It’s a while since I’ve done a post – too long in fact, but the last six months have taken a lot of focus and energy as I’ve established a new business. And although I’ve managed to get out in the wilds with the camera a bit of late, this post delves more into a question of equipment, and the modification of equipment in particular – it goes like this:
In shifting from my previous Olympus M43 system to a Sony full-frame system (A7R), I was concerned to keep my gear costs to a reasonable level. My Olympus kit included two very nice wide angle prime lenses, the last of which is just going out the door. The catch with the Sony system is not so much the availability of such lenses, but their cost – an equivalent Zeiss wide-angle to my previous Olympus wide-angle sells for around 2.5x the cost!
After looking at a variety of wide-angle options I decided to check out the Voigtlander Ultron 21mm F/1.8, a lens reported to have good performance and that sells for around half the price of its Zeiss equivalent. This cost saving then opened up the possibility of also buying the newly released Voigtlander 15mm Heliar III – a super wide angle optimized specifically to work well on mirrorless cameras such as the Sony. Two wide primes for the cost of a single Zeiss Distagon looked very attractive, except for one snag – both of the Voigtlanders come with permanently built in lens-hoods that prevent the use of a filter holder and neutral density and/or graduated filters.
After casting about on-line, I eventually found a cryptic description by one home handyman who had manually removed the lens hood on his Ultron, though he gave only the barest details of how he achieved it. However, after trying the two lenses in the shop, I decided to go ahead with an order for both, with the possibility that I might try and remove the hoods in due course. Both lenses duly arrived, and both performed very well on the A7R – some magenta tinging around the corners with the Ultron 21, but that was easily corrected in Lightroom – now that I’ve traded up to an A7RII, that problem has gone completely, and both lenses are a delight to use. However, the hoods remained an issue…