering at f/2. And it’s not just the bokeh rendering difference. Shooting the Lux at f/2 reduces its unique vignetting/light-falloff signature, and thereby loses some of its ability to isolate a subject.

Would you compare the 28 Lux at f/5.6 to the new 28 Summaron at its native 5.6, then conclude how much more “moody” the Summaron is? Of course not.

I know people do these equivalent aperture comparisons all the time, I just don’t think they mean anything in practice since we usually shoot the Lux wide open when we want max character.

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Comparing a 28mm lens at f/1.4 to another 28mm lens at f/5.6 can only tell that the later has more DoF than the former whereas comparing both at f/5.6 will probably tell that the 28/5.6 has more character than the 28/1.4. I have no experience with those lenses though.

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48 minutes ago, hdmesa said:

Agree to disagree. It’s like asking an Olympic sprinter to race you, but you insist they have to hop on one leg.

I think that's a rather ridiculous analogy. The fact that a lens can collect light at an aperture of f/1.4, does not automatically lead to the conclusion that it was "designed for it's most characterful rendering at that aperture." Do you think the Summilux was designed for it's out of focus character? If so, on what do you base that conclusion. Have you read that somewhere? I would maintain that it was designed to allow an image to be made in low light and the bokeh was a secondary concern. 

My purpose in doing the comparison was not to determine which lens produced the most pleasing OOF area. It was more a test to see how sharpness, contrast and transition to OOF of the Voigtlander Heliar stacked up against a known high performer of the same focal length in the Leica lineup. If I owned a 50mm Summicron, it would have been a better choice for the comparison, but I don't. Had I used my F/1.0 Noctilux, I'd also have set it to f/2.0. In my opinion, trying to compare image characteristics from a lens shot at f/1.0 to that of a different lens shot at f2.0 would be absurd.

Like you said, agree to disagree.

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2 hours ago, fotografr said:

The fact that a lens can collect light at an aperture of f/1.4, does not automatically lead to the conclusion that it was "designed for it's most characterful rendering at that aperture." Do you think the Summilux was designed for it's out of focus character? If so, on what do you base that conclusion. Have you read that somewhere? I would maintain that it was designed to allow an image to be made in low light and the bokeh was a secondary concern. 

Are you saying the Lux was not designed for superb rendering wide open? That is absurd. Is the aperture opening of the Lux still perfectly round at f/2? No, its shape is less than optimal from a rendering standpoint, so yes, the Lux is at a disadvantage when compared against a native f/2 lens in that context.

And of course shooting at f/1.4 is not the only thing the lens was designed to do. I stop mine down all day long, but not when I want the best character/rendering. Have you listened to Peter Karbe talk about using these APO lenses (The 50 Lux is APO but unlabeled as such)? He says always shoot wide open. I know that statement is directed more at the 35/50 APOs, but it does give you a look into his thought process. 

 

2 hours ago, fotografr said:

My purpose in doing the comparison was not to determine which lens produced the most pleasing OOF area. It was more a test to see how sharpness, contrast and transition to OOF of the Voigtlander Heliar stacked up against a known high performer of the same focal length in the Leica lineup.

I said characterful rendering, which includes all those things plus vignetting. I could also make the point that stopping down the Lux to f/2 is putting the Heliar at a disadvantage since the Lux contrast and sharpness are boosted at f/2. So while your comparison IS an interesting comparison – IMO it's not very meaningful. That's all. And it really has less to do with your comparison itself, which is why I didn't quote you. I only quoted those making the commentary about how the Heliar looked better. My point is of course the rendering looks a little more pleasing – it was wide open.

 

2 hours ago, fotografr said:

If I owned a 50mm Summicron, it would have been a better choice for the comparison, but I don't.

The Summicron would be both interesting and meaningful. But again, I wasn't quoting and faulting your comparison as much as trying to caution reading too much into it.

 

2 hours ago, fotografr said:

Like you said, agree to disagree.

Agreed :) 

Edited by hdmesa
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5 hours ago, hdmesa said:

Are you saying the Lux was not designed for superb rendering wide open? 

