voigtlander lenses

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by anthony_roth, Feb 24, 2000.

  1. What are your experiences with the Voigtlander (spelling?) lenses? I just bought a new m6-TTL (after years of shooting hassy, not to replace, but to complement) and the V 35mm 1.7 aspher. lense (mainly due to price and a few people who told me they actually prefer it to the leica 35mm lenses). The lense works well, but it will be some time before i can draw any absolute conclusions, much less any relative ones to leica lenses. Are there other sites i might look into for threads on this subject. thanks, tony.
     
  2. Tony,

    <p>

    I recently bought the 15mm Heliar for use with my M bodies. So far,
    I'm very impressed with the negatives. Cannot say I've used it enough
    to really get a good feel for the capabilities, but my initial
    evaluation is that it's a very good, well made lens. And the
    viewfinder is wonderful.

    <p>

    Samy's Camera had a really low price on it, substantially lower than
    either B&H or other NY stores.

    <p>

    BTW, I asked a similar question on this site before buying the Heliar
    , asking for others' experiences, and it went unanswered. Oh,
    well.

    <p>

    Wish you better luck, Sergio.
     
  3. To follow up on Sergio's point - most Leicaphiles buy Leicas for the
    lenses - quite right too, so putting other manufacturer's lenses on
    it rather defeats the purpose - hence I suspect the lack of
    responses. Certainly there is no doubt that the Heliar is a great
    deal though - I too contemplate buying one. However I think it would
    be a mistake to think that it will really seriously compare to either
    the Hologon for the Contax or the Super-Elmar-R 15mm (or 19mm Elmarit-
    R). I think if you are set up for this then you will not
    disappointed. I suspect it will not be good wide open at the edges
    and I too wonder about vignetting. Voigtlander want to make money on
    this lens so I do feel that its low price must indicate that it is
    not really of current Leica quality. This will not stop me buying one
    - but I do not think you will get something for nothing. I have a
    21mm and find the performance of that noticeably inferior to the 28mm
    Elmarit and 50mm Summicron, so I suspect that a non-Leica 15mm will
    be worse. Don't expect miracles - but buy it for fun.
     
  4. I appreciate both your responses. Robin, you are actually the first
    person that I have heard compare the voigtlander negatively to the
    leica. I have heard ancecdotal evidence that the voigtlander is a
    bit more contrasty than the leica, but not heard anyone say that one
    is better than the other overall in terms of actual performance.
    Indeed, I would have thought that Leica devotees would be actively
    interested in comparing notes on high-performance, alternative, low
    cost lenses.

    <p>

    In any case, I just purchased the 90mm 2.0 apo asph leica, and I
    would be very curious to compare its performance to a voigtlander,
    but i don't think they currently are producing a lense of that
    length. Too bad, since it might perform similarly and would probably
    cost 1/4 the price!
     
  5. Tony

    <p>

    To clarify, I have the Leica 21mm which is not as good as the 28mm or
    50mm Leica lenses - hence my degree of scepticism about the Heliar.
    It might well be a good 15mm, I don't know, but ultra-wides are
    devils to make. The Heliar offers such a lot for the price that I
    find it difficult to believe that it can seriously compare with such
    highly expensive lenses as the Super Elmar-R or the Hologon (for
    either the Contax or the original Contax/Leica). I don't mind - but
    do not expect miracles. I doubt that it will compare even vaguely
    with your 90mm ASPH Summicron which is probably now the best lens
    made by Leica (perhaps just beating out the 100mm Elmarit Apo-Macro-
    R). It stands to reason.
     
  6. You can find tests of the 15, 25 and 50 by well-known Leica expert Erwin Puts by clicking here.
    The report is summed up by this statement in the review: All three give better imagery than first class lenses 10 years ago and clearly show the direction of the Cosina designers: Astounding value for the money.
    Also, regarding comments above about vignetting with the 15 - all ultra-wide angle lenses have light falloff regardless of design, it's just physics. This is what the 15 exhibits according to all published accounts. I have one, but the M adapter is backordered, so I can't report on personal usage.
     
