Voigtländer Ultron 1.9/28 - first impressions

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by lutz, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. As promised, here are my first impressions. To spill the beans: I'm very happy with the purchase. It took QUITE a while to get the lens as Voigtländer is not being imported to Switzerland directly. So I had my Ultron ordered from Germany, which in turn took almost two months... (There seem to have been delays in production. In the US Voigtländer seems to be well represented though by the indefatiguable Steven Gandy @ http://cameraquest.com). OK - Why am I happy? - The lens is sharp. - The lens is fast. - It matches the Leica look quite nicely. (A chrome lens with its black hood on a black body might look even more stylish than my black version...!) - It feels solid. - It is much more compact than I read it was (applies to viewfinder obstruction as well). - It cost me just $550 with M-Adapter. So, at about 2/3 of the cost of a Konica 28 RF, 1/3 of the cost of an Elmarit 28 and almost just 1/4 of a Summicron 28 I got a FAST piece of glass that is fun to handle. Where is the downside? - Well, I DO miss that red knob telling me how to align the bayonet fast... - There is a tiny focussing tab that is not as ergonomic as a Leica's - but at least you can easily unscrew it. (Anyway, it helps the focussing, which overall is very smooth.) - The lens hood is fastened by means of a screw clamp. As the hood has cutouts for the image angles but doesn't "snap to grid" I found myself controlling the right position every once and again, which was slightly irritating. - The typo and color of the hyperfocal scales is different from Leica lenses'. Just a slight difference, but it does remind you that there is a "guest at your table"...;o) I can't give any ultimate judgement on the built. It feels solid, but time and use will tell the rest of the story. Anyway, I'm not part of the fence hopper fraction, so I'm more than optimistic. I bought the Voigtländer to test ride not only the brand but the focal length as well. I had been using a 28 with my SLRs on and off and wasn't sure, whether I really needed one, if I "saw" enough 28 shots to justify the expense. After my first short experience with the Ultron I'm more than convinced that it's a perfect lens for the RF Leica. Especially along with a 0.72 or even 0.58 viewfinder. I'll stick to the 28 and for now I see no reason to "upgrade" to whichever costlier brand. I'm adding a couple of shots. The scans (from slides) aren't too good, but they do give an impression. What most amazes me is the detail in fine grain slides and the absence (or almost) of flare even with strong light sources within the frame. I'm posting one of the few shots I did wide open - a lot of detail still, no flare, no visible distortion. (Then again, a thought on resolution issues, "wide open": How often will I use f 1.9 on a low speed, fine grain film? Me, most seldom. Before I open to 1.9 on a 28 I will most probably step up speed to 1/15. What situations do I find myself in at 2.8 and 1/15? Available light indoors and night outdoors, most probably. What kind of film will I be using there? High speed, most probably. So I'm pretty sure that as far as resolution is concerned, in 99% of real life situations the film will be weaker than the lens...?!) Enjoy

    Some of my first shots taken with the Voigtländer Ultron 1.9/28mm on a Leica M6
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    wide open / 1/15th
    on Kodakchrome EPJ 320T
    f 8 / 1/500th
    on Kodachrome 200
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    f 11 / 1 sec
    on Kodachrome 64
    f 8 / 1/60 th
    on Kodachrome 200
    © Lutz Konermann 2001
     
  2. Thanks Lutz, nice photos, and nice layout. You guys always make me feel so inadequate as far as my computer skills are concerned! The wide open shot with light sources in the frame is pretty impressive, no ghosting, no flare.
    Am I the only one who is amazed at the rate that Cosina / V'lander has gone from the inception of a rangefinder system to where they are now? What's it been, 3 years since the 15mm and 25mm lenses for the Bessa L? With the absence of "Leica snobbery", one could put together a decent outfit these days for not too much money.
     
  3. Lutz:
    Nice shots. This lens looks like a keeper. I'm especially impressed by the WO shot - minimal signs of flare in the point light sources. And it looks pretty sharp on my computer screen, with decently smooth out-of-focus areas in the extreme foreground and back ground. (Looks to me like you focused about on the the guy with his back to us.)
    Thanks for sharing!
     
  4. Do you have any images that show a subject near the outer parts of the field-especially in tye 4 to 10 feet range? I am curious whether the pear shaped distortioin I got with my 28 Nikkor on the edges is the same with this lens.
     
  5. Something more like this, Andrew?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    f 2.8 / 1/30th
    on Kodakchrome EPJ 320T
    f 16 / 1/125th
    on Kodachrome 200
    (a SLING-shot, of course...;o)
    © Lutz Konermann 2001
    Cheers
     
  6. Your shots certainly support your verdict on the lens. I particularly like the picture of the 2 girls playing the board game (Scrabble?). The composition, color, & lighting remind me of a Dutch Old Master painting!
     
  7. Thank´s a lot Lutz; your post is indeed very explicit, enough for me to evaluate this lens and want one, your images are just what is needed to evaluate this kind of lens, at least to me, thanks again.
     
  8. Chen
    Thanks for your nice comment. Yes, the Dutch masters in a way seem to have anticipated available light leicagraphy... ;o)
    For my taste, especially in portraits there is little to compete with just one strong but soft light source. In this case a lamp shade of 2 feet in diameter. As for the color, the 60 watts bulb is too "warm" even for the tungsten type film, resulting in that golden tone may-be reminding of those Dutch candlelight scenes.
     
