voiglander lenses,users report

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by jason_gold|1, Aug 16, 2000.

  1. I plan to replace some stolen Leica lenses.The 35 Summicron RFand 90 Tele-Elmarit. I am considering the 35mmf1.7/35mmf2.8/ and a 90mmm.The first 2 lenses by Voigtlander.The 90 by Konica.I do PJ and weddings,celebrations and events.I need actual users replies.How good? What negative faults?
     
  2. Jason,

    <p>

    You might want to look at this site. It is by Erwin Puts who is a
    European Leica Guru. He is partial to Leica, but he finds the lenses
    pretty good. When you read any negative comments, remember that he
    is comparing these sub 500 Dollar lenses to models that go for 4 to 5
    times as much.

    <p>

    http://www.imx.nl/photosite/japan/voigtl01.html
     
  3. I keep coming back to see if someone who has actually shot with the
    lenses listed in your question, but no one has posted yet. I have the
    25mm lens, and it is very good. For the money, its a really nice
    little wide angle, and very well made.Sharp, contrasty, low
    distortion, high resistance to flare. I would be surprised if the
    other lenses do not spec out very high in the field as well. Cosina
    went all out on these lenses, down to the nice circles that the
    aperture makes at the various f stops. The screw to m adapters are a
    minor thing and I can live with them, but I'd still would have rather
    had a real m mount lens. Hope to hear from some other voigtlander
    lens owners.
     
  4. I have read three magazine tests on the Konica lenses.
    The 50 seems to be a real top class lens, but the 90
    flared quite easily in two of the tests (the 3.rd doesn't
    seem to have checked flare at all). I buy too many
    magazines to remember exactly which they were, but I'm
    90 % sure that two of them were Brittish "Practical
    Photography" and German "Foto Magazine".
     
  5. I have the 15 and the 35/1.7. Both are excellent. I don't have a
    Leica 35 to compare with, but the new lens wide open is solidly
    better than the 35RF Summilux I had years ago, when I compare prints
    from then and now- - - but that was a very early Summilux, not a
    modern lens. The 15 is, of course, amazing, especially since it has
    no competition. My next purchase will be the 25, but I do wish it was
    a stop faster, so that it could compete with the Leica 24 in some
    meaningful way--I'm just not sure f/4 is fast enough for me in that
    length, but I'm not ready to spend the extra to get the Leica 24/2.8.
     
  6. Thanks for all your help.I had a 35mm Summilux years ago.I hated it.The out of focus was very disturbing.The flare problem on Konica needs re-think.In a perfect world I`d get Leica lenses.Their cost is simply too high.It cannot be justified esp in pro work.I do not get that kind of fee.
    I have old Pentax screw mount lenses and their multi coating is still unbeaten.I wish my Leica lenses were equally flare resistant!I`ve heard about the 15 and 25 lenses.They are too wide.In fact I beleive a slr is a better tool for such wide angles.One can compose with so much more accuracy!True you cant focus but then that what the numbers on the lens are for!
     
  7. Question: are there any plastic aspheric elements in the cosina
    lenses? They may look pretty and be good, but how long will they
    last? I have a 90 tamron, sharp but there are streaks inside the
    elements which I attribute to plastics, poor manufacturing
    techniques, and we are talking famous Tamron. You get what you pay
    for.

    <p>

    Wlad
     
  8. A post from the LUG you might find germane:

    <p>

    ----------
    From: TTAbrahams@aol.com
    Reply-To: leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
    Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 17:38:28 EST
    To: leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
    Subject: Re: [Leica] Cosina vs Leica (glass)

