Review: Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 E Super Wide Heliar

Introduction

Sony A7s with Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar E Aspherical
Sony A7s with Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar E Aspherical

The Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar E aspherical III is the first native E-Mount lens by Voigtlander. As there are three adapted Voigtlander lenses in my basic A7s-kit  – see my reviews – I simply had to try this one out!
Last Update:
Review finised (new Sample images, Use for astrophotography and Conclusion added)  (05/10/16)

Sample Images

schloss solitude stuttgart castle chateau mercedes voigtlander 15mm 4.5 sony e mount super wide heliar
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/11 | full resolution
voigtlander 15mm 4.5 super wide heliar voigtländer sony a7s astro astrophotography astroscape coma milkyway milky way star stars
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/4.5 | ISO6400 | 30s | higher resolution
stuttgart blue hour stadtbibliothek library sony a7s voigtlander super wide heliar e aspherical
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/4.5 | full resolution

Specifications / Version History

There have already been three versions of this lens for Leica (or Voigtländer Bessa) cameras. The first still incorporated a M39 (Leica Thread Mount) while the second one was already equipped with a Leica M-Mount. The optical formula of these lenses was the same and they not only struggled with the A7’s and A7r’s sensors but also with Leica’s digital sensors. Therefore around 2015 a third incarnation was released with a completely new optical design for Leica M-Mount. The improved optics came at the cost of increased size and weight, as version III is noticeably bigger than it’s earlier siblings.

This lens is now also available with Sony E-Mount and while the optical formula is the same as the M-mount version, there are a few advantages  when it comes to the handling of the lens.  I will of course talk about those advantages in this review.

I am reviewing the brand new Sony E-Mount version here which has the following specifications:

    • Diameter: 66.4 mm
    • Field of view: 110° (diagonally)
    • Length:  62.3 mm
    • Weight: 298g
    • Filter Diameter: 58 mm
    • Number of Aperture Blades: 10 (straight)
    • Elements/Groups: 11/9
    • Close Focusing Distance: 0.3 m
    • Maximum Magnification: 1:12
    • Mount: Sony-E

You may also have a look at Voigtländer’s official page.

The availability may be somewhat limited right now, your best chance might be getting one of ebay.com/ebay.de for 800$/800€ (affiliate links).

Disclosure

The Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 E Super Wide Heliar, was kindly provided free of charge by Voigtländer Germany (Ringfoto) for reviewing purpose for a duration of 2 weeks.

Handling / Build Quality

Sony A7s with Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar E Aspherical
Sony A7s with Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar E Aspherical (aperture ring set to clickless)

The build quality is very nice as the lens is an all metal construction and feels very solid, tolerances are very low and the markings are engraved and filled with white (and red) paint.

The focus ring hast just the right resistance, is distinctively shaped, quite broad and easy to grab without looking at the lens. It takes roughly 90° turning it from Infinity to 0.3 m.  The aperture ring has third-of-a-stop click-stops and it takes a little less than 90° from f/4.5 to f/22.
When you turn the focusing ring the camera zooms in automatically, this can also be turned off in the camera menu. But there is an additional effect: a virtual distance scale is shown in the viewfinder and on the screen, I didn’t notice this when using the Loxia 35mm 2.0.

The hood is non detachable and therefore – despite the generous 58 mm filter thread – using a slot-in filter system like Lee, Cokin or Hitech is not possible.

The aperture ring can be declicked – a feature which is also availabe on Zeiss Loxia lenses – but the incorporation here is way better in my opinion: there is a small ring right behind the aperture ring, you can pull it forward, turn it by 180° and thereby change between click stops and clickless aperture (white dot on top: click stops, yellow line on top: clickless). This feature was not mentioned in the very brief manual, so it may come as a suprise for some 🙂

Vignetting and colorcast

vignetting voigtlander 15mm 4.5 iii lll 3 aspherical sony e mount

Similar to the Voigtlander 12mm 5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar reviewed by me this lens has a symmetrical optical design which allows for quite compact wide angle lenses with very low distortion (in comparison to retrofocus designs) but leads to noticeable vignetting throughout the whole aperture range. There is no Lightroom profile for this lens yet but you can use the profile for the corresponding M-mount lens which does a great job at correcting the vignetting as well as the distortion. Keep in mind though: correcting the vignetting means pushing the corner regions by a few stops, this may lead to visible noise in these areas.
In contrary to the Loxia lenses vignetting is not corrected in camera.
I couldn’t find any traces of color casts, something that could not be said about the earlier versions of this lens.

