Voigtlander lenses on an M camera...

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by luigi v, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Hello everybody.
    Has anybody handled and/or is using Voigtlander lenses on M cameras?
    How far are they from the Leica M lenses optical quality, mechanical built and ease of use?
    Are you using them because they are far cheaper than Leica M lenses or because they are actually good
    performers very close to Leica quality?
    And in particular, what's the Ultron 35mm f1.7 like?
    Thanks in advance for any input on the subject(s).
  2. I've wondered about the same things myself. I've found that the Search button (over there on the right hand side) is really pretty helpful.
  3. It's difficult to compare two brands, better to compare lenses on a lens by lens basis. I have the 15mm 4.5, which is very nice and really unparalelled in the rangefinder world. Optically it's very sharp and fairly contrasty, although it does show considerable light fall off when used wide-open. The build quality is OK, with fairly smooth focus and 1/2 stop detents for the aperture. The built in hood in the sample I have is slightly skewed, and needs to be adjusted, something I've heard is not entirely uncommon and suggestive of poor quality control.

    As for the the 35mm ultron, I had one of these lenses for a week recently, before returning it. The build quality was very good similar to that of the 15mm. Focus and aperture were smooth and the lens balanced well on my M cameras. The best feature (IMO) if the 35mm Ultron is the extremely short focus throw which allows for quick focusing (may create some accuracy issues in low light close up, though I had none). The images from it were good. I eventually ended up finding a pre-asph Summicron as a decent price so I sent the Ultron back. I've compared different shots from each lens, and they're very similar in optical quality. I would recommend the Ultron, as there really isn't anything else like it... I just found that the more compact Summicron was more to my liking on the MP.
  4. I've had 35mm f1.7 Ultorn ASPH and it was my primary lens for over a year. It's a great little lens. I absolutely loved it. The build quality is very high and I had an opportunity to compare it to 35mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH. Summilux is a bigger and heavier lens, performs better in dark and I think overall a bit better but it's really hard to tell. In the end I sold my Ultron and decided to keep Summilux. Yet I had some bad experiences with Summilux (out of box it had a problem but was replaced under warranty). I also think that Ultron is a bit easier to handle/focus; the construction is slightly different and I'd say a bit more ergonomically pleasing for my taste. Obviously money will play a role and I belive that Cosina Voigtlaender lenses are superb performers for the money. There are some models that have bad reputation, but the same goes for Leica, Zeiss and other lens manufacturers. Cosina, overall, makes excellent lenses. Even Zeiss outsources some of its lens production to Cosina.
  5. I own the 28mm F/1.9 the 21mm f/4 and the 50mm f/1.9. I found the 40mm to be to
    "tight" mechanically and was difficult to focus so I do not use that lens.

    I just got done printing a cropped pano using the 28mm and Tri-x. It was printed at about
    6" x 17" I could post later if you wish but it would not do it justice on the internet.

    I am very happy with the performance of this lens. It appears to be pretty sharp wide open.
    Its a lens I take with me frequently.

    All in all you will not go wrong with Voigtlander lenses as far as quality and performance.
  6. I have used the little VC 15mm lens on my M6TTL bodies and found it to be excellent. The quality of rendition of this lens is superb in spite of the fact that it has no rangefinder coupling. At the risk of being yelled at for reposting an old image, here's a sample so that you can see for yourself what kind of results can be had with these lenses.
    <img src="http://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/5420123-md.jpg" width="511">
  7. Hi, Luigi. I own a 1955 old Leitz Summitar 50 mm f/ 2 LTM with original Leitz adapter ring, a Leitz Summaron 35 mm f/ 2.8 with goggles, a Leitz M Summicron 50 mm f/ 2 D.R. All are outstanding performers. Also, i own a lot of VC lenses: Wide Heliar 15 mm f/ 4.5, Ultron Aspherical 35 mm f/ 1.7 and Apo Lanthar 90 mm f/ 3.5. My brother own Skopar 21 mm f/ 4. All our VC lenses are LTM converted to M mount. The optical and maechanical quality of our VC lensens are excellent, on every respect.
  8. I have the 15, 28 Ultron and 35 Nokton. I also had the 50 Nokton and found all of them to be very comperable optically to Leica glass. Build of the 15 is very good but the 28, 35 and 50 are very impressive mechanically and optically too. The 28 has stunning tonality and very sharp even wide open. I did a reasonably good comparison between a friends 28 asph summicron and the 28 Ultron and found them virtually the same optically from 2.8 down and at f 2 there was only very slight differences at the extremem corners. The 35 Nokton is in a class all its own. 1/3 stop faster than the asph summilux and lower flare. The 35 Nokton is exceptionally well built and superb performer. Contrast is superb with excellent tonality and sharpness. I purchased the 50 Nokton for a second kit. I also have the asph summilux 50 and found there to be little difference between the two lenses. It's a superb performer in every respect.

    I highly recommend the CV glass.
  9. Luigi,

    I currently own the 21mm f4 and used to own the 35mm f2.5.

    The 21mm is an amazing lens for the money. It does vignette until around f8 but there's nothing else like it for anywhere near the price. Build quality is adequate. It's also the smallest lens that I've ever owned.

    The 21mm finder is optically excellent but is made of plastic. There are numerous reports of the foot breaking off. Given that the cost of the Leica or Zeiss finder itself is substantially more than the CV finder and lens, I can live with a little plastic.

