All posts by Phillip Reeve

I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

Review: Voigtlander 12mm 5.6 Aspherical Ultra Wide Heliar


The Voigtländer 12mm 5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar E aspherical is one of the widest lenses you can buy and thanks to its moderate speed it is also a rather small lens.

Sample Images


Sony A7iii | Voigtländer Ultra-Wide Heliar 5.6/12 III Sony E | f/11
Sony A7iii | Voigtländer Ultra-Wide Heliar 5.6/12 III Sony E | f/11
Sony A7iii | Voigtländer Ultra-Wide Heliar 5.6/12 III Sony E | f/11

Continue reading Review: Voigtlander 12mm 5.6 Aspherical Ultra Wide Heliar

2018 – The Year in Review

Just as last year I want to take the opportunity to have a look back and another one forward.

The Team

In 2018 my focus was on my new job, so I am grateful that I could rely on my team to keep the blog running.

Bastian was by far the most active one of us in 2018. Some of his reviews which stood out to me were the Sony GM 1.4/85 (first Sony lens he liked), the Carl Zeiss Jena 1.9/183 (very affordable cinema lens with interesting characteristics), Pocketpano Vario XL Panorama, because this is a product which is obviously designed by a person passionate about solving photographer’s issues, just like the handy Loxia lens-grips. He also wrote several guides of which I would like to mention How to Create environmental portraits and Best Astro lenses for the Sony a7 series.

David and I collaborated on the comprehensive E-mount macro guide and he reviewed interesting niche lenses like the Zeiss ZM 1.5/50 and Pentax 2.8/35 Macro. He also reviewed the excellent Zeiss ZM 4/85 and Canon EF 2.8/200 L.

Jannik started his year with the quest for a replacement for his Sony a7II which couldn’t keep up with his son anymore. After trying the Fuji X-T2 and Nikon D750 he ended up with the Sony a7III and sold most of his manual lenses to replace them with AF lenses like the GM 1.4/24, ZA 1.4/50 and Tamron 2.8/28-75 which was our most popular review in 2018.

Tamron 2.8/28-75 | Sony A7iii | 28mm | f/2.8 

Also mentioned should be the guest reviews from Nehemiah, who reviewed the Pentax limited 1.8/31, from Stephen who reviewed the Sony STF 2.8/100 and Leica APO Elmarit 2.8/180. And Sebboh who reviewed the Contax G 2.8/28.

A big thank you to all of you! I am a little proud that this blog remains a passion driven resource in a very profit driven environment and this wouldn’t be possible without you contributing your own experience and time.

Continue reading 2018 – The Year in Review

Mr. Li Interview: Design process of the 10-18mm and the future of Laowa

As reviewers we analyze lenses and try to learn about every major and minor aspect of their performance. With experience you start to notice how lens designers trade certain qualities for others. Some manufacturers for example prioritize image quality with little regard for size and weight while others trade a little bit of optical perfection for much better portability. The Voigtlander 1.2/40 is a great example for this, and because of this it is my most used lens at the moment. Laowa’s 2/15 is another good example. We usually only see the end result but know little to nothing about the process of how a lens was developed. So we jumped at the chance of learning to know Mr. Li in person at Photokina and ask him a few questions. Read our first interview with Mr. Li to learn more about his background and the development of the 2/15.

Mr. Li (on the right)

Continue reading Mr. Li Interview: Design process of the 10-18mm and the future of Laowa

Rolling Review: Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 Color-Skopar

The Voigtlander 3.5/21 is a tiny, relatively affordable, manual focus lens for the Sony FE system. In this rolling revie I evaluate it’s performance.

Image Samples

You can find most images shown in this image in full resolution in this album.


Diameter 63 mm
Length 40 mm
Filter Thread 52 mm
Weight 230 g
Max. Magnification
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.2 m
Number of aperture blades 10
Elements/ Groups 9/8

The Voigtlander 3.5/21 sells for $699 at CameraQuestB&H or€ at (affiliate links).

6.11.18: Updated Alternatives, Sharpness, Alternatives and conclusion

Continue reading Rolling Review: Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 Color-Skopar