    <p>

    The tests of the Ultron, Nokton and Color-Heliar versus the
    equivalent Leica
    lenses confirm my opinions of these lenses. Both the Nokton
    and the
    Color-Heliar have become fixtures on my cameras. The Nokton
    on a M6HM and the
    Color-Heliar on a M6TTL 0,85. The Ultron 35/1,7 I have an
    ergonomic problem
    with, it has a strange (to me) barrel, very thick in the back portion
    and
    then tapered towards the front. It is a little larger than I want my
    35 to
    be. I have the 35/1,4 Asph and although big and clumsy, it is a
    spectacular
    performer, so when I need a fast 35, that's what I use. For
    "normal" shooting
    I tend to stick with the 35/2 Summicron (3rd generation) or the
    35/2 Asph.
    The Ultron is somehow left hanging between these choices.
    Performance wise it
    is no slouch though. As good as the 3rd generation Summicron
    (and that is
    high praise) and, apart from wide-open, close enough to be
    used instead of a
    35/2 Asph. Of course, if I was using a lot of LTM cameras, the
    Ultron would
    be a good choice as it allows you to adapt a new, high quality
    lens to these
    older designs. The new 35/2,5 Color-Heliar is more
    ergonomically correct for
    my style of shooting, very quick focus and, although a bit softer
    than the
    35/2 wide-open, an extremely competent performer across the
    board.
    The Nokton is the 50 high-speed lens to beat. It is very good and
    fully
    usable wide-open. The "double"-Aspheric design gives a nice
    "snap" to
    wide-open shots. It is lightweight compared to the 50/1,4
    Summilux and a bit
    more compact. It works very well on a M2 or M3 but on the IIIF/IIIG
    the
    barrel is intruding a bit in the finder (but so would a Summilux 50
    in
    screwmount). Combine the Nokton with a M2 and the 1:1 finder
    50mm finder from
    Voigtlander and you have a "street shooting camera" second to
    none.
    The 75/2,5 is a lightweight alternative to the 75/1,4 Summilux.
    It's
    performance is not up to the 75/1,4, but we are also looking at
    $400 (and the
    facility to use this lens on a LTM camera) and $2000+ as well as
    250 grams
    versus 600 grams. The 75/1,4 Summilux is in my opinion one of
    the milestone
    lenses in the Leica lens system and when you need that speed,
    there is no
    substitute. It is heavy and you certainly are aware of the fact that
    you are
    shooting with a fast lens. It requires a steady hand and a perfect
    focusing
    ability to get the most out of it, but when it works, watch out! The
    75/2,5
    is a different lens altogether. It is small, short and comfortable. It
    gives
    you a bit more reach than the 50 and is very handy. I always
    bemoaned the
    lack of a small, light lens in the 75mm length in Leica's program
    and I
    lobbied for years to get Leica to produce the 75/2,4 APO (a rare
    military
    lens) for M-users. The 75/2,5 might not be APO, but it is certainly
    sharp and
    contrasty enough for any application. It has a slight softness
    wide-open that
    makes it very pleasant as a portrait lens, enough depth of field to
    focus on
    the eyes and get the nose sharp too. You can also get a great
    bright line
    finder for it from Voigtlander/Cosina.
    As for the Cosina's know-how on glass manufacturing. They are
    one of the
    premium manufacturers of glass in Japan as well as being the
    foremost
    manufacturer of Aspherical elements for the Japanese camera
    industry. Most of
    the other manufacturers order the Aspherical elements from
    Cosina and put
    them in their lenses, even some of the biggest names and most
    renowned lenses
    from these companies have Cosina Aspherical elements in
    them! This is a very
    Japanese way of doing thing, rather than trying to invent the
    wheel in every
    factory, they will buy the needed pieces from someone who
    already knows how
    to do it and who can supply the material to what ever
    specifications the user
    need. Most of the Japanese camera industry is more of a Quality
    Control and
