Pages: 1 [2]   Go Down

Author Topic: In Praise of the Voigtlanders  (Read 5310 times)

Michael Erlewine

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1027
    • MacroStop.com
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2020, 02:01:44 pm »

I like these 3 lenses of course, they are excellent, but I fail to see the same magic I see with the Otus.

I also use the Sony 135mm f1.8 and it's very good, but again lacks the magic.

Cheers,
Bernard

Want to see magic, try the recent Nikon Noct f/0.95. It is not easy to use, but when used properly, the results are magical, IMO. This is a special lens, not because it is expensive, but because what is outstanding about it takes time and care to learn to use, at least for me. Used at small/high apertures, it just a good lens, but use it wide open or near wide open and the results can be very special indeed. Just my two cents.
Logged
MichaelErlewine.smugmug.com. Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com, YouTube.com/user/merlewine

kers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4218
    • Pieter Kers
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2020, 03:09:14 pm »

Want to see magic, try the recent Nikon Noct f/0.95. It is not easy to use, but when used properly, the results are magical, IMO. This is a special lens, not because it is expensive, but because what is outstanding about it takes time and care to learn to use, at least for me. Used at small/high apertures, it just a good lens, but use it wide open or near wide open and the results can be very special indeed. Just my two cents.
just your 9000€  ;)
Logged
Pieter Kers
www.beeld.nu/la

Michael Erlewine

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1027
    • MacroStop.com
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2020, 04:09:48 pm »

just your 9000  ;)

I had to sell my original NOCT, my 85mm Otus, and others to get it.
Logged
MichaelErlewine.smugmug.com. Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com, YouTube.com/user/merlewine

kers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4218
    • Pieter Kers
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2020, 05:06:18 pm »

I had to sell my original NOCT, my 85mm Otus, and others to get it.
I understand :)
Good to hear you still have both your kidneys
Logged
Pieter Kers
www.beeld.nu/la

BernardLanguillier

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13949
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2020, 02:29:21 am »

Want to see magic, try the recent Nikon Noct f/0.95. It is not easy to use, but when used properly, the results are magical, IMO. This is a special lens, not because it is expensive, but because what is outstanding about it takes time and care to learn to use, at least for me. Used at small/high apertures, it just a good lens, but use it wide open or near wide open and the results can be very special indeed. Just my two cents.

I am sold on the value... but I cannot find a place where to buy this lens from. In Japan they have even stopped to take orders...

Nikon's inability to produce lenses at the pace expected by their customer is ridiculous...

Cheers,
Bernard

kers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4218
    • Pieter Kers
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2020, 08:15:43 am »

I am sold on the value... but I cannot find a place where to buy this lens from. In Japan they have even stopped to take orders...

Nikon's inability to produce lenses at the pace expected by their customer is ridiculous...

Cheers,
Bernard
In the Netherlands there is stock...
Logged
Pieter Kers
www.beeld.nu/la

BernardLanguillier

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13949
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2020, 09:38:27 am »

In the Netherlands there is stock...

Interesting... I see some at 9,000 Euro... that ends up being 2,000 US$ more expensive than buying from BHPhoto... I'll wait... ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 09:43:55 am by BernardLanguillier »
Logged

kers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4218
    • Pieter Kers
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2020, 12:00:03 pm »

Interesting... I see some at 9,000 Euro... that ends up being 2,000 US$ more expensive than buying from BHPhoto... I'll wait... ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

VAT 21%
Logged
Pieter Kers
www.beeld.nu/la

BernardLanguillier

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13949
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #28 on: February 29, 2020, 10:09:29 pm »

VAT 21%

Yes, I would still have to pay it since they only ship to EU countries.

Cheers,
Bernard

BernardLanguillier

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13949
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #29 on: February 29, 2020, 11:05:39 pm »

