Voigtlaender 28mm Ultron f2 – not that bad


Leica M-P(240) & VM28/2A

The 28mm, the 28mm on a rangefinder, a legendary focal lens. The one used for street photography, even the main one I should say. This focal lens is really not my cup of tea, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t like tea. But, I have try, I have even set a camera only in this focal lens to learn to work with it. This is not easy at all and my eyes are not naturally seen so wide. I prefer 5o mm, sometimes 35mm. But this was somehow a challenge to me. At the end, I used a Fuji X-E1 with a 27mm equivalent lens (the 18mm f2), I made a exhibition and the sales were strong. No so bad for something I wasn’t used to. So I perseverate. I started hunting a 28mm for my Leica set. As almost usual on the second hand market. I first found a Minolta M-Rokkor 28mm f2.8. Not that expensive, but with the white dots disease. Like it’s not really compatible with the Leica frame lines. Due to these to factors, I send it back to the seller. Anyway, if one day, I have the opportunity to catch a decent one, it might be an excellent deal.

An evening on the lake shore

Sony A7 & Minolta M-Rokkor 28/2.8

As you can probably see, the results are pretty decent here for a 30 years old lens. Honestly, on Sony A7, if not used wide open for landscape, it’s a lens you can easily try, as it is affordable, obviously, for an M mount lens. There’s a strong demand for M mount lenses, first from photographers and also from people who collect them to stock them on a shelf. This was the case thirty years ago and it is still the case today. It’s sad and it’s also a chance to have really vintage lenses in mint conditions.

Ça jazze pour le pêcheur

Sony A7 & Minolta M-Rokkor 28/2.8

Then I tried several Leica models, from the Elmarit 28mm f2.8 to the Summicron 28mm f2. But the investment was not the same, even for second hand. At that time, I have tested a Voigtlaender Ultron 28mm f2. Ok, the Leica lenses were sharp, but the little Ultron had not to be shy. It was good enough, simply good enough. It was so good enough, that in the « usual conditions of temperature and pressure », the difference was not significant. Like I’m not a pixel peeper, it was just good to me. I get the Ultron used for the third of a Leica Elmarit used. Maybe I had a good copy of the Voigtlaender, but so far I haven’t had bad ones. From a mechanical stand point they are simply top of the notch.

Fisherman & son

Leica M9 & VM28/2A

The idea to have a 28mm in M mount was initially to feed my Leica M8 camera with something consistant. I was really « surprised in good » as we say in my country. I was really astonished by the Leica M8. An almost ten years old digital camera. I initially took the M8 to have a CCD sensor after I sold my M9. The surprise come right after. This was a rangefinder with a really decent sensor. The flaws about the IR issues are in fact a plus, because it provides character to the images. And when the images are converted to black and white, then this really close to using real film.

Behind the cross

Leica M8 & VM28/2

When I saw the results, I was then interested to try it on a larger sensor. On the Leica M-P(240) it was simply stunning, even at f2. Stopped down, it was perfect. The images are clear, bright, the colors are beautiful. Its sharp, it’s not fringing. Just good enough for all I’m doing with and even more. What I like is when you see the image and you say it’s just « wouah »! This is what I call the « Wouah factor ». This lens is good enough to stop hunting another one. It could be a first choice, instead of a Leica Elmarit. What I like particularly is the aperture at f2. It makes appears bokeh when shot very close at 0.7m.

A weekend in Tuscany

Leica M8 & VM28/2

At the end, this lens is always in my bag. I can use it on almost all my bodies, Fuji, Leica and Sony (except Nikon obviously). It’s a serious performer, certainly better than the Zeiss Biogon 28mm if used on Sony A7. The lens is also slightly bigger than the Leica ones. I know from two of my fellow photographers that this is for them an important factor. So, this is up to you.

The big S

Leica MP & VM28/2

What could be very cool in the future from Voigtlaender, is if they intend to extend their Vintage line, to create a new Ultron 28mm with the quality of new VM 35mm f1.7 and of the VM 50mm f1.5. They are amazing! They are real game changer for this brand. from my stand point, Voigtlaender is really a good choice, as they are less expensive than Leica and Zeiss lenses. They are really made with a quality you won’t see with other brands like Sony, Canon or Nikon. They are in metal, they have a butter smooth focus ring. This is just amazing. They have a depth of field scale, so you can shoot without focus. It’s really important for street photography. From my stand point, this a brand we have to encourage, because behind there’s the passion of engineers who like to build quality products. I’m obviously not remunerate by any company, and that’s why I can say that. Since years I’m using these lenses and I’m amazed by some of them. For others, I’m using them because of their special character, e.g. the 35mm f1.4 Nokton Classic, that has some imperfections, but that has also this really classic rendering.

The raiders of the lost arch

Leica MP & VM28/2

So to summarize, the Voigtlaender 28mm Ultron is a really good performer. It’s good enough for me and that is what is important. I have a lot of photographic pleasure with it. If you are a pixel peeper, pass you way and go to Otus. If you like some good gear, then this could be a solid choice. If you are a Leica fanboy, I’m sure there’s enough good choices for you. If you are using a Sony A7 or A7s, this is a solid choice. It works pretty good. The Sony native lens is certainly a good choice too as it is less expensive and works with the autofocus. It’s maybe not « pure » enough for street photography. : )))

If you like good optics, good mechanics, then this is something that could fit your expectations.  I said in the title that this lens is not that bad. It is even good.


Leica M8 & VM28/2

I maschi

Leica M8 & VM28/2

Laundry time

Sony A7S & VM28/2


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