    assembly function and a fair bit of the parts come from small
    and medium
    sized subcontractors. There are only a couple of companies in
    Japan that cut
    lens focussing helicoils and they supply most of the camera
    manufacturers,
    the same thing goes for rangefinder parts. Cosina looked
    carefully at the
    Leica CL and CLE finders for their Bessa-R. The basic design
    was good but
    they also added stuff like better frames, higher contrast etc. They
    simply
    made use of improvements that have occurred in the last 20-30
    years and
    applied it. This allows them to be very competitive when it comes
    to pricing
    as well as use design parameters that takes into account what
    the sub
    contractor is making. Quite often the subcontractor, who is an
    expert in the
    field, can suggest improvements and cost cutting measures that
    in the end
    benefit both the product and us, the consumer.
    A perfect example of this "parts" camera is the Hasselblad
    X-pan/Fuji-TX-1.
    If you look closely at the camera, you recognize parts from
    Contax G series,
    from Canon and several other cameras. The unique parts are
    chassi, covers and
    the rangefinder magnification system. The shutter is a Copal;
    electronics
    look very much like the ones in the Bessa-R and exposure
    compensation,
    LC-displays etc could be dropped into a Nikon F5/Canon EOS or
    Minolta 9
    without looking out of place. Considering that the X-Pan sells for
    just about
    what a M6 with 50/2 costs (and for that you get 2 lenses), it
    proves that
    this way of manufacturing works.
    There is also an inherent Japanese tradition of making small
    productions.
    They do recognize that not everybody wants everything and if you
    build a
    small run of something, you have to price it so that you get the
    costs back
    and make a profit. Case in point is the Ricoh 28/2,8, the 21/2,8
    and the
    Minolta 28/3,5 as well as the Konica 60/1,2 and 50/2,4 lenses.
    These were
    built in small series (in case of the 60/1,2, only 800 made) and
    sold out
    quickly. Neither of the manufacturer lost money on these
    products although
    most likely they did not make huge profits either, but the product
    name was
    kept "alive: in the camera magazines and discussed among the
    optical experts.
    The Konica Hexar RF is a similar case, if it is not a sales
    success, it will
    probably stay around for a while, Konica will sell enough to
    recoup
    investment and then drop it. The more I see of the Japanese
    manufacturers,
    the more impressed I am. Look at the car industry there. They
    build and sell
    the Figaro (a 1950's retro sports car, complete with a Fiat
    Topolino type
    top, white plastic knobs on a 50's style radio, which of course
    also can play
    CD's!), the S-Cargo, a small city type delivery van, cute and
    practical, the
    Nissan chassi and 2/3 sized Jaguar 3,4 Mark II looking sedan
    etc. I get the
    feeling that they actually are enjoying themselves in their design
    departments!
    When it comes to Cosina/Voigtlander, this is the pet-project of
    Mr.
    Kobayashi, the President of Cosina. He likes Voigtlander
    cameras and also
    Leica's. he could not find a Snap-Shot Elmar (a prototype lens
    made in the
    30's) so he had his team design the 25/4 Snap-Shot Skopar. He
    thought the
    Hologon was overpriced and under-performed so he had the
    15/4,5 Heliar
    designed. There was a bit of a slowdown in sales of Nikon
    FM-10/ Olympos 2000
    cameras (which Cosina built under contract to Nikon and
    Olympos), so he had
    that one redesigned to be a modern 1G, but with a built in meter!
    The Bessa-R
    is the same thing, Cosina is building all these LTM lenses and it
    would be
    fun to make a rangefinder camera that fits them, but with modern
    meter/shutter technology. I am deeply envious of him, imagine
    having a camera
    factory and a premium optical manufacturing facility at your
    disposal and the
    position to have them build your dream cameras or lenses. The
    mind boggles at
    the prospect!
    Tom A
     
