Aug 282013
 

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The Voigtlander 42.5 f/0.95  Micro 4/3 Lens Review

By Steve Huff

Thanks to Camera Quest for sending me this lens one day before it was even released so I could review it. 

Ahhhh, super fast 0.95 aperture glass. You gotta love them even if they are built like a tank and heavier than you really want to go with a mirrorless system that is supposed to be all about high quality in a compact package. Yep, Voigtlander has done it again completing a trio of uber fast 0.95 aperture lenses with this new 42.5mm f/0.95 lens. It is large. It is heavy. It is beautiful. Lenses with a fast aperture of f/0.95 used to be unheard of until Leica designed and released their masterpiece Noctilux f/0.95 a few years ago. Ever since there have been a slew of fast f/0.95 and faster lenses released by other manufacturers showing that yes, it can be done and yes, it can be done for less. They may not be 100% of a Leica lens but they are at least 80%, and that right there is a great feat of engineering by these companies.

Voigtlander is one of these who boldly went for it after seeing there was a market for ultra fast glass, especially in the Micro 4/3 format. With the depth of field of a Micro 4/3 sensor being greater than what we get on a full frame sensor, one way to combat that is by using ultra fast aperture lenses. This way, if you like that smooth and creamy “background blown out of focus” look, or “Subject Isolation”, then this lens, and a few others can easily give it to you while still giving you superb quality all the way around.

But today I am speaking of the 42.5mm f/0.95 Micro 4/3 lens from Voigtlander and this lens is not for the faint hearted due to the size, weight and $999 price tag that comes with it.

When I say it is large and heavy, I mean it is large and heavy in comparison to normal Micro 4/3 prime lenses. Lenses like the Olympus 12mm f/2 or 45 1.8. Lenses like the Panasonic 20 1.7II or the 25 1.4 .Yes Ladies and Gentleman, Voigtlander lenses are built-in the style of good old-fashioned Leica Rangefinder lenses. In my book, this is a good thing. No, a GREAT thing. Why? Well, this means you will have a serious thrill when you open that box and see the quality of the build, the feel of the focus ring and solid click of the aperture dial. It is like you went back in time to the 1950’s..a time when lens construction was top-notch. Quality all the way.

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So as a warning to anyone who is thinking of this lens, or the 17.5 f/0.95 or the 25 f/0.95..just know you are getting a seriously built lens for your money :)

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The Image Quality

With that out-of-the-way, how is the image quality of this lens? Many would think at f/0.95, which is wide open, that the lens may be soft at such a wide open aperture. All I know is that my 1st tests with the lens on an Olympus E-P5 shooting at f/0.95 yielded incredibly sharp results at my focus point.

Speaking of focusing, the E-P5 with the focus peaking and VF-4 made it EASY to focus this beast of a lens and speaking of beasts…my 1st test shots were of the local cows :) All wide open at 0.95. Keep in mind I shoot every day, 5-6 days a week reviewing cameras. So to me, finding a bunch of cows who posed for me was exciting..different. Lol. Moooooooo!

YOU MUST click them to see the larger size and to see how sharp this lens can be at the widest aperture. Quite amazing for Micro 4/3.

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If you noticed any noise or grain in the images above it is because I ran them through a VSCO Agfa Scala filter, which added some fine grain. AGFA Scala is a B&W slide film. Even so, if you click on the image above you will see how sharp this lens is when used with the E-P5. Not far off from the LOOK I GET with the Leica M 240 with a Voigtlander 50 1.5 Nokton even though that is a full frame camera.

The reality is that the cameras made for enthusiasts today are quite exceptional and offer amazing IQ possibilities depending on the lens used. We have DSLR’s, we have small mirrorless solutions like Micro 4/3, we have amazing cameras like the Sony RX1 and many other options (many reviews can be found on these in my “Mirrorless Central” section). It can boggle the brain if you sit and try to figure out what to buy and why to buy and when to buy. Ten years ago the pickings were slim if you wanted amazing quality and when you found it, you had to pay dearly for it. Today, a camera like the $999 Olympus E-P5 performs better than a camera I paid $10,000 for with a couple of lenses back in 2003, the Canon 1Ds (1st version). A camera that was considered a “Holy Grail” by so many back then..yet today..the $999 Olympus E-P5 beats it when used with lenses like these from Voigtlander. The little Olympus beats it in high ISO, speed, and of course, weight. Makes me wonder what we will have in 10 more years. Will it all be phones with high tec cameras and artificial depth of field? Will it be cameras like the Lytro? No one knows but I think some brands will die out and there will still be some around supplying the latest and greatest to the enthusiasts and pros.

