Voigtlander 12mm f 5.6 heliar with viewfinder %28for leica%29

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Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar for Leica

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The Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar for Leica

The Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar is the widest lens available in Leica M-mount. Despite having an ultra-wide angle of view of 121°, it offers a minimal amount of distortion. The lens has rangefinder-coupled focus to as close as 0.7m, and scale-focusing down to 0.5m. Its built-in hood helps to keep flare down, but it still takes a 67mm filter if needed.

As far as image quality is concerned, the Voigtlander 12mm does suffer from vignetteing and color shifts in the corners, so be aware of this on the front end. Nevertheless, corner sharpness is quite good for such a wide lens, even at f/5.6.

Tim's Take

If you seek an ultra-wide in M-mount, it doesn’t get any wider than this. As stated above, you do have some corner color shift to contend with, especially on the M9. I wouldn’t let this be an eliminating factor, as this lens is one-of-a-kind. It's rangefinder-coupled for nearly the whole focus range, but you can pretty much guesstimate distance, and you’ll have pretty good focus.

Since the M-mount lenses aren’t used on just M-mount cameras anymore, I did test the Voigt 12mm on our mirrorless cameras via adapters. It does surprisingly well on the Sony NEX-5N, even slightly better than the M9! Next up was the Ricoh GXR, which also performed beautifully. Lastly, I tried it on a couple micro 4/3 cameras, which was quite a disappointment. There was some pretty bad corner smearing at f/5.6, and stopping down didn’t really clear it up enough to say it’s worth using. Therefore, we’d say opt for one of the native micro 4/3 mount wide angles if needed. One thing to note, despite all three of the mirrorless mount’s crop factors, the corner color shift was still visible.

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