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Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review

  
 
sebboh
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
2 meter distance at f/2


excellent license plate.



Oct 08, 2021 at 12:39 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Fell free to post sample images from the Voigtlander 50/1.5 Helier here!


Dec 30, 2021 at 09:08 PM
helimat
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Props to Voigtlander for having the balls to change it up. However,with so many options for a 'classic' lens already available, how much of a market is there for something like this? For a newly released lens, I'm seeing quite a few on the used market already...

https://youtu.be/Cuy5-e5cXV0



Jan 02, 2022 at 11:11 AM
rscheffler
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


According to Juha in this post the lens has sold well in Japan to the point of being sold out. Maybe it's a relatively small production run and hasn't yet sufficiently saturated the market?


Jan 02, 2022 at 12:09 PM
tri_fin
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review




@1.5 on Sony A7R4 UT



Jan 02, 2022 at 03:40 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
According to Juha in this post the lens has sold well in Japan to the point of being sold out. Maybe it's a relatively small production run and hasn't yet sufficiently saturated the market?


It's consistently been showing up high among Cosina lenses in kakaku.com's sales rankings since it got released. Currently it's #4 after X-mount 35/1.2 and 2 versions of 40/1.4 VM. I think it wouldn't show up there if it was especially small production run. It was also ranking as #1 or #2 in the pre-order phase for a long time. It was also sold out in most stores immediately on launch day.

https://s.kakaku.com/camera/camera-lens/itemlist.aspx?pdf_ma=365&lid=sp_pricemenu_lasttimecondition

I think it's not as popular outside of Japan though.



Jan 02, 2022 at 07:14 PM
genji
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Juha Kannisto wrote:
It's consistently been showing up high among Cosina lenses in kakaku.com's sales rankings since it got released. Currently it's #4 after X-mount 35/1.2 and 2 versions of 40/1.4 VM. I think it wouldn't show up there if it was especially small production run. It was also ranking as #1 or #2 in the pre-order phase for a long time. It was also sold out in most stores immediately on launch day.

https://s.kakaku.com/camera/camera-lens/itemlist.aspx?pdf_ma=365&lid=sp_pricemenu_lasttimecondition

I think it's not as popular outside of Japan though.


Juha, Iím wondering if you can explain the obvious strong appeal of the 40/1.4 VM to the Japanese market? I had one briefly years ago and hated its (to my eye) squirrelly rendering.



Jan 02, 2022 at 08:15 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


genji wrote:
Juha, Iím wondering if you can explain the obvious strong appeal of the 40/1.4 VM to the Japanese market? I had one briefly years ago and hated its (to my eye) squirrelly rendering.


It's probably a combination of attractive focal length, small size and fast aperture and most importantly the relatively low price of 40/1.4 VM. It's priced at around 36K yen which is about $312 USD and it's significantly cheaper than most other lenses in Cosina's lineup (especially the more recent ones). I think it's a popular choice for those who are buying a Cosina VM lens for the first time and I think it's being bought by many different groups of users like film & digital rangefinder users and mirrorless users as it works relatively well adapted as well. CV 35/1.4 II VM that could be a close competitor is priced much higher at around 65K yen which makes the 40/1.4 easier to buy. Even the original version of 35/1.4 VM was always priced at >50K.

There's also the Color-Skopar 35/2.5 II that has also remained rather popular at around 33K yen. I think it's less popular than 40/1.4 because it's slower and not so good when adapted to mirrorless.

In today's latest kakaku.com sales rankings data Heliar classic 50/1.5 moved up to 3rd place again, in-between the 40/1.4 VMs.



Jan 02, 2022 at 10:16 PM
rscheffler
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Juha, thanks for the kakaku link. It's very interesting to see the sales ranking. Am I correct that the ranking would be based on sales through kakaku? Do you think it's indicative of the overall Japanese market? Perhaps the best thing I learned from the link is that I can buy some of these lenses from kakaku via the BuySmartJapan freight forwarder. Some of the Voigtlander lenses are a fair amount less in Japan than here in Canada (B&H, etc., stopped shipping Voigltander to Canada, though I could circumvent that through Amazon dot com), so it's very tempting. For certain lenses it might be worth it even considering BSJ's fee adds 15%.

Regarding the popularity of the 40/1.4: yes, the price in Japan is really attractive. As I mentioned in the other thread, I need to use mine again and re-familiarize myself with it. On Leica M I recall it has quite strong field curvature and some focus shift, but while background bokeh can be busy, I recall it's fairly gentle wide open in the plane of focus. For a short time I shot APS-C with it and really liked it as a 60mm crop equivalent for people photos, which also cropped out the more problematic periphery. IIRC, when I tested it on Sony mirrorless back when the a7 first launched, the thick sensor stack somewhat neutralized the strong field curvature I saw on Leica M, which could make it a reasonable pick for adapting to Sony. While the 40/1.2 is possibly more appealing, as you mentioned, the 40/1.4 is very small and cheap.