Cameras like the Nikon D800E, RX1R, Canon 5D series..are all exceptional when it comes to image quality. They compete head to head with mid scale medium format backs so where do we go from here? Only time will tell but today in August of 2013 what we have to choose from is pretty damn nice.

Wide open, f/0.95 – click it for larger. 

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Walking the Line

As for today..for now..and for right here and right now I am sitting here looking at snapshots I took with this $999 lens and $999 camera body. A $2000 combo and I have to say it is walking a line that used to be reserved for megabuck systems.

The image below was e-mailed to 8 people I know well who are enthusiasts like you and me. The version I emailed had the EXIF stripped and I asked my camera buddies..“what camera took this snapshot? Take a guess”.

Walking the Line – 42.5 at 0.95 – E-P5

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6 of the 8 said “Leica M 240”.  One said “Leica M9” and one said “OM-D and 45 1.8”

SIX thought I took this image, this basic snapshot of a stray cat walking across a fence with a $7000 Leica body. In the past, even as early as 2009 there was a clearer line between such cameras..today the line is getting rubbed out a bit. Kind of crazy when you think about it because I could spend $4500 on an E-P5 (or new GX7) along with these three amazing super speed Voigtlander lenses:

The 17.5 f/0.95 – This will give you a 35mm equivalent field of view, the preference of many street shooters. The lens is built to a high standard, well above most lenses made for Micro 4/3 or any system besides Leica M. It is heavy, but even at 0.95 it is pretty sharp. Great bokeh, a great look and feel and above all works fantastic on the newer bodies with focus peaking. Just beware of the weight as this will make your Micro 4/3 system larger and heavier. The Olympus 17 1.8 is good but will not give you the same look as this lens so all depends on what you like. I have samples with this lens in my OM-D E-M5 Review.

25 f/0.95 – A classic 50mm field of view. While it will not give you the same depth of field as a 50mm 0.95 on full frame, it will give you the DOF of a 25mm f/0.95 lens because that is exactly what it is. Most importantly you will get that light sucking ability that only a fast 0.95 lens can give you. This one is smaller than the 17.5 and feels pretty nice on the OM-D series or E-P series. Easy to focus with the new VF-4. This is probably my fave of the three due to the 50mm focal length, which is where I am most comfortable. Again, samples can be seen in my original OM-D E-M5 review. 

42.5 f/0.95 – This is the lens that every image on this page was shot with and it will give you the classic 85mm focal length and even more shallow DOF because this is close to a 50mm lens so you will get closer to a 50mm 0.95 Bokeh effect (can anyone say Noctilux)? Beautiful build and feel and for $999, it is a great buy if you like shooting at 85mm/90mm. But it is especially for  those who like BOKEH..and lots of it.

So if you buy or own a Micro 4/3 camera and want lenses that will give your images this effect..in other words,  results that give a “Leica Like” vibe (though it will be a CLASSIC Leica Vibe),  then this is as close as you can get on Micro 4/3.

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Of course I know that just by saying you can get close to the “look and feel” of a Leica M 240 using an E-P5 and these Voigtlander lenses I will probably suffer an attack or two by hardcore Leica users who will mistake what I said for something else. I did not say this was better than any Leica setup with Leica glass. I said you can get close to the look and feel (though some will say equal it and others will say beat it) of a Leica M 240 and certain lenses. :) In fact, these Voigtlander lenses perform much like older classic Leica lenses and is one reason they work so well for B&W.

The Lens comes complete with metal lens hood

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In fact, in the past year alone I have test and used just about EVERY major camera that has been released. The Sony’s, the Fuji’s, the Samsung’s, the Nikon’s, the Ricoh, the Pentax’s, etc. I am in a position to where I get to try it all, and the cool thing is I  tell the truth even when it upsets some readers. I just tell it how it is..MY own experience. I compare cameras and know what I like and what I do not. Contrary to what some believe, no manufacturer “pays me off” to say anything. Camera makers pay no one-off in the blogging/review world because if they did it could hurt them. I pride myself on always telling MY OWN TRUE FEELINGS. That is all. Take it or leave it :)

What I can say is that the newest crop of Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses have been extraordinary. Superb. As good as most will ever need for everything but super fast focus tracking (which some of us need, and some us will never use). So depending on your needs, this system is rocking in 2013. When you add these lenses it takes it up a notch.