Testing the vignetting of lenses this wide isn’t all that easy and in real world shooting things don’t look as bad as the graph may suggest, so to finish this chapter I included a small comparison with and without correction:


comparison shot at f/11: uncorrected vignetting (before) vs corrected vignetting (after)

Sharpness

infinity
sharpness infinity voigtlander 15mm 4.5 sony e mount aspherical iii
Everything but the extreme corners is very good from the start. So it isn’t surprising that with the A7s’ 12mp resolution I can’t see any improvements in the center on stopping down. The extreme corners steadily improve until f/11, which I think is the best choice for even sharpness across the whole frame. Nevertheless: I wouldn’t hesitate using this lens wide open if needed.

There is also not the slightest hint at any field curvature.
In comparison to the older wide angle designs for M-Mount cameras this is really a great performance, you may take a look at the 12mm 5.6 review to get a grasp of the differences.

The centering quality was very good, but I actually never had any issues with Voigtlander lenses in this regard.
One thing to notice: in the compilation above I increased the exposure on the corner crops to make them comparable in terms of sharpness.

close focus

voigtlander 15mm 4.5 super wide heliar bokeh close up sharpness sony e mount aspherical 3 iii lll
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/4.5 | full resolution

You may expected to see the 1$ bill here once again, but with a maximum magnification of about 1:12 this simply didn’t make any sense, so I choose this target instead. The sharpness up close is quite good already at the maximum aperture but to be honest I don’t see myself using this lens for close ups a lot, mainly due to the moderate maximum aperture and the rather long minimum focus distance.

voigtlander 15mm 4.5 super wide heliar bokeh close up sharpness sony e mount aspherical 3 iii lll
100% crop of photo above

Flare resistance

sony voigtlander 15mm 4.5 e aspherical iii mount flare ghost ghosts
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/11

Many ultra wideangle designs struggle in this regard, but the Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 III E does a pretty good job here most of the time. I found out that with a strong light source positioned in the edge of the frame (see photo above) some ghosts may appear, but apart from that shooting directly in the sun is no problem at all, even the contrast stays on a very high level. I haven’t used every wide angle lens with 15mm available today, but among the wide angle lenses I have used (to name a few: Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 / Nikon 16-35mm 4.0 / Nikon 18-35mm 3.5-4.5 / Samyang 14mm 2.8 / Tokina 16-28mm 2.8 / Tokina 17mm 3.5 RMC SL / Voigtlander 12mm 5.6 M39) this is one of the best performances I have seen.

sony voigtlander 15mm 4.5 e aspherical iii mount flare ghost ghosts
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/22 | full resolution

Coma

voigtlander 15mm 4.5 E sony emount a7 a7r a7s coma stars nightphotography
With a maximum aperture of f/4.5 this is not one of the fastest ultra wideangle lenses, but also only one third of a stop slower than e.g. the Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35mm 4.0 ZA.  The coma performance is really good already wide open.

Use for Astrophotography

voigtlander 15mm 4.5 super wide heliar voigtländer sony a7s astro astrophotography astroscape coma milkyway milky way star stars
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/4.5 | ISO10000 | 30s | full resolution

For astrophotography I want my lenses to be wide, fast and as free from coma as possible. The 15mm 4.5 is very wide and mostly coma free but not very fast. Compared to e.g. a 14mm 2.8 you are gathering less than half the light over the same period of time with the same ISO setting.
If you plan on shooting the milky way with this lens and want to include some foreground in your shoots it may be a good idea to take a second very long exposure for the foreground and blending the two shots together in Photoshop.  Nevertheless, if milky way shooting is not your main concern and you just might come across shooting it some day you can certainly use this lens for that application.