  9. ....and.....

    <p>

    ----------
    From: TTAbrahams@aol.com
    Reply-To: leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
    Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 22:17:05 EST
    To: leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
    Subject: [Leica] Cosina lenses

    <p>

    I have been using the Cosina/Voigtlander lenses for quite a
    while now and I
    will put down my highly subjective opinions of these.

    <p>

    Heliar 15/4,5: Best deal there is! A 15mm rectilinear lens with a
    great
    finder for less than $400! It is cheaper than the finder for the 16/8
    Hologon
    for Contax G1/G2 and far more useful. Wide-open there is some
    softness at the
    edges, but ones you are stopped down to f5.6/8 it's performance
    is exemplary.
    There is some vignetting, but this is a function of the extreme
    wide-angle
    rather than the lens itself. In any case, the fall off is less than a
    Hologon
    without its center-filter. Highly useful lens, incredible depth of
    field and
    once you have learned to keep knuckles and shoes out of the
    frame, great fun
    to use! Works well with the M6 meter, but some care has to be
    taken not to
    meter too much sky, due to the extreme angle of view.

    <p>

    25/4 Snap-Shot Skopar: It might look like a toy but it is a very
    sharp,
    moderate wide-angle. It has certain endearing characteristics,
    the click
    stops at 1m, 1,5m and 3m makes it a great street shooting lens.
    I would have
    liked it too have rangefinder coupling, but it is still easy enough
    to use.
    Handles very well and is sharp, contrasty and kind of cute! It is a
    bit too
    small for using on a M-body, but suits the screwmount camera
    perfectly (or
    the Bessa-L). At $300 with the finder, it is a bargain. It is better
    than a
    25 Canon and an improvement over the 28/5,6 Summaron. The
    finder is the same
    type as the 15, very bright and clear, some curvature in the finder
    and no
    brightlines. What you see is approximately 93% of what you get.

    <p>

    35/1,7 Ultron: Competent 35mm lens and usable wide-open. I
    find it a bit too
    big for a 35 and I have not got used to its barrel-size. On the
    other hand,
    it is a very good optic, performance is similar to the pre-ASPH
    35/2 and it
    allows the user of the Barnack-Leica's (Japanese designation
    for screwmount
    Leica's) access to a high quality, fast and reasonably priced 35.
    The
    Aspheric glass makes a difference in wide-open performance,
    sharp and
    contrasty. The 35 finder that Cosina released before Christmas
    is a joy to
    use. Same housing as the 15/25 finders, extremely bright view.
    Proper
    framelines and even a parallax compensating line at the top.
    Better than the
    $400 SBOII finders that Leica made 40 years ago and at $140 a
    bargain to
    boot.

    <p>

    50/1,5 Nokton: I did a subjective test a week ago. I shoot with the
    50/1,5
    Nokton, 50/1,4 Summilux, 50/1,4 Nikkor (in screwmount), 50/1,4
    Canon (also in
    screwmount). The weather co-operated by being truly miserable,
    rain, grey
    overcast, some snow/slush and a couple of days with sunshine.
    Using Tmax 400
    and processing in FX-37 (a bit edgy grain, but sharp) the clear
    winner was
    the Nokton with the Summilux and the Canon as second and the
    Nikkor trailing
    (Now the Nikkor has had a hard life and the glass is slightly less
    than
    mint!). The Nokton has become my standard lens for
    winter-weather shooting.
    Wide-open it is remarkably sharp and snappy. It is a very
    comfortable lens to
    use, barrel size and "heft" is very well balanced. As it has a
    52mm filter
    size I have found use for those old Nikon filters that has been
    cluttering up
    the filterdrawer too. Supposedly the later lenses have a slightly
    deeper
    hood, but I have not had any problem with flare on mine. At
    around $600 it is
    a better deal than a used Summilux 50. It is not a substitute for
    either the
    Summicron 50 or the Noctilux, but for the times when you need a
    stop more but
    you don't want to haul the Noctilux around, it is perfect! There is
    also a
    nice 50-brightline finder available for this lens. Superbly built and
    it
    comes in black paint too!