Trio

Let us see what happens when we have a Micro 4/3 image, a Leica M 240 image and a Fuji X-E1 and Zeiss image. This is NOT in any way, shape or form anything scientific. In fact, these images were taken on different days, months apart. Same subject. What I want to show here is not sharpness, not detail, not much of anything besides depth of field and color and “pleasing to the eye” results. Of the three, which one suits YOUR tastes the most when it comes to how this scene was rendered? Of course the Olympus has a 2X crop sensor, the Leica is full frame and the Fuji is APS-C, so 1.5 crop.

The Voigtlander 42.5 f/0.95 – wide open.

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The Leica M 240 – 50 Voigtlander Nokton at 1.5

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The Fuji X-E1 with Zeiss Touit 32 1.8 – wide open

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Now of course we have the difference of focal length. With the E-P5 we have the Bokeh of a 42.5mm lens at 0.95 but the field of view of an 85mm lens. With the Leica we have the Bokeh of a 50mm 1.5 lens as it is full frame and what you see is what you get. With the Fuji and Zeiss, we have the Bokeh of a 32mm 1.8 lens and the field of view of around 50mm. To my eyes the most pleasing result was with the Leica and Olympus. I love the Leica as it gives me that 50mm FOV I love. If I had the Voigtlander 25 0.95 it would have been a better comparison but you can not fault that Voigtlander. Smooth, rich and creamy all the way with great out of focus background. The Fuji and Zeiss have a pretty busy background and it really shows what a 0.95 aperture can do for you (with the 2X crop of the E-P5). Yep, Micro 4/3 is no longer crippled by that crop factor.

Subject Separation, 3 Dimensional, Bokeh, Background Blur, Depth of Field…

It’s all about subject separation. Something many Micro 4/3 naysayers used to say was not possible but it is indeed possible with these Voigtlander lenses (and many others) and I am very happy that these options are here for those of us who love these little powerhouse cameras.

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There is a downside though. While you can get a nice 3D feel and subject separation with these lenses on a Micro 4/3body, as I stated earlier they are HEAVY and LARGE. Over time they can get cumbersome and remember, these lenses are manual focus only. No blazing auto focus here :)

If you want small, light and fast AF I highly suggest other lenses like the Panasonic 25 1.4 or the Olympus 45 1.8 or 75 1.8. All fantastic pieces of glass that will give you sharp results and the conveniences of the system. So not everyone will enjoy a lens like this 42.5 0.95.

So who will like this lens? Who will not?

If you come from a Leica background you will love this lens. If you enjoy finely crafted lenses, you will adore this lens. If you love that 0.95 look and want it for your Micro 4/3 system..you will  love this lens and appreciate it. If  you are “old school” you may enjoy this lens. If you like ultra modern crisp renderings with huge depth of field, you will NOT like this lens. If you hate heavy and large, you will NOT like this lens. If you hate manual focus, you will NOT like this lens. If you expect a lens like this to be $300, you are not meant for this lens :)

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The Bottom Line

At the end of the day this lens is a firecracker. Extreme build, heavy weight and able to suck in enough light to your sensor while giving you that 3D feel that many of us crave. It’s sharp wide open and sharp throughout the aperture range. It is a lens that will deliver a different look and if it is what you seek, you will not be disappointed with this lovely lens.

That is about all I can say. These days when I review a lens it is tough because most lenses today are superb. That is why I talk mostly about the character and talk about comparisons with gear that is sometimes much more costly. The truth is that we have never had such a choice and selection in cameras and lenses. I am talking QUALITY choices. The upside is that it seems to be gaining more and more steam, so I expect much more to come.

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Where to Buy the Voigtlander 42.5 f/0.95

Since CameraQuest sent this out to me before it was even released so I could review it, at no cost to me AND they are the main USA distributor for Voigtlander I would say GO CHECK THEM OUT and if you want this lens, show them some love. Stephen Gandy runs it and he ships FAST. YHe has full stock of this lens and the other Nokton lenses for Micro 4/3.

You can see or buy all of the Micro 4/3 choices HERE. 