Distortion

As already mentioned above one advantage of a symmetrical lens design is the very low (barrel) distortion and the Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 E III is certainly no exception here. There is no Lightroom profile for this lens yet but you can use the profile for the corresponding M-mount lens which does a great job at correcting the distortion.
But to be honest: the amount is so low even in many of the architecture shots it would have not been necessary to correct it.


comparison shot at f/16 (focused at infinity): uncorrected distortion (before) vs corrected distortion (after)

 

Bokeh

voigtlander 15mm 4.5 super wide heliar bokeh close up sharpness sony e mount aspherical 3 iii lll
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/4.5 | full resolution

With a maximum aperture of f/4.5, the 15 mm focal length and a minimum focus distance of 0.3 m it is next to impossible to take a shot with the background visibly out of focus. The picture above was taken at the minimum focus distance and still the background is just barely out of focus.
If wide angle macro capatiblities are what interests you the M-mount version of this lens in combination with an helicoid adapter may be what you are looking for. You could of course use an E-mount extension tube with this lens, but even a small extension has a huge impact with such short focal lenghts, so if the tube is too long you can’t focus on anything.

Sunstars

sunstars voigtlander 15mm 4.5 sony e aspherical iii lll 3 e-mount

As you may already know I really like the sunstars produced by 10-straight-bladed apertures and the Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 E III is no exception here.  Wide open they are a little undefined and at f/22 they tend to fray but in between they are simply beautiful and very well defined.
By changing the aperture also the orientation of the sunstars changes by a few degress, as can be seen in the examples above.

Chromatic aberrations

longitudinal

Because of the rather slow maximum aperture longitudinal CAs are nothing to worry about. Because I couldn’t find any, I can’t show you any.

lateral

There is an embedded profile when using Lightroom for correcting the lateral CA which cannot be turned off. So to show you what it looks like without the correction, I took some shots without electronic contact between lens and camera.


Sony A7s | Voigtlander 15 mm 4.5 | f/4.5 | CA 100% crop without correction (before) /corrected with embedded profile (after), extreme corner

This is a pretty average performance for a lens with these parameters and the CA can quite easily be corrected in post, as can be seen above.

Alternatives

Samyang 14mm 2.8 (DSLR version):
I have used this lens for quite some time. Faster, way bigger, hilarious distortion, way more prone to lens flares and ghosts, only has 6-pointed sunstars and somewhat questionable build quality. If you are lucky enough to find a good sample very sharp across frame already wide open. I myself had to try three copies of which two were badly decentered. If astrophotography is what you want to do and you are on a tight budget this may be the right choice for you.

Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35mm 4.0 ZA:
This is your widest option with AF and OSS. I haven’t used this lens myself but according to Phillip’s review the flare resistance isn’t as good, there is some field curvature and barrel distortion at the wide end, considerably less vignetting and it is of course way bigger. I also don’t like the sunstars as much, but this is a very subjective thing.

Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar I (M39) or II (M-mount):
Especially the M39 version can sometimes be found quite cheap on the used market. From what I have seen these lenses really struggle with the A7(II) and the A7r (huge vignetting, color casts, field curvature, bad corner sharpness) while some say they work quite ok with the A7s(II) and A7rII stopped down.

Irix 15mm 2.4:
Not available yet, I can only tell you it’s faster and bigger so far.

Samyang 14mm 2.8 FE:
Has just been announced, I can only tell you it has an AF and is faster as well as bigger so far.

