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APO-Telyt-R 180/3.4 vs. APO-Lanthar 180/4
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Which lens is the APO-Telyt-R 180/3.4?
Lens A) is APO-Telyt-R 180/3.4
38%
 38%  [ 5 ]
Lens B) is APO-Telyt-R 180/3.4
61%
 61%  [ 8 ]
Total Votes : 13



PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james wrote:
Orio's suggestion that a third shot featuring a more mundane lens @ 180mm may also help put things into perspective is a great idea.


It was not my suggestion.


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My apology, Orio. It was "cheve" who suggested it.


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, f/5.6 and same white balance, same settings, same post-processing, same sharpening etc. etc.

LENS A 20m center



LENS B 20m center



LENS A 4m bokeh uncropped



LENS B 4m bokeh uncropped



PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BACKGROUND
I already own the 180/4 APO-Lanthar and also have access to a 2nd copy of the same lens. In addition, I was offered the 180/3.4 APO-Telyt-R for purchase, and naturally I was interested as it has a reputation that is very high.

WHY ALL THIS TROUBLE?
Because I can. Because I have the lenses on my table.

WHICH LENS IS WHICH?
Lens A is APO-Lanthar. Lens B is APO-Telyt-R.

IN FAVOUR OF THE APO-Telyt-R
It has a slightly stiffer focusing feel which I find good. It is better geared for focusing near infinity, APO-Lanthar is more "touchy" to focus changes near the infinity mark. APO-Telyt extends slightly less than the APO-Lanthar when focusing towards MFD.

IN FAVOUR OF THE APO-Lanthar
APO-Lanthar is more contrasty throughout the aperture range. The light greenish overcast from the APO-Telyt-R is not appealing to me. Snow here has melted now but I imagine shooting snow with the APO-Telyt is a pain in the arse. The APO-Lanthar vignettes slightly less at f/5.6 and wide open. The aperture control is also more precise: even when not Leitax converted the aperture ring and click-stops of the APO-Telyt-R feel flimsy compared to the precise APO-Lanthar. The APO-Lanthar weighs slightly less and has a detachable lens hood, making it more compact in size. The diaphragm is also more rounded at smaller apertures, which affects only OoF highlight shape.

Detail?

At infinity it is a very close call, on my Eizo Coloredge CG222W I see a mathematical edge to the APO-Lanthar, which my eyes and brain probably interpret this way due to better contrast and more true colors.

At medium focusing distance (50m), APO-Lanthar pulls a slight lead. At 20m the APO-Lanthar is clearly better than the APO-Telyt-R.

At close focusing distance (<5m) I did not test detail, because given the different MFD (2.5m vs. 1.2m) and magnification ratio I did not find it meaningful to compare apples and oranges.

Bokeh is great on both lenses.

Both lenses are exceptional, but given what I see in the photos I've taken during two days I find it very hard to justify myself purchasing the more expensive Leica when it isn't better than the Voigtlnder.

PURE SPECULATION
Since the APO-Telyt-R was designed for marine surveillance and in its time probably mostly used in conjunction with B/W film, the green cast is perhaps intentional? On B/W film it would make skies and grey warships slightly more contrasty, painting a better silhouette.

USER-INDUCED ERRORS
This is what I thought as well, once I started pixel-peeping the first shots. Which is why I yesterday changed methodology, to rule out focusing errors. I used Live View at 100% to confirm correct focus, then I shot 5-10 frames per setting and always shuffled and re-acquired focus again. Statistically, I saw about a 15-20% misfocus rate. It means that I could discard about 1 in 5 or 6 frames because another frame in the same sequence had better detail in the intended focus spot.

Most of the shots I did with tripod, sandbag & exposure delay mode (to rule out mirror slap), of the samples posted only the wooden cross is hand-held (at 1/500s).

SAMPLE VARIATION, DUD COPY
Anything is possible of course, but this is a Leica lens (not a Sigma). I am not going to go through all this nerdwork again to find out for that my two 180/4 APO-Lanthars are better than two 180/3.4 APO-Telyt-R's


Last edited by Esox lucius on Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:52 am; edited 4 times in total


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Esox lucius wrote:

WHICH LENS IS WHICH?
Lens A is APO-Lanthar. Lens B is APO-Telyt-R.


he-hee! Very Happy
I never guessed a lens blind test wrong on this site, and this means more than three years Smile


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
Esox lucius wrote:

WHICH LENS IS WHICH?
Lens A is APO-Lanthar. Lens B is APO-Telyt-R.


he-hee! Very Happy
I never guessed a lens blind test wrong on this site, and this means more than three years Smile


Hmmm... I could put up something really hard for you then Wink


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
Esox lucius wrote:

WHICH LENS IS WHICH?
Lens A is APO-Lanthar. Lens B is APO-Telyt-R.


he-hee! Very Happy
I never guessed a lens blind test wrong on this site, and this means more than three years Smile


Laughing Laughing Nice!