I totally understand what you are saying, up to a point.
My experience with the GF ecosystem has been interesting regarding lens performance: I also felt that the lenses, while really good, lacked that immediate, absolute, undeniable magic punch of the wide-open (close to wide-open) of the Otuses. And some of the new Voigtlander / older Zeiss distinctive "magic dust" look, at all stops.
3 things came to mind:
-not enough shallow DOF due to the not so fast glass (uncompensated by the extra sensor size)
-good contrast and even "raw" resolution but not enough micro-contrast (the real sucker punch that had kept the Zeiss lenses on top of most other lenses for years)
-different glass tint, lacking some of the warmth of the Voigtlander / older Zeiss glass
The moment I started to play with the files (Capture One)  2 things became apparent:
-there was no shortage of minute detail or colour gradations, anywhere in the frame, and even more, zooming in to 400% on a GFX 100 file was a completely different experience than zooming in on the best 35mm files; 400% looked at least as clean and 200% / 300% zoom in on an Sony / Otus optimally shot & processed file. It even looked a lot more "organic" - something that kept coming up from the GFX files
-colour and white balance made a huge difference in the way that detail was rendered (and even captured) and the level of pop / perceived "special character" of the overall image
I know and agree that sheer lens performance should be judged before any postproduction is applied.
But I believe that Fuji (and subsequently Capture One) are preparing those raws and the standard raw profile with a much more neutral / subdued approach, so that enough room can be left for the famous Fuji Film Simulations to do their work. Those simulations can immediately push an image into seriously different edges, and since they are all starting from the same base, that base should be left as neutral and potentially dull as possible, so that the maximum colour and dynamic range is available, in all directions (ok, we all know what a raw file is supposed to be, but we know different camera makers make serious design choices that impact the way that raw file is created and rendered, out of the box).
Now, with just 3 clicks I can get my GFX lenses to look like Voigtlanders, for example. Without touching any sharpness / clarity settings. Just colour adjustments, basically. This is something I couldn't do on t some of the Sony's GM or Canon L  lenses or Nikon G lenses - simple colour tweaks would have made the same image look at bit coarse due to the fact that there wasn't enough microcontrast present in those files, to get them to properly match the "Zeiss look", even with extensive post (again, for web viewing images, it's a lot easier to match things, for enlargements / large prints, not so - you cannot really replace missing microcontrast / missing colour tonality). But on the initially somewhat "dull" GF glass / GFX 100 files, wow, I could have my Voigtlander or Zeiss images with very basic tweaks. And that was an eye opener for me.
I was able to play in parallel, on the GFX 100, only with Hartblei Zeiss TS lenses (tweaked Hasselblad Zeiss optics) vs GF glass. I had sold my Otuses for the GFX system, and I was worried that I might need to keep my Zeiss TS lenses, precisely for that special / subtle look. That is no longer the case. In some borderline scenarios I could not fully replicate some of the blue rendering of the Zeiss / Voigtlander glass, for example. But the differences were too small, and the advantages of the fully functional autofocus and improved ergonomics of the GFX / GF combo, really made it a no brainer, for me, that the GF glass should be more than good enough for most of my creative needs.
Special note regarding that "3d pop". Wide open superfast, high quality, APO 35mm primes will give a shallower dof, with a more abrupt transition from in to out of focus, with plenty of details in the focused areas and clean out of focus areas. And that will give a more aggressive "3d with pop" look to the 35mm files than a GFX 100 GF 110 wide open image. That is note yet fully replicable on the GFX.  But it's really a one trick pony.
Because you do get some other things in return: that "organic" feel of the image, with smoother OOF transitions, throughout f-stops,  and more room for enlargement. The 35mm images will start falling apart a lot sooner, on close scrutiny. And even for the portrait, low-light photographer - it was so hard getting that 3d pop together with a meaningful image with my Otuses. With a moving subject, wide open, handheld, I would get up to 95% of my images out of critical focus. And while those that were in focus looked amazing, the best images - best light, best movement, best character expression, best overall dynamic - were normally lost. Because in those scenarios the lens would get in the way. Technical perfection killed creative freedom.
This is were the GFX 100 / GF lenses combo comes into play - now I can have my beloved Voigtlanders / Zeiss look, if I want, with decent eye-af, letting me focus on the interaction with my model and creating the image, and / or IBIS and focus bracketing allowing me to focus stack handheld when I'm on a cliff by the sea, catching the full landscape under of the fleeting light of a small cloud opening in a storm.
So while I may not have the ultimate last few 0.xx % of Otus goodness in my setup, or the adorable pop-up of web images with high resolution /aggressive dof changes / clean oof (those 35mm "3d pop" images start to look a bit "rushed" or "rudimentary to me, now), I have some splendid image making tools that get out the way a lot faster than my beloved Voigtlanders or Otus lenses, with a lot more upsides than I would have expected.
I know this thread is about the Voigtlanders, and it should get back on track. But one thing I'll clearly remember is the revelation when shooting with rapidly changing light near the sea, a few months ago: if in one series of shots my 110 Voigtlander seemed like the "magic stardust" bringer vs my 135 1.8 GM (back to back shooting), in another series of back to back shots, the opposite was true. How was that possible ? (constant WB, similar composition elements, 100% enlargement or not) Well, the same basic photography truth still stands: light and composition are much more critical factors in an image than lens / camera performance. In that case, the composition was rather constant, but the small changes in lighting impacted the rendering of the lenses in much more dramatic ways than anticipated. For the better part of the last decade, when testing my Zeiss ZFs against Nikon or Canon primes, the special qualities of the lenses were visible across minor changes in lighting. With lenses like the 135 1.8 GM vs a supercompetent 110 Voigtlander, that was no longer the case. Minor light changes would immediately overturn small lens rendering performance.
So while I did love my Otuses and Voigtlanders, it's time to say good bye, for me. My new "ultimate lenses" are potentially a bit less perfect and distinctive, out of the box, than my uber-Otuses, but they allow me to create images that my manual focus 35mm lenses would deny from me.

Thanks a lot for the very interesting write up! The makes a lot of sense!

Cheers,
Bernard

John Camp

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2171
Re: In Praise of the Voigtlanders
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2020, 03:30:35 pm »

I have the Voightlander 40mm Nocton mounted on an Epson R-D1 (Leica mount.) I haven't used it in a long time, but the images had a nice funky quality, a good sharp lens on a primitive sensor; in B&W conversion, looked a bit like a 50s Leica. I'm going to have to try it again. 
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]   Go Up