Voigtlander Ultron 1.7 / 35 mm – Review

Sample Images

Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | Sony a7 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7

Specifications

There is a cheaper and lighter black aluminium version and a heavier, more expensive silver brass version.

    • Diameter: 53 mm
    • Length: 50,9 mm
    • Filter Diameter: 46 mm
    • Weight: 238g (black version) 330g (silver version)
    • Number of Aperture Blades: 10
    • Elements/Groups: 9/7

The Voigtländer 1.7/35 sells for $979 at Amazon.com* or B&H Photo*. At ebay.com* you might find it for a little less.
Check ebay.de* for prices in Europe, last time I checked they were around 739€.

*= Affiliate Link

Compatibility

The lens has a Leica M-mount, so naturally you can use it on a wide range of M-mount cameras.

If you want use it on the Sony Alpha 7 like I do, you need an adapter like this one (affiliate link).

Because the Sony a7 has a much thicker filter stack than the Leica M240 the corner performance and field curvature of the Voigtländer you will experience is different from that on the M240.

Built Quality

The Voigtländer 1.7/35 is very well made, everything is either metal or glass, tolerances are very low and the markings are engraved and filled with white paint.

Size, Weight and Handling

Voigtlaender 1:1.7/35 on Sony a7
1.7/35 on the Sony a7, hood mounted. Lens cap to the left,the cap for the hood on the right.

The Voigtländer is a small lens. It is as short as my FE 2/28 but quite a bit thinner. On the a7 it looks a bit small .

The very thinfocusing ring isn’t that pleasant to use, focusing is smooth but it is too thin to feel pleasant and the elevations are too distinctive if you ask me. Still much better than any Sony FE lens.

The aperture ring in contrast is pleasant to use and much grippier than the focusing ring. It stops down in half steps from f/1.7 to f/16 and has quite distinctive clicks.

Lens Hood

The screw-in hood is well made. It has a significantly higher diameter than the lens which is a bit annoying because it looks a bit displaced on the 1.7/35.

Cosina does provide not only one but two caps, on fits over the hood and offers additional protection. I found it very handy.

There seems to be a very nice optional hood but I couldn’t find any additional info on that.

Close Focusing Distance

At 50cm the short focusing distance is quite long compared to SLR or Mirrorless lenses. I didn’t find this to be much of an issue but in the a7 you have the option to use a helicoid adapter (Affiliate link) for a much shorter short focusing distance.

Image Quality

Vignetting

At least on my a7 the Voigtländer 1.7/35 vignettes a lot, I guess the sensor is partially responsible and I would guess that there will be less vignetting on the Sony a7rII with it’s BSI sensor.

At f/1.7 vignetting is very noticeable and even the most extreme settings in Lightroom won’t correct it fully. In my experience this wasn’t really an issue since I like to have some vignetting in my images anyway but other people will prefer a different style.

Even stopped down to f/8 some vignetting remains and I had to correct it in a few of my landscape images.

Voigtländer 1.7/35 Vignetting
Voigtländer 1.7/35 Vignetting test

 Color Shift

Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7 corrected
Sony a7 | Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7 | corrected

Many Leica M mount lenses show some color shift when used on digital sensors.

At least on the Sony a7 the Voigtländer 1.7/35 shows only very minor colorshift, I haven’t noticed it in any real world image.

I have read from other people that it is more of an issue on the a7r and also visible on the M240.  Extrapolation from other peoples experiences I would guess that it is a no-issue on the Sony a7s and a7rII.

Field Curvature

The Ultron 1.7/35, when used on the a7, shows a lot of field curvature. Since the lens has a rather flat field of focus on the Leica M240. I am pretty sure that this is caused by the Sony a7’s rather thick filter stack.

In my use the field curvature sometimes caused distracting corners, because the curvature is backwards bent the background can suddenly come into focus in the corners even though it is nicely blurred in the center. But this only happened in a few images at longer distances. For portraits and other scenes at shorter distances the field curvature wasn’t really noticeable. You wouldn’t want to use this lens for astro photography because of the feld curvate (and vignetting).

DSC08987
A sample with great sharpness in the center but a bit distracting corners. full resolution

For flat landscape scenes I found that the Ultron is very sharp from corner to corner, more on that topic under sharpness. 