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:17 AM
Juha Kannisto
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
Juha, thanks for the kakaku link. It's very interesting to see the sales ranking. Am I correct that the ranking would be based on sales through kakaku? Do you think it's indicative of the overall Japanese market? Perhaps the best thing I learned from the link is that I can buy some of these lenses from kakaku via the BuySmartJapan freight forwarder. Some of the Voigtlander lenses are a fair amount less in Japan than here in Canada (B&H, etc., stopped shipping Voigltander to Canada, though I could circumvent that through Amazon dot com), so it's very tempting. For certain
...Show more

Kakaku.com is primarily a price comparison site and they collect price information and sales rankings info from a lot of camera and electronics shops across Japan including all the biggest stored like Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, Sofmap, Amazon JP, Map Camera etc. They update the rankings every day at noon based on latest data which I think is not based on a single day's sales but on some longer window. When new lenses get announced it usually takes a week or so before they can get high in the rankings. They also have user reviews and comments etc. I don't think they sell directly by themselves but I'm not sure about the buying option you mentioned. Their rankings data should be representative of overall sales in Japan although sales from all small shops are not covered in their data. People use the site a lot to check product information like prices in different shops, user reviews etc. From the product listings you can go to various shops' sites for ordering from those shops directly.



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:33 AM
 


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genji
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p.4 #11 · p.4 #11 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Juha Kannisto wrote:
It's probably a combination of attractive focal length, small size and fast aperture and most importantly the relatively low price of 40/1.4 VM. It's priced at around 36K yen which is about $312 USD and it's significantly cheaper than most other lenses in Cosina's lineup (especially the more recent ones). I think it's a popular choice for those who are buying a Cosina VM lens for the first time and I think it's being bought by many different groups of users like film & digital rangefinder users and mirrorless users as it works relatively well adapted as well. CV
...Show more

Many thanks, Juha. That all makes perfect sense, particularly the price which I had no idea was so low.



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:44 AM
rscheffler
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p.4 #12 · p.4 #12 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


Juha Kannisto wrote:
Kakaku.com is primarily a price comparison site and they collect price information and sales rankings info from a lot of camera and electronics shops across Japan including all the biggest stored like Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, Sofmap, Amazon JP, Map Camera etc. They update the rankings every day at noon based on latest data which I think is not based on a single day's sales but on some longer window. When new lenses get announced it usually takes a week or so before they can get high in the rankings. They also have user reviews and comments etc. I
...Show more

Thanks Juha, for the additional info. The freight forwarding service probably pops up because of my IP address. I did quick research into BuySmartJapan and it looks like the service initially launched to facilitate foreign purchases through kakaku.

Here's the screen grab for the 50/1.5 Heliar below. Is the shop/seller a reputable one? The translation produces "price dot com."



It's a good price. Even with the handling fees it's $200 than retail at B&H (my understanding is their handling fee includes shipping, but I have not gone far enough into the buying process to determine if there are any additional fees).



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:59 AM
Juha Kannisto
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p.4 #13 · p.4 #13 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
Thanks Juha, for the additional info. The freight forwarding service probably pops up because of my IP address. I did quick research into BuySmartJapan and it looks like the service initially launched to facilitate foreign purchases through kakaku.

Here's the screen grab for the 50/1.5 Heliar below. Is the shop/seller a reputable one? The translation produces "price dot com."

https://i.postimg.cc/bYnypgrG/Screen-Shot-2022-01-03-at-12-55-21-AM.jpg

It's a good price. Even with the handling fees it's $200 than retail at B&H (my understanding is their handling fee includes shipping, but I have not gone far enough into the buying process to determine if there are any additional fees).

Price dot com refers to kakaku.com site itself. I don't know how they are involved in the purchase as they are not known as a product seller in Japan but they are a very well known site with a good reputation. Maybe they have some arrangement to source the items from one of the shops that sell it and then have it supplied via BuySmartJapan...

This looks like a nice way to order from Japan if all shipping fees are included in that service fee though it doesn't look like they remove Japanese 10% tax.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakaku.com



Jan 03, 2022 at 01:12 AM
rscheffler
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p.4 #14 · p.4 #14 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


OK, thanks, that makes sense. I realize they don't remove the sales tax because as a forwarder, the Japanese retailer ships it domestically to them before it leaves the country. It is a downside, but some items are considerably better priced than on this side of the Pacific. For example, all ZM lenses are considerably less. Some are in the range of $500 less, including the service fee, than over here. For example the ZM35/1.4, 50/1.5 and others.