Conclusion

good

  • very good sharpness and contrast already at maximum aperture (except for the extreme corners)
  • build quality and handling
  • very good flare resistance
  • coma correction
  • distortion
  • sunstars
  • size / weight
  • clever implementation of aperture “de-click” feature
average

  • correction of lateral CA
  • price
not good

  • vignetting
  • minimum focus distance
  • extreme corners are a tad soft until f/11
  • non removable hood (in case you intend to use a slot-in filter system)

To me the Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar E is a very welcome addition to the E-Mount lens line up and also a lens with very few real flaws (vignetting) and many positive aspects (sunstars, size/weight, build quality, sharpness/contrast). With the small A7 cameras I also want small lenses and I am more than willing to accept the high vignetting for that. For cityscapes and architecture at night beautiful sunstars also mean very much to me.
To be honest I don’t have much use for the de-click feature but the implementation is very clever and I will be happy to see it in further lenses.
I also think Voigtlander has found a very sweet spot balancing the size of the lens with the optical qualities. While the new lens is certainly bigger than it’s earlier siblings (and offers better optical qualities) it is still way more compact than retrofocus lenses.

So, who is this lens for? Anyone, who looks for a compact, native ultra wide angle E-mount lens with great build quality and very good optical properties. The transfer of Exif information and the “de-click” function of the aperture ring are also nice things to have. The price is quite well balanced as well, while it isn’t a cheap lens it is also by no means overpriced. In case you are looking for better across the frame sharpness at wider apertures or you need a lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8 you are pretty much stuck with adapted DSLR lenses as of today which are also way bigger.

I tend to put my money where my mouth is and the only reason I haven’t bought one myself yet is that I want to have a look at the new 12mm 5.6 and the 10mm 5.6 first to decide which one suits my needs best.

The availability may be somewhat limited right now, your best chance might be getting one of ebay.com/ebay.de for 800$/800€ (affiliate links).

Sample Images

blue hour stuttgart porsche museum voigtlander 15mm 4.5 e heliar iii aspherical
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/11 | panorama from 4 shots
mercdes museum stuttgart bad cannstatt voigtländer 125mm 4.5 super wide heliar 4.5 blue hour stuttgart
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/13 | panorama from 4 shots
sony a7s milaneo voigtlander 15mm 4.5 e super wide heliar milaneo blue hour
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/11 | full resolution
sony a7s milaneo voigtlander 15mm 4.5 e super wide heliar milaneo blue hour
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/11
stuttgart blue hour stadtbibliothek library sony a7s voigtlander super wide heliar e aspherical
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/5.6 | full resolution

 

Further Reading

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My name is Bastian and for many years I have been mostly shooting Nikon DSLRs. As of today I have made my transition from Nikon to Sony and I am mainly using small but capable manual lenses. My passion is landscape photography but I also like to delve into other subjects from time to time.

60 thoughts on “Review: Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 E Super Wide Heliar”

  1. I use the older version II on my A6000 because it’s much smaller and lighter, and looks better. I love it because you can just set it to f/8-11, pre-focus on 2 m and just call it a day with everything in focus from 1 m to infinity and tack sharp. Zone focusing makes this lens super easy to handle. Field curvature and a little bit of nice distortion gives you a very three-dimensional rendering and the heavy vignetting helps to focus the view point. Though the color cast is even visible on APS-C, it’s seldom a problem for me. Only with very white motives (snow, white buildings, white rocks) it’s distracting. In this cases, there’s Lightroom (dialing down magenta or add gradients) or Cornerfix. It’s really a nice walk-around lens and it’s a fixed part of my travel kit.

    1. It’s nice to see Voigtlander continue to evolve such a great lens but I agree, I am a bit put off by the physical size of the Version III 15mm Heliar. With the stepless aperture ring and chipped mount, Voigtlander seems to be trying to attract video and digital shooters rather than 35mm Leica shooters such as myself. I guess this lens series has had some issues with compatibility on digital cameras though so this is trying to be addressed to cover a wider audience. By doing so, however, you really lose the haptics of such a once tiny lens. I’ve been using my Version II 15mm Heliar since 2012 and it’s become an important lens in my rangefinder kit. Falloff at full aperture is dramatic but interesting, stopped down it’s one of the highest resolving lenses I own. There are sharper, faster, cheaper wides out there but few which are so perfectly rectilinear and few with the excellent ergonomics and build quality of the Version II. Anyway, here are some examples of my work with the 15mm Heliar.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnymartyr/albums/72157629244914755