  7. Just a thing I've seen on the website www.tamarkin.com
    They sell the ZEISS 15mm f/8 Hologon with finder and caps
    for the Leica M system !!
    I sent an email at their technical support and they replied
    that this lens was modified by a Leica tech to fit the Leica
    M mount and it is supposed to work well...
    I donnot know what to think about it, however, here is the answer
    that I have from them:

    <p>

    " The Hologon is custom adapted by one of the world's leading Leica
    technicians. This requires removing Contax mount installing Leica
    mount with proper shimming, etc., and carefully milling away part of
    focus lever that otherwise hangs up onpreview lever, as well as part
    of rear lens collar so M6 meter will not be obstructed ".

    <p>

    Regards Minh Nhat
     
  8. Apropos Erwin Putz's review. I sense that he is actually rather
    lukewarm about the 15mm and of course he has no Leica 15mm to compare
    it to. About the other Voigtlanders he seems much more positive. My
    feeling is is that I still stand by my prediction above about its
    quality.

    <p>

    Anyway, however you look at it, they are all great bargains and I am
    sure I will buy a 15 Heliar one day.
     
  9. I have both the 15mm and the 75mm Voigtkander lenses and I am very
    happy with them. They have a different 'quality' to the images when
    compared with my leica 35mm summilux asph, but they are good, usable
    lenses. I have had discussions with people who have met the cosina
    designer and he is a real enthusiast offering a real alternative for
    M users. The main criticism I have of the 75 is that it needs a
    focussing tab. The 15 is great but it needs careful use.

    <p>

    Julian
     
  10. Julian

    <p>

    "The 15 is great but it needs careful use"

    <p>

    Could you elaborate? Flare? Vignetting" optimum aperture. Putz says
    5.6 is optimum. Anything else?

    <p>

    Thanks!
     
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    When you get down to it, the only thing that matters is the photos,
    not the test reports or all the yacking on the net. So here's one
    taken with the 15mm. Oh, and ultra-wides always require more care,
    even a little real shooting will tell you that. There's light
    falloff and all the usual compositional issues.<p>

    This is cropped to a "panoramic" format because I was unable to keep
    the chain link fence out I had to shoot through out of the corners.<p>

    <img src=http://www.spirer.com/images/tirespan.jpg>
     
  12. Jeff

    <p>

    I take your point, but let us face it, it is impossible to tell from
    your photo how good the lens is as any screen image is hopeless at
    this. I have no doubt that the perspective of the 15mm produces
    interesting pictures, as yours shows, but I learn little from your
    shot as to whether I will be happy about the quality of the image.
     
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think my point was missed.

    <p>

    The photo is good or it isn't. The presentation vehicle is not an
    issue unless it is a photo that doesn't present itself well in the
    given medium (very complex and very minimalist photos fail on the
    screen, for instance, and very complex photos also fail in small
    prints.)

    <p>

    Of all the photos I possess, my favorite is one that I found in a
    junk store for fifty cents. It was probably taken in the thirties,
    it had water damage and had been folded numerous times. I've had it
    over twenty years (and I recently did a copy and cleaned it up
    somewhat.) I have no idea if it was taken with anything better than
    a Brownie, but it doesn't matter.

    <p>

    One could make a good analogy with music. Most people listen to
    recorded music. One cannot identify the quality of a violin being
    used in an orchestra from a recording, yet most people will ooh and
    ahh over a great performance. Whether or not a great violin or a
    teaching violin was used (and this does happen, my grandfather used
    his teaching cello on a Toscanini recording) will not matter - in the
    hands of a master, the performance is what counts, and if it is heard
    on a recording instead of live, it is ultimately the total quality.