Voigtländer 1.7/35 | visible field curvature
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7 | note the curved plane of focus

Flare Resistance

It is very hard to make the Voigtländer show any ghosting, only when I tried very hard I managed to get a small blue blob. I haven’t seen a better performance from any lens.

DSC09344
Sony a7 f/11

Veiling flare is usually very well controlled but I had a few situations were it was an issue but those were extreme scenarios and the a7’s reflective sensor might have played a role there.

f/11 | no ghosting
f/11 | no ghosting or contrast loss

Distortion

f/8 | distortion test | full resolution
f/8 | distortion test | full resolution

I see a truly negligible amount of barrel distortion, this is a very good performance.

 Chromatic Aberations

Lateral CA are very well corrected and hardly visible.

LoCA are well corrected, they are of course there but well enough corrected that I never found them distracting.

Bokeh

The Voigtländer has very good bokeh, especially for a 35mm lens which often struggle in this aspect.

At shorter distances the Voigtländer has very smooth bokeh:

DSC09892
f/1.7

The cat eyes effect at f/1.7 is quite pronounced, also notice the absence of onion rings:

f/1.7
f/1.7 | full resolution

At f/2.8 it is much less obvious, you can also notice the nice round shape of the out-of-focus highlights thanks to the 10 bladed aperture:

DSC09209
f/2.8 | full resolution

At longer distances the bokeh becomes a bit more nervous and the field curvature can cause the corners to become especially nervous:

DSC08948

Sony a7 | f/1.7 | full resolution

Sun Stars

Wow! Voigtländer lenses are known for great sun stars and the CV is no exception. And you already get them at f/2.0.

DSC09712
f/2.8
DSC09999
f/11

Sharpness

The Voigtländer 1.7/35 is a very sharp lens.

At f/1.7 it is sharp across most of the frame.

DSC09098
f/1.7 | full resolution

Here is the 100% crop:

duck

Even very close to the corner it is quite sharp from f/1.7:

DSC09013
f/1.7 | full resolution

gebaude

But keep the field curvature in mind, the center of the above image is out of focus.

At f/2.8 most of the frame is excellent:

DSC09523
f/2.8 | full resolution

spider

At f/8 it is very sharp across the frame even for infinity scenes but you have to keep the field curvature in mind.

DSC09558
f/8 | full resolution
rasen
100% crop from the lower left corner

For good to very good corners you should stop down to f/8 and place your focus carefully so that the field curvature is taken into consideration, focusing on the center (like I did for this test) won’t give you the best results.

With my a little too thin adapter the center was sharpest at the 5m setting but the corners are not very good at this setting. At the 3m setting the center is stilll very, very sharp but now the corners are very good as well.

 Conclusion

Voigtlaender 1:1.7/35

Good

  • very sharp across most of the frame from f/1.7
  • very sharp across the frame at f/8
  • Bokeh
  • Built quality
  • Size
  • Price (in Europe)

Average

  • Price 

Bad

  • Very pronounced field curvature (on Sony cameras)
  • Vignetting
  • Colorshift on a7r

The Voigtländer 1.7/35 is the most exciting lens I have reviewed in 2015 (so far).

It is very sharp across most of the frame from f/1.7, which alone is quite an achievement for a smallish and fast 35mm lens. But it als has better bokeh than almost any other 35mm lens, it is smaller than most, very well built and the price is considerably lower that that of the competing lenses by Leica and Zeiss.

When used on the Sony a7 the very pronounced field curvature can be an issue, sometimes it benefits a scene but more often it subtracts. You have to take it into consideration, but when you do it isn’t much of an issue.

So all in all the Voigtländer Ultron 1.7/35 is a great lens, with only one flaw. To me it is the most attractive 35mm option for the Alpha 7 series right now.  

The Voigtländer 1.7/35 sells for $779 at Amazon.com* or B&H Photo*. At ebay.com* you might find it for a little less.
Check ebay.de* for prices in Europe, last time I checked they were around 739€. If this review was helpful to you, please consider using one of my affiliate links. Thanks 🙂

*= Affiliate Link

The right adapter to use this lens on a Alpha 7 series camera can be found on Amazon.comAmazon.de (affiliate links).