      1. Thanks for sharing!
        Everytime I see a VII I am tempted to buy it, but it seems to indeed have some problems on digital sensors (not only on Sony but also on Leica cameras).
        Nevertheless I think it was quite a smart move by Voigtlander, I guess they might have sold more lenses to Sony users in 2 years than they have to Leica users in the 10 before…
        Bastian

  2. This looks like a rather nice lens so far, if not very nice. I had the Snapshot Skopar 25/4 on my NEX 6 and even if dng-only Cornerfix was a hassle Rawtherapee has a rather good flat-field function. Still an extra step, hard to get precisely perfect in every shot and I ended up just using it for b&w and then selling it.

  3. Hi would it be possible to compare this e mount lens against the same v3 m mount version on VME adapter with high mpixel bodies like A7r2 or A7r? Especially on corners? I keep hearing people saying CV will do something in the optical formula on the e mount lenses to compensate for thick sensor glass in the A7’x bodies.

      1. There is an interesting threat over at Fredmiranda.com http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1425842/0

        In which Fred has tested an four copies of this lens (1 E mount and 3 M) and all are good in the centre and midfield, but only one copy is good in the corners: and it’s really big difference. (the good one was M mount but that’s a fluke) As far as I can tell Bastian’s copy is not as good in the corners as the best of those four, but perhaps a little better than the others.

        Since Fred is a reliable tester, it suggests there is a lot of sample variation. But note one thing: *all* of them were well centred! So whatever is causing this variation is not simple decentering..

  4. Thanks a lot for your excellent review on this most interesting lens. I have it on my mid-term shopping list. What I love is the sun stars you have generated with it.
    I understood that you are especially interested in this nice effect. I assume that
    you or others from the team will have further experience. Maybe you can evaluate the capability of other lenses for capturing photos with nice sun stars around light sources.

    Would be great, if you could give a recommendation which of my following lenses would be promising “sun star candidates”. Please find the list below.

    Thanks a lot and kind regards
    Roland

    Sony FE: 4/16-35, 2.8/35, 1.8/55, 4/70-2010
    Sony APS-C: 10-18, 16-70, 55-210.

    Contax Zeiss CY: 2/28, 2.8/28, 1.4/50, 1.7/50, 1.4/85, 2.8/85, 2.8/135, 2.8/180
    Yaschica ML: 16mm Fisheye, 3.5/21, 2.8/28, 1.7/50, 55 Makro, 2.8/135, 4/200
    Tokina 2.8/90 Makro,
    Sigma Super Wide II 2.8/24, Paragon 2.8/24, Soligor 2.8/28

    1. Dear Roland,
      I personally prefer the sunstars produced by 10 straight aperture blades.
      For evaluating what aperture construction leads to what sunstars this list isn’t all that bad: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/sunstars.htm
      All the (F)E lenses you mentioned either have 7 or 9 rounded blades.
      I am no expert on C/Y and Yashica lenses, but I think most of them have either 6 or 9 rounded blades.
      I don’t know much at all about the other lenses.

      I would totally recommend placing some small light source at the other end of the room (I have already used an LED Headlamp for this) and mount all the lenses one after another and take a shot at ~f/11 and decide for yourself which rendering you prefer 🙂

      In case the aperture has not so tight tolerances and the blades do not align correct (I have seen this in older Sigma and Jupiter lenses) the sunstars may become a little deteoriated, meaning one streak is longer than another. I would totally avoid these lenses for shooting cityscapes at night!

      Bastian

  5. Hi Bastian,
    thanks for your kind and comprehensive response. In Contax Zeiss lenses six blades appertures are common. Of course there are other designs, too.

    I had checked my lenses (Sony, Contax, Tokina) yesterday in the appartment. I had a small LED-light on the wall and took photos with the lamp in the corner, stopped down to eleven. Most of the lenses did not show clear or just inattractive sun stars.