    <p>

    75/2,5 Color-Heliar: This is a small, compact and very
    reasonably priced
    "long" normal. Its performance is on par with the Tele-Elmarit
    90/2,8. It has
    a slightly soft rendering at 2.5/2.8 but gets quite snappy at 4 and
    above. It
    is a tiny lens, slightly longer than a 50/2 and lightweight. It is not
    as
    sharp or as contrasty as the 90/2,8 Elmarit-M, but it is lighter and
    smaller
    (and you can put it on your Barnack-Leica). Sometimes there are
    pieces of
    equipment you like for no particular reason, the 75/1,4 is
    sharper, the
    90/2.8 Elmarit-M is probably better and the 90/2 APO-Asph is
    considerably
    better, but the 75/2,5 feels "right". It is small enough that you can
    stick
    in a pocket and leave it there until you need it, without feeling that
    you
    are dragging a heavy 'lump' with you. It is now my preferred
    "long" normal
    for a walk in the downtown. Combining it with an M body with the
    35/2 on it,
    you can have a nice portable shooting kit. Cosina also makes a
    75 finder,
    same barrel as the 50 finder and the same bright view with
    framelines clearly
    visible.
    It is also one of the lowest priced Cosina/Voigtlander lenses at
    around
    $375/400.

    <p>

    My feeling is that the Cosina products are well designed well
    made and
    represent a tremendous value for the price. They are not
    substitutes for the
    Leica optics, but rather complements the lens line. It also allows
    us to use
    the older Barnack-cameras with modern, high quality lenses as
    well as
    allowing us to put the same lenses on our M-cameras.
    All the lenses that I have are the black versions and on some of
    them I have
    noticed a tendency to chipping in the paint, particularly around
    the hood
    edges. Coatings are holding up well to my somewhat haphazard
    way of cleaning
    them (wipe them off with a lens-cloth, using R.O.R if I am at
    home, otherwise
    I breathe on them for light cleaning, spit on them for more
    hard-to-clean
    spots!). So far no marks, permanent spots or scratches. The
    "feel" of the
    focussing on all of them is remarkably smooth and the 35/1,7
    has a wonderful
    short throw, you go from infinity to 0,8 m in a quarter turn. Very
    fast and
    easy to catch moving subjects. All my tests have been with
    black/white film
    (apart from a couple of rolls of Astia and Provia in Tokyo last
    September) so
    I will not judge color rendition or the variations thereof.
    I haven't got the 35/2,5 or the Bessa-RF yet but it should be here
    shortly
    and I will let the LUG know as soon as it has arrived what my
    initial
    impression is.
    Would I shoot a commercial job with the Cosina lenses? Yes,
    particularly
    with lenses like the 15/4,5 or the 50/1,5, the 25/4 is no match for
    my 24/2,8
    Asph, nor is the 75/2,5 a match for the 75/1,4 and in my mind,
    nothing
    matches the 35/1,4 Asph. If it was a job that required critical
    color-work I
    might do a check on the corrections required to match the
    lenses, but for a
    black/white or color-neg. job, the Cosina are more than up to the
    task.
    Keep in mind that this is a subjective opinion of one person and
    it is from
    a user point of view. For the detailed nuts and bolts analysis do
    what I do,
    read Erwin's stuff!
    Tom A
     
  10. Here are some pictures taken with the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7
    lens, on a Bessa R. All shots were handheld:

    <p>

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder.tcl?folder_id=63145

    <p>

    Regards
     
  11. Mahesh,

    <p>

    Thank you very much for your post. I have heard that the 35mm f1.7
    was close to the performance of the last Non-Asph 35mm Summicron, but
    yours were the first photos that I have seen made with it. I
    particularly like the window light picture of the statue and the
    painting with the bare lights in the frame. The lens looks as if
    there in no problem with flare.

    <p>

    If others are viewing the pictures, don't forget to click on the
    pictures for an enlarged view...(bigger than the screen!). You can
    really see the details. Nice lens! Nice pictures!
     

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