Voigtlaender 1:1.7/35 on Sony a7

Full resolution sample Images Voigtländer 1.7/35 on Sony a7

All images are processed in Lightroom from Raw. Many more samples in my flickr album.

f/1.7 | full resolution
f/1.7 | full resolution
DSC09190
f/1.7 | full resolution
DSC08835
f/1.7 | full resolution
f/11
f/11 | full resolution
f/11
f/11 | full resolution

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

60 thoughts on “Voigtlander Ultron 1.7 / 35 mm – Review”

  1. Thanks for posting this, Phillip. Your findings closely match mine withthe Ultron on an A7R, although possibly the R shows a little more magenta shading in the corners. Shot side by side with my nFD 35 F/2 it is significantly sharper wide open and this gain holds until shut down to about F5.6. However the FD has slightly better corner sharpness. The Ultron shows much less colour fringing than the FD, and less flare wide open – it’s very useable wide open, and the bokeh is gorgeous.

  2. Hi, you’re reachning also my conclusion. Tested on M9, M(240) and A7 in dark conditions. Impressive sharpness and pop. The bokeh is really pleasant. I apply lens correction on it, and certainly I’ll use the right one when it will be available in LR. A very good performer.
    It will be certainly a better choice than the Zeiss Biogon 35/2, particularly on A7 series.

    Thanks’ a lot for the review and the wonderful mushrooms.

    Cheers

  3. Is it worth or should I save a little bit more and get a Loxia?
    I have not seen any review mentioning corner issues with the Loxia.

    1. I think the Voigtländer is a lot sharper at f/1.7 and it has much nicer bokeh as well. Instead of the oxia I would get a Minolta MD or Canon FD 2.8/35: just as sharp and a lot more affordable, only downside i see is no exif and flare resistance.

    1. I don’t own that Minolta but from what I have gathered the Voigtländer has much smoother bokeh and it is much sharper at f/1.7 stopped down the Minolta will have sharper corners because it does not suffer from field curvature. And $330 is a very high pricefor that Minolta

      1. I’ve noticed the price for legacy glass in Australia is stupidly high on ebay. Forcing me to search op shops! People want 150+ for minolta 50 1.7’s!!

  4. Amazing! I can’t decide if sony fe 28mm f2 or this one will be better for my A7 II. What do you think? I like 28 and also 35mm FOV. Thank you for your answer!

  5. Hi Phillip, thanks for another great review, particularly interested in your positive views of the bokeh. On that note, have you ever used the Contax Zeiss Distagon C/Y 35mm 1.4? Its a large and heavy lens but has a lovely bokeh and very sharp/good microcontrast. I use it on the A7S and the Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 when I need a smaller package. I would love to see a comparison as I would definitely think about selling if they were comparable given the smaller size/weight of the Voigtlander. Thanks! Nick

  6. Hi Philip. Nice review.

    I don’t think curvature of field can be induced by the filter stack. The filter stack, if not matched to the lens design, can induce astigmatism (the cause of the mushiness in the corners of some RF lenses on A7 cameras).

    So if the lens is showing a curved field, I think that is just a feature of the design. An acceptable trade-off, especially if it curves forward at the edges (can make certain kinds of pictures look sharper buy giving sharper corners in a 3d setting and a sharp central subject set back, at the price of softer corners in a planar subject like a test chart)

      1. Fascinating! I don’t see how that can be, but that’s just theory, and if it just aint so in practice. I suppose enough astigmatism can make the field a little sharper behind or in front of the focal plane, which will be a kind of field curvature (but not of the classic kind where it’s properly sharp all along a curved surface of focus). So are the edges decently sharp where they are best, or just better than they are in the nominal focus plane?

        Anyhow tempting lens as an alternative to the Loxia….

