- Very solidly built lens with excellent mechanics
- Very compact for the focal length
- Exceptional width is unique in the photography world
- Very sharp over most of the frame
- Good flare control in most situations
- Low distortion for a lens this wide
- Excellent color and contrast
- Reasonable price
- Image edges and corners are a bit soft
- High lateral chromatic aberration
- Very high vignetting
The Voigtländer 10mm f/5.6 Hyper-Wide Heliar is a truly unique lens. It’s the widest rectilinear lens made for any format in the history of photography. It also is pretty darn good optically, though definitely falls short of perfect. There’s some softness at the edges, and the corners are softer still, but the overall resolution the lens produces is very good. It’s tack sharp in the center and the good sharpness extends over most of the frame. It also shows fairly high chromatic aberration and very high vignetting, though both can be corrected to some degree in post-processing (with the addition of some noise in the case of vignetting).
Still, these drawbacks don’t spoil what is a truly magnificent lens. The 10mm f/5.6 has a wonderful drawing style, with great contrast and rich color, and it resists flare well in most circumstances. But more important than the pure optical quality are the intangibles. Using this lens during the review period was the most fun I’ve had using a lens since I started this site 4.5 years ago. It simply can do things no other lens can do. I’ve been a fan of ultra-wide lenses for over a decade, and I didn’t even know I wanted wider than 14mm equivalent (my previous widest lens) until now. It’s almost intoxicating to use this lens. In less than two days of use, I knew this would be my next gear purchase, and I’ve already started saving for it. Voigtländer has created something special with the Hyper-Wide Heliar; It’s a gem.
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