I never guessed well any Wink


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I wish you ran the series before I bought the Leica 180/3.4 a week ago.... I was also intrigued with the reputation of the optic. I guess i can shoot it B&W if the greenish cast is there purposefully to increase contrast as Vilhelm theorized or sell it with a Leitax conversion once it arrives.

Decision, decisions...


Last edited by james on Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:53 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A G Photography wrote:
Orio wrote:
Esox lucius wrote:

WHICH LENS IS WHICH?
Lens A is APO-Lanthar. Lens B is APO-Telyt-R.


he-hee! Very Happy
I never guessed a lens blind test wrong on this site, and this means more than three years Smile


Hmmm... I could put up something really hard for you then Wink


You would cheat, I know Razz


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Esox lucius wrote:
Lens A is APO-Lanthar. Lens B is APO-Telyt-R.

Thanks Vilhelm for the interesting comparative review. It confirms that the Apo Lanthar is really an outstanding lens, as the Leica lens is certainly no slouch either!

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are all most welcome. I'm happy to share, though main interest here was purely personal.

james wrote:
Damn, I wish you ran the series before I bought the Leica 180/3.4 a week ago.... I was also intrigued with the reputation of the optic. I guess i can shoot it B&W if the greenish cast is there purposefully to increase contrast as Vilhelm theorized or sell it with a Leitax conversion once it arrives


Someone who owns two sportscars will likely use the other for racetrack weekends and the other he will enjoy on normal roads, as it's too rare to replace.

I think I am not the only one interested in finding out whether the color cast is there on your APO-Telyt-R as well, when you compare skyline shots taken at identical white balance.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My quick and dirty comparison, Leica has definitely some green cast. Both images same exposure times and same white balance (no AWB) and at f5.6. First Lanthar, second APO-Telyt. Just plain JPEGs from camera, no sharpness comparison.

APO-Lanthar


APO-Telyt


And maybe this are just the Leica colors. Two 135s, same settings as with both APOs above:
Leica Elmarit-R 2.8/135

CZJ Sonnar 3.5/135 MC which is, at least on my Eizo, closest to reality.


APO-Lanthar

APO-Telyt


BUT, looks like Leica is little bit more "APO" than Lanthar. And slightly longer.
Lanthar left, Telyt right


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very valuable information, thank you for adding! So that's with a Samsung GX-20 and 1.5x crop factor? It explains the lack of vignetting.

Unlike the 125/2.5, my 180/4 APO-Lanthars will show in extreme situations (shiny metal like in your pic) a hint of CA towards the corners, amount however is nowhere near a normal lens - perhaps 0.1-0.2 pixels. RAW conversion software takes care of it, but it shows in unprocessed images.

I don't use UV filters with it because I've noticed that UV filters add various aberrations to images, and they eat detail.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great series of photos that really test the lens's performance. I will do the comparison as soon as I receive the Leitax mount I ordered this week. Maybe I should have gone to Barcelona to get it instead of waiting for the mail Cool

Last edited by james on Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:21 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Esox lucius wrote:
So that's with a Samsung GX-20 and 1.5x crop factor?


Yes, I didnt touch the EXIF information.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My bit of opinion about the slight greenish cast of Leica lenses:
It is there in all R lenses, not just the Apo-Telyt.
I noticed it in all my R lenses.
I don't think it's really obnoxious. Surely not with digital cameras. With film, it may depend. For instance, all Kodak negative films abund in reds. Leica lenses balance that nicely. With Fuji negative films, the green may be a bit too much.
I find the greenish cast of Leica lenses excellent for portraits. I think it makes the skin tones more realistic than any other lens I know.
Green landscapes do also take advantage.
Brown-red landscapes, such as houses, sand, rocks, do suffer some greyish tone due to that cast.
One final note, greenish cast can help 3D perception in images, like all cool tones.
You can verify here in the car photo, the greenish cast does not impact the image much negatively colour wise, but the cooler tone of the white gives a little bit more dimensionality to the image. I can perceive it especially looking at the bottom of the car.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must agree with Orio. The greenish cast is insignificant in real life. And portraits I did with Leica lenses, are my favorite.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just received the Leitax mount for the 180 APO Telyt yesterday and took some hand-held nighttime shots with focus at infinity (quick and dirty on a rainy night). First impressions are that the Leica is still an impressive lens despite its age. Point light sources remain well contained instead of "blooming" and diffusing widely, interfering with close-by objects, something I have seen in shots of the same nighttime scene below with the CV 180 and Nikkor 180 ED. Detail in the corners is well maintained overall by the Telyt. It was very, very sharp. I shot the identical image with the CV 180 (not posted) but had difficulties hand-held at f/4 (windy night, difficult to stabilize it well at 1/30 sec); the Leica appeared to pull out more details from the shadows. I posted one I liked as an addendum to the daytime images by Vilhelm; shot at f/3.4, 1/60 sec, ISO 3200 (!!!) on the D700:
(I intend to add more from all my 180's, including the Nikkor 70-300 VR II)