Specs of the 42.5:

  • f/.095 to f16 aperture range
  • 11 lens elements in 8 optical groups
  • 10 aperture blades
  • Filter size 58mm
  • Close focus .23 meter
  • Size: length 74.6mm, diameter 64.3mm
  • Lens hood included with lens

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  89 Responses to “The Voigtlander 42.5 f/0.95 Micro 4/3 Lens Review”

  1. Hi Steve, Thanks for the great review. I totally agree with you on this lens. Professional photographer for 15 years, and nothing has stopped me in my tracks more than this manual focus lens, built like they should be, strapped to a GH4. My Nikon buddies with their 810s scratch their heads, my Canon buddies scratch their heads. My Nikon gets left to one side on profile photo shoots now, as nothing comes close and no autofocus system from either side will match the 100% focus success of focus peaking on the eyes of your subject from the EVF, I compared with my Nikon and 50mm 1.8 auto focus – everyone was binned. Clients love the look, just dont tell them how much the camera costs eh? Its a new world.

  2. Hi, Steven :
    re-read your review again about Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95, finally I decide to go for it for my Olympus EM-1, I like the image character of Voigtlander very much, but I suddenly found the focus peaking not working on my EM-1, do you know any setting I can try to display the peaking and magnify function assistant ? I search online did get good answer, need your help again. thank for the time.
    Steven Chen

  3. just a quick question…why not make these cover a full frame sensor and MURK the competions?

  4. So you can use the Leica Noctilux on the A7ii but not the Voigtlander Lens?

    • You can use Any Voigtlander Leica M or Screw Mount lens but not a Micro 4.3 lens. Micro 4/3 lenses will not work on any other camera system due to the design and the fact the lenses are designed for half frame not full frame or APS-C. The best lenses to use on an A7 series camera are FULL frame lenses as it has a full frame sensor. Thank you :)

  5. Steve you say you cannot use Voigtlander on A7ii but you showed a photo of a girl in a red sweater at http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/12/27/the-sony-a7ii-real-world-camera-review-my-camera-of-the-year-2014/ and said: “Wow. The Leica Noctilux on the Sony A7II at f/0.95. Look at the color..the depth..the magical rendering that adds emotion and soul to the image. This lens on the A7II is MAGICAL and in no way inferior to using it on a Leica M, in fact, the color is much better here than with the M. Click image for larger version.”

    • A Noctilux is a Leica M mount lens, made for full frame. The Voigtlander 17 is a Micro 4/3 lens, designed for the half frame Micro 4/3 format. There are loads of Voigtrlander lenses you CAN use, any M mount or Screw mount Voigtlander will work beautifully as they are made for full frame.

  6. B&H says there is no adaptor to fit the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 on a Sony A7ii. Is that your understanding?

    • No not possible and you wouldn’t want to. The Voigt 17 is a Micro 4/3 lens, and not possible to be used on a full frame camera as it is much too small and made for the small sensor of Micro 4/3.

  7. Hi, i use olympus omd em1 with voigtlander 17,5mm f 0.95, what priority setting should be used in the camera body?
    Can i still use A priority? Or only with S priority? I am confused, because in order to use the wide open 0.95 aperture, of course we have to set it manually at the lens body isn’t it?

    and if we use A priority, then the kens will not work because it is manual?

    thanks for helping

  8. thanks for the return, Actually i was thinking of Voigtlander ($999), I read your review of Nocticron again, look like have to go for it, hi, Steve, you let me spent a extra 600! but I got auto focus and better glass, ( but look like the VR on Nocticron wasted on EM1? ), thanks Steve, have to accept your suggestion…

  9. Hi, Steve, always like to get your advise, I own the a7 and Olympus EM1 now, try to get a 85mm (35 eq) for my EM1, had been wondering for a month, between the Olympus 45/1.8 and voigtlander nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 , I have a nokton 35/1.2 love it the classical look, is this 42.5/0.95 pretty much classical Image look also? would you please help me to get the final ?
    thanks for your time
    Steven Chen

    • Well, you can see the look of the lens in the images here :) The 35 1.2 has a slightly different look and feel than the 42.5. The 42.5 can be a little sharper but both are superb. The best 85 equiv for the E-M1 is the Panasonic Nocticron, for me, by a large margin.

  10. Thanks for the article! Would you choose this one or the Panasonic Leica 42.5 f1,2 on an Olympus EM-1?

  11. Thank you for the post, Steve! and the link. Just ordered the 42.5mm for my OM-D.

  12. Hi Steve, just got this one this week. Fabulous lens, great craftsmanship and built like a tank. I was worried about manual focusing as have never done before. However, with EM1 like you said, it is a breeze, don’t even need focus peaking. Bokeh and subject separation is fabulous. So thank you for reviewing these jewels.
    I have also ordered a 3 stop ND filter now.

