2015-08-07

Voigtlander f/0.95 Micro 4/3 lenses

Users of Micro 4/3 cameras are very well catered for with some
superb lenses available from Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma and 
Tamron - to name just a few.

Voigtlander have a rich pedigree in manufacturing quality optics and coupling this to superb mechanical qualities.

Voigtlander now offer a range of lenses for Micro 4/3 all with a superfast f/0.95 aperture.

17.5mm at f/0.95 in very low light
The range we are looking at here (with 35mm equivalent focal length in brackets) are the 17.5mm (35mm), 25mm (50mm) and 42.5mm (85mm) - three classic focal length in 35mm terms.

New to the range and the subject of a separate blog (coming soon) is the 10.5mm(21mm) f/0.95.

So what is it about these lenses which make them some of the most desired optics available for the system?

25mm at f/0.95
First, and most obviously, is the ultra-fast f/0.95 maximum aperture. One of the issues with Micro 4/3rds is that you have a lot more depth of field compared to full frame 35mm - so for instance using a lens at f/2.8 on Micro 4/3rds will give equivalent depth of field to f/5.6 on full frame.

So, all these Voigtlander lenses will give the equivalent depth of field of a f/1.9 lens on a full frame camera so allowing serious subject isolation - especially looking at the 25mm and 42.5mm.

Coupled with the fast aperture is a superbly rounded aperture at any setting which provides lovely out of focus effects - great backgrounds for portraits for instance.
42.5mm at f/0.95

And of course, the super fast aperture allows you to use a higher shutter speed or lower ISO value in poor lighting - couple this with in-body stabilisation from some Panasonic and all Olympus bodies and you have a serious low-light capability.

There are no electronic contacts on these lenses so you do have to set your camera to 'shoot without lens' in the menu option and you can use manual exposure or aperture priority modes.

Mechanically, all three lenses have a long-throw super smooth focussing ring - all are manual focus - which is great for achieving perfect focus and essential for best results at wide apertures. Using the lenses on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 I found the focus peaking function extremely useful as this highlights the areas of the image the camera judges to be in focus making it easy to judge your focus point and depth of field. I have to say, that it is easy to judge focus even without focus peaking engaged such is the brightness and limited depth of field on offer.

17.5mm
All the lenses have superbly engineered aperture rings and these can be changed to click-free easily by the user if you want to have totally silent operation for video work for instance.

All the lenses are quite large and heavy for micro 4/3 format but they do balance really well when cradled with your left hand using correct hand-holding technique. The lenses have that feeling of being full of glass and metal and really do feel well worth the money!

So, moving on to performance.

42.5mm at f/0.95
The 17.5mm is a great choice as a 'walk around' focal length being equivalent to 35mm in full frame terms. At normal 'street photography' distances there is a fair bit of depth of field available even at maximum aperture so it is a great tool for available light work. Move in closer and the wide aperture becomes more apparent as depth of field decreases and this lens is also great for close-ups.

The 25mm is the equivalent to the classic 50mm focal length and so is great for 'normal' perspective. This lens is more compact and lighter than the 17.5mm and still offers a very close focus distance. Depth of field is less than with the 17.5mm and it is possible to isolate a subject effectively quite easily.

The 42.5mm offers the best opportunity for really restricted depth of field of the three. It is a great choice for portraits as it is possible to throw the background way out of focus in to a beautiful blurry effect. Again close focus is excellent.

All three lenses offer excellent performance wide-open with the
25mm at f/0.95
focussed plane nice and sharp. Stop down just one or two f-stops for across the frame sharpness to an extremely high standard.

Size and weight of the lenses are:

17.5mm: 540g, 8cm long, 58mm filter thread, 15cm minimum focus
25mm: 425g, 7cm long, 52mm filter thread, 17cm minimum focus
42.5mm:571g, 7.4cm long, 58mm filter thread, 23cm minimum focus

All lenses are made using ultra-high refractive optical glass and have 10 bladed diaphragms for outstanding out of focus area quality.

Park cameras stock all Voigtlander f/0.95 lenses both in store and online.

Steve
Park Cameras

17.5mm

17.5mm
25mm

25mm


25mm



42.5mm

42.5mm

25mm

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