- 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.
Click on an image to enlarge.
19 thoughts on “Review: Voigtländer 10mm f/5.6 Hyper-Wide Heliar (Sony E-Mount)”
Thanks for the review. I just joined you in the “saving up for this lens” club.
A very informative review and a fascinating lens – I have the Sony 16-35, and find myself using 16mm a lot more than I ever expected, as you say that feels very wide in isolation.
I think I might have to rent this, I’m not sure exactly what I’d use it for, but it’s a unique and lovely-looking piece of kit, which you can clearly take good photos with!
Good Shots! Already want him a company to my FE 16-35/4!)
The first and third images (“RPAC” and “Hayden Run Falls”) are really great. They show what’s possible with such a wide lens. I think I would struggle keeping the lines straight on architecture shots, however. Is the McKinley Monument shot cropped?
The second one is from close up, with verticals corrected in post. The first one, with the sun, is not cropped, and was taken level. The first image (RPAC) was cropped while keeping the camera level.
Hey jordan, long time!!!! This lens is amazeballs to say the least. While it can be frustrating at times to shoot at such a wide view and keep it interesting while keeping the uninteresting out, it still remains a blast. Poeple also need to rent this thing. There simply no way to imagine or compare the angle of view to anything else. Even if you have the sigma 12-24 like i have the 10mm still is worlds different. Amazing as always
You sir take great photos. It really makes reading the reviews worthwhile.
Owned one for several days. My copy had extremely soft edges. I returned it.
I will probably try another copy.
I have been wondering about this lens for several months, but after finding your review and the magnificent examples, I am completely convinced to get it. I’ve had the incredible experience with the Voightländer 12mm for many years, but with the recent Leica cameras it vignettes very much ( although I don’t know if the recent versions of this lens the vignetting has been corrected). Thank you for the excellent review.
He took pictures of this lens.
The lens strongly pulls the shapes of objects from the center to the sides !!!
Stretches the corners not only to the right and to the left but also to the top, down – and very much!
It looks like Kosinas nakosyachil strongly not taking any measures to correct distortions.
This lens will work correctly when the matrix is ??made semicircular, then the beam will pass the same distance in the center and at the edges of the frame.
My opinion for filming in the room and in nature it is useless, once again convinced that the reviews over the hill are paid.
If honestly it is not clear for what purpose this small piece of scrap metal?
Great review and excellent shots! I have the same lens but the 12mm focal lenght, it’s the only lens I always have in my bag, it’s small, quite challenging in composition but extremely satisfying when you take a good picture. I’m eagerly waiting for the 65mm to arrive in Italy, I’m saving for that?
Thank you, Jordan, for this review.
I wonder if you’ve had any opportunities to use the 15mm F/4.5 Heliar for the e-mount? I’ve read good things about that lens on Phillip Reeve’s website, although it has also been criticized for quality control issues (sample-to-sample variations more prevalent than with the 10mm).
Thank you Jordan.
Highly detailed review. Thanks for providing such a great sample work along with it. After reading and seeing photos of your review i have decided to go for it as well. I used 12mm and was happy with it. then got the 15mm it was great too but after that they launched the 10mm was playing around with the idea of getting and now i am completely sold on it.
Had a first-version Cosina / Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Hyper-Wide Heliar VM on a Leica M8 and Fuji X-E2. I never got used to the extreme vignetting and cyan corners of that lens on those cameras, so I sold it. Cosina / Voigtlander’s (first version) 15mm f/4.5 Ultra-Wide Heliar was easier to use, but still vignetted pretty badly. So I sold that lens, too.
Now I’m using Leica’s 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPH full-frame on Leica M10 (superlative image quality, but co$tly). When I need to go really wide, I’ll use Sigma’s 14mm f/1.8 Art on an EOS 5D mk IV, but shooting real estate for clients I’ll use an EF 17mm f/4L TS-E or first-version EF 24mm f/3.5L TS-E. All of them are relatively distortionless compared to the first version EF 16-35mm f/2.8L I used to use for real estate and Chacoan Anasazi ruins.
The Sigma 14mm is also excellent for night sky / starfield shots – very little coma or distortion of any kind, very sharp to the corners.
I don’t really have a use for a 10mm lens, but admit to a technical fascination with wider/longer/faster optics. Thank you for showing more possibilities for ultra-wide composition, particularly the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda.
(More of my work at http://www.activelightphotography.com)
Thank you for hosting this really informative and useful website.
I love reading your reviews – always so balanced and fair.
I have a dilema and was hoping you can help
I have a sony Aiii and I want to buy an ultra wide angle lens.
My experience till now have been with 24mm at the widest
I am looking at the Voigtlander 10mm with 5.6 and the 15mm with 4. The 15mm in my mind is the safe choice with the relative ease of composing a pic but the possibility of a 10mm excites me too. My questions are –
1. Is it advisable to buy the 10mm and get used to it and during that time also use it if needed in APSC format (A7iii allows you to) when the effective focal length will be 15mm. In that case could I enjoy best of both worlds?
2. How much of difference will the 5.6 stop of 10mm be a hindrance compared to the 4 of 15mm in the verstality of the lenses to take good images
Thank you for your help