Reply To: Superwide options for A7R and other Alpha bodies

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#9611 Reply

Anthony

Hi Viktor,

I had no idea that the FE16-35/4 had comparable IQ to the Otus 28/1.4 at smaller apertures. That’s impressive.

You’re right, I specified landscape lens and that is the main purpose. But, you’ll see from my Flickr stream that I’ll take photos of anything, including street, concerts, and parties and I like to travel. For all these situations small lenses make sense: to look less conspicuous to get wider apertures (compared to zooms). So, for me the FE16-35 is actually speciality lens: one which I won’t take travelling and at home I will only pack it when I’m only doing landscapes. As I’m still building my collection of primes, it makes sense for me to complete that first and look to buying this speciality lens later. In the meantime, the downside is a heavier bag, but the upside is more versatility and I maintain my independence from Sony bodies.

I’ve been doing a bit more research on the Voigtlander 15mm III. Firstly, to see how it compares to the FE16-35/4 and secondly to find out what modifications people are doing to allow it to use square filters.

There aren’t many direct comparison reviews, but I found this one chap who did an 2-part comparison. Broadly speaking, he thinks the CV15-III is better. But even if he’s wrong, at least we can say the IQ of the CV15-III is in the same ballpark as the FE16-35/4. The worst thing is heavy vignetting, but it’s correctable in post.
Test – Voigtlander Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 III vs Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS | TalkEmount – Sony Alpha E-Mount Camera User Group
Test – Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 III vs Sony Zeiss FE 16-35mm f/4 – Part 2 | TalkEmount – Sony Alpha E-Mount Camera User Group

Another reviewer, has reviewed both lenses on A7R and other A7 bodies, but he’s not made a direct comparison. However, in comments on the FE16-35 review he says that he doesn’t think there’s much of a difference in sharpness between the two lenses.
Voigtlander 15mm F4.5 Heliar III Review & Sample Images | Alik Griffin
Sony 16-35mm F4 FE T* Lens Review & Sample Photos | Alik Griffin

What this tells me is the CV15III meets all my criteria except square filters. Therefore, I looked into what mods people are making and I came across two users brave enough to saw off those fins and even braver to blog about it!
https://johnleathwick.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/can-a-permanently-fixed-voigtlander-lens-hood-be-removed/
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1088351/0&year=2012#10371819

I found the first blog very encouraging, especially reading the lens is resistant to flare. But I dare not modify it myself. Instead, I have found a lens repair company in London that can do this modification. It was founded 1925, so it is reliable. I’m waiting for a quotation. If it’s reasonable, then I’ll look to buying this lens next year.

I suspect that modifying the lens in this way, may make the lens more desirable on the secondhand market…it will certainly be rare!

Regarding which is the best brand of filters: there’s a new kid on the block. But, I’ll start a separate thread as this reply is already too long!

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