Friday, 12 December 2008

Voigtlander 28 f/2 Ultron

The Hague, November 2008
Photo cropped for height but not width

My not-quite-a-review of the M mount Voigtlander 28 f/2 Ultron (CV28U henceforth).

As with my other RF writings, as much written for the non-RF crowd as the die-hards (maybe I'll convert a few pagans).

I don't do lens testing: resolution, focus and all that jazz. Too much like hard work and doesn't tell me anything about the results I'm getting. Of course, as a gear head I read that stuff from others. Maybe this will mention some things they don't.

So, some observations. The first is how small this lens feels in actual use. Photographs of the lens make it seem quite large for an RF lens but that is slightly distorting. A fair amount of the lens extends into the body when mounted, thus it is much smaller in use. Compared to the relatively small CV 40 F/1.4 Nokton the CV28U only extends a further 2-3mm when the hoods are mounted. Both fit nicely is a jacket pocket. The other nice thing about the size is that the supplied screw on shade has the same diameter as the barrel, so the appearance is very clean. I also find this makes focus operation with the tab easier than to 40 Nokton. Focus is smooth and nicely weighted, aperture ring could be a little stiffer - I occasionally knock it out of place.

Results? Pretty good. this one is multi-oated compared to my single coated 40. I don't see much difference in contrast. Certain chice of film has a greater impact in real world use. Focus seems sufficiently accurate - user error is having more impact on focus as far as I can tell. Vignetting is slight. Being a wide-angle, bright light towards frame centre causes a fair amount of fall-off anyway. OOF rendering is pretty good, nothing to complain about. can't really tell about sharpness - I've only used it with ISO400 film so that's not an issue.

Personally, I like to use a 28mm indoors or other relatively close subjects (say 2-5m, 6-15'), otherwise it's a bit wide for me. At those sort of distances the frame lines on my Zeiss Ikon are very accurate. At further distance, the lens sees a bit outside the frame, but not hugely.

Overall, the lens is offering just what I want - good results and nice handling for reasonable money.


  1. Just thought you'd appreciate a bit of feedback, you'll not convert me back to a range finder, though I've had a few over the years. But joking aside I've kept seeing the image in this post in my mind. Don't know why, but it struck a chord somewhere and I think it's rather good. It succeeds in telling a story and I feel I know what's going on and that I know the people in it. I like it.

  2. Thanks for the comments. It's nice to get some feedback on the pictures as well as the words. I still feel I need to work hard at photographing people, though, to consistently get these sort of results.

  3. Good to read your comments about the size. I've bene eyeing this lens up for a while, and always thought the pictures made it look kind of largish.

  4. I think that's often the case with RF lenses, especially if you are used to modern SLR lenses, which all seem huge by comparison.


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