    1. It happens the contrary on the A7r: without an AA filter astigmatism (the one not due to the natural angled observation of the aperture) disappears and the filter stack applies a sort of tube extension toward borders and corners. In addition, prism effect on angled rays lead to a sensor originated CA, largely annihilated by software correction, and to some reflections within the stack (double images).
      After CA correction, color subimages are aligned and MTF sharply increases on the borders. Adjusting the focus, if the lens is fine, leads to a high corner sharpness.
      The Heliar 15 VM I has no curvature of field on A7r, only color cast and sensor CA. After Phase One Capture One 8 corrections with flat field, it is stunning.
      ZM 25/2.8 has little curvature up to the border and moderate excess CA, but MAY suffer of reflections.
      ZM 21/4.5 C has moderate field curvature starting at about 15 mm off center (5 m center focus distance, 1.5 m at the border on A7r), as shown by Zeiss MTF graphs. Best compromise calculated focus distance for Novoflex adapter is 2.75 m, valid after about f/5.6 o better f/8.
      Anyway in full frame applications it is not recommended to focus at infinity or hyperfocal, but rather on readable finest details.
      I found that all such lenses globally outperform any DSRL lenses on D 810 and is therefore advisable to compare shots after full, dedicated post processing with competent software..

  7. thank you for your comment. Could you please add some more pictures on your flickr account? Do you have some portraits also? 28mm will distort much more right? I am used to the Sony RX1 sharpness and bokeh. I know Voigtlander is totally different lens than zeiss 35 f2 but it has such a nice colors and contrast.

  8. Why you chose Voigtlander f1.7 instead of Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 Manual Focus M Mount Lens – Black. It is bit cheaper than 1.7 and compact. Is 1.7 sharper than 1.4?

  9. Hi Phillip!
    Thanks a LOT that for your review and your beautiful shots, I just can imagine the amount of work all of that represents.
    I wanted to know if you were planning to make a review of the Loxia 35/2? I haven’t found many good articles about this one and I like the way you do yours : used in “real” situations.
    Then maybe compare it to the Ultron?… If you don’t plan to, comparing bokeh, sharpness, and that has an importance for the traveler I am : sizes and weights, what do you think?… I’m a interested in both lenses and it’s really hard to make a decision…
    Thx

      1. Thanks a lot for your response Phillip!
        The link you gave me is very useful indeed…
        Looking forward to read more of your reviews 🙂

  10. I am in dilemma whether to go for Voigtlander Nokton Aspherical 35mm f/1.2 Lens II or Voigtlander VM 35mm f/1.7 Ultron Aspherical Lens (Black/Silver). They both cost around $1000. I’m not concerned about the size or looks. Which one is sharper?

    1. I was wondering exactly the same thing. Trying to make a 35mm choice for my A7II. The CV35/1.7 or CV35/1.2 are in the exact same price range. The CV35/1.4 is not an option anymore after reading reviews, confirmed by comments here.

  11. For information, my photo store called Voigtander to command a Ultron 35 1.7.
    They have been told that the lens is about to have a sony E-Mount version and I should maybie wait a bit.
    Allready on the site, 10mm, 12mm and 15mm are officially in the way…

  12. Hi Phillip,
    Thank you for your blog! Do you know how this lens performs on film (to be used on a Leica M6). Should I choose this one over the Leica 2/35 Summicron asph?

    Thanks a lot!
    Fabien.

  13. Hey there,
    Really nice reviews !!!
    One question : Do you know of any major differences between the M mount version ,
    the one you reviewed and the L39 (Leica screw mount)?

  14. Thanks for the review- as usual, simple, clear, to the point.

    Regarding new line of Voigtlander lenses (I have only 50mm Nokton) I just hate a focusing ring- it is narrow- you need to grip it tightly when focusing quickly and then it becomes uncomfortable-total deal-breaker to me.

  15. Carried over from your comment about this lens on FM Forum, “… I hope Cosina will release an E-mount version with less field curvature so I am still holding back with repurchasing it. ”
    Do you think the less field curvature is possible without a full redesign?

    1. Well Zeiss was able to make only a small modification to the ZM 2/35 and the Loxia works much better on a stock a7 than the ZM Biogon. My hope is that Cosina can do the same for the 1.7/35.

    2. why would anyone want voigtlander to build native e-mount lenses? I think it’s not necessary because voigtlander has a very useful dan well built close up vm-e adapter leica m to e-mount. With native lenses you can’t make 50cm to 27.7cm minimum focus with 35mm f1.2 . in 21mm f4 you can move your minimum focus from 50cm to just 15.6cm. thats like… insanely close…. with this adapter which is quite expensive btw, it can do so much more. it feels like you have 2 lenses in one. This is why for those who use mirrorless camera especially sony’s, will have so much lens variety to use on.

