Voigtlander 35 1.7 Ultron…one hell of a lens!

Voigtlander 35 1.7 Ultron…one hell of a lens!

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 8.03.06 PM

Only had this beauty with me for 2 days but wow. This lens is stunning. I was considering purchasing the Zeiss ZM 35 1.4 for my Sony A7rII but this lens just jumped ahead, and it is less than half the price. Voigtlander has come a long way and this is a serious fast 35 for anyone with a Leica M or Sony A7 series body. At $980, it is a “no brainer deal”. Not cheap but it performs like a $2k lens.

It has gorgeous color, no issues at all on the A7RII or A7II or A7s and it is built to a standard that is above and beyond what any $900 lens should be. It looks like the new 50 Nokton and it is so smooth, easy to focus and renders a quite lovely image wide open at f/1.7. This for me beats out the 35 1.2 as it is much smaller, easier to focus and sharp as you would need wide open. I usually do not post quick sample snaps from my 2nd day but I am really digging this lens, and feel it is worthy of some huge praise.

My review will be in 10-14 days, so stay tuned! Three shots until then 😉 All on the A7RII. Mine came from CameraQuest.com 

DSC09078

DSC09090

DSC09062

50 Comments

  1. arghhh i really frustrated, i really can’t decide the lux fle or the ultron. the ultron is sharper in my test. even at the same aperture. they render very similarly, lux slightly smooth on the redering. but really i can’t tell the difference between both if i don’t pixel peeping. anybody compare these two lenses?

  2. Is the M-mount version a lot different image quality wise than the old LTM version, which I have and consider excellent for the price?

  3. I went for a walk through a quarter in Zurich last Sat. Amongst a bunch of pics I like a lot, I shot this which is okeish, I think..

    But if you want to get an idea of how far sharpness goes on that lens, you can scroll in pretty much in this one. You can read everything from bottom to top:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/101763868370227998870/albums/6196533435544789537/6196537121887247618?pid=6196537121887247618&oid=101763868370227998870

    Hope it does work. When zooming in, give it some time to load.

    Full album would be here (some might not be perfectly sharp which is due to the peril of using a manual lens *g*):

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/101763868370227998870/albums/6196533435544789537

  4. Hi Steve,

    When you tested the 35mm Sony f1.4 you said it was the best 35mm ever. How does the image quality of the ultron compare?

  5. Hi, have this lens since early September and I try it on M-P(240), M9 and A7(I). It is pretty impressive. Very sharp wide open, when I compare it to other 35mm like Zeiss Biogon or Leica Summicron. The chrome version is obviously wonderful, as the brass is heavier and stiffer than aluminum. The bokeh is in my opinion very pleasant. A very very good lens. I’m quiet interested to see the comparison with one of the best M lenses actually, the last Zeiss Distagon.

    Cheers!

  6. I own an A7R II, wonderful camera, however when you use M lenses (personally I have a zeiss sonar 50mm f1,4 and a biogon 35 mm f2,8 and a leica M9) at infinity focus corner are really bad with lenses from 24 to 90 mm. It s better to use a sony FE lens like the 35mm f2.8.

    • Not so on the RII and the backlit sensor with 50mm or from what I have seen on this lens. In any case, I would not use a Leica lens at infinity and stopped down in any of my shooting, ever. So for me it is a non issue. I suggest those wondering about it, check how many shots you do at infinity. If a lot, yes, use the FE lenses as they are perfect with the camera. The M lenses come into play for portraits, isolation, shooting wide open and NOT at infinity. Leica glass is no better when stopped down ad at infinity than any other good glass. It is wide open and close to mid distances where it shines. Your Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar should be used wide open to show it’s signature character, not for infinity landscapes. 😉

      • I do not agree completely with you Steeve.
        Yes you right the sonar 50 is made to be used at 1,5 and it shines (I mean it is soft at 1,5 but this is the purpose of this lens) this way on the A7R II for middle distance subject in some cases but not all the time. Corners suffer from wired problems even at 1,5 and not at infinity focus sometimes. (i can send you examples and I am not a pixel peeper…)
        Actually I am doing a travel around the world and I have an A7R II for shooting.
        If I want a shoot a landscape with my zeiss zm biogon 35 mm F2,8 corners are bad from 2,8 until F 11 compare to the FE lens.
        The purpose of my answer was just to warn a little bit people about A7R II and leica M or zeiss ZM lenses. I really like the A7R II, leica glass can match in some cases beautifully but those lenses are better on M9 or M246.

