Voigtlander 75mm Color-Heliar f/2.5 35mm Primes

Available At:
75mm Color-Heliar f/2.5

Perhaps the only L screw-mount 75mm lens introduced since W.W.II, this lens's classic styling harolds back to what many refer to as "the good old days" of photography. It features an all-metal lens barrel construction, a Leica compatible L screw-mount and a 10 bladed aperture (which creates very pleasing out-of-focus highlights). The Color-Heliar 75mm lens incorporates a rangefinder calibrated rear-focus helicoid, which makes it easier to focus with classic rangefinder cameras from Leica, Contax and Nikon. All lenses have a "click-stop" on the aperture movement at half-stop intervals making subtle adjustments in exposure or depth-of-field easy.

User Reviews (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6  
Johnny Martyr   Expert [Jul 30, 2010]
Strength:

compact, feels good, razor sharp

Weakness:

none really!

The 75mm Heliar boasts excellent build quality and is a pleasure to hold and operate. I expect the black finish to wear off over the years as it has from my other Cosina Voigtlander products but this of course doesn't affect anything but cosmetics. Click stops are sure but fast to adjust and focus is smooth. Firm but nimble grip on the lens is effortless. If someone ever asks you why you'd spend $300 on a lens that has no auto features, just hand them the 75mm Heliar and they will understand from how it feels alone.

Some folks will complain about the CV lens caps fitting the hood instead of the lens, but being a shooter who nearly never uses filters (to avoid ghosting and general softening of the image) and always uses a hood, I greatly appreciate a system taylor-made for my method. The brass hood is extremely sturdy too. I can barely feel it flintch in my hand when I squeeze it. I'm confident in it protecting the lens during a fall, far beyond the flimsy UV filters and rubber hoods the salesmen at Ritz always try to sell you with a new lens.

The Heliar can be a bit tricky to nail at wide open critical focus on my Bessa R2 but when I get it, I'm rewarded with creamy bokeh and a reasonably sharp subject. Actually using this lens at f2.5 helps me understand why faster telephoto lenses aren't necessary (or practical) for rangefinders. While the CV Nokton 50mm 1.5 performs best wide open, the Heliar is more conventional and really hits its stride around f4 where it sharpens up like razer blades.

I'm not kidding either. Everyone says this or that lens is tack sharp or razor sharp but I honestly don't think I've ever used a lens that's this sharp. With fine-grained film like Kodak Ektar, it's almost TOO SHARP at the middle apertures!

This is my first long rangefinder lens and I was really curious to see how slow I could drag my shutter on handheld shots and still get acceptible clarity. I went down to 1/15th with the 75mm and was extremely satisfied. Certainly can't do that with my Nikon FM2n and an 85mm.

Like most lenses when used on the camera for which they are designed, the aperture ring moves in the same direction as the Bessa's meter read-out, making exposure setting really intuitive.

The only problem I have with the Heliar is a problem I also have with my Nokton; the distance numbers in feet are filled with a dark red enamel while the numbers in meters are filled in with white. For those of us ignorant Americans who prefer to go by feet, the white meters distract me when I try to read the scale. The simple solution for me has been a thin strip of black gaffer's tape over the meter scale.

Contrast is rich but not overly so, the glass doesn't seem prone to flares and I'm just proud to own this pocketable gem. Perfect for candid portraits, street photo and whenever you just want to get a little closer.

Similar Products Used: Cosina Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.5
Nikkor 85mm 1.8 AI'd
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
kingkong   Professional [Jun 20, 2010]
Strength:

A light-weighted portrait lens of either silver chrome or black in colour.
The aperture f/2.5 with haif clicks in the aperture-ring is a merit in exposure.

Weakness:

The short original lens-hood is not good in performance at back-lighting photographic conditions. A longer and wider of 49mm in diameter of lens-hood may be suggested, instead.

A nice medium telephoto lens for portrait photography. Well-built and easy to focus. Excellent optical quality for M mount body both in film and digital, indeed.