  13. Hi Steve

    I am 5 min from buying Viogtlander 42.5 but I have some question which I couldn’t find any answer on the net…

    I have e-m1 and I want to know is there is a way like nikon camera to enter the none cpu lens data in the camera for exif data ?
    if there isn’t , than what will show and not show in the exif data?
    how does the image stabilisation in the camera work with this lens? I know it does work but how good it is ?
    have you tried it with e-m1 focus peaking ? and if you tried is it better than e-p5 as you reviewed it with ?

    looking at the pictures from this lens i can tell there is something special in terms of bokeh and colour as you said very near the result of Leica beast but knowing on the near future there is 42.5 1.2 with af coming to the market is it worth investing in the viogtlander at this time ? from your own experience and prediction do you think the new panasonic 42.5 will be any where near the crazy bokeh of the viogtlander?

    by the way I come from a film cameras age so focusing is not an issue for me but quietly and the character of the lens is what i am seeking, since you tried the lens I would love to know your opinion (which I trust so much) if this lens in term of character and speciality is one of the best you have used on mft?

    thank
    regards
    Ashkanani

  14. Actually, I’ve read this review (and watched the video on Youtube) several times because I liked it so much. It was very informative and gave a very good impression of what to expect when paying about $1k for such a nice lens… and it sounds like the cost is worth the entry fee to get great sharpness, bokeh and low light capabilities.

    I am highly anticipating purchasing one of these in the next year. Would be a great addition to my MFT lens collection for my E-M1…. savin’ up!… although the Voigtlander 17.5mm is quite nice, but I think I’d prefer the Oly 17mm f1.8 for the more manageable size and snap to MF feature.. plus nice metal build & IQ quality. And, there’s the Voigtlander 25mm which would make a nice fast standard, but I have 2 minor gripes about it… IQ just a tad softer (than the 17.5 & 42.5) and lack of step-less/clickless aperture ring option. Granted, the step-less/clickless aperture ring would be best exploited for video use and I currently don’t do much video work at present, but it would be nice to have that option if and when the time requires it.

    Since the newer f/0.95 MFT lenses from Voigtlander, such as the 17.5mm & 42.5mm, both have the new option/ability to turn a ring and make the aperture step-less/clickless, does anyone think Voigtlander will revisit and update the oldest 25mm lens to include the step-less/clickless ring option?

    Though I don’t believe the engineering involved to add such a feature would be extremely difficult, I kind of doubt it, but it would be cool if ALL 3 f/0.95 Nokton primes had the same cool feature.. then they’d truly all be part of a trinity set of great lenses from Voigtlander… different very useful focal lengths, but they all have the exact same great functionality.

    … and at the same time, IF they update the 25mm, perhaps they might make it just a tad sharper… I’ve read that both the 17.5mm & 42.5mm are actually really quite sharp wide open and a bit better stopped down a bit, but I’ve noticed more mixed reviews regarding the 25mm… enough to suggest it isn’t going to be quite as sharp as the newer 2 lenses. Just a thought on some possible improvements to a pretty great lens already IF they were to update it.

    Ok, maybe I’m asking for a lot more changes than a simple update may allow, but they are legitimate details which would have made the current 3 MFT Nokton lenses match that much perfectly…

    Anyways… just wanted to say again this was another great lens review, I think all the Voigtlander lenses will be astounding to use on MFT (especially on the Oly’s) and I look forward to seeing more camera and lens reviews from your website in the new year. Thanks!

  15. How does this lens compare to Olympus 75 in terms of bokeh and sharpness?

  16. I’ve read not all camera viewfinders have the resolution to accurately focus this lens. Is the OM-D E-M1 up to the task? Which of your favorite bodies might not be accurate enough for a manual focus f/0.95 lens?

    bob b

  17. Hello Steve,
    First of all, you have an amazing site, congrats! , you have become my number one reference for reviews for micro-4/3 lenses.

    I am looking for a lens that can give me some pictures with some kind of 3D look. Which lens would you suggest me, the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 or any of thees 3 Voigtlanders?

    Thanks in advance

  18. Hey Steve great review I’ve been following your thoughts on the cv Noktons for micro four thirds over the years and it’s interesting to see you say the Nokton 25mm 0.95 is your favourite of the three lenses. I too own that lens and live it but I remember your initial impression was quite negative towards that’s lens. Do you think it’s worth me getting the 45mm 1.8 while I currently own the 25? I could sell the only 45 1.8 and put money towards this new Nokton I guess. The lens does look amazing.

