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| p.1 #8 · Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 180/4 |
I think a good thread on this lens, which includes a head-to-head comparison to the Leica 180/3,4 APO Telyt can be found HERE. I own all three CV APO's; the 180 has size, light weight and near-APO performance on its side; very contrasty stopped down a touch, tack sharp right at f/4 and colors slightly more subdued than the 90 IMO. Against it is its slow speed, making it more challenging to focus in failing light and focus mechanism optimized for near subjects (the box says, "close focus") so nailing focus with confirmation on distant and infinity subjects can be tricky because the slightest adjustment or breathe results in focus confirmation loss. I have seen them show up on eBay in Pentax mount several times last year for just under $1000 while in Nikon mount, they have been selling for US$1200-1300 when they sporadically appear (maybe 2-3 times a year). They are also rare; no more than 750-1000 in Nikon mount were ever produced; read HERE.. Lloyd Chambers did a 180mm comparison on a D3x that included the Leica 180/2.8 APO and the CV 180/4; see HERE. . It appears in his paid subscription site but the bottom line is that the Leica, as alluded to above is a special optic almost diffraction-limited at f/2.8. The CV impresses him for all the above reasons but stopping down to 5.6 is needed for peak performance. He and Bjorn Rorslett confirm that the Voigtlander isn't perfectly APO (no mean feat of precision assembly) but close enough. I briefly owned the Leica R 180/3.4 APO Telyt; as images in the first link above demonstrates, lower contrast is its hallmark though later on in the thread, I posted night shots that take advantage of the lower contrast to reveal extraordinary shadow detail at night. It's also optimized for distant objects and while focus is easy and performance are really amazing at infinity, it's pretty ordinary for near to mid-distanced subjects. The optic was devised in the 70's with the US Navy for maritime surveillance so it reflects these priorities. It does not have the dual personality (stellar close and distant performance) of the world-class Leica 180/2.8 APO. But then, even at $1200, it's 1/3 the going price of the Leica.
It might be a 'no-brainer' for a new 180 but Cosina may have other arrangements or contractual limitations with Zeiss that could preclude this. The oft-debated issue with the 125 is its direct challenge to the Z*100 and the word is that Zeiss is introducing 2 tele lenses in the next 12 months. Who knows if these two elusive Voigtlanders will ever materialize again.