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FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.7 #1 · p.7 #1 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


This example shows the worse case scenario for Axial CA when shooting under high contrast lighting.
Focused wide open at f/2.8.




full image







out of focus background showing a bit of green fringing around high contrast areas







out of focus background showing a bit of green fringing around high contrast areas







Focused area with no purple fringing




Apr 17, 2022 at 06:43 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.7 #2 · p.7 #2 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM




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Flare

The Voigtlander 40/2.8 Heliar has above average flare resistance. I'd say it's outstanding.
When shooting against the light, images are able to retain all contrast and ghosting flare is very well controlled.

Even when pointing the lens to the sun and moving around, it's hard to see any ghost spots or lower contrast in my images.

There is a ring flare showing up very rarely but this could be the fact that I'm using the silver version without the hood and that could cause such flare shape.




Shooting straight at the sun at f/5.6






Shooting straight at the sun at f/5.6






Showing the "ring" flare. It's very hard and easy to avoid by moving the lens slightly in a angle.






landscape sample at f/5.6. No ghosting. Great performance




Apr 17, 2022 at 06:52 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #3 · p.7 #3 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


That last shot with the sun dipping over the hills is the "technical" reason to get this lens. What fantastic anti-flare performance.
Of course, don't use the uncoated $8 Tiffen UV filter that I bought...



Apr 17, 2022 at 10:13 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.7 #4 · p.7 #4 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Desmolicious wrote:
That last shot with the sun dipping over the hills is the "technical" reason to get this lens. What fantastic anti-flare performance.
Of course, don't use the uncoated $8 Tiffen UV filter that I bought...


I knew flare resistance was great but didn't realize it was this good when checking backlit images today. BTW, I didn't use the hood. I would not use an uncoated filter with this lens unless one wants flare as a character.



Apr 17, 2022 at 11:50 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.7 #5 · p.7 #5 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM




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Final Thoughts

Don't let the looks fool you - despite its retro style, the Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar is an ultra compact, charming everyday lens with a versatile focal length and great ergonomics. It also offers a modern draw, capable of high resolution, contrast and pleasant focus transition. It's well corrected for distortion, color and spherical aberration. And if that's not enough, flare resistance is outstanding and it's one of the smallest lenses you can mount on your Leica M body!

Starting at f/4, the 10-blade aperture mechanism yields defined 10-point sunstars and although the very corners never get crispy due to field curvature and some astigmatism, most of the frame is already optimal at f/4-5.6. If one focuses the subject at center or mid-field, expect sharp results even when shooting wide open.

The focusing ring is well damped enabling great accuracy when focusing with the rangefinder and I'm happy to report that the two copies I've tested were well centered and perfectly calibrated. Keep in mind that the M body does not offer a 40mm frameline, so composing your scene may take some practice as the Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar triggers the 50/75mm framelines.

I highly recommend this lens! It's a well-priced tiny lens that offers great mechanical construction and it's sharp where it matters. Rendering is pleasant, distortion is low and has outstanding flare resistance.

Pros:
  1. High resolution and contrast from wide open at center and mid-field.
  2. Low distortion.
  3. Ultra compact and light.
  4. Great build quality with tight tolerance construction.
  5. Aperture mechanism provides defined 10-pointed sunstars.
  6. No lateral CA.
  7. Low axial CA.
  8. Outstanding flare resistance.

Cons:
  1. High vignetting.
  2. Noticeable field curvature. (Wavy towards infinity)
  3. Focus and aperture rings do not rotate independently.
  4. Extreme corners never get critically sharp even at small apertures.

_____________


Pre-order the Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar lens:

CameraQuest | B&H Photo ($549)




Apr 18, 2022 at 11:54 AM
junglialoh
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p.7 #6 · p.7 #6 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Thanks to wonderful analysis. based on this Fred's conclusion, I ordered it. Thanks


Apr 18, 2022 at 12:36 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #7 · p.7 #7 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


When I have a chance I will compare my VC 40mm 2.8 to my Rollei Sonnar 40mm 2.8.


Apr 18, 2022 at 02:31 PM
rscheffler
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p.7 #8 · p.7 #8 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Many of the bullet points remind me of the ZM35/2.8 I had when I started with the M9...

I'll reiterate what I posted earlier: I'd love to see a similarly sized, modern performing 28/2.8 or 28/3.5 companion lens! What do you thing, Mr. Kobayashi?



Apr 18, 2022 at 04:41 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.7 #9 · p.7 #9 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


rscheffler wrote:
Many of the bullet points remind me of the ZM35/2.8 I had when I started with the M9...