    Nice sun stars I just found with the following lenses:

    Sony Zeiss 2.8/35: fine and nice 14 rays star
    Tokina 2.8/90 : strong 6 rays star
    Contax Zeiss Planar 1.4/50 und 1.8/50): etwa wie Bokina.

    At nigt i went out for the spring fair for a field test with the Sony Zeiss 2.8/35.
    There were thousands of spot lights around, but I could not generate sun stars.
    You have an idea what could have been the reason? At home it hat worked fine.

    Thanks again as well for the interesting links.

    Kind reagards from Heidelberg
    Roland

    1. Greetings to Heidelberg!

      For generating sunstars you need a strong contrast between the lightsource and the surroundings.
      At a fair sometimes almost everything is bretty bright so the scene is missing that contrast.
      I have an example shot with the Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/140854680@N04/27014902976/in/dateposted-public/

      Only the bright spotlight in the upper left shows a distinct sunstar while all the other lamps are not bright enough in contrast to produce one.

      Bastian

  6. without considering vignetting this looks an awesome lens, i’m torn between this and the loxia 21, but i should sell my C\Y Zeiss lenses to finance one of those

  7. Dear Bastian,

    thanks again for this very helpful work!

    I have just one question: can you say something about the infinity hard stop (I guess there’s one). Is it sufficiently exact? This would be very favourable for night photography.

    We all know about the terribly misaligned infinity stop at most of the Samyang lenses (on my copy of the 14 mm E-mount you have to set the focus at ca. 2m to get distant objects in focus). Here also the usual tips (“stop down and be happy and don’t count the pixels”) do not help, as a) focus is too far away, b) at least night photography really benefits from apertures not totally closed, and c) A7rII is unforgiving. Even my Zeiss 15mm ZF.2, which is dead on on the D810, attached to Sony via Metabones is not perfectly in focus at f/2.8 (but f/4 or 5.6 and it’s ok). So a properly aligned hard stop is really a gift from above!

    1. Dear Uwe,

      yes there is an infinity hard stop and it is sufficiently exact even for astrophotography wide open.

      I definetly know about the problems with the Samyang 14mm and this one of the reasons I am using the Nikon AF-S 14-24mm 2.8G now.
      The problem with your 15mm ZF.2 is probably due to the metabones adapter not exactly matching the flange distance of a Nikon camera body.
      I am using that same exact adapter myself and while the Nikon 14-24mm does not have a hard infinity stop I have a pretty good idea by now on where infinity is on the distance scale,
      and it definetly is somewhere else when mounting the lens via metabones on an A7 camera
      (I double checked this by putting the lens on the D800, correctly focusing at infinity and then attaching the lens to the A7 without touching the focus ring).
      This also impacts the corner sharpness of some lenses with floating elements design (e.g. the 20mm 1.8G).
      Unfortunately I haven’t found a better adapter yet…

  8. Hello Bastian,

    I had a VM III on loan with a Voigtlander close-up adapter and was really happy with it (on an A7RII). The close-up adapter is really great (fantastic build, very easy to use). I now have the e-mount lens and for me the nice things about it compared to the VM mount + close-up adapter are:
    – weight
    – EXIF
    – price (the Voigtlander close-up adapter is quite expensive)

    The VM lens I had was better in the corners although the current e-mount lens I have is fairly good: the first copy I had was very poor at the corners (so it seems that these lenses are not all made equal).

    The one thing that I miss badly though is the close focus … which is really fantastic for things like flower photography.

    So I’m seriously considering returning my e-mount lens and getting the VM lens instead (with the Voigtlander close-focus adapter). EXIF data is useful, but it’s easy enough to add in in Lightroom. So the only real negatives would seem to be weight and price.

    Would you agree with this, or am I missing something?

    Thanks

    Robert

    1. Dear Robert,

      I totally agree with you. I own and use the VM-E close focus adapter myself all the time and also consider getting the M-Mount version instead of the E-Mount version because of the rather long minimum focus distance.
      But for just one lens the adapter sure is very expensive.