Slightly off-center crop:


Left edge:


PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time for small update, close-focus resolution - something for pixel-peepers Wink
Please dont compare corner sharpness. The corners might be slightly off, due to small differences in focusing and small tilt and shift effect when placing camera on tripod. All settings same, only lenses changed. ISO100, f5.6, 1/180 s, tripod, flash, shot with remote control and 3s mirror-up. Paper size is A4 (printed on ordinary laser printer, so lines over 15 are distorted already on paper), camera about 3m from paper. DNG file developed with same settings in RawTherapee, to get maximum resolution.

I think that both lenses easily outresolve 14MPx sensor of my camera. I dont see any meaningful differences in sharpness. Again, APO-Lanthar is little bit more contrasty, APO-TELYT is little bit better corrected for CAs.

APO-Lanthar


APO-TELYT


PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I have seen myself, read and been told by long-time Leica aficianados, you may not find a dramatic difference by shooting target patterns or daylight subjects at f/5.6 where other superior lenses hit their peak performance on a modern digital sensor. The Leica seems to differentiate itself in lower light situations (and low contrast/flat light conditions) by pulling more detail out of shadows and delivering greater microcontrast and better color tonality in these circumstances. The shot above was at a distance of over 1/2 a kilometer and though not posted, results in the center crop from the CV 180 and Nikkor 180 ED bore that out. When I have some free time, I plan to shoot and post a comparison of these three at dusk and/or nighttime. Lloyd Chambers (in his excellent review site, www.diglloyd.com) did a 180mm comparison on the Nikon D3X of several lenses, including the Leica 180/2.8 APO. In his review, the Leica was the gold standard right from f/2.8, well exceeding the others in sharpness, contrast, clarity and resolution but the CV180 once stopped down to f/5.6 acquitted itself quite admirably against the Leica at f/5.6, a lens 10 times as expensive. He was so impressed that he mentioned he would part with it for no less than $2000 (he paid <$500 for it new).

I should mention that the the CV was the most difficult of the three to focus at infinity; at near-infinity and infinity, getting the green-dot confirmation in the dark was more challenging. Focus was very 'twitchy' in that even the slightest adjustment of the focus ring or mere breathing would throw off the camera's rangefinder whereas the Nikkor and Leica were far easier to obtain correct focus confirmation. Vilhelm mentions the same issue with the CV at infinity and near-infinity and relied on live view in his daytime shots.


Last edited by james on Wed May 05, 2010 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james wrote:
Vilhelm mentions the same issue with the CV at infinity and near-infinity and relied on live view in his daytime shots.


Yes, the CV 180/4 is a bit tricky close to infinity. I used Live View to 100% rule out focusing incompatibilities, it's not required for normal use...

The official name of the lens is Voigtlnder SL 180mm f/4 APO-Lanthar Close Focus, which explains why it's better geared than the APO-Telyt 180/3.4 for near focusing distances.

I suspect the higher shadow detail with APO-Telyt-R is due to slightly lower contrast, noticed the same when I compared my contrastier Nikkor wide-angle zooms with the older design Nikkor 28/1.4D in night shots. Cosina made the APO-Lanthar in Asian style, contrast preferred. These are just differences how they paint, I find it good to know how the lenses paint but with differences these small it doesn't make a difference as long as you know how to pp (as mentioned in previous posts).


PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We must remember the special "conditions" in which the Apo-Telyt-R was made.
It was a Army lens, optimized for infinity focus and for performance wide open.
In fact, I think I have seen reported somewhere, that the lens actually worsen the performance when stopped down; maximum quality is at wide open, which is where I shoot it at, always.

I think it was not even supposed to be sold commercially. Then maybe somebody thought "we have the project ready, why not?"

The Apo-Lanthar is a lens that is 30 years younger, and more complete for universal use.

