Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Review (VM for Leica) ASPH
Following my recent YouTube video here is a write up with example photos of that same Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Review. This lens is so good I had to buy a copy! (This lens is the later Leica M mount ASPH lens and not the early LTM / screw mount non-ASPH version).
So Sharp! My Sharpest 35mm Lens
After testing a copy of this lens I was really impressed at how sharp it was wide open at f1.7. This is very useful for low light and I appreciate very sharp lenses to use on analogue film cameras. The lens was on occasion almost too sharp for some of my portraits on digital but film softens the look so I think this is the perfect combination.
Close Focus Ability – 0.5m
As a digital Leica CL (YouTube) user I can benefit from lenses that focus closer than the usual 0.7m meters of many rangefinder coupled lenses. To recap, on a Leica M camera you can only use the coupled rangefinder to a close focus distance of 0.7m. If I use this lens on my Leica M240 then I must be careful not to be in the 0.5-0.7m distance if focusing via the rangefinder. That would mean the camera shows that I am in focus but I am not. If however I use the hotshoe EVF (YouTube) I can benefit from getting in as close as 0.5m and really fill my frame. With film cameras I need to use the lens from 0.7m to infinity to ensure images are in focus.
Best Voigtlander 35mm Lens for Leica M?
Voigtlander make several 35mm lenses for Leica M mount. If you want the smallest 35mm lens they offer get yourself the Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 –
Perhaps you want small but fast? In this instance you may appreciate the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens –
For the best bokeh and the fastest lens available look at the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH (version 2 of 3). I use the v2 which is bigger than the new v3 –
If you then want fast but crazy sharp then get the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 ASPH lens as featured in this post. It is the sharpest of the above mentioned lenses from my testing (see below) and offers the close focus benefit of the Nokton 1.2 lens but in a smaller package.
I thought I had my ultimate 35mm lens with the Ultron f1.7 35mm lens but then I tested the Voigtlander 35mm APO Lanthar! Wow. Impressive!
Lastly there is the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2 Vintage Line lens. I have not yet tested this lens but if I do I will share the results here! It offers the benefit of being very small and cheaper than the 1.7 lens.
35mm Lens Size Comparison
Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Lens Flare
For me the 35mm Ultron 1.7 lens controls flare well for my black and white portraits. Here is an example photo from shooting directly into the sun.
The Voigtlander Ultron 1.7 Bokeh
After shooting with the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 lens in Poland I would say the bokeh from the Ultron is controlled and usually round bokeh balls. Here I was testing the lens with a passing tram.
YouTube Lens Bokeh Test
Here is a quick and crude bokeh test I did for the Ultron 35mm f1.7 YouTube lens review –
Sharpest Voigtlander 35mm Lens?
As above here is another image shared on YouTube but now you can click the image to see the results full resolution. For me the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 lens was the sharpest 35mm lens followed by the Voigtlander Skopar 35mm f2.5. If you need a fast sharp lens get the Ultron. If you want small and sharp enough get the Color Skopar 35mm 2.5 (is how I would select the lens to use).
Voigtlander Ultron Screw Mount vs M mount
You may be away that there are two Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 lenses available. There is the older screw mount version of the lens, often called the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm 1.7 LTM and then the modern M mount version as reviewed here. I looked to buy the earlier 35mm Ultron LTM lens as I wanted to use it on my screw mount film cameras such as the Voigtlander Bessa R.
The reviews of the Ultron LTM lens however put me off. The screw mount Ultron 35mm 1.7 lens will only focus down to 0.9m not 0.5m. It is said to be prone to haze and the optical block becoming loose over time. (The few copies I found of this lens on eBay all had haze sadly). The one benefit it does offer is it is smaller than the M mount version. The modern lens is an aspherical design which is why is it so sharp but that does add to the size. The LTM lens is non-aspherical.
Voigtlander Ultron 35mm Portraits
The following portraits are all shot with the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 lens at f1.7. I used the lens with both the APS-C crop sensor Leica CL camera and the full frame Leica M240.
Leica CL + Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Portraits
(Photos shot in RAW, imported into Lightroom, MrLeica Leica CL preset applied then finished in Photoshop).
Leica M240 + Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Portrait Photos
**I shot the Ultron mostly on the Leica CL but I will add in more Leica M240 images here as I shoot/ edit them.
Best Voigtlander Lens for Sunstars?
The Voigtlander Ultron lens design means it can create amazing sunstars even with the lens close to wide open.. and then at all apertures from then on. Here is an example photo shot on a morning run when visiting Poland.
*It is worth mentioning that the Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens can also create a similar look. (I still need to do a write up for that lens!)
How much does the 35mm f1.7 Voigtlander Ultron cost?
It depends where you live. If you are outside of the UK check out Amazon and if in the UK check out the Robert White website as the lens is not listed on the Amazon UK site. If you want to buy a used copy of the lens check eBay.
Robert White Discount Code – Use “MRLEICA” to get 5% off Voigtlander lenses – https://www.robertwhite.co.uk/
My new favourite fast 35mm lens!
After receiving a copy of this lens to test I was so impressed I had to buy one for myself. I found a good deal on eBay and so this is now my new preferred fast 35mm setup on the Leica CL and for film photography (especially).
Goodbye Canon 35mm f1.8 LTM 🙁
If you follow my work on platforms such as Flickr you will know that for most of last year my go to 35mm lens was the tiny Canon 35mm f1.8 LTM (screw mount). I loved the size of this lens but in terms of sharpness the Ultron is unmatched. I decided to sell the Canon rangefinder lens (which I will probably regret!) to fund the Ultron purchase. If I want a small more forgiving fast 35mm I will start using the Voigtlander Ultron Classic 35mm instead. This is the plan!
Do you love Voigtlander lens too!?
You may also like these amazing Voigtlander lenses!
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.2 ASPH VM
Voigtlander Nokton 75mm f1.5 ASPH VM
Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.2 ASPH VM
Want to use Voigtlander lenses on your DSLR camera?
No fear! You can benefit from using the Voigtlander SL / SLII lenses for Nikon or Canon mount (for example). Voigtlander lenses account for some of my best Nikon mount lenses that I use on the SLR film cameras.
Voigtlander SL lenses for Nikon and Canon – 20/28/40/58mm..
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