      Oh, don’t waste your money on some cheap <100$ helicoid adapter (like Quenox), I tried one and it sucked badly in every regard...

      Bastian

      1. I’m delighted to hear that you agree Bastian 🙂

        The VM-E close-focus adapter is a beautiful piece of kit and with the 15mm M-mount it’s a great combination.

        I also totally agree with you regarding adapters: I had a Fotodiox adapter I used with one of my Canon lenses and it was pretty terrible. So from now on for me it’s native lenses or 3rd-party lenses with the best adapter I can get.

        Cheers

        Robert

  9. One can use square filters with a special holder and ring. There is such ring for Cokin P system: it’s called universal adapter ring (P486). I can’t guarantee but I think it should work fine with this lens in tandem with a wide 1 filter holder.
    P.S. Thank you very much for all the reviews Mr. Phillip, they are really helpful.

  10. Hello Bastian, thank you very much for your review, it is very helpful!

    When reading it and watching the sample images, I got a question; it would be wonderful if you (or Philip) could try to answer it. The question is: Is the Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 III E really sharper (has better resolution, until the corners) than the Sony-Zeiss 16-24mm 4 FE zoom lens at 16mm? Or are the benefits of the Voigtländer rather in other areas, e.g. the good build quality, the nice handling, the distortion (much better that the Sony-Zeiss zoom at 16mm!) etc.?

    I ask this question because I am currently considering which wide-angle lens(es) to by for my A 7 II. Thank you very much for your help in advance, yours, Roman

  11. Hi Bastian,

    I recently bought this lens as it seems to be the best ultrawide option. (and the loxia 21 is too close to my fe 28mm for my liking). My copy looks a lot worse than yours, and I’m not sure if I should return it. On Fred Miranda almost everyone seems to have bad corners. Maybe you could take a look at some of these pictures and give your opinion?
    All at f11 as that is the main point where I’m concerned, jpg’s have corrected vignetting and default lightroom settings.
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vo09nf0zay4wmxa/AAAXlRUXz2lPNsBg-oR1RoNba?dl=0

    1. Dear Cédric,
      I took a look at your photos and albeit I wouldn’t say this lens ever gets perfect in the corners I think there are samples out there that would definetly look better in the conrers, especially at f11.
      I would also try to return that lens.

      Bastian

  12. Hi Bastian ,

    Recently I bought one Voigtlander Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical, now unable to use this lens on Canon (70D) body. I already tried to get mount it thru two-three different type adapters, but have not get any suitable result.

    Please suggest if any possibility to use this amazing lens on Canon body.

    Thanks in advance for your prompt response.

    Regards,
    Virendra

  13. Hi Bastian,

    Do you know if this lens will vignette when using one normal (B+W F-pro) 58mm filter instead of a slim one (XS-pro)?
    I want to get a 10-stop ND filter for this lens, though I’m unsure which one to get.

    Kind regards,

    Cédric

      1. Hi Bastian, want to ask you how can you use square filters on lens if lens hood can not be taken off, is there any adapter for it,

        Jaroslav

        1. Hey,
          I don’t know of any lens specific holder for that lens yet.
          I do know someone in Germany who removes hoods professionally though
          (may be the only option as of today to use square filters on that lens).

          If there is any interest I can also ask NiSi Filters if they would be interested in making
          a lens specific holder. They already did one for the 10mm 5.6

          1. Thanks, I would be interested in specific holder, but not now it would be later, I want to buy new wide angle lens for landscape for sony a7r ii, and the best I found so far is VC 21mm 1.8, the 15mm is too wide for me, and I have Lee filters and would like to use them. I saw video about to remove the hood, but I am not sure about that. And if you would have any recommendation for better manual lens for landscape, would be great, thanks very much

  14. The Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 VM Asph III and the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 E is not a symmetrical design as claimed in this blog post.

