Voigtlander 90/3.5 or Nikkor 85/1.8G?

Started Nov 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
Emil Varadi
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Re: Voigtlander 90/3.5 or Nikkor 85/1.8G?
In reply to Johan1967, Nov 11, 2012

Johan1967 wrote: Lloyd Chambers tested the Voigtlander against the D800E. It was superb (most Nikon lenses weren't able to deliver however). It seems that Nikon now has a body that is too good for most of their own lenses.

This is exactly what triggered my question. Digllloyd heaps praise on the Voigtlander 90/3.5 calling it a lens of exceptional quality. Since I own the legendary 125/2.5 Voigtlander APO Lanthar and know what magic that lens can do, I surely was tempted by the 90/3,5. (And yes, I was trying to get a 75/2.5 and had hoped Voigtlander would not just announce the 75/1.8 but also start producing it, but that has not happened. I definitely want something shorter than the 125/2.5 but with similar abilities.)

(Interestingly Diglloyd recently praised the Voigtlanders which has not always been the case from him a few years ago. If you bother to dig deeper into his blog, you will see this contradiction. But onother thing to keep in mind with Diglloyd that he is a technical maximizer who wants to squeeze even the last pixel out of any camera+lens combination, and while he tends to avoid tripods and likes to shoot from hand, he always aims for technical maximums and is not an optimizer like for example photo journalists or street shooters to whom capturing the moment is way more important than achieving peak IQ. For very practical reasons I shall not enter here into a discussion why is a well captured moment always more valuable than sterile imagemaking where top priorities are just to have as many megapixels as possible (ie. lots of often unnecessary detail) and all pixels perfectly exposed. F**k technical perfection that serves nothing else but itself. A good image should "talk" to you irrespecively of the number of megapixels captured and to some extent even irrespective to the way they were captured.)

Another factor that generated this question was that about two months ago the price of second hand Voigtlander 75/2.5 and the 90/3.5 had gone considerably up on Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest website. Cannot remember the exact price (but it was way up from their original prices) and now cannot find the pages either so he must have sold them in the meantime. I was happy to find another source that had sold the 90/3.5 discounted (!), but this too has dried up since. So I had already witnessed a few times the ascent of some Voigtlanders to cult status and seen their prices break the ceiling. I was nervous this was happening with the 90/3.5 while I was pondering whether to buy it or not.

So yes, I had also known that the 85/1.8G was also one very good lens. I had read anotherMike's contributions and also read Diglloyd pointing out some of its advantages over the more expensive 85/1.4G. (And yes, photozone is also there for a more rudimentary comparison. )

One thing I still do not know - and admit I have failed to ask it in my oiginal post - which lens has that "wow" factor? Both? One of them? None? The Voigtlander 125/2.5 can do the magic, the Nikon 200/2 can do it too, probably quite a few other lenses can also, but can any of these two do it or at least get close enough?

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