I'll reiterate what I posted earlier: I'd love to see a similarly sized, modern performing 28/2.8 or 28/3.5 companion lens! What do you thing, Mr. Kobayashi?


Voigtlander's 28/3.5 (screw mount) is still popular even today.
I think it's very possible Voigtlander reintroduces this lens optimized for the digital sensor.



Apr 19, 2022 at 10:26 AM
helimat
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p.7 #10 · p.7 #10 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Fred Miranda wrote:
Voigtlander's 28/3.5 (screw mount) is still popular even today.
I think it's very possible Voigtlander reintroduces this lens optimized for the digital sensor.


Hey Fred, I believe you previously owned the Heliar 50/3.5, just curious how you feel the 40/2.8 compares. I have told myself I have too many 50's, so the Heliar 50 has to go, but 40 isn't 50, soooooo...........



Apr 20, 2022 at 10:51 AM
 


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Desmolicious
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p.7 #11 · p.7 #11 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Here is a quick one shot comparison on my M240 with the Rollei Sonnar 40 2.8 vs CV 40 2.8.
Both have min focus distance of .7m.
Both shot at ISO 500 1/125 sec @ 2.8
Both have according to LR light temp of 4950.

Shown as is - did not touch anything. Five take aways:

1/ The Rollei 40mm is tighter than the CV 40mm i.e. if the CV is 40mm then the Rollei looks to be 42-ish.
2/ The CV vignettes much more an min focus and 2.8
3/ The CV is much cooler than the Rollei. The Rollei's colour temp is more accurate to eye.
4/ The Rollei is easier to focus because it has a bigger tab.
5/ The Rollei's aperture ring does not rotate with focus....

Rollei Sonnar 40mm 2.8 first, CV second:







Apr 22, 2022 at 06:43 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #12 · p.7 #12 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


p.s. will add one more observation. The CV looks and feels like it is built to a much higher standard than the Rollei. Similar to the other new generation CVs compared to the CV 28 3.5, 50 2.5, 35 2.5 etc. The Rollei Sonnar looks near identical in construction to my CV 50 2.5. It may say "Made in Germany" on it, but it obviously is using the outer lens case from Cosina.


Apr 22, 2022 at 06:56 PM
genji
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p.7 #13 · p.7 #13 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Desmolicious wrote:
Here is a quick one shot comparison on my M240 with the Rollei Sonnar 40 2.8 vs CV 40 2.8.
Both have min focus distance of .7m.
Both shot at ISO 500 1/125 sec @ 2.8
Both have according to LR light temp of 4950.

Shown as is - did not touch anything. Five take aways:

1/ The Rollei 40mm is tighter than the CV 40mm i.e. if the CV is 40mm then the Rollei looks to be 42-ish.
2/ The CV vignettes much more an min focus and 2.8
3/ The CV is much cooler than the Rollei. The Rollei's colour temp is more accurate to
...Show more

So you’’ll be selling the CV, right?



Apr 22, 2022 at 08:50 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #14 · p.7 #14 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


genji wrote:
So you’’ll be selling the CV, right?


I’ ve yet to use it on kolor film!
Plus Fred has shown it to have killer flare resistance so gotta try that out.



Apr 22, 2022 at 11:39 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #15 · p.7 #15 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Quick walk w the dogs to test the lens outside on my M240. Camera AWB. No adjustments apart from reducing highlights on the tree and car pics. Tree pic @ 2.8, other shots at 5.6 or 8.











Apr 23, 2022 at 01:01 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #16 · p.7 #16 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


More M240 with the CV 40 2.8. This is the most I've used this camera in ages!
The lens optically is great. But as is kinda typical with Cosina these days, the haptics are wonky. One example - at min focus distance your thumb will be in the bottom right corner of the vf...The redeeming factor for that is the size, the look and the build quality.


















Apr 23, 2022 at 10:35 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #17 · p.7 #17 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Leica M240, CV 40 2.8







Apr 24, 2022 at 12:15 PM
kitreyes
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p.7 #18 · p.7 #18 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Has anyone tried this lens with the SL2 or SL2-S with an M to L adapter? How does it render?


Apr 24, 2022 at 06:45 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #19 · p.7 #19 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


M240, CV 40 2.8






Apr 24, 2022 at 09:00 PM
Desmolicious
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p.7 #20 · p.7 #20 · FM Review: Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 Heliar VM


Reposting this pic to emphasize how good this lens is at preventing flare.




Apr 24, 2022 at 09:34 PM
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