Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens review (with the Leica M10)

Leica M10 lens report: Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens

General

 

The Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens ($699) is a good choice for portrait and general people photography as well as low light photography (see the sample photos further down in this post). No matter how experienced you are with a rangefinder camera, manually focusing at 75mm f/1.8 M lens is not an easy task and I highly recommend using a viewfinder magnifier (I do not own one and I did have many photos where I missed the focus when shooting the lens wide open). The total depth of field of a 75mm f/1.8 lens wide open at 10m/32ft is almost 2m/6.5ft. Compare this to the 1.5m/5ft depth of field of a 90mm f/2 lens and you may see another advantage of using 75mm focal length instead of 90mm on a rangefinder. Here is a picture of the focusing scale – you can see that the difference between f/1.9 and f/16 is just a few millimeters:


I do not like the lens hood design – it’s using a screw to tighten the lens hood (hopefully one day Voigtlander will refresh this lens hood design):


Here is what you get with the lens: lens hood (reversible), lens cap and a rear cap:


This is the “Classic” (usually a code word for “low contrast”) lens design of the Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens:


The weight (15 oz/427 g) of the Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens is almost identical to the weight of the $3,795 Leica Summicron M 75mm f/2 lens (15.2 oz/430 g). Here is a quick size comparison between the Voigtlander 75mm f/1.8 VM, the Leica Summicron 90mm f/2 ASPH and the Iberit 75mm f/2.4 (sorry, I do not own the 75mm Summicron):


Next is a picture of the lens obstruction in the viewfinder of a Leica M10 camera:

Technical specs

The Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens has 6 elements in 3 groups Heliar optical design which provides very sharp and color accurate images. The aperture is made out of 10 blades for a smooth bokeh. The minimum focusing distance is 0.9m/3ft. Here are the rest of the specs:

Focal Length 75 mm
Aperture Ratio 1:1,8
Minimum Aperture F 16
Lens Construction 6 elements in 3 groups
Angle of View 33,2°
Aperture Blades 10
Minimum Focus 0,9 m
Maximum Diameter 57,9 mm
Length 73,8 mm
Mount M-Bajonett (VM)
Weight 427 g
Filter Size 52 mm
Color black
Others reversible lens hood

Sharpness (100% crops)

Those are two 100% crops from images taken with the Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens on a Leica M10 camera:


Vignetting

Some vignetting can be seen at f/1.8 and it is almost gone at f/2.8 (lens detection/correction off):

f/1.8

f/2.8

f/4

Barrel distortion, lens flare, purple fringing

Barrel distortion is practically non-existent. I didn’t notice any lens flare:

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Some purple fringing is noticeable (top left corner):

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Bokeh

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10) Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Sample photos

A few sample photos from the Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens mounted on a Leica M10 camera (the jpg files are straight from the camera, no correction or post processing applied, full resolution JPG files available on flickr):

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photos (on Leica M10)

Here is the entire flickr album (I turned off lens correction for all sample photos):

Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 VM lens sample photo

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Price: $699 – cheap for a f/1.8 lens (compared to the Leica 75mm Summicron at $3,795)
  • Sharp
  • Smooth focusing ring (no focusing tab)
  • Smooth bokeh
  • Lens hood included
  • All-metal body construction

Cons:

  • Difficult to focus wide open (at least for me)
  • Lens hood design not optimal
This entry was posted in Leica Lenses, Leica M10, LR Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • FCC disclosure statement: this post may contain affiliate links or promotions that do not cost readers anything but help keep this website alive. Thanks for your support!