  19. Hey Steve!

    This is my first post on here, but I love your blog. Follow it daily. I know this is a very subjective question, but I am curious, if you could only have ONE of the voigtlander lenses, which would you choose? 17, 25, 45? There are clear AF options for each of these focal lengths from olympus and panasonic. But, given that you have had experience with ALL of these lenses, I am curious which you think you would use most and which would replace the equivalent AF options. I hope that makes sense!

    Thanks in advance!

    Chelsey

    • Well, probably the 17.5..sort of tied with the 25. 35 and 50mm are my fave focal length. The 17.5 is a slightly better lens I feel but it is also larger and heavier. The 25 gives a nice rendering and is not so bad in the size department. So maybe the 25. The 42 is great but I do not use that focal length much.

  20. Great review Steve; will share! It is a wonderful thing to have choices in the spirit of the Noc’s style.

  21. Steve,
    I prefer to invest in lenses, not bodies.

    Would you place this lens in front of the E-P1 or the GF1 ?

    Do I “really” need to have a better body? In my experience, a great lens makes the body better.

  22. oops , one word, superb ……….

  23. my name is cosinaphile , here and at e-p1 .net need i say more ?…. ok ,one work ….superb

  24. Hi Steve, I’d like to see some shots of a person at full body. Is the image separation still visible even at a full body shot? Compared to say Canon’s 85mm f/1.2 L.

    Thanks, Great website.

  25. Wow. In the feed machine comparison shots… I hate to say it but the Voigt + m43’s is the clear winner in terms of ‘painting a picture’. The bokeh looks amazing. Never would I thought it would best the Leica.
    Wow.
    Wow wow wow.

  26. Couple of questions… due to the lack of electronic connect do you need to:
    – Add lens to EP5 database in order for 5-axis IS to work? How does that work then?
    – Program a button to enable focus peaking? If you just shoot MF on EP5, still have to?
    Anything else we need to know how a manual focus lens works on EP5?
    Thanks, great site!

    • The 5-Axis works with any lens attached. I programmed a button for peaking so I just press it as I focus if I want the peaking. It is as simple as putting the lens on and shooting.

  27. A cheap solution for fast manual long focal lens: a 50mm minolta Rokkor f1.4+ring for micro 4/3 and you’ve got an under 100dollars 100mmf1.4 on the OMD!
    The focus ring is really pleasant, the apperture ring not so pleasant ( on mine but I suppose there are some which are in better condition ), the bokeh interesting (longer focal); only focus peaking is missing …
    I was surprised by the sharpness and the colors( when in good focus which is sometimes difficult at f1.4 with the EVF only) even wide open. The problem is the size moreover lenses like the oly 45mm f1.8 are easier to use without focus picking and speedy AF.

    This voigtlander at f0.95 sure looks cool but the Rokkor helps kipping GAS away a little.

    Steeve, I really like your website, hope you will create a french amazon link for your support.

    Regards

    Pierre

  28. How does the Voigtlander lenses work with the V1?

  29. Hi Steve

    How does this lens shape up against the 0.95 lenses (50mm and/or 35mm) from SLR Magic?

    • The SLR Magic 50 0.95 for Micro 4/3 (NOT the expensive M MOUNT Hyperprime) is not good IMO. Soft, off color, etc. I reviewed it years ago. That lens started out from a company called NOKTOR. SLR Magic bought them and rebranded the lens but IMO they should have scrapped it. I love most of the other SLR Magic offerings but not so much the original 50 Noktor 0.95

  30. The Ricoh GR is pocketable in my pants :)

  31. Can someone please help me.. I have a stupid question. How does Steve shoot these lenses wide open, outside in daylight? I see no mention of an ND filter and I have trouble shooting my x100s outside at f2 with the build in ND filter activated. Am I missing something? Thanks

    • The E-P5 shutter goes up to 1/8000th of a second. EVen at 0.95, 1/8000 is usually plenty. No ND filter was used at all here. The outdoor shots were mainly shot on an overcast day here, so there was not full blaring sun. Even so, 1/8000 is nice to have.

      • Thanks! Wow.. Yeah 1/8000 would be nice. The x100s only does 1/1000 at f2 which is when you would need the fast shutter the most. Off topic but I must say I just received the new x100s 2 days ago after selling off my original x100 and I disappointed in it. Not the improvement over the original that I expected: AF still misses, annoying bugs remain, etc. I think it may be going back and I may have to go for an RX1.

