Voigtlander 10.5 f/0.95 Lens review for Micro 4/3
Welcome again to another quick lens review here at stevehuffphoto.com! Here we are, 7+ years on with this website/blog and I am still excited to sit and write about a product that I really enjoy, for me, this just ever gets old.
This time around the lens we will be taking a look at is a Micro 4/3 lens from Voigtlander that fleshes out their superfast f/0.95 line of primes. In the past I have used and tested the Voigtlander 17 0.95, 25 0.95, 42.5 0.95 and these lenses give Micro 4/3 users the focal length equivalents of 35, 50 and 90mm. What was missing for a while was the wide end so Voigtlander tackled this and created the lens you will see here, the 10.5mm f/0.95! A true wide-angle superfast prime.
Yep, a 10.5mm lens in Micro 4/3 with an uber fast f/0.95 aperture. Of course the equivalent focal length here is 21mm, so this one can be considered a wide angle or near ultra wide lens. But many of you may be asking..”why would one need f/0.95 in a 10.5mm lens”? Usually wide angle lenses can do just fine with slower shutter speeds and smaller apertures as they are easier to handhold without creating shake. So why the fast aperture? Besides being ultra cool and bad ass there are reasons!
The lens come with al lens hood and allows for cliques or liked aperture. The construction is SOLID. Length 82.4mm, maximum diameter 77mm.
For low light abilities one, and even though the focal length doubles here, the light gathering of the aperture is indeed f/0.95. Again, this IS an f/0.95 lens for light gathering. For shallow DOF you will not get the true effect of f/0.95 as you would on a full frame sensor body as that also doubles. But for light gathering and low light this lens will give you a fast f/0.95 aperture. So go out to a nice low light environment and have no fear as this lens should give you what you need. Add in the 5 Axis IS of the Oly bodies and you are all set for low light shooting. This is really what f/0.95 is all about. Low light and the need for your lens to suck in all available light that it can while still performing admirably. The question here is, can this lens deliver?
Click on any image for larger size and better version!
During my 2-3 weeks with this cracker of a lens I took it all over with me though it is not a tiny or small lens. This lens is heavy and medium in size (not large), is all manual focus and is built to last a lifetime. Metal construction, smooth focus ring, solid but smooth aperture ring and performance that may not the “best” in the Voigtlander f/0.95 line but still very very excellent with that same signature and color of the other primes in the series.
In use I was finding the lens to not be as sharp wide open as the other lenses in this range. For example, the 42.5 is stunning wide open as is the 17.5 but this 10.5 is a tad soft when shooting at f/0.95, hell, I can’t even say soft as it is not “soft”…just not as sharp as the 42.5 😉 Many would say I was being picky here but at $1,100, this is not a cheap lens. Even so, by the time you hit f/1.4 the lens has a nice sharp rendering and has some bite as well. A bonus is the you can take this lens up close. With a minimum focus distance of only 6.6 inches you can get fairly close to your subject if you desire.
The lens, as I said, comes in at $1100. Mine came from CameraQuest.com and the more and more I used the lens, the more I started to get along with it. I will admit, the 1st week I was not sure if I liked it as I am rarely a 21mm shooter. In fact, the last time I shot with a 21mm extensively was probably in this Voigtlander 21 f/1.8 review for Leica M mount. I do remember liking that lens but again, since I am not much of a wide angle shooter (namely 21mm-28mm) I knew it would rarely get use.
Click for larger and more detailed version. This is the 10.5 up close and wide open.
As I shot this 10.5mm more and more I started to enjoy it and I started to like it, a lot. If I owned the other Voigtlander lenses to go along with this f/0.95 line I would 100% want to own this just to complete the f/0.95 collection. With these lenses one can shoot almost anything they desire from landscapes to low light scenes to portraits to every day general shooting.
The image below, 1st one, is full size from camera so YOU MUST CLICK IT TO SEE THE FULL SIZE. Click it to see what this lens will do at f/4. It has been sharpened.
This one is just to show Bokeh quality, or the Out of focus areas in the background. This was shot at f/0.95
When shooting the lens I did not notice any glaring or out of the ordinary issues such as massive CA, distortions or funky Bokeh. Everything seemed pretty solid. The IQ has the same character as the other lenses in the Voigtlander family. I’d say it has that voigtlander look, 100%.
What is that look?
Well, it’s always hard to describe the way different brands of lenses render images. Some have more color pop, some are higher contrast, some are muted and some are soft while others are sharp. This lens renders in a smooth way with a near neutral color and contrast signature, meaning it does not have high or low contrast nor bold and poppy color or muted color. It has that “smoothness” that I always see in Voigtlander lenses.
Below is a video I made when I received the lens, showing it on the E-M5II
This camera with this lens and grip feels so freaking amazing and awesome in my hand. For feel and looks it easily beats my A7s, A7II and upcoming A7RII. It’s just a striking camera to look at and hold/feel and use. Solid, great controls and quality. With Micro 4/3 lagging behind in low light or very high ISO’s they need fast lenses to compete with the big full frame guns. Fast glass is the answer and with Olympus releasing awesome lenses like the new 8mm fisheye pro 1.8, the 7-14 pro wide angle zoom and even that newish 40-150 f/2.8 zoom it helps to take this system up a level.
At this level what other lenses are there to choose from for our micro 4/3 cameras?
Well, we have the Olympus Pro 7-14 f/2.8 Zoom, which comes in at $1299, or $200 more. Of course you lose the f/0.95 aperture but you gain fast Auto Focus, you gain weather sealed pro performance and you gain more versatility as the focal length can go even wider and even longer. 7-14 will give you a 14-28mm FOV on Micro 4/3 and give you much more sharpness across the frame.
