Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image data — nearby photos
as seen in “An Amazing Day of Photography at Some Eastern-Kyoto Temples”
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1.3 sec, f/22, ISO 640 — full exif
as seen in “Exploring the Sharper Side of the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5”
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
as seen in “The Towel Museum in Imabari Japan, Part 2”
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/8000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 720 — map & image data — nearby photos
as seen in “Revisiting the Road to Imabari: Stops #1 and #2”
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image data — nearby photos
as seen in “Gioji Temple Photoshoot Continues: Little Orange Mushrooms and Depth-of-Field Comparisons”
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — map & image data — nearby photos
as seen in “Haphazard and Defocused: Elusive Lesson in Photographic Composition”
Note: the photos above are from among the hundreds of shots taken with the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 that have appeared on my blog since I first published this article. The photo I originally opened the article with, seen below, was one I just happened to have taken just before writing the article, but it reallly doesn't do the lens justice, so I came back to add a few that do.
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/20 sec, f/2.5, ISO 8000 — map & image data — nearby photos
and I'll ask for a mile
125mm handheld at 1/20 sec, ISO 8000
A couple of months ago I wrote about a new (for me) lens, a Cosina Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 that I introduced in this post. It was my intention to eventually write up a nice post all about it, with samples that I actually took time to take carefully, but free time is just not something I've had yet this year, so today's post will have to do.
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — full exif
of metal and glass: no plastic
Last fall's “Holy Cow, the Gardens at Kyoto's Eikando Temple are Gorgeous!” post represented an awakening for me to a whole class of lens that far exceeds Nikon's offerings, at least by some metrics. In it I had used a friend's manual-focus Carl Zeiss 100mm f/2, and was thrilled with both the joy of using it and the photos it allowed me to take. It's solid metal and glass, with a long focus pull that makes manual-focus photography a luxury of satin proportions. Modern SLRs tend not to be designed for manual-focus use, but I have a Katz Eye focusing screen, which makes manual focus a pleasure.
Not long after this experience with the Zeiss, in an exchange with a blog reader, I commented that I was looking for a nice macro (super close-up) lens, and that the Zeiss was nice, but that I longed for more close-up than its 1/2-full-macro abilities.
Something about this really struck a chord with me — the calm “just the best” or the vivid “exquisite to use”, perhaps — and I felt that intuitively, sight unseen, that I just had to have this lens.
After long months of watching Yahoo! Auctions (they're not only still alive in Japan, but the market leader... the “eBay of Japan”), I finally procured one, and was not disappointed.
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — full exif
N/AI-S means Nikon “AI-S”-spec Mount
The “exquisite” that so aptly describes the Zeiss 100/2 is only a starting point for the Voigtländer, with a focus pull that takes almost two complete turns of the lens barrel to move from infinity to the minimum focus of 38cm. Two turns of the barrel! It exudes solid, velvety-smooth quality.
The numbers around the barrel in red are the focus distances in meters during the first turn, in white the distances during the second turn.
The lens extends considerably as you focus closer, as if it's reaching out to the subject being photographed, and by the time you're at the minimum focus distance, the length of the lens proper (sans hood) has almost doubled. That's a neat engineering trick in and of itself.
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 4000 — full exif
With funky square hood. The comparison would have been better sans hood.
It comes with a funky square lens hood of speckled metal, and a rubber square “hood cap” that seems to be the only thing not made of metal or glass.
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/100 sec, f/11, ISO 4000 — full exif
The official name is the long mouthful captioning the photo above. The Japanese company Cosina actually manufacturers the lens. Voigtländer is venerable names in cameras, being licensed by Cosina for the name's recognition and heritage, I guess.
Macro means that the image projected on the sensor by the lens can be made at least as big as the actual object being projected. The larger the projection, the more the object fills the frame, and so the more detail is rendered. This full-macro lens can project an image twice the size of the Zeiss (which is also manufactured by Cosina, the agreement with Zeiss likely being what caused Cosina to stop producing this Voigtländer lens in the first place).
125mm F2.5 are the focal length and maximum aperture. SL seems to be a designator for a line or family of lenses at Cosina, but again, I'm not sure.
The maximum aperture of f/2.5 is sort of middle ground... not bad, but it's not f/1.4, either. Still, when combined with the D700's low-light capabilities I tend to want to push the limits, so I grabbed it on the way out one evening to check out fireflies with Anthony (and found none, where there had been a gazillion the previous day... odd), yielding not much but the photo that leads this post.
I haven't had much chance to use it since, but a few photos with it appeared on my Lightroom JPEG Quality writeup.
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — full exif
Around the barrel in orange at various spots next to focus distances are “X2”, “X3”, and “X4”. I could not find any reference on the web to what these mean, so perhaps this will be the first: at very close focus distances (less than half a meter), the effective aperture starts to narrow, reducing the light by 2×, 3×, and 4× at the respective focus distances. Those with modern TTL metering just let the camera take care of the exposure, but those doing the exposure manually will need to adjust their exposure by 1, 1.6, and 2 stops, respectively.
Besides the square lens hood and hood cap, it comes with an all-metal screw-on lens cap. Here's a photo of the cap balanced on the hood at my living-room window:
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/2500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 4000 — full exif
The lens cap is nicely machined, with a knurled ridge offset at an angle around the circumference. It's less convenient than a modern plastic clip-on lens cap, and it can't even be accessed when the lens hood is on, but I suspect it's meant only for when the lens is in storage.
Anyway, the lens cap doesn't look particularly interesting when you're holding it, but looking at it close up reveals all kinds of interesting plays of light. I set the cap in front of the window, and used a tissue box to steady the lens (because walking all way back to my room to break out my tripod was more work than I was willing to invest), and ...
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 4000 — full exif
This is, of course, the subject of my most recent (though not very recent) Disorienting “What am I” Quiz.
I took an interesting photo yesterday that I want to post as a “What am I?” quiz, so because I don't want to have two open quizzes, I was sort of forced to post about the Voigtländer today. So there we are.
Now back to the Lightroom plugin bit mines...
(ignore this... it's just some ASCII-only versions of some names, for the search engines: Bjorn Rorslett, Voigtlander 125mm