        • wut? Disappointed in RX100 and you “may have to go for an RX1”?
          What I read is: the RX1 is an amazing piece of tech, but it surely isn’t the next step in (your) line, is it?
          what i would get for 3000 bucks: E-P5 plus two voigtländer lenses. *swush*
          but of course that would be not FF…

  32. i’m also surprised by the quality of this extreme design!! good stuff!
    for anyone who doesn’t have 2000 bucks, but still wants to get this look out of his images, i recommend to buy a used 5D with a 85 f1.8 for 800 bucks :)

    • I do not agree, Thomas. I have the Canon 5D Mark II, with inter alia the 85/1.8. Let me tell you upfront that among all the four lenses I got the 85mm is the worst, a cheap glass, cheap mount, cheap everything, autofocus not always reliable either. Compare that with the 100mm Macro which comes with a stablizer, a very good lens, but also much more expensive. I intend to sell the 85mm and buy a better lens.

      Seeing Steve’s results especially in b/w with a Leica M and Voiglander lenses, this is so far remote off the quality that my 5D delivers … here are some details. I can only compare his photography with Hasselblad photography, it’s that standard of quality, nothing below that.

      1) Definition, Contract, Detail
      The Canon lenses are giving a poetic flair, agreed, but you pay for that with lack of sharpness when the lens is wide open. The 5D is a fantastic camera, fell down on the titled floor twice, not a scratch, nothing at all, it’s also easy to handle, a good companion. But the quality of photography, overall, compared with a Leica, I have my doubts.

      2) Luminosity
      For the price range, the 5D delivers very good high ISO photos with minimum grain, a big advantage for low light photography. However, focusing can be difficult at times as the autofocus is not always reliable. The lenses are certainly good but compared with a combination Leica M / Voigtlander, there is something I miss. Perhaps, as I was asking today in another comment, I can significantly improve my 5D photography with Voigtlander lenses?

      Best regards,
      Pierre

    • LoL! Exactly. Perhaps this setup looks snazzier. Certainly looks good; though a push-on evf still seems an anomaly to me.

  33. Fantastic lens. Do you know if I can mount this lens on my Canon 5D Mark II or if there is a lens adapter for it for my camera. Do you think it will be as sharp on my Canon as on your camera?

  34. There is no way I will buy this lens because it is so heavy and expensive, i.e. going directly against why I got into M43, and especially given the wonderful little 45mm f/1.8. Male jewelry.

  35. Hi Steve, I would like to know your personal opinion – will you add this lens (or 25/17.5mm f0.95 Voigtländers) to your m43 lens collection? Or if you have to choose just one of them, which one do you like the most IQ-wise? Thanks.

  36. Nice lens for shure. Anyhow, if people struggle to see a difference in pictures taking with a Leica and a Olympus it might have to do with your way of postprocessing files. Easy to say that even with all that PP i see a difference.

  37. The lens looks amazing! Only if I had a mft camera and $1000 extra.

  38. Sharpness and OOF rendering fully open are impressive. A “Leica” 3D rendering at a bargain price.

  39. Those first few pics are very moooooving. Before your review I only heard it through the bovine that this lens might be great. But now, it’s easy to see that it’s udder-ly perfect. There will certainly be a lotta blogs chewin the cud over this lens. She’s a big girl but this Heffer looks good in the PEN.

  40. look like a gem of a lens

  41. Man, I’d love to slap one of those on my em5… Nothing compares to a good ol’ manual lens stabilised in 5 axes.

  42. I just love witnessing the latest expansion of our awesome m4/3s system! We’re so lucky to have all these lens choices — choices to make NEXers and Xers and V/Jers envious (no disrespect to those excellent systems).

    Voigt 42.5mm:
    – Love the subject isolation possible.
    – Like the bokeh most of the time — don’t quite love it as much as from my Voigt 17.5 f0.95.
    – Wish there was just a tad more 3D pop to the in-focus subjects.

    I probably won’t choose to put another 1 lb lens on the front of my E-P5. My own 17.5mm feels awkward with that tiny, sorry excuse for a grip!
    But if I ever fall for the EM-1, you can bet I’d be interested in this lens!

  43. I am the son of God . I think the leica m240 is oversaturated .

  44. [Ironic mode ON]
    OLYMPUS I want FOCUS PEAKING in my OM-D !!! just for use this lens before I got it ;-)
    So.. you have 2 month for a new firmware update!!!

    Amazing pictures!!

  45. I wounder how my compo of OM-D and Noctilux 0.95 would compete….

  46. Wonder what lens Voigtlander will make next? My guess is 67.5mm. Anyway loving their current lineup. Great review Steve keep up the good work.

    • I doubt that C/V is the company to do it, but I hope _someone_ gets around to making a relatively fast ultrawide prime. Say, 8mm f2.4 or so.