    The 35mm f2.5 is also a nice little lens. Small and decently built. I only sold mine to finance a 35mm Summicron since I wanted a Leica lens for the focal length that I use about 90% of the time.

    You won't go wrong with the CV lenses.
  10. I've seen that dog foto so much we ought to name him/her Pnetter.
  11. Or how about "Nooky"
  12. With Leica you can pretty much buy any modern lens and be assured of excellent performance (different by lens of course). With the Voigtlander lenses, design and especially assembly is a bit more variable. I'm 1 for 2 myself. The VC 25/4 (non-rf coupled) lens is a great little lens -- light and sharp. I use it on my M2 and CL. The VC 50/2.5 is horrible. Every other 50 I have outperforms it. I would try to find a place to buy that would take it back if you can (B&H Photo maybe).

    If you stick to the ones people rave about you'll probably be fine.

    (Note: Lenses better than the 50/2.5 include the Leica Summitar 50/2, the Nikon 50/1.4, the Canon 50/1.8, and the fake Leica 50/3.5 that came with my fake russian leica)
  13. Luigi, I have owned & used several CV lenses in LTM. The best were the 50mm f/1.5 Nokton, 35mm f/1.7 Ultron, and 75mm f/2.5 Color-Heliar. The 90mm Apo-Lanthar was a good choice but little used and I had a few other super-wides etc that were all fun and acceptable. The entire outfit got sold except for the 75mm Heliar which is a favorite of mine! I put the M adapter on it and still use it with very good results. IMHO, the CV lineup is a terrific value! If one buys Leica to invest, then the CV lenses are probably not up to Leica quality. I have compared the 50mm nokton to a new 50mm Summicron and the Summicron is built better/nicer and sharper at its widest aperture. Stopped down to f/5.6 or smaller, the Nokton image is subjectively as good as the Summicron . . . but going out 25 years of continual usage and I would speculate that the Summicron will still be functional. I liked the Ultron as well. It's sharp and fast and inexpensive. The Leica choices are built better and sharper at f/1.4 or f/2 but at or after f/5.6 the images are subjectively the same quality. I would not hesitate using a CV lens on a Leica M body. If I want to collect a Leica system, then Leica lenses are must-haves! If I am making images and the wallet is limited for now, then a CV lens is a very good compromise in the short run.
  14. Here is one I shot a few years ago w/ 25mm VC. There is some vignetting from the combo of chrome film and shooting at f/5.6.
  15. I'll add my voice to the people singing the praises of the VC lens lineup. I have the 15
    Heliar, the 28 Ultron, 35 Nokton, 40 Nokton, 50 Nokton and 75 Color Heliar.

    I shot the 15, 28, and 35 f/2.5 and 50 Nokton on the R-D1 and M6 TTL, and bought the
    35 Nokton, 40 Nokton and 75 Color Heliar recently when I got the M8 back from the big
    fix. I like each one for what it does--the 40 Nokton is a great indoor lens for example.

    I am thinking of getting the Leica 1.25x viewfinder magnifier to help me focus the 75.
    The 28 Ultron is superb, but intrudes into the rangefinder a bit too much. So, my current
    kit for the M8 is the 15, the 35, the 75. Not a bad trio. Indoors I'd do the 40 Nokton. All
    of these lenses together cost less than one M lens.
  16. I once owned the 35 Ultron (bought it with a second-hand Hexar RF), tested it against my Summilux aspherical and Summicron asph, and found its performance, although not as good, quite close, better than my old Summilux non-aspherical. Remarkable for a lens one-third or one-fifth of the price! Handling is great, lens hood too short... but I ended selling it.Three 35s were too many. I currently own the 50 2.5 Skopar, a lovely little lens, good wide open, very sharp from 3.5 down, but vignetting can be a problem with some subjects - and it does not disappear stopping down. Not a problem with the M8 though, because of the crop factor.
  17. I have a 28 Ultron and a 75 Color-Heliar, and used to have a 28 Skopar. They're great lenses, but I have to admit I plan on replacing them with Leica equivalents someday. I have no idea when that day may be!
  18. As I said, my 50/2.5 voigtlander is awful. After I found that out, I went looking on the internet for reviews and everything I found had nothing good to say about it. If you have one that isn't awful, maybe I should have sent it to Voigtlander for warranty repair. According to Puts their assembly is subject to decentering (which is, I think, when the elements aren't properly cemented). Maybe mine is farther out of true than typical.

    Some lenses (like the 50 nokton and my 25) have almost universally good reviews. Others (like this one) don't. So maybe it's not the design, maybe it's the QC on this particular lens. Maybe the properly assembled ones are ok, but maybe almost none of them are properly assembled.
  19. Check out Erwin Putt's (Google EP reviews, or go via Photo.Net search, available upon intent to post a question) comparison of VC and Leica lenses on M8 or other M models, also I think Sean Reid's articles (I think I have his name right?). Both Putts and Reid indicate many positive things, and the very high quality/price ratio.
  20. Ultron 35 1.7 yes indeedy, try one and you will like it. They give very good results and fast speed is nice to have although this makes the lens big (but not huge). Go for a silver one if you want it to still look nice after some use.

    Supplied Lens hood is indeed too short but can easily be replaced with screw on 39mm metal ventilated e.g. ebay ones if it upsets you to work round it. Ergonomically, it's not as nice as some other options e.g. 40mm Minolta CLE. I have both and should sell one but can never make up my mind which one to keep!! G

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