Wow, In between a hard week at work and fighting with a numpty about his attempts to (at best) spread FUD about me on the net, I managed to nip out to give my newly arrived Voigtlander 25mm a road test.
High level, it isn’t as impressive a lens as the 17.5mm. You might almost expect that from the pricing. That said, it has an awful lot going for it.
Let’s start with some of the bad stuff. This is a good bit worse than the 17.5mm wide open. Both share the same glow, but the 17.5mm is much sharper (and so images can easily be recovered in post).
Both voigtlander lenses suffer from CA but you would expect that from lenses as fast as this. The 25mm is a bit worse though, you can really see the CA in the viewfinder. I suspect some of the extra size and weight of the 17.5mm is related to optical correction of CA.
The 25mm is harder to focus than the 17.5mm (perhaps because it is a little softer).
So there is no point buying this lens, right? Wrong.
F0.95 might be more of a low light aperture but stop it down just a little and it gets sharper, a little more and you’ll injure yourself. At F1.2-1.4 the lens is entirely useable, by F4.0 there are few sharper lenses for M43s.
The build quality of the lens is immaculate. All metal body, large, solid looking coated elements, smooth clicking aperture ring and solid focus ring. All very good. It’s smaller than the 17.5mm and lighter too, but it’s still reassuringly heavy and solid.
The bokeh is relatively good for M43s, but it doesn’t seems as good to me as lenses like the Oly 45 and 75 (or even the Voigtlander 17.5). I know this was seem as a very good feature of this lens when released, but this reminds me a little too much of the busy bokeh on some of my old Voigtlander M mount lenses. That said, I don’t thinks it’s awful.
If shooting with the E-M5 in low light, remember to tell the camera the focal length of the lens. Lacking contacts it cannot do that, even though it’s native M43s mount.
You will see not only glow but a bit of coma around light sources if shooting wide open at night.
I actually like the effect but it may not be to everyone’s taste!
So to finish up, you need to recognise that this lens is not perfect, but when it is good it is great. It’s fantastically solid and there is no doubt you can create magical images. It’s weakness is its performance wide open and I do wonder if it might not have been better if it was rated as a F1.2 lens.