I think all lensed made by Leica were designed for superb rendering wide open. However, the primary goal in producing the various versions of the Noctilux (derivative: night excellence) was to allow images to be recorded in very low light. 

Yes, I have listened to and read Peter Karbe's comments about the APO lenses but I have never heard him say the primary goal was to make lenses with nice OOF rendering. The goal is to collect as much light as possible while still maintaining high image quality--mainly, subject sharpness. If that can't be done, the product is useless.

For me, it was still interesting to compare how the Voigtlander lens I just acquired stacked up against a Leica counterpart. As I said at the outset, this was by no means scientifically done. I'm sure you can find other faults with the way I did this if you look hard enough.

Cheers!

Edited by fotografr
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13 hours ago, fotografr said:

I would maintain that it was designed to allow an image to be made in low light and the bokeh was a secondary concern. 

 

I think this should be obvious,  but with the relatively recent phenomenon of bokeh craze, it might not be 😅

Objectively speaking, the only lenses that were undoubtedly designed  with bokeh in mind, at the expense of other characteristics like speed, are apodised lenses. And of those, very few exist. I know Minolta made one for alpha mount, that Sony kept in their catalog and updated a bit, Laowa made one too and Fuji as well (though much less apodisation) for X-mount. Also honourable mention to Nikon with their Defocus Control lenses.

Edited by giannis
typo
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6 hours ago, wizard said:

I noted that you went for the rigid version of that lens, but the optical formula would appear to be the same as in the earlier collapsible version.

Andy

I didn't have a choice. Someone was selling their copy of the limited edition Heliar Nickel in mint condition and after seeing sample images taken with it I decided to buy. I don't know that I'd have a preference (optically) for one versus the other, except that I would rather have an f/2.0 version than an f/3.5.

Edited by fotografr
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5 hours ago, wizard said:

I seem to remember that you owned a Summicron 50 Apo not too long ago, and were quite impressed with its performance. Has that lens gone, and if so, why?

Andy

I did have that lens and sold it for two reasons. First, it was the black chrome version and consequently made my M cameras too front heavy for my taste. The brass construction is a double edged sword, IMHO. They are extremely well made lenses with tight tolerances and should last a lifetime. On the other hand, they are heavy and for someone like me who rarely goes anywhere without a camera hanging around my neck, that's a big detractor. This is why my Noctilux rarely comes out of the cabinet. 

The other reason I sold it was that I didn't feel the lens had much character aside from it's sharp rendering. The OoF areas were boring to me so I decided to go back to my favored 50mm Summilux asph. I've not had a moment's regret about that. 

The BC APO Summicron was the most beautiful Leica lens I've ever owned--probably suitable as coffee table art--but my priority is usability.

Edited by fotografr
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3 hours ago, hdmesa said:

Thambar was what, 1935? Crazes come and go 🤫

You're right, but the Thambar was more of a soft focus lens than a bokeh lens.

Soft focus lenses have been a staple of photography since its very inception, and were actually essential (as used by the pictorialists) to legitimise photography as an art form and not just a scientific tool or practical novelty. So I'd say soft focus is definitely not a craze, even though it's fallen out of vogue. And there are many soft focus lenses along history, starting from the classic large format Imagon designs and their adaptations in smaller formats. If I remember correctly, up until the 90's, Mamiya RZ and Fuji GX mf cameras had a native 180mm soft focus lens for their mounts. 

 

3 hours ago, hdmesa said:

Crazes come and go

This one for sure!

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1 hour ago, giannis said:

You're right, but the Thambar was more of a soft focus lens than a bokeh lens.

Soft focus lenses have been a staple of photography since its very inception, and were actually essential (as used by the pictorialists) to legitimise photography as an art form and not just a scientific tool or practical novelty. So I'd say soft focus is definitely not a craze, even though it's fallen out of vogue. And there are many soft focus lenses along history, starting from the classic large format Imagon designs and their adaptations in smaller formats. If I remember correctly, up until the 90's, Mamiya RZ and Fuji GX mf cameras had a native 180mm soft focus lens for their mounts. 

Probably so, mainly with the center spot filter. It certainly has crazy/unusually bokeh as well that is part of its signature look. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

My experience is that Voitlander lenses are not very good lenses.

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