Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color-Skopar PII – One Complaint
The title of this post is a little deceptive, I suppose. This isn’t a complaint about the lens itself. I’m extremely satisfied with the lens.
It’s an issue with the Leica M mount adapter. I didn’t (and still don’t) have the extra cash required for either Panasonic’s “official” Leica M to μ43 adapter (Panasonic DMW-MA2M), or for that matter, Voigