Japanese lens company Cosina recently announced the release of the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Heliar Classic for VM Mount. Built with a classic design in mind, this modern lens is made to feature the optic quality of a retro lens with purposeful aberrations and beautiful bokeh.
Made up of six elements in three groups, this Heliar derived lens features a maximum aperture of f/1.5 and a minimum aperture of f/16, making it the perfect choice for Leica M users who want something a little different. The Heliar lens was developed in 1900 for Voigtlander by Dr. Hans Harting. Originally it consisted of five elements in a symmetrical pattern but in 1902 the design was updated to reduce astigmatism, the curvature of field, and coma flare.
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The modern Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 produces various aberrations and abstract bokeh you would not expect to see from a contemporary lens. Cosina (opens in new tab) says “The remaining coma flare and the single coating finish on the lens give an extremely unique aperture-opening depiction.”
The vintage appearance of this lens includes an all-metal focus ring, knurled with a diamond pattern made using a special cutting tool to improve operability. This is designed to help prevent slipping in the rotation and optical axis while adding to its high-end appearance.
The Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 is a manual focus lens that adopts an all-metal helicoid unit that has been processed and adjusted with high precision. This results in an appropriate amount of torque and a smooth focus ring that enables the user to make fine focus adjustments.
Unlike most modern lenses, the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f/1.5 doesn’t have a multi-coated front element. Instead, Cosina opted for a single-coated lens that is designed to reproduce the classic color tone that was popular before multi-coating became the norm. Single-coated lenses filter out less of the reflected light which is why we end up seeing a different tone than in lenses that have multi-coatings for different wavelengths of light.
This latest addition to the Leica M mount lineup also supports full-frame 35mm format with its generous image circle and bayonet mount. It will be available to buy from September for approximately: £595 / $818 / AU$1131 (converted from Yen).