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Date: 12/10/2016 | By: Mathieu

Voigtländer 12mm f/5.6 for Sony E-Mount Sample Images and First Impressions

voigtlander-12mm-sony-e-mount-featured

Voigtländer 12mm f/5.6 for Sony E-Mount Sample Images and First Impressions

Since the release of the first generation of A7 cameras, I’ve had the chance to test some Voigtländer M-mount lenses on the A7 and then the A7r mark II. The first camera had various issues: heavy purple fringing, vignetting and colour shift but the results got better with the new sensors as you can see here. When the brand announced that it would release a new version of its lenses with a dedicated E-mount, I liked the idea.

Mounting a native E-mount version of these lenses on the A7r II makes the lens easier to use. Granted it’s not really about the image quality but more the ease of use. You can turn the focus ring and access magnification automatically, all the EXIF information is saved and most importantly, you can use the full 5-axis stabilisation instead of just 3 axes.

I received the three E-mount lenses to test at the same time: the 10mm f/5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar aspherical, 12mm f/5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar aspherical and 15mm f/4.5 Super Wide Heliar aspherical III. Each lens will have its dedicated review, but I couldn’t resist sharing a quick preview. Choosing which one to use first wasn’t easy, so I went with the “middle ground” choice: the 12mm, also because I used the VM version last year.

voigtlander 12mm e-mount

The construction doesn’t disappoint: the lens has a nice all-metal build , smooth mechanical focus ring and precise aperture ring that can be de-clicked. The lens isn’t very heavy and is quite compact, making it the perfect match for the size of the Sony E-mount.

voigtlander 12mm sony e mount

The optical quality doesn’t seem very different from the VM version. It’s sharp at the centre but less in the corners (astigmatism just like the M-mount version). Flare resistance is excellent and you get that lovely star flare characteristic found on all Voigtländer lenses.

Ahead of my full review, you can check out some sample images below. I post-processed them in Lightroom with just basic adjustments (camera profile, contrast, shadows and highlights). The software doesn’t have the E-mount profiles yet for these lenses so I used the VM version, fixed the vignetting and got rid of some purple fringing manually. As usual, don’t hesitate to ask any questions about this lens or the other two E-mount 10mm and 15mm lenses.

voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/400, f/11, ISO 100
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/80, f/11, ISO 100
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, f/8, ISO 100 – HDR (5 shots)
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/10, f/11, ISO 100
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/8, f/11, ISO 100
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, f/5.6, ISO 100 – HDR (5 shots)
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/50, f/11, ISO 320
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/80, f/11, ISO 100
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, 1/10, f/8, ISO 100
voigtlander 12mm e-mount
A7r II, f/8, ISO 100 – HDR (5 shots)

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • http://www.jesusinthestreets.com/ Dennis Downing

    Thanks for the quick reply, Mathieu! I didn’t realize that. I don’t have any of those lenses but just checked on the B&H site and sure enough they are configured that way. I thought it might have something to do with the de-clicking function. Maybe Voigtlander is planning to do that on future lenses to make them conform to the same standard as the other lenses. Thanks again and best regards!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    Hi Dennis. I am not sure why to be honest. Many Sony E-mount lenses have the aperture ring that way (Loxia, Sony 85mm GM, etc).

  • http://www.jesusinthestreets.com/ Dennis Downing

    Hi Mathieu,
    Thanks so much for the great brief review. Looking forward to the full review on this and the other two E-mount lenses. I have a question about the E-mount versus M-mount lenses. I have three other Voigtlander lenses besides the 15mm f4.5, all in the M-mount format. When I tested the E-mount version of the 15mm lens one thing I found disconcerting was the fact the aperture ring was “reversed” on the E-mount version of that lens, compared to all the other Voigtlander M-mount version lenses I have. On the M-mount lenses the aperture ring has the widest openings on the left of the ring (from the point of view of looking through the viewfinder) and the smallest on the right, so that if you turn the ring to the extreme right you’ll fully open the aperture and to the extreme left close it down. On the E-mount lenses it’s the opposite. The advantage of consistency in this process is you don’t have to take the camera away from your eye to see which aperture you’re in, you can go by the clicks and the direction you’re turning the ring. I realize that with the E-mount lens you can probably see the aperture value in the viewfinder, but I guess I’m used to going by “muscle memory” to adjust the aperture. So far I haven’t seen anyone mention this anomaly in their review of the E-mount versions. Did that present any kind of an issue for you and do you know anything about why Voigtlander “reversed” the aperture ring on the E-mount versions? Thanks!

  • glowinthedark

    why not go to the 10mm? Results in a real wide angle prime with 15mm on APS-C…

  • Fred

    This lens has to be used with great care to prevent or minimize the leaning of subjects. For just this reason it might be worth buying or renting a PC lens instead. But that’s just me.

  • GF

    Please, review the 15mm on the new a6500. E-mount APS-C cameras lack good wide angle primes and I think this lens could make a good 23mm equiv., especially when used with the new 5-axis IS of the a6500.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    Yep I know! :)

  • https://randy.sesser.me randy

    I have the VM 15mm f/4.5 II and it exhibits quite bad color shift in the edges. I hoped they fixed this in their E-Mount versions. P.S. Your sensor is dirty 😉

  • soundimageplus

    Love the starburst sun.

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