Photography News | Issue 34 | absolutephoto.com
Voigtländer The name Voigtländer is almost as old as photography itself, and for many it’s a byword for quality and style that sits in the same revered bracket as brands like Leica. The company was founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländer in Vienna, Austria in 1756 and produced the Petzval lens in 1840, which was the fastest lens at that time with a maximum aperture of f/3.7. Flash forward nearly 180 years and that lensdesignhas recentlybeenrevived by Lomography. Funny how things keep coming around, isn’t it? twoSonyEmountlenses.“TheMicro Four Thirds lenses are ground- breaking, as they are all extremely fast f/0.95 optics, and feature no less than 10 aperture blades for stunningly smooth bokeh,” Hardy enthuses. “In fact,” he continues, “we’re seeing a big increase in sales of these kind of specialist manual focus, fixed focal length lenses; it seems that photographers are much more open minded about using third party lenses, too.” One of the oldest names in photography is still knocking them dead with a new range of exciting manual focus prime lenses Words by Kingsley Singleton Lens special
Nokton 10.5mmf/0.95 £899 This superfast wide-angle prime has a 35mm format 21mm equivalent focal length when it’s mounted on Micro Four Thirds cameras. Combined with the f/0.95 maximum aperture, manual focus and manual exposure, this makes it a superb choice for low-light work. Optically, it features a pair of aspherical elements for improved sharpness and clarity, and there’s a Selective Aperture Control System, which lets you switch from a stepless aperture setting to one with more traditional click stops, the former being vital for video work. The lens is small and light, and also has a ten-blade aperture design for supremely smooth out- of-focus areas.
Voigtländer is certainly making great strides in the mirrorless market with its Micro Four Thirds lenses proving increasingly popular. “In the 1990s we sold mainly Leica Mmount lenses, but the Micro Four Thirds optics are really catching up, and the start made by the new E Mount optics has been very promising.” One of the reasons he suggests for this is that “the latter optics provide full EXIF data, while manual focus lenses have far less shutter delay than AF lenses.”
According to Hardy Haase, managing director of Flaghead Ltd, exclusive UK & Ireland distributors for Voigtländer, “we believe that Voigtänder is the oldest name in photography at this moment. In its present form the Voigtländer brand is owned by a German company, and since 1999 lenses have been manufactured by Cosina in Japan.” The range currently consists of 13 LeicaM, fourMicro Four Thirds and
In terms of the E mount lenses he continues; “they’ve really only just been released but have received great acclaim; we have a 10mm rectilinear lens and a 15mm wide- angle available now, and there’s a 12mm to follow later in the year. As a wide-angle lens with EXIF data, the 10mm is unique.” All Voigtländer lenses also have depth-of-field scales, which is becoming increasing rare. This customer feedback, Hardy continues, “tells us how clearly photographers associate the name Voigtländer with old-fashioned, top quality optical products, and we’re proud to offer this on the very latest camera bodies. To back up that faith each and every Voigtländer lens is made to very high standards, using metal and glass.”
10mmf/5.6Heliar £800 Available for Sony E-Mount cameras, the Voigtländer Heliar Hyper Wide-Angle 10mm f/5.6 is claimed to be the world’s first rectilinear 10mm lens for full- frame photography, and has an incredible 130º angle of view. Of course this makes for some amazing opportunities in terms of framing large subjects. As a rectilinear lens it has minimal distortion for such a wide-angle, unlike fisheye optics of similar focal lengths and a closest focusing distance of 30cm. The lens is also small and light for such a wide-angle optic, weighing only 375g, and like the Nokton 10.5mm it features Voigtländer’s Selective Aperture Control System.
The Micro Four Thirds lenses are groundbreaking, as they are all extremely fast f/0.95 optics
Above Robert Pugh uses the Micro Four Thirds system and his preferred lens for bridal portraits is Voigtländer’s 42.5mm f/0.95 Nokton lens, “I absolutely love to use it wide open,” he says.
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