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| Voigtlander 90 f/3.5 SL II first impression |
***Disclaimer*** I am by no means a professional tester of any sort. I just like to shoot and am strictly amateur. I picked up my new CV 90 f/3.5 SL II (Nikon) yesterday and went out today just to test the lens. I had my little girl with me....not much testing going on. I picked up the lens from Stephen Gandy at cameraquest and he got it out fast!!!!!
First impression: Wow, this lens is tiny. I had to sell a Zeiss ZF 100 f/2 in order to purchase a few other lenses (had to have for actual work stuff) so I saved about $700 and got the CV 90. My main use is in the UWA lenses, so it came to getting rid of the 100 or ZF 21....which will happen when I am dead. Back to the CV, it is extremely small and light. Feels more like a rangefinder lens than an SLR lens. I really like that. It is just a little taller than the ZF 50 f/1.4 and no wider.
Macro: The lens goes to 1:3.5 on its own, or 1:1.8 with the close focus lens attached. This comes with the lens. 1:1.8 is plenty for me. It kinda sucks to need the lens to get close to true macro, but I would rather keep the lightweight and small package and have that small *annoyance*
Wide open: VERY SHARP. My only complaint would be that CA is a little more than I would like to see wide open (only prevalent wide open too). I'm no lens major, but it is the CA that is gone with a touch of a button in Lightroom - whichever one that is. If I had a bone to pick wide open, this is it, though a very small one as it is very well controlled and can be easily fixed.
Bokeh: Excellent. Very creamy looking.
Sharpness: Excellent. I had the ZF 100 f/2 and while this lens is not there, it is closer than I expected for a $550 lens.
Edge-to-edge sharpness is also very good. No smudging in the corners or edges that I can see.
Vignetting: Very good. Only slight vignetting wide open in darker shots, easily corrected in PP.
Distortion: Very well controlled
Focus throw is very long, just like the ZF 100 f/2. Definitely not the fastest lens to focus, but this is definitely preferred (for me anyways) for macro shooting. Allows for very precise focus.
From the short amount of time I have used it, my favorite look of this lens is gathered between 5-15 ft.
All in all, I think it is a very good lens. It is by no means a ZF 100 f/2. Obviously it does not go down to f/2, it is not 1:2 macro on its own without the correction lens and I think the sharpness on the Zeiss is a little better. That being said, it is well worth $550 in my opinion. I don't know of another 90-100mm macro lens that I would rather have at this price. Plenty of pics below for you to make your own decisions.
Like I mentioned, I am no official tester, so please do not bash my 'testing techniques'.
***ALL SHOTS ARE SOOC - NO ADJUSTMENTS MADE***
Size comparison with ZF 21 f/2.8, Nikon 85 f/1.4 and ZF 50 f/1.4
Wide open: Notice CA on woman's left arm
close up of CA
Another two shots wide open. It seems like it will be a great portrait lens, very sharp:
-Notice lack of vignetting wide open-
f/8 with close-focus lens
Wide open - not recommended on landscape but showing the sharpness:
Other misc shots......
distortion seems to be very well controlled.....
ENJOY!!!! Hopefully I will have more time tomorrow (alone ) to really see this lens in action