  9. Al

    For you and others to copy the layout I'm pasting the HTML below. Highlight and copy, then paste it into your contribution window. Just make sure to swap my SWAP NOTES against your text leaving the "s untouched. Make sure you uploaded your pictures to the internet FIRST to be able to see if the links work. You may wish to test your posts here: HTML PLAYGROUND
    If they work, go FORWARD with your browser, highlight and copy your whole contribution and paste it into the right thread.
    <P><CENTER>SWAP THIS AGAINST YOUR HEADLINE</CENTER></P>

    <P><CENTER><TABLE BORDER=2 CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=4>
    <TR>
    <TD WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=150>
    <P><CENTER><A HREF="SWAP THIS AGAINST THE INTERNET ADDRESS OF YOUR FIRST PICTURE"><IMG
    SRC="SWAP THIS AGAINST A THUMBNAIL (SMALLER SIZE, IDEALLY 150X100 PIXELS) OF YOUR FIRST PICTURE"
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    <P><CENTER><A HREF="SWAP THIS AGAINST THE INTERNET ADDRESS OF YOUR SECOND PICTURE"><IMG
    SRC="SWAP THIS AGAINST A THUMBNAIL (SMALLER SIZE, IDEALLY 150X100 PIXELS) OF YOUR SECOND PICTURE"
    X-SAS-UseImageWidth X-SAS-UseImageHeight BORDER=0
    ALIGN=bottom></A></CENTER>
    </TD></TR>
    <TR>
    <TD WIDTH=150>
    <P><CENTER>SWAP THIS AGAINST THE FIRST LINE OF CAPTION OF YOUR FIRST PICTURE<BR>
    SWAP THIS AGAINST THE SECOND LINE OF CAPTION OF YOUR FIRST PICTURE</CENTER>
    </TD><TD WIDTH=150>
    <P><CENTER>SWAP THIS AGAINST THE FIRST LINE OF CAPTION OF YOUR SECOND PICTURE<BR>
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  10. Lutz:
    Interesting archetecture in that first picture (upper left). What can you tell me about it and where the picture was shot. It looks a lot like some of the south west United States Indian/Spanish pueplo architecture.
    Thanks for sharing the info. I'm looking for a fast wide angle lens (wider than my 35 ASPH Lux). I was recently shooting in the deep woods of northern Wisconsin in full daylight with ISO 100 Kodak film, the 35 Lux at F2 at 1/30. It gets that dark in a dense forest. I need (want) something wider but after buying the Lux, a 28 'cron is a bit much right now.
     
  11. This lens doesn't seem to stretch out things on the edges as bad as my 28mm Nikkor.
     
  12. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Thanks for the interesting and thorough post. I've been debating which wide angle to get when my resources allow (don't have any wides for the M right now--usually use medium format for that), with the 28/1.9 being the probable choice. You've provided the real-world data needed to put it firmly at the top of the list.
     
  13. Mark
    All but the street shot with the MacDonalds poster (Zürich) were taken in the Italian countryside, about a hundred miles south of Bologna, near the Adriatic coast. The living room in the picture you mentioned is a transformed chapel of a former convent. The buildings of more than one hundred years of age in that area are stonewall constructions with huge oak beams and slats(?) to support terracotta floors.
     
  14. Lutz,
    Very nice -- makes me want the lens. Thanks for sharing. BTW, I don't see the image with the McDonald's sign.
    David
     
  15. Thanks for your feedback, David.
    As far as the McD's poster is concerned, it's rather tiny at the center of the street view with the tracks in the foreground. The view struck me, because the houses are obviously European (Swiss to be exact), the brand is American and the campaign is in Chinese letters - emblematic evidence for the much discussed globalism, ne c'est pas...?
    Cheers, Lutz
     
  16. I'm on the verge of getting a Bessa R outfit, and am conflicted regarding the 28mm-35mm lens range. I prefer fast lenses, so I'm down to a choice of two. Does the 28mm/f1.9 comes with a viewfinder? Can it be used with the Bessa R viewfinder (in other words, is there enough space around the 35mm frame lines to estimate what the 28mm will include?
     
  17. Lutz:
    Very nice photos! The Voigtländer Ultron 1.9/28mm lens looks like a keeper!.......................
     
  18. Jeff, on your first question: No, it doesn't come with a viewfinder. But Voigtlaender has very fine brightline finders for about 150 USD (converting from European prices). Sorry, on your second I have to pass...

    Cheers
     
  19. While I'm at it... here's my rough sketch to give you some idea of the viewfinder obstruction produced. I did it for the twin thread but once it's uploaded it's easily shared... Cheers.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Very good post. I was thinking which V/Lander LTM wideangle to get: 25 f/4 or 28 f1.9? Your shots with the 28 are good publicity for this lens, especially the low light interior one. Would the 25 or even 15 be more useful for interiors though? Or would the trade off in speed not be worth it? Anyone had good experience with these other ones?
     
  21. Great review of the lens, and great pictures. Id been wanting to buy the leica 2.0 28mm but for nearly 2 thousand dollars i was hesitant, then i read a few great reviews on this lens. IMO why spend 2 grand when you can have basically the same high quality for 500 :). One thing all people buying this lens should look for.
    Go to a large dealer that would have a few of these lenses. Have them pull out a couple of them as the manufacturing in this japan factory must not up to the "QUALITY CONTROL" of leica germany. Granted it shouldn't be for the price difference. Hold the lens up to a light source in the store. I looked at 5 lenses at B and H only 2 of them had fairly clean glass. The other 3 had more dust in the lens then my Leica 1960s dual summicron.
    Other then that this is a great lens superb contrast color and shadow detail. Definitely a keeper.
    Thanks Ben
     
  22. Thanks for the great review, Lutz -- from the text to the images (esp. w/data), this is a great user's review -- it really gives us an idea of what the lens is like in use across a few different scenarios (scenaria?). Thanks, too, for the HTML -- very handy, clean presentation tool. On the down side, it adds another lens to the wish list -- Nicely done!
     
  23. Since the HTML is messed up, here's the VF obstruction sketch again. Cheers.
    [​IMG]
     

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