        • Hi Bristro, If I can add some further information about the Biogon on the A7 series. The main issue with the Biogon is it’s symmetrical design and the rear lens very close to sensor. This lens is suffering of color and pixel smearing wide open and even stopped down to f5.6. It is the same issue you get with the old Contax G lenses. But, if you check a Voigtlander 35 like Nokton 35 f1.2 or the Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 you’ll not have the same issues. Apparently with what I have tested on a borrowed Sony A7, the last Ultron is a brilliant performer without all the problems you’re encounter. By the way, the new Nokton 50mm f1.5 is also a real beast on the A7.

  7. Would it matter to you that a much more expensive 35 Summilux FLE shows similar behavior? Plus, if you look at your second link and check how far the focus reaches back on the left and right side … it is there as well.

    This can be used to have a more centrally placed sujet which is in focus and an “addition” to the side (or both sides), which wouldn’t be in the plane of focus but are sharp, anyway (gives interesting results in some situations). In return, this effect can also be rather distracting, so be a bit careful with the surroundings if shot wide open.

  8. The out-of-focus background, especially on the second picture looks excessively harsh. I would get a second copy of this lens and compare.

  9. I have shot the lens on the a7II and the Leica M8. If you want to have a look at some pics, I will share my picasa albums with you. There is a hit and miss rate on moving objects (some of the cat shots for example – f1.7 is delivering a pretty shallow depth of field on full frame). With some practise I should get better at it, though.. Hopefully ,-)

    M8:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101763868370227998870/Shiny?authuser=0&feat=directlink
    https://picasaweb.google.com/101763868370227998870/Sunset?authuser=0&feat=directlink
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Z-zqxT6USDCYJv8zgklb_ajcGGztCrs_vO4u5klWwQk?feat=directlink
    (my very first attempt on light painting..)

    a7 II:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101763868370227998870/ChoresAndTimeOut?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101763868370227998870/A7IIVoigtlander35mm17UltronII?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101763868370227998870/SaltTowersAndSunset?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    And something completely different, a7 II with the 15mm f4.5 Heliar III and the 40mm f2.8 Heliar:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101763868370227998870/StHippolyteAndDoubs?authuser=0&feat=directlink

  10. If you have the chance, for the review can you shoot a wide open shot with light points near the edge? I have the Volt 35mm f/1.2 which is nice but heavy. I also have the Loxia 35mm which is nice and light but seems to have a substantial issue with coma in these type of shots. https://flic.kr/p/xEvvqL

  11. Hi Steve,
    In the review please share some of your opinion between this 35 1.7 and 35 1.2 ver 2
    actually I’m consider between those lense. thanks

    • I can already tell you the 1.7 would be my pick without hesitation. Smaller, lighter, and the performance at 1.7, wide open, is fantastic. The 1.2 is a bit soft wide open and sharpens up by 1.4 and even more by f/2. It is larger, heavier and costs more. This lens is really just about perfect for a fast manual 35 prime. Still lots to test and compare against it, but so far it is quite special, especially for the money.

      • one more question, how do you feel about the voigtlander aluminum with the chrome brass one. Becos the black ver I can get cheaper than $200.

  12. Sony has pulled it off with the A7r2. I’ve seen both videos and images and it is right on the money when it comes to quality and performance.

        • Matt, true.. The pic above is at f5.6 if I remember right. I thought you was referring to some sort of barrel distortion and I didn’t see any, really. I did load that pic into LR and rotated it slightly since I did not hold the camera 100 % straight (only maybe.. 97 %, so very little rotation), then I did apply the profile correction (obviously from the old 35mm Ultron), but it didn’t change much more. So this is pretty much out of cam.

          Close-up, wide open, There is sometimes an almost “swirly” effect in the edges. On the Sony ff, shot wide open, the dof is pretty narrow. Since it is a classic line lens, I appreciate that it is not delivering this sterile digital rednering like (other) modern lenses.

          I do not know what to make about the carpet on the dog pic.. – maybe it does just appear sharp in different parts since it is quite a nervous pattern..

          So far I am pretty happy with the lens but I did not yet shoot it in too extreme conditions.. What’s in focus is sharp.

