IMHO: Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm F4.5 II

Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm F4.5

Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm F4.5

The Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm F4.5 (version 2 in Leica M mount) is a wonderful lens made by Cosina in Japan.

In this post, I talk briefly and specifically about this lens’ performance when mounted on my Fuji X-Pro1.

I saw no major edge smearing or colour cast along the image edges (as noted otherwise by some other users). Although, it’s possible that those findings may be attributed to different factors (eg. lens build and adapter build variations/tolerances). Vignetting was also fairly minimal. I am quite pleased by the overall image quality. Anything noticeable can be easily corrected in post processing. The fit is also nice and tight on the lens adapter, no play in any axis whatsoever.

Photos above show the lens mounted on my X-Pro1 via the Rayqual Leica M to Fuji X adapter – it’s a perfect fit!

The angle of view is good and wide – about the equivalent of a 23mm lens in full frame format. That seems to fit me almost perfectly, since my preferred wide angle on full frame was 24mm.

Strengths:

– Good sharpness (a bit of blur along the edges) and good contrast, plus great depth of field. Don’t expect to get fantastic bokeh out of this lens (that’s not what it is designed for).

– Minimal to no visible distortion around the image centre, which is amazing considering the price point. As with most super wide angles, subjects placed closer to the edges will reveal the lens distortion.

– Small and compact enough to toss into your pocket (I don’t do this myself, but some of you might).

– Solid construction (smooth focus ring with tab, solid aperture ring with distinct click stops). Feels good in the hand.

– Built-in hood (so far seems to work, although I haven’t had any major issues with flare).

– Excellent price, considering the overall quality of the lens. This is what Voigtlander has recently become well known for.

Weaknesses:

– Slow at a maximum of F4.5 (I love hand held shots in low to no light situations, so this lens may not always work for me). Considering the low light capabilities of many of today’s cameras, that can be forgiven. Still, a few extra stops never hurt anyone.

– Manual focus (only a negative if you need/want autofocus)

Here are a few samples from the lens:

Photos taken in London, UK during the 2012-2013 Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.

The bottom line:

All-in-all it’s a great little lens that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (even less so if you buy used). If you want something simple for daytime shooting and don’t mind using manual focus, this is the one to get.

If you have need for a super wide angle autofocus lens on the X-Pro1, then Fuji’s recently released 14mm F2.8 or the newly released Zeiss Touit 12mm F2.8 AF are currently your only choices.

As with any lens purchase, understand what you want to do with the lens and how it will impact your shooting before you buy.

Cheers!

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