How much detail can you capture with the Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 50mm/1:2.0 and a Sony A7R IV?

This is an extra post in a series of articles showcasing pictures taken with the Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 50mm/1:2.0 on the Sony A7R IV. I’ve been asked about the resolution of the A7R IV – is it worth having? After all, how much detail can you capture with a 60 megapixel sensor, anyway? Won’t it out-resolve the lens and just show you more detail of the lens’s defects?

During the CoVid-19 lockdown I’ve only been getting out of the house to walk for exercise. Fortunately, there are a number of parks I can walk through in Melbourne, so I take my camera with me a lot of the time. I came across a fountain running with a relatively low flow of water (I guess they don’t want it to get stagnant), and I took a photo (ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/800):

The first is the full frame of the photograph, so you can see where we are in the frame (scaled so it doesn’t take too long to load). The second is a piece of the frame that’s 2400 x 2400 pixels – you can see that the detail, particular in the water, is well-defined. The third is showing off – I’ve taken a square 1000 x 1000 pixels, near the edge of the frame, and I’ve blown it up to 200% – the detail in the water, particularly where it is spilling out of the bowl on the right, is quite obvious. Click on any of the images to bring the sequence up in a light box.

A different day, and I find myself wandering past statues. This one commemorates Major General Charles George Gordon. I liked the pose against the sky, and shot this (ISO 100, f/8, 1/250):

Again, the first frame gives you context (you can also read why he got a statue). The second is the image I was interested in creating, while the third gives you a look at the level of detail.

My last example comes from a visit to the roses in the Queen Victoria Garden adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Shot at ISO 100, f/8, 1/800:

We have the image I wanted (5000×5000 pixels out of the original frame), and a1000x1000 crop from the centre of that image, featuring a glint of light reflected from a bee’s rear end.

I am not going to say that this is the only lens capable of capturing such levels of detail on the Sony A7R IV – the lovely Sony 135mm GM can, for example (but it is over 2.5 x the weight, and much larger…). Moreover, the manual focus of the Voigtländer encourages me to get precisely the focus I need to get this level of detail.