The Apo-Telyt-R is able to stand a comparison still today thanks to the very special and costly glass that it is build with. See Marco Cavina's article for details about the special glass used.

It is also the very special glass that makes it possible for the Apo-Telyt-R to be even better than the Apo-Lanthar with regards to Chromatic aberrations.

Under all the other respects, the Apo-Lanthar is a more modern, complete and desireable lens today. Except maybe for collectioners of old rarities like I partly am Wink


PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're spot on about the contrast, Vilhelm. The two lenses are clearly complementary pieces to my lens options rather than redundancies.


PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
In fact, I think I have seen reported somewhere, that the lens actually worsen the performance when stopped down; maximum quality is at wide open, which is where I shoot it at, always.

Actually, APO-Telyt should provide best performance at f5.6 as stated in Leica R-Lenses September 2003 by Erwin Puts, Chapter 3: 180 mm and 280 mm lenses
"The 180 mm f/3.4 Apo-Telyt-R lens is at its optimum at f/5.6, implying that there are some residual aberrations that disappear when the lens is stopped down."

But I dont see any differences between f3.4 and f5.6, except the DOF of course.

Orio wrote:
Under all the other respects, the Apo-Lanthar is a more modern, complete and desireable lens today. Except maybe for collectioners of old rarities like I partly am Wink

I strongly disagree with this, Orio. The CV is more compact and maybe little bit better build, has better contrast and focuses closer, that's all. Leica is better corrected for CAs, is easier to focus at longer distances and has integrated lens hood. But the biggest advantage to me, it is one half stop faster (not at the expense of image quality). And i noticed, this is often the difference between well focused and missfocused shot. I find astonishing that more than 30 years old design can fully compete with modern lenses and even still beat them in some areas. Anyway, both are top quality lenses. But I realized that Telyt finds its way to my bag more often.

Esox lucius wrote:
james wrote:
Vilhelm mentions the same issue with the CV at infinity and near-infinity and relied on live view in his daytime shots.

Yes, the CV 180/4 is a bit tricky close to infinity. I used Live View to 100% rule out focusing incompatibilities, it's not required for normal use...

Yes, I constantly have more focusing errors with CV than with Telyt, especially at longer distances. Partially because of the short run on CV near infinity and probably the larger aperture of Telyt makes some difference.

james wrote:
From what I have seen myself, read and been told by long-time Leica aficianados, you may not find a dramatic difference by shooting target patterns or daylight subjects at f/5.6 where other superior lenses hit their peak performance on a modern digital sensor.

I did the chart comparison more for fun, I wanted to compare resolution of my 14MPx GX20 with my friends 12.2MPx K-x and this was just two shots more. Anyway, even Erwin Puts states in above mentioned article, that Telyt is optimized for infinity performance. CV, on the other side, for close focus performance. But from everything I have seen till this time from both lenses, even if the Leica lags behind CV at near distances, I just cant see it. Or my camera is not able to resolve the differences.

james wrote:
The Leica seems to differentiate itself in lower light situations (and low contrast/flat light conditions) by pulling more detail out of shadows and delivering greater microcontrast and better color tonality in these circumstances.

Yes, the performance of Leica lenses in bad light conditions is outstanding. But I guess, that Leica handles better the high contrast scenes too. I didnt make direct comparison, but I'm constantly getting better exposed images with fewer blown out highlights with Leica lenses than with others. And without sacrifice the details in shadows or middle tones and still with plenty of contrast.
This is nice example, made in harsh light conditions with wide-open APO-Telyt . Boy in trees shadows with bright sunny background:



PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BRunner wrote:
Yes, I constantly have more focusing errors with CV than with Telyt, especially at longer distances. Partially because of the short run on CV near infinity and probably the larger aperture of Telyt makes some difference.


Like the original comparison noted, differences between the lenses are very very small. Just like many have written later here, the choice is decided by preferences: what feels better in your hands and what you appreciate more for your shooting needs.

My spine is programmed for the APO-Lanthar, I have learned it so well that manual focusing on a crazy dog at 3m is not luck, but experience.

180/4 APO-Lanthar @ f/5.6 and about 3m distance



Original size http://www.flickr.com/photos/mureena/4504464755/sizes/l/

During my stay in Mexico, I actually made money on the beach shooting fast moving surfers, using the 180/4 APO-Lanthar because of reach. Focusing near infinity requires attention, but is not that difficult really.

Surfers at medium to near infinity distance, all with 180/4 APO-Lanthar









I solidly believe this pixel-peeping comparison of mine was useful: I learned both lenses, how they differ and what use both should be dedicated for. Knowing your equipment I believe is more important than the marginal differences glass of this quality might show.