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Voigtlander 180mm f/4 vs Leica 180/2.8 APO Elmarit-R

After shooting the lenses discussed here, a number of readers emailed to inquire about the Voigtlander 180mm f/4 APO. The Voigtlander 180/4 is about half the volume and half the weight of the Leica 180/2.8 APO, but f/4 may give pause to some. I like the Voigtlander 180/4 because it’s so compact and lightweight compared to the Leica or Nikon 180 offerings. It fits into a jacket pocket easily, a big plus under some circumstances. It’s also hard to find, having been discontinued a year or so ago. At f/4, it can be more difficult to focus than its peers, but the D3x examples at the beach gave me no trouble focusing in flat light.

The Voigtlander 180/4 is a strong performer in terms of resolution. It would be exciting to see if offered in the new SL II design, with improved coatings. If you can find one in top condition on the used market, it’s well worth considering: its compact size and high performance will never go out of style.

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