    <p>

    Many years ago, Andreas Feininger (who did use Leicas and also home-
    built large format cameras) published a book of his photographs in
    which all the photographs were taken with a cheap consumer SLR. He
    never told anyone until well after the book was successful and had
    been praised in many photographic circles.

    <p>

    I have strived to make photographs resembling pinhole shots with my
    Mamiya 7 (and succeeded, at least once), and have used disposables to
    make what I think are good architectural shots.

    <p>

    Once again, in the end, we only have photographs. And the
    Voigtlander lenses make fine photographs. If someone wants to drool
    over MTF charts and test slides, that's fine, but I don't think it
    has anything to do with fine photographs.
     
  14. Jeff

    <p>

    Well, of course, you are right, but we all know that there are many
    pictures where you feel it is important to have, say, edge to edge
    sharpness, others it matters not a bit. It is just a question of what
    you prefer. I agree art speaks and we listen, but probably 90% of
    photos I take are not "art" in the sense that you mean, but are
    pleasant composition/record types of shots that mean something to me
    and may be interesting to others, or may not. For these it is always
    best to start off with a well-corrected lens.

    <p>

    "Leica folk" are famously obsessed with optical qualities - it is a
    small vice in the grand scheme of things I think. It isn't really
    saying anything more or less about Art with a capital A. After all
    some artists were obsessed by image sharpness and contrast too, Ansel
    Adams comes to mind - others are/were not, Walker Evans or Cartier
    Bresson come to mind here. Which one of them is better?
     
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Are all "Leica folk" obsessed with optical qualities? I don't think so. A primary motivator is the feel of the camera, and as the only small rangefinder (and I do not include autofocus cameras in this category) that was reasonably rugged over the last thirty years, there were a whole lot of other reasons to use it than optical quality.
    Regarding sharp vs not sharp, I find Adams' images to be very sharp and ultimately, very boring. Sharpness (and other technical qualities) do not make a photograph interesting. And many Leica photographers like Abbas, Scianna (I'm guessing on Scianna's camera, but I can't imagine being wrong on this), Maraini (whose new book has a very unsharp image on the cover) frequently have unsharp images, sometimes their most effective images. I was initially attracted to Scianna's work because of one of his images, a Sicilian penitent crawling up stairs, not sharp anywhere and further blurred by subject motion. One of the greatest images I have ever seen.
    And when I'm really concerned about technical qualities, which I am sometimes, I shoot 6x7. It's a whole lot better than 35mm in terms of optical qualities.
    Here's an interesting comparison of two photos taken at the same location. Tony is familiar with these, and we have had an exchange on it. One is technically pretty terrible by the standards of the Ansel Adams crowd. The other is technically pretty good, although it needs to be scanned better since I burned out the highlights on the scan (these are both neg scans.) I know which I like better.
    [​IMG]
    Post-Nuclear, )2000 Jeff Spirer, Hexar RF, 50/2 Hexanon
    [​IMG]
    The Auditorium, )2000 Jeff Spirer, Mamiya 7, 43mm
     
  16. I've got both the 15 and the 35. The 15 is amazingly good for what it
    costs and what it does. I don't find it defective in any sense, and
    it's a lot of fun. The thing you have to be careful of is putting
    important objects near the corners, where they can get real pulled
    out of shape (that's a function of w/a lenses which aren't fisheyes.
    It's perspective, not distortion.)

    <p>

    The 35 is not quite good enough for me wide open, but I got it
    thinking it would be OK at f/2, and it is. Stopped down just a bit
    further it's great. Tests seem to place it ahead of the less recent
    Leica lenses, and comparing shots to an old 35 Summilux I used to
    have, the Voigtlander is definitely superior wide open.

    <p>

    Both lenses are built extremely well, and the finders rival the Leica
    finders and are cheaper. If I buy a Leica 28 I'll probably buy the
    Voigtlander finder to go with it.
     
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    </center>Whoops, forgot to close the center tag.
    <p>
    Sorry.
     

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