    • I have been using this lens for a few weeks now, and I no longer regret selling my RX1 to pick up something with decent manual focus. It is optically great and very easy to use.

      The curved plane of focus, up close, wide open, is definitely weird though:

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4BswmBvTVLgNXhvUzBIQW0ybUU/view?usp=sharing
      ^This shot I mis-focused to the front, but at the edges of the frame, the focal plane wraps around and the wall is more in focus than the subject.

      At larger distances, it seems less extreme:

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4BswmBvTVLgVkpMMDlVbDl5Tlk/view?usp=sharing

      Both are at F2.

      • That first pic looks more like if your cam is back focussing..? Did you use focus peaking or magnifying or both? I will yet have to find a willing “model” to stand quiet in front of my a7II – but I didn’t notice the focus being that off..

        • Look at the arm. The center of the image is very clearly front-focused. You can even draw the curved plane of focus, from the arm, along the table, back to the wall.

          Don’t get me wrong – it is a great lens. But this is a weird aspect of it.

  13. I’ve had the lens for a couple of weeks now, and I like it a lot. It is not that easy to focus on my (old) Leica M8 wide open when trying to relay on the range finder, and due to the camera it only starts to focus from about 60-70 cm (maybe 2 feet), but the pics are sharp and there’s really no vignetting, distortion or ca (except when taking a pic of silver surface in very bright sunshine – where every lens would show ca)..

    I also use it on a Sony a7II and even there is no ca or distortion and depending on the light conditions you can make out only some very little vignetting. Focus distance is nicely close with the Voigtländer VM-E Nah+ (closeup) adapter..

    Beautiful lens, solid built, really recommended.

    One suggestion: I know it does look beautiful in chrome (it is made of brass and weighs a bit more than the black edition), but the lens in that finish is so beautiful, you might not take it out to shoot, but just sit there staring at it.. Depending on your style of photography I strongly suggest to get the black version (aluminium, a bit lighter). It is more discrete, so people won’t jump on you with questions (unless you want this, which can also be a nice way to start communication before making a pic of them *g*) and there won’t be reflections in certain situations (when you face glass or so)..

    The lens comes with a black screw on lenshood and metal cover, plus if you decide not to use the lenshood, there’s another pinch plastic cover. Voigtländer does also offer a separate lenshood, which is more classic, but adds another 100 bucks..

    Check for prices, official Voigtländer prices on the German website are about almost up par to the US prices. The lenses might be more affordable in other countries (Switzerland being a good one – the black version should be about 100-130 bucks less than the chrome version)..

    You might get a beast of a lens for even less than 980 if you maybe wait a couple of weeks when the prices are slightly adjusted..

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Qb9dkJFanyc/VeIw5WzYFBI/AAAAAAABEFg/8mvghGGDTPk/s800-Ic42/20150829_163229_0037.jpg

  14. Hi Steve
    I’m in the market for a new street and walk around lens for my a7ii.
    Having previously owned the FE35 2.8 it was plenty sharp for sure but I felt it to lack character. Like you I’m very much in favor of small size high quality optics.
    Now I’m contemplating the Loxia 35, the images I see online are of very nice rendering and from what I see I really like the way the Loxia draws in the light and how it handles flare. Could you maybe spare a moment to compare the Loxia to the new Ultron?
    Many thanks! Rey

  15. Steve, I know many using the A7 cameras would love an RF 35 which can compete with the image quality of the FE 35/2.8, and hope this might be it.

    As you know the RF issues with other lenses show especially at infinity on the edges. It would be a great service if you had a chance to compare these lenses in a long landscape at say 5.6. We know the centers are going to be fantastic, but will the edges bear a real technical landscape on the A7II or r2 or S, like you get with the FE 35/2.8?

    I’d also love to see it in this respect on the 240 or M9. Can it compete with the 35/2 asph or ZM 35/2 as a landscape lens?

    all the best,
    Charlie

  16. Can’t wait for full review. My A7RII arrived last week from B&H along =g with the 16-35mm lens. Images outstanding. More importantly the layout of the camera is becoming second nature to me, thanks to Brian Smith’s book and a few hours of practice.

  17. Man the more I see that a7r2 I think I’m gonna have to pull the trigger and get one thanks for sharing.Oh I just wondered if you still have your noctilux and if you’ve used it on the new a7r2 thanks

Comments are closed.