    From the optical diagram provided on the Voigtlander website:

    https://voigtlaender.com/images/15mm_f4_5_superwideheliar_emount_lc.jpg?crc=469809336

    … this is quite clearly a retrofocus lens, as it has several negative elements in the front to widen the field of view, followed by some mostly positive groups in the back.

    Voigtlander does make some symmetric wide angle lenses though, such as the VM 21mm f/4.0 Color Skopar P-Typ.

  15. Awesome review!
    This really seems like the lens for me.
    Currently on A-mount and nobody makes a decent wide-angle prime, the market just doesn’t want them.

    The samyang has a bitterly high barrel distortion, although its razor sharp.

  16. Which mode should I set my A7ii to shoot with this lens?
    If I use Aperture Priority, and select using the ring, will the camera adjust the speed?

    What happens when I use Shuttle Priority mode then?

  17. Hi Bastian, was looking on that lens, too. But its not weather sealed and I was looking for something below €1000, a bit expensive, is there any other alternatives…
    Jaroslav

  18. Hi, Bastian

    Great review
    I’m now consider for 16-35 f4 and this Voigtlander lenses.Could you please suggest which one is shaper? I’m interest in Voigt coz of sunstar.

  19. Hi, this is also a very good review of this lense. As I wrote on Ians blog I just bought the first version of this lense. This was made to use on film cams but with the a7s it works also very well! Advantage of the first version is: much smaller and lighter then this version III, and you can get it with adapter for ~250$ I don’t know why and how but there is absolutly no magenta color shifting with the a7s. Maybe it is because of the special sensor of the a7s? The combination of sony a7s and super wide heliar 15mm first version is my smallest and lightest set up of full frame photographic (in total 644g).
    Best
    Jens

  20. I just received this lens and put it through some quick tests. I am finding that the sweet spot is f/11 with f/8 a close second. f/16 is also nice especially with some post processing sharpness. I am shooting with the Sony A7rll in RAW. I use both Lightroom and Capture One Pro for my post processing. Lightroom is my go to catalogue app but for critical work I find C-1 better. I know this is debatable and probably should not be debated in this post. C-1 has the ability to sharpen the edges and I have found this very handy when using my Voigtländer 12 (m-mount via Novaflex adapter). C-1 also has a diffraction correction which does bring the sharpness at f/16 to about that of f/11 (pixel peeping at 200px). For you C-1 users, I created a lens profile correction with a grey card for each of the apertures of the CV 15 and I find this corrects the vignetting better than the supplied profile in LR. I ran the same grey card images through LR with the CV 15 profile supplied and LR actually made the edges brighter than the center of the image; i.e., LR over corrected the vignetting which may not be apparent with normal shooting. When focusing images not in the center but at the corners of the “Rule of Thirds” point in the frame (if that makes sense) these points are sharp especially with some post processing (which is usually my focus point). At the extreme corners, there does seem to be some loss of sharpness but I am not sure if this is just some distortion from being such a wide angle or a flaw in the lens. In real world processing , very often this part of the image gets cropped or if printed, won’t matter because the eye will go to the sharp areas of the print. It may not be any worse than a high quality wide angle zoom at the same focal length and aperture. The bottom line is that in landscape shooting using the “Rule of Thirds” to anchor a strong foreground element, I think this lens will produce terrific images with good technique and post processing. I bought this lens to use for an upcoming trip to Iceland and am confident that if I use use good technique, I will be satisfied with my images from this lens. Hope this helps.

  21. That’s not honest to test this on an A7S, seriously there is not a single reason to test it on such a low resolution sensor when you could have used it on your other A7x bodies. This lens is almost landscape-only. Was it requested by Voigtlander to hide the hideous corner sharpness of this lens ? It seems only few people are actually getting a sample with decent corner sharpness. Just have a look at the looong thread at FM forum !

    But I love your reviews anyway !

    1. At that time I didn’t have another E-mount camera and honestly: what would be different?
      You don’t need 42mp to see the corners are never really great, 12mp suffice for that.

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