Customer Service

NIL

Similar Products Used: Leica Elmar 90mm f/2.8 lens
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Peter Corrigan   Expert [Apr 27, 2007]
Strength:

Very high optical quality
Ease of use
Lens cap fits directly over lens hood
Price

Weakness:

Changing filters is a little slow due to the design of the lens hood

An excellent lens: very sharp indeed, and very easy to use. The focus is smooth, apertures feel definite across the half-stop detents, and it seems well-built. The lens cap fits over the lens hood, which means that the latter can always be on the lens. It also means that you have to unscrew the lens hood if you want to change filters, which may be awkward if you are always changing filters. I rarely do, so it's not an issue for me. It's an ideal lens for details rather than the grand picture, and suits portraiture very well.

At f2.5, it seems fast enough for most purposes, especially given that it is used on a rangefinder and therefore not subject to the vibrations of mirror slap. Exposures at 1/15 seem OK: this would never be the case with an SLR lens of comparable focal length.

I use this on the Bessa-T, which means that the lens needs an M-mount converter and a separate viewfinder. The M-mount converter seems to work perfectly well, and the viewfinder is superb: very clear, with a parallax guideline for close focusing and 1:1 viewing. This means that you can look through the viewfinder and keep both eyes open, although this is easier if you don't wear spectacles.

Customer Service

Not used

Similar Products Used: Nothing comparable in rangefinders; a Minolta 85mm f/1.4 AF for SLRs
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
victor bentzvi   Professional [Dec 18, 2003]
Strength:

spectacular optical perfomance (u can read other reviews of voigtlander lenses that i have posted - 25, 50, 35 and 90). usefulness of the focal lenght in concentrated kind of photograhy.

Weakness:

not leica, but the price is great.

another lense from voigtlander that can amaze in its perfomance. my philosophy is around the 50mm lense. the 75mm is not too long as the 90mm and not as flat in its perspective. for me the 75mm is a lense that make me concentrate on the main object of interest while still keeping some space for the surrounding of the main interest. before having it i felt that the 90mm was a bit long while on the 50mm i made sometimes cropps (which reduces the image quality in the big enlargement. the 75 works just perfect for the cases when u do want to give at about a normal perspective but more concentrated. the optical perfomance is outstanding even with wide open. wide open, there is differance in perfomance from the centre to the out field, but it is not to say that the differance is big. with 75 u centralize the main interest any way. from f4 the perfomance over the whole field is simply outstanding with more confidance in fast focusing and at f5.6 it is spectacular. now it is one of the most importent lenses for me especially with people. the out of focus range is great as well. this lense is just a perfect balance in every term for concentrated natural point of view. appllaying the care in focusing that is expirienced with the 90mm lense this one give a great confidance.

Similar Products Used: 85mm from ziess and niikon
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Fred-M   Expert [May 27, 2002]
Strength:

If you can focus accurately at f/2.5, this lens will reward you with critically sharp results. I examined shots I made on Velvia at 22x, and there is no difference in sharpness from f/2.5 through f/8. After that diffraction takes over. Flare is nearly undetectable. Images at near focus show no loss compared to shots at infinity. A masterpiece.

Weakness:

None in the lens itself. The problem is trying to find one. Neither the original US distributor THK, nor the present one, Schneider, import the SLR lenses. I found mine in the UK at Robert White. They had to special order it, but were very accomodating-I recommend them highly.

I wanted this lens to complete a system I was building around a couple of Zeiss battleships (SL 706 & Icarex). At a glance it could pass for one of the Zeiss lenses for the Contarex-a real beauty. It has a Zeiss-like image quality as well-extraordinary levels of contrast, yet a superb tonal range. It's equally suited for color or b&w. As you may have guessed, my lens is the SL version, rather than the rangefinder coupled one, but the optics are identical.

Customer Service

Not required

Similar Products Used: Carl Zeiss Planar 85/1.4 Zuiko 100/2.0 Nikkor 105/2.5 It's as good as the Zeiss and the Zuiko and BETTER than the Nikkor. Take that, Nikon weenies.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jorge M. Treviño   Expert [Jul 31, 2001]
Strength:

Extremely sharp, contrasty, light, fast, well built. Outstanding resolution power.

Weakness:

Cannot find any.

An outstanding portrait lens that is also fine for close cropped landscapes. If you are a Leica or Bessa user, you cannot go wrong with this one. If you use a MF-SLR get the SLR version.

Customer Service

Not required.

Similar Products Used: Leitz 80/1.5 Summarex (LTM).
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-6 of 6  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

photographyreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com