It's interesting to see this because it was a similar experience when I was in Japan in 2015. A lot of Zeiss products were considerably less than here. Voigtlander was similar, but not as extreme.

While browsing just now, I checked the Canon 200-400, which I own, out of curiosity. It's in the range of $2000 less than US retail, after the $1200 fee. If I had to replace it and Covid wasn't such a headache, I'd probably buy a roundtrip ticket over a weekend, fly in for the purchase from an actual store and get the tax rebate to boot.



Jan 03, 2022 at 01:39 AM
helimat
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p.4 #15 · p.4 #15 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
According to Juha in this post the lens has sold well in Japan to the point of being sold out. Maybe it's a relatively small production run and hasn't yet sufficiently saturated the market?


Could be. I guess I am a little confused why I've seen quite a few pop up used already, for something that hasn't been out that long.



Jan 03, 2022 at 11:45 AM
rscheffler
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p.4 #16 · p.4 #16 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
According to Juha in this post the lens has sold well in Japan to the point of being sold out. Maybe it's a relatively small production run and hasn't yet sufficiently saturated the market?

helimat wrote:
Could be. I guess I am a little confused why I've seen quite a few pop up used already, for something that hasn't been out that long.


My take is it's a character lens and potentially a one trick pony. Along similar lines of the ultra-fast 50s. Given the Heliar has fairly strong aberrations/imperfections, its performance is likely worse than what some expected, especially if the intent was to use it as a dual-character lens for the soft glowy look wide open and sharp across the frame stopped down (which it isn't).



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:28 PM
Desmolicious
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p.4 #17 · p.4 #17 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
My take is it's a character lens and potentially a one trick pony. Along similar lines of the ultra-fast 50s. Given the Heliar has fairly strong aberrations/imperfections, its performance is likely worse than what some expected, especially if the intent was to use it as a dual-character lens for the soft glowy look wide open and sharp across the frame stopped down (which it isn't).


For a character lens the 7Artisans 50 1.1 can be glowy wide open, then sharpens up stopped down. All for about $200 used.



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:35 PM
helimat
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p.4 #18 · p.4 #18 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
My take is it's a character lens and potentially a one trick pony. Along similar lines of the ultra-fast 50s. Given the Heliar has fairly strong aberrations/imperfections, its performance is likely worse than what some expected, especially if the intent was to use it as a dual-character lens for the soft glowy look wide open and sharp across the frame stopped down (which it isn't).


Makes sense to me. As well, I think there's a lot of people that grab the latest thing that has some hype, but then realize it's not for them.

---------------------------------------------

Desmolicious wrote:
For a character lens the 7Artisans 50 1.1 can be glowy wide open, then sharpens up stopped down. All for about $200 used.


Exactly, or a million legacy lenses that are out there.



Jan 03, 2022 at 12:40 PM
DaveFP
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p.4 #19 · p.4 #19 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


genji wrote:
Juha, Iím wondering if you can explain the obvious strong appeal of the 40/1.4 VM to the Japanese market? I had one briefly years ago and hated its (to my eye) squirrelly rendering.


Not Juha but I absolutely love the (admittedly squirrelly) rendering.

It won't work for every image but when it does it really creates some unique images.




Jan 03, 2022 at 01:02 PM
rscheffler
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p.4 #20 · p.4 #20 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic Review


rscheffler wrote:
My take is it's a character lens and potentially a one trick pony. Along similar lines of the ultra-fast 50s. Given the Heliar has fairly strong aberrations/imperfections, its performance is likely worse than what some expected, especially if the intent was to use it as a dual-character lens for the soft glowy look wide open and sharp across the frame stopped down (which it isn't).

Desmolicious wrote:
For a character lens the 7Artisans 50 1.1 can be glowy wide open, then sharpens up stopped down. All for about $200 used.


It would be an interesting comparison. To my eyes, the Heliar has a different look wide open. I'd really need to do a side by side to figure it out. At least my copy of the 50/1.1 isn't mostly across-frame sharp until f/11-f/16. For me at least, I don't think the Heliar would be an EDC 50, and neither is the 50/1.1. For that I prefer the 50 Lux ASPH because it's gentle (though not crazy) wide open and very good across-frame sharpness at f/5.6. It better matches my daily preferences. As you suggested, price point of the Heliar dissuades me and is why I got the 50/1.1 (20% Black Friday discount on Amazon some years ago).



Jan 03, 2022 at 01:18 PM
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