[Review] Voigtländer 17.5mm F0.95 – The pleasures of a fast 35mm for MFT

Over the years of my photography, I realized that some focal length or respectivley the according fields of view just meet my preferences. Running through different systems, static cornerstones of my setup have always a 35mm and 85mm equivalent, complemented by a wide angle with at least 24mm (zoom). With smaller sensor formats (Micro Four Thirds), I lost some of the control over depth of field. Hence, I have been lusting for Voigtländer’s 17.5mm F0.95 for some time, as it is a 35mm F1.8 equivalent on 24x36mm.

Shopping Break (Snapshot)
35mm Street Photography

The 35mm has been a classic lens in photography, especially for street photography. I am not too much into this genre, but once in a while I take some shots which might fit the concept.

Waiting for the Announcement
Waiting for the announcement at the Frankfurt Main station

The Voigtländer is extremly well build. Full metal down to the lens hood. However, this and the fast aperture results in a relatively high weight for Micro Four Thirds (~500 gr.). This is on the verge for my preferences, but still handling is good with the EM5 (though better with a grip).

Sidewalk Decoration
Sidewalk Decoration

Focusing the Voigtlaender is a challenge, but manageable. I have configured the workaround peeking for the EM5 combined with the magnifcation and my keeper rate could be definately worse. I often use it wide open, and especially at night this becomes close to night vision! Of course there are some chromatic aberrations/purple fringing, but they are easily removed in LR and to be honest I do not pay too much attention to this. In the end the picture is important, not technical perfection. Especially as I mostly print A4 at max.

Stepping down sharpeness increases and from my experience there is not much benefit from stepping down further than F5.6. Sunbursts start to appear from F4 onwards:

Autumn evening
Autumn Sunburst at F4

Verdict

I can recommend this lense to anybody longing for a fast 35mm! It more or less completed my line of primes (in combination with the converters I use and in equivalents): 21mm – 28mm – 35mm – 50mm – 90mm – 150mm. Some zooms added and I have a full yet capable setup and can compile quality and weight in whichever combination is best.

Pros

  • Color rendition
  • Build quality
  • Speed (F0.95! and IBIS)
  • smooth focusing

Cons

  • Price
  • Manual focusing
  • weight

 

After Lunch Espresso
After Lunch Espresso
Olive tree in blurry isolation
Olive tree in blurry isolation
Reed
Reed
Christmas Market
Christmas Market

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