      1. Please show a little mor respect for other opinions.

        The adapter is certainly useful but it is heavy and expensive. Add that M-lenses aren’t optimized for shorter distances so performance will suffer quite a bit up close.

        With a native lens you would get exif information so you don’t have to adjust the stabiizer every single time you change a lens. You also don’t need to worry about an adapter and most importantly for the 1.7/35 I would hope that they modify the design slightly to get rid of the field curvature.

        I can certainly understand that people would prefer to adapt M-mount lenses. nothing wrong with that. I adapt lenses all the time and enjoy it a lot. But please accept that in some cases some people prefer native lenses.

  16. Thanks for the informative review. As per my post in the Sony Alpha forum, under legacy lenses, have you had a chance to have a look at the Tamron SP 35 f1.8? I’m interested in any thoughts you might have as its a tad cheaper than the Ultron and wouldn’t require yet another adapter (I have settled on Canon mount via Metabones 4 on my A7ii for my Contax and Canon EF lenses), and it would give me both AF and the focus throw seems like it might also be good with MF.

    1. Guten Morgen. Ich benutze das tamron sp 35 1.8 über einen Adapter an meiner Sony Alpha 7. Die Qualität der Bilder spricht für sich. Den einzigen Nachteil den Ich an diesem Objektiv sehen kann,ist dass das Objektiv für Canon gemacht ist und das dadurch ein Adapter benötigt wird, nicht wirklich mit dem Autofocus funktioniert. ( Commlite ) Wenn jemand bessere Erfahrungen mit Metabones gemacht hat, bitte melden. 🙂 Der manuelle Focus hingegen ist Perfekt. 180 Grad Drehung und kein Focus by Wire ! Was mich wirklich stört, ist lediglich das Gewicht.

  17. I was thinking on getting this lens, but I have never used a lens with noticeable field curvature problems and I’m a bit apprehensive about it. I got used to manual focusing and taking 2-4 seconds longer for each photo. But I may pass on the lens if I now have to spend time focusing AND correcting / compromising for the curvature.

    Can you please share your usual process of dealing with this lens’ curvature? How do you correct / minimize it? How bad does it get? Do you end up throwing away photos because of it?

    For shallow DOF photos, I assume you just focus on the part of the subject that you want in focus (use focus magnification on that area and ensure it’s in focus), which is exactly the same as with any normal lens. Also, does focus peaking detect the curvature well? I usually just use magnification, but when I’m in a rush I use peaking on the lowest setting that detects the contrast.

    For wide DOF photos (landscape, architecture, wide street photos) I assume you have to take a penalty hit and choose what’s not in focus. On the other hand, these photos tend to be stopped down so I guess the curvature is less noticeable. Or is it?

    Thanks a lot!

  18. Thanks for the detailed review. I’m a M9 shooter and debating whether to get this lens vs the 35FLE or ZM35/1.4. Many claim that the Leica and Zeiss lenses have more pleasing color and rendering. Do you find this to be true?

  19. Phillip,

    Have you found any other 35’s you like better than this in the year +- since you reviewed? Seems all adaptable 35’s have some flaw or other. I’m wondering with all the pluses if the field curvature here isn’t the lesser of all evils. Thanks.

  20. Hi Phillip,
    Congratulations on your blog. I currently shoot with a CV 40 mm f1.4 Nokton on an A7II.
    Do you think it’s worth the upgrade to the 35mm f1.7 ultron?
    I think the 40mm lacks some contrast and sharpness. Will these improve with the 35?
    Is it GAS what I have? Or is it actually reasonable to upgrade?

  21. Good Morning. I use the tamron sp 35 1.8 over an adapter to my Sony Alpha 7. The quality of the pictures speaks for itself. The only downside I can see on this lens is that the lens is made for Canon and the adapter is needed, does not really work with the Autofocus. (Commlite) If someone has had better experiences with Metabones, please report. The manual focus is perfect. 180 degree rotation and no focus by wire! What really bothers me is just the weight.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/140423709@N02/albums/72157674378024466

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