  47. Wow Steve you and Voigtlander even made the cows look good!

  48. Very good image quality; of course. Voigtlanders are excellent lenses.

    We’re not really talking “pocketable” here anymore, are we? So a good comparo would be between this one, two 1.4 50mm aps-c combo’s, one mirrorless, one dlsr, and two full frame combo’s with 1.4 85’s (6D, D600).

    Oh; let’s forget about the diffrence between 0.95 and 1.4. Light gathering compensated by the higher ISO capability of a larger sensor, DoF differences negated by the difference in focal length.

    Let’s see where we will end up then, image quality, weight, size etc wise… ;-) I’m anxiously waiting, though not holding my breath.

    • The only “pocket” cam I have come across in recent times that was of any good quality is a Sony RX100 or RX100II. No mirrorless camera is pocketable. That would be much too small. Even so, this combo is half the size and weight of a D800 or full frame DSLR. A D8000 and 85 1.4 would be HUGE in comparison. APS-C…not much out there with an 85 1.4 equivalent, if at all. Maybe a Sony NEX and 50 1.8 which would give a 75mm equiv but it is not as good IQ wise as what this set gives you, though would be smaller and lighter and cheaper (NEX-5 and 50 1.8, under $900). But at 1.8 the Sony is a bit soft and doesn’t really sharpen up until 2.8. But in any case, I do not have cameras and lenses at my disposal. If I want to test a D800 I have to rent one. If I want to test a Nikon 85 1.4, I have to rent one. I see no need to do so as someone who wants a setup like this will not have an interest in a DSLR. I know I don’t. :) Thanks.

      Just for reference you can see at the link below what an E-M5 looks like next to a D800.

      http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/05/31/crazy-comparison-the-olympus-om-d-e-m5-vs-nikon-d800-for-high-iso/

      • Thanks for the reply Steve. I’m fully aware of the size and weight differences of cameras. I just thought a D600, a 6D (both appreciably smaller and lighter than a D800 or a 5DIII) with, for reference sake, a 1.4 prime, would make an interesting comparison with an OM-D with one of the lenses discussed here. There are people that would prefer an interchangeable lens slr type camera for whom the OM-D might be a tad too small (yes, that is ergonomically possible, just as too large is), and full frame an interesting option. Price wise the difference wouldn’t be all that big either. Remember the D600 sensor is basically the same as the RX1 sensor.

      • Pocketable: Steve – no. One realy tiny solution is a Olympus E-PM2 with Lumix 2,5 14mm and Cokin Pure harmony UV Filter (thickness less than two mm), slip-on lenscap. That’s my “RX100”, it’s even cheaper ( i had already the 14mm and sold the 14-42 kit-lens) and better. I’m using normally the OMD with a full assortment of lenses. Since the E-PM2 is here, this is my favorite camera. It’s always with me.

      • Depends on your pockets Lol. I could fit a 5dmIII in my pockets ea Of course I wear size 10×L cargo sweatpants on my 32 inch waist

  49. Superb lens, I wish to own this lens along with an OMD Camera, thanks Steve for sharing the excitment, it’s always fun to read your articles.

  50. Or like 85mm focal length, 42,5mm lens compression, 0,95 light gathering and f1.9 dof on FF.

    • 85mm lens compression!
      It depends on subject distance, that will be the same between an 85mm on full frame and 42.5mm on 4/3, to achieve the same composition.

  51. Hey Steve: Any thoughts on image quality using any of the Voight /.95 focal length lenses on the new GX7, weight and balance issues aside?

  52. What is f/0.95 in Full Frame (35mm) numbers?

  53. Voigtlander lenses do indeed see like a throwback to earlier time, when items were built to last. Now if only Voigtlander would make a digital camera body like their Bessa’s or a Fuji XP1 like. At a price commiserate to their lenses, just a dream of mine.

    Thanks once again Steve for all your hard work and efforts.

    • “..Now if only Voigtlander would make a digital camera body like their Bessa’s or a Fuji XP1 like..”

      But they did! ..The APS-sized Epson R-D1. Epson electronics, Cosina/Voigtländer body. Takes Leica-fit lenses. Crop factor 1.5. Available second-hand, or new (in Japan, anyway). Lovely manual-focus digital rangefinder camera, with quirky analogue dials, built from a Bessa rangefinder film body. Mechanical wind-on between shots (to cock the shutter).

  54. Wow, the wide open shots had surprising sharpness to say the least.

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