Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 (3 of 7)

One thing I was missing when I first started using the Panasonic GH4 was that shallow depth field I was used to out of lenses like the Canon 50mm f1.2L and 35mm f1.4L on a full frame camera. While the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 is a great lens, it isn’t quite a direct replacement for the Canon 35mm f1.4L in an M4/3 kit.

As you can see in this video test from Vimeo user , wide open the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 still enables you to drop most of the background around a somewhat close subjects into a nice, out of focus blur of bokeh. It really about as good as it gets for DOF on a native M43 lens.

Even though the Voigtlander is a manual focus lens, the GH4’s focus peaking aid and Fn3 punch in function make focusing fairly easy. This is also aided by the long travel on the Voigtlander’s focus ring which makes things even easier than I was expecting. It’s not something you’d want to shoot sports photography with, but a portrait in low light is completely reasonable and it shouldn’t be any problem for video.

Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 (7 of 7)

Because of the amount of glass it requires to make an f0.95 lens, the Voigtlander 17.5mm is ruffly the size of the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 zoom and slightly heavier. It also extends about a quarter of an inch in and out as you adjust the focus ring. My copy of the 17.5mm also suffers from a minor amount of slack when you change directions with the focus ring. It’s not horrible but it could be better for a $1000 lens.

Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 (2 of 7)

Other than the slight slop in the focus ring, the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 is pretty solid and a joy to use. It feels very substantial in the hand with it’s all metal body and engraved distance labels. Travel on the focus ring in one direction is nice and smooth and the amount of travel allows you to rack focus by hand very easily.

Wide open it’s a little soft, but it’s what I would expect for a lens with this wide of an aperture. You can download the raw photos here. At f2 it starts to sharpen up and by f2.8 or so it’s very sharp across the board. Honestly though, you probably aren’t buying this lens for it’s sharpness. If you wanted tack sharp wide open the Panasonic 15mm f1.7 is ruffly half the price. You buy the Voigtlander for f0.95 and if that’s the look your are going for, it delivers.

Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 (1 of 7)

I have a Metabones EF to M4/3 speed booster on the the way and one of the first things I’ll be playing around with when it shows up is my Canon 24mm f1.4 mkII. I’d like to test it against the substantially smaller Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 and see how well it stands up.

I’ll post more on that after the new year. Next up is the hopefully successful upgrade of my MSI GS60 Laptop, wish me luck.

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