Vintage Perfection. I loved this lens so much for its small size, vintage character and build that I now own one. So I have had this tiny jewel like lens for a couple of months now and have been enjoying it from time to time, taking it out either on a Leica SL or Panasonic S1 via a Leica M to L mount adapter.
First things first!
I know many photographers LOVE analytical, sharp, uber detailed…me, I always have enjoyed character much more than perfection. In my opinion, it makes your images stand out more in certain situations like street photography or travel photography. I have also seen prints shot with lenses that give preference to character over all out sharpness that have invoked a more emotional response from the person viewing the image.
Many of us have an emotional response to vintage or the past, and this lens helps bring that mojo to modern day photography. The Leica renders in a much more analytical more sterile way where this lens offered as much sharpness as one would need but with more character and life…more rounded in its rendering.
THIS is a good thing. I mean there is something about this lens that reminds me of shooting film, probably because the rendering takes me back to that time when film was hot, and these were the kind of lenses many of us shot. A small fast prime. When you go into low light territory where you get some grain from your cameras sensor, it really takes me back to the old film days. Happened to me twice now. Two shots below, taken at night on the street.
The 1st image click on it to really see how this lens renders is the full frame shot. The second is a crop of the image. Not sure which I liked more so I posted both here. This also gives you a chance to see how this lens renders.
Lovely tones. Sharp yet rounded. Not sterile in any way. The Voigtlander 35 Ultron is tiny. Not everyone enjoys these levers but I love when these small lenses have them as it makes it much easier to nail focus. Having a lens of this size means your camera no matter which one you shoot the lens on will be lighter and smaller as well. It feels like it is made for a Leica M6 or M7 or even the newer M Would make a sleek vintage combo. We do NOT all need perfection in lenses as when we chase perfection we end up with huge lenses, expensive lenses and a look that over time we may tire of.
I know I do. I used to buy lenses that were expensive, large and rendered my images with everything perfect.
Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f/2 ASPH
But, the large lenses…I am over those. Over the last year or two I have fallen in love with what Voigtlander has been doing as they have been bringing us some remarkable lenses for amazing prices.
It really is. In these days of the smartphone taking over photography and for good reason, as modern day phones are crazy good I still love shooting a real camera.Can I start off by mentioning that I am a fan of the 35mmc, I love reading the articles and reviews by varied photographers from all walks of life. Voigtlander has definitely turned lots of heads past couple years. Just this March, I had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong my first tripso armed with a rather used Zeiss Ikon and 5 rolls of Kodak PortraI went there with the full intention to see how well this lens performs.
My genre of photography is street photography but I primarily focus on capturing moments of people on the streets. Size of lens matters a lot to me. I have tried the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, a fantastic lens that captures beautiful images but even that, I considered heavy for my photography. Walking around the street, taking pictures of people can be intimating for both the photographer and the subject.
Why the Voigtlander 35mm f/2 Ultron Lens on the M10 By Khunya Pan
I find rangefinders most friendly-looking to people. I got my Zeiss Ikon from another photographer, it is so used that perhaps some would be wondering if it is even in working condition.
I really love the looks. I think it is important that you feel good about your equipment. In terms of Bokeh, it has a smooth creamy Bokeh that is very pleasing to my eye, so it passed my Bokeh test with flying colors.
I generally use zone focusing and when I do need to be more precise in my focusing, the knob is rather easy to handle as well. It really is about familiarity, the more you use it, the less you feel the lack of tab a bother.
All my life I read distances in meters, so once again, that too did not bother me. I know many people read distances in feet and that can be a real nuisance especially in zone focusing when your practice has always been in feet instead of meters. I roamed the streets of Hong Kong using just the Ultron 35mm and to me that was sufficient.
As street photographers, most of us are either 28mm, 35mm or 50mm shooters. I am no exception. I use 35mm and 50mm. I do find the 28mm a little too wide for me, taking pictures of people, I have to go very close to them and that is extremely uncomfortable for most people. I have used many 35mm lenses and this is one lens I think I will keep for the long haul.Options make things hard when car shopping these days.
Every manufacture produces an offering that provides safety, gas mileage, luxuries and reliability that far exceed anything created 10 years ago or older. Much like how driving a Kia today has lost the negative stigma it had in the nineties, due to improved styling and engineering, one can almost concider their quality on par with Toyota and Honda alike.
The same can be said for camera and lens manufactures. Where once you had to spend thousands to attain wide-open sharpness, low distortion, high quality coatings and quality of build now you can spend just several hundred.
The margin of improvement that expensive glass brings is indeed highly dependent to how you shoot and your needs.
A price nearing Zeiss territory. What makes this lens tick the special boxes that make us want to shoot, want to create, want to immortalize? Lens test sample images here. Better bang for your buck? The Nokton 35mm f1. Then of course there are several Zeiss options, but all are all more expensive new than the Ultron f2 is new; used prices close this gap however. The 35mm f2 Biogon is larger, the 35mm f1. And we should want to shoot our cameras afterall. Its closest competitor is actually the Skopar 35mm f2.
At essentially the same size and speed its tempting to want to pay half the price for what on paper seems like a similar lens. But what about that focus lever???
The focus lever has been a sore spot for a lot of folks interested in this lens and I get it. Regardless we have a solution; stay tuned. Ultron on Leica M6 with Acros Developed and scanned by The Darkroom. The new Ultron 35m f2 is about shooting it every day and everywhere. Did I mention size? And the IQ is amazing! Stay tuned for a follow-up by Eduardo Acosta and a video on our YouTube about this lens in further detail.
