Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Voigtlander 40/2 Ultron SL II Aspherical + Canon 5D MK2

Why the Voigtlander 40/2 Ultron SL II Aspherical and why am I even writing about it?

I think everyone that plays with photography has a secret passion for the equipment itself. Although I guess we’re not supposed to talk about it, unless you visit the endless array of sites dedicated to pixel peeping and ‘my gear is better than your gear’ but it’s there non the less.

I currently use a Canon 5D MK2 and previous to that the 5D MK1 and of course before that a lifetime of film cameras, everything from 8x10 inch Toyo’s to Nikon Nikormats’ and Konica/Leica rangefinders.

So why the Voigtlander?
• It’s small and very light in comparison to my Canon 35mm L f1.4
• Relatively inexpensive (alternative would have been the Zeiss 35mm f2.0, but at least two and half times the cost)
• Seamlessly couples with my 5D
• By and large very well corrected and for sure the distortion is negligible compared to my Canon lenses’ (I own the canon 28mm f1.7, 35mmL f1.4 and 50mm f1.4), I’m very tired of doorways that bow out like giant barrels!

So what’s my conclusion? Well it does what it says on the box! It’s great and with far nicer image quality than my Canon 35mm L. It seems to have a longer tonal scale than my Canon’s and for some reason the lightmeter produces better exposures, but, and maybe you could hear this coming. But, what lets down this combination is the 5D! Manual focusing is not the 5D’s natural operating environment and therefore it is ill equipped to do it. I know it has focus assist, which I do lean heavily on but the viewfinder does not really give you a definitive answer. Therefore you can never really be sure that your shot is in focus!

If only there were a manual focus screen for the 5D MK2, then this combination would be very hard to beat! It hasn’t come off my camera since I purchased it and I doubt it’ll come off in the near future. It makes my 5D considerably lighter to carry around and smaller and the angle of view really suits me, wide but still with some reach. Note, most posts after this and in particular the ‘Homerton’ posts will be shot using it. So you will be able to monitor it’s performance as time goes by.

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