Me, would I want to give up the solid Voigtlander 10.5 f/0.95 with its uber fast aperture so I can get the 7-14 Pro Zoom? WELL…Maybe. I feel the zoom may be the better buy but then again, you will not be able to get the look of the Voigtlander out of the Olympus. The Oly will give you sharper images with more DOF meaning your background will be more in focus, so less subject isolation. You will also get the Olympus color signature which many love.
It’s a trade-off. Solid build, fast aperture and manual focus or Auto Focus, wider focal length range and slower aperture? It would be tough to choose, and the more I think about it the more I think I would choose the Voigtlander as I love to shoot in low light, or in music clubs or pubs at night. That Aperture speed rocks.
I know many would say “I WANT AF” so the Olympus would be the smartest choice for the AF crowd, obviously.
Always click images here for larger and better view
I still love Micro 4/3 even though I know many out there refuse to even give it a shot due to the smaller sensor. The way I look at it is that while yes, the sensor is smaller and does not do as well in shallow DOF or High ISO the bodies make up for this with their beautiful designs, solid build and super fast response and operation. The smaller sensors allow for faster AF, and the lenses of the Micro 4/3 system are some of the best there are in existence. So many Micro 4/3 fans out there who chose it over APS-C and Full Frame, and I am right there with them as I feel a camera like the Olympus E-M1 or E-M5II beat out just about any APS-C camera as a whole package from build, design, speed, lens quality, etc. I do not feel it can compete with full frame so much but it is not far off in DR, details and color performance. So yes, Micro 4/3 is alive and well and while many predicted its demise years ago, it is holding steady and doing well.
Back to the lens…
If you feel like shooting at 21mm, and have a Micro 4/3 system, and you love f/0.95 shooting then this is a lens you will want to take a long serious look at. It ticks the right boxes as it has no real weaknesses besides being manual focus only. As I already stated, CA and distortion here is minimal, which is quite something for a fast f/0.95 lens. ALL fast primes have CA it is just a matter of how much. One of the worst CA offenders is the Leica 50 Noctilux at $11k+, so yea, even the uber pricey lenses have these issues. This lens though, it is so minimal I never notice it, so this is fantastic.
At the end of the day, I love Voigtlander and have loved them since trying my 1st Voigtlander lens (a 35mm f/2.5 pancake for Leica M mount) on an Epson RD-1 (pre Leica M8). While not all Voigtlander lenses are masterpieces, some indeed are and the offerings from them in Micro 4/3 land are quite special and good. A fast prime shooters dream set of lenses can be had, all for under $5k giving one a super Micro 4/3 system of sorts. Pretty cool. The 10.5mm keeps on with the tradition of high quality, fast aperture, super build and great IQ while keeping the pricing on a nice even ground. This is a lovely lens my friends!
My review sample came from site sponsor Stephen Gandy at CameraQuest.com He has these in stock for $1100 and free shipping. You can see the page for this lens right HERE if you want to read more or place the order.
ORDER THIS LENS HERE AT CAMERAQUEST!
My next lens I am testing on the E-M5II is the new SLR Magic Hyperprime 50 T 0.95, which is a scaled down version of their AMAZING 50 T 0.95 for Leica M, so I have high hopes. Stay tuned for that as I will be heading out on a road trip this week to shoot it.
Thank you all for reading this short mini review for the Voigtlaner 10.5 f/0.95 for Micro 4/3.
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Some really satisfying shots! The first guitar guy, and your girlfriend in B&W – awesome, crisp & contrasted.
In the bokeh I don’t see any particular distracting artefacts. I wouldn’t call the rendering quite as creamy (as good an overused word as I can think of 🙂 as the 17.5mm – imho the best of the bunch for that – but it’s certainly free of the common doubling & ringing problems. I.e., it stays out of the way.
The review is interesting, but my favorite part is just looking at the shots!
Thanks Steve for the review. You may want to check out Kowa 8.5mm F2.8 for micro 4/3 system … From what i read in other review, the optical quality is pheonemoal
I had never the opportunity to experience the Voigtlander. I hope I will have it one day.
So I’m assuming these lenses are able to achieve .95 because they are built specifically for the half frame making the image circle needed to cover the sensor area smaller? Therefore they could never be adapted to anything larger then they were built for?
No, they could never be adapted to anything bigger simply because the lens-focal plane should be shorter, and that is not phisically possible. In fact the reverse is true – lenses for bigger sensors can be adapted to M4/3 because they need a longer distance and that is possible interposing an adapter 🙂
Actually m43’s lenses can be adapted to Sony E-Mount.
Thanks for reviewing this. I have some Voigtlander RF lenses, but have never tried any of the Micro Four Thirds models… may have to take a look.
Re the ongoing “thing” about Micro Four Thirds and DOF, may I point out that shallower DOF isn’t always better? Another way of looking at these lenses on Micro Four Thirds is that they give you the light-gathering power of f/0.95 plus the focal depth (compared to a 36x24mm camera) of f/2.8… that can be nice when the subject of your low-light video interview won’t sit still, or you need to have everyone in focus in a group photo.
Still, I dont get why you cant find a 9-10mm lens with a more humane aperture, even a 3.5f. Ligher, cheaper And more easy to build.
You can, the old Olympus 9-18 but again, will not give the look or character of this lens, and many love this look. Also, many have the 17. 25 and 42 and this would round out the collection for them.