impression of my new Voigtlander 17.5mm and comparison with Oly 25mm

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Bruce Jackson
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impression of my new Voigtlander 17.5mm and comparison with Oly 25mm
3 months ago

Over the last couple of weeks, I've become newly kitted out with an E-M10 and three primes, the Olympus 25mm/1.8 and 45mm/1.8 plus I decided to splash out on the Voigtlander 17.5mm/0.95

The whole system has a lot to enjoy and I really love the huge gain in low light performance over my old SLR with slow zooms.

All three lenses are incredibly good when used optimally. The biggest surprise to me was the Voigtlander. It's been raved about and it really does feel like a very special lens. Manual focus? well, you can't use it as a point and shoot, but surprisingly, I find focusing with the magnifying feature of the EVF is really a pleasure and the result is more predictable than auto-focus.

When it's stopped down it to around f2 or f4, it is brilliantly, bitingly sharp but to be honest, I don't think I'll be using the f0.95 aperture as often as I expected. I love the idea of that setting, but the reality is I see a fair amount of chromatic aberration in highlights and along high contrast edges.

The sunlight pinpoint reflections on water were coming out with masses of purple. (an unfair test of any lens, I know)

Sure it's unbeatable for light, but with IBIS letting us go down to 1/15 second without a worry, and the vastly improved ISO performance over older sensors, there's just less of a need to stretch out to f0.95.

As for getting bokeh. Yes, backgrounds are noticeably more out of focus than at f1.8, but at a cost of slightly less sharpness on the subject, and the CA rearing it's head. Maybe not too badly, but just enough to feel a little disappointed.

In similar circumstances, the Oly 25mm also performed spectacularly well regarding sharpness, and even though it too exhibits a bit of CA, I found it to be less noticeable and less irksome. (In case you didn't notice, I hate CA!)

I originally imagined the voigtlander would live on the camera most of the time as my general lens. With the extra weight and the fact that I really don't feel the Oly 25 (or 45) is inferior to the voigtlanger in image quality from  f1.8 upwards, i will probably use the 25mm as my general carry-around point'n'shoot...I'm even thinking maybe I should get the panny 12-35 pancake for a walk-around lens and wider focal lengths.

 Bruce Jackson's gear list:Bruce Jackson's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm 1:3.5 Macro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical
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