Ultron on Leica M6. Developed and scanned by The Darkroom of course! Leica M9. Leica M9 cropped image. Leica SL. Epson R-D1. Fuji Xt2. Lens test sample images here Better bang for your buck?The 35mm focal length has been a staple of my photography for some years now. Wide-eyed and well built, the F1. The only problem I had with it was the size. The new F2 Ultron promised a lot — high-quality optics with an aspherical element along with an extremely compact form-factor, so I decided to switch earlier this year.
The focusing barrel is very smooth and the aperture ring is tight and clicky without any mechanical looseness. At 28mm long, even with a lens hood the F2 Ultron is shorter than my previous F1. A big win for compactness! Impressively sharp at moderate and deep apertures, I did find that at longer focus distances, a wide open aperture exhibited more of a vintage spherical appearance in the bokeh see below for a severe example.
Overall, I would say the optics are really quite impressive for such a small optical design. For all this lens delivers in terms of size, build quality and optics, there are two issues I have with it that are worth mentioning.
The focus ring circled red on the lens is tucked back toward the lens mount which makes accessing it directly more difficult. To use the knob, you generally have to grab it with your thumb and index finger instead of simply touching the bottom of a tab with the tip of your index finger. A tab for your fingertip would be much preferred. If they followed the design of the F1. Here are a few more images showing the qualities of the lens on both Kodak Tri-X and Portra films on my M7.
Ergonomic Issues For all this lens delivers in terms of size, build quality and optics, there are two issues I have with it that are worth mentioning. Newer Older.Let me start off by saying this will be short and sweet. The moment I received this lens and tested it on a water bottle at my desk, I could tell immediately that it was something special and should not be written off as a poor Summicron clone.
You could split hairs on the distortion, falloff, blah blah blah. Now on to the pictures. All photographs were taken in Austin, TX as I focus my efforts on street photography in my hometown.
Most of these pictures have not yet been released to the public. When is Street Photography no longer Street Photography? When it turns in to an impromptu photo shoot! Seal South American Tour Woohoo! Looks like I will be heading out on tour with Seal at the end of next week to join him on his three week tour of South America.
I […]. Pics are fine, but are overprocessed to the point of hiding any of the lens characteristics that the article puts forward. With the same processing, you would have gotten the exact same end images with absolutely any combo using the same angle of view. Again, good captures but really a showcase of your processing recipes more than anything else. Great framing and capture the split second. Love your style, heavy handed gritty dynamic look. Lens actually looks great too.
My M is going to have to live with my C-Biogon 35mm f2. Mind elaborating on why you think the bokeh is horrible? Only asking because this was a con that came up in reviews before I bought it but when comparing to a Summicron my eye honestly could not tell the difference and people call that thing the King.
What about the bokeh is off putting to you? I like it. It actually reminds me of my old Summicron 35mm i had years back, and i have been wanting to buy again.
Perhaps the cost of a Leica body is a bit, er, challenging, the cost of well made lenses is very reasonable, considering that RF lenses are in the minority. Not sure what you mean. The lens couples perfectly with the MThis new- ish lens by Voigtlander hits all the spots mentioned earlier, but it enters murky waters.
This particular segment is challenging for most manufacturers as they have one major obstacle to overcome, which is the benchmark for all 35mm lenses: the Leica Summicron. A lens, they hoped, to compete against the Leica Summicron 35mm.
This was more than enough of a reason for people to get excited and when initial reviews were released, people were shocked how well the lens punched above its weight. Competing in this sacred segment may seem like an uphill challenge for the Voigtlander, but fortunately for them, its competitors had left a wide berth for improvement where the little Ultron could stand on its own.
By choosing to position their new lens as the cheaper alternative without compromising image quality, they were able to squeeze in as a viable alternative to its other German and Chinese counterparts. Despite their manufacturing similarities and build quality, their differences lie in their characters as the Zeiss had quirks of its own. The aesthetics of the lens body may not be for everyone, and the chrome parts give off a retro Cadillac vibe, especially for those that prefer a more stealth look like the Summicron.
While the body is lightweight and compact at a mere 6 ounces, its packed tightly with an aspherical element as part of its 8 elements and 5 groups, which gives the lens more of a modern look with improved sharpness. This is a very solid and durable lens. Another cool reason why the front filter ring is brass is that if you want to install a UV filter onto the lens, the brass mount prevents a softer metal like aluminum common for cheap UV filters from getting stuck.
Both extremely well built and solid lenses. Regardless of the high build quality mentioned earlier, the most important factor of a lens is its image quality and rest assured, this lens exceeds all expectations for this price point. The images have a certain look to them and the way the images are rendered with this lens is typical Voigtlander: sharp, neutral colors, subtle micro-contrast and classical bokeh.
Otherwise, the focus throws are extremely smooth and fast, but accuracy can suffer due to the focusing knob. The aperture controls are set by two subtle, yet protruding metal tabs with machined serrations, where the user can easily manipulate the aperture just solely on feel thanks to its positive detents.
This bias from my previous experiences with Voigtlander lenses set a low standard for me, because while Voigtlander made great lenses, they also came with a lot of compromises. Product photos used with permission by Stephen Gandy at CameraQuest.
Shooting the new Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f/2 ASPH in Hong Kong – By Ong Sien Hong
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The Voigtlander 35 f/2 Ultron Review. Vintage Perfection.
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