At the CP+ 2016 show in Japan Voigtlander were showing their new 15mm F4.5 Aspherical III full frame lens in Sony E-mount. This was one of three new wide angle prime lenses on display to the public for the first time. The others were the Voigtlander Heliar-Hyper Wide 10mm F5.6 Aspherical which we previously reported on, as well as a 12mm f/5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar Aspherical.
For me the 15mm F4.5 is the most interesting out of the trio. 15mm on a full-frame sensor provides you with a nice wide field of view without adding the crazy distortions you typically get with wider focal lengths. I got to try out the 10,12 and 15mm full frame E-mount offerings at the show and the 15mm was my favourite out of the three. It was sharp, compact and had minimal distortion at the edges of frame. It also kept lines pretty straight even if they were on the edge of frame
Just like the 10 and 12mm lenses it features the ability to have either hard click aperture stops or a clickless iris. All three lenses also have electronic CPU integration and this allows you to control a number of settings depending on the camera body you are using. These include Auto Lens Correction that enables vignetting, chromatic aberation and distortion to be corrected in camera. Sony a7 series owners whose cameras feature 5-axis image stabilisation will be happy to know that all three lenses are supported.
Despite having the III designation, this is actually the first time Voigtlander have made this lens in a native E-mount. Previous versions were in Leica M mount and required the use of an adapter on Sony E-mount cameras. The image from earlier models also had smudged edges and obvious vignette due to the extreme angle that light was hitting the sensor. It appears that new III version is much improved.
The lens is beautifully made, has a 58mm front filter diameter, 10 aperture blades and weighs just 298g. Unfortunately for video users it also has a integrated petalhood which makes it very hard to use with a variable ND filter.
The latest Voigtlander 15mm F4.5 would make a nice addition to any E-mount camera regardless of whether it is used for stills or video. While some may argue that F4.5 is too slow, and that the integrated petal hood makes it too hard to use, I can still see it being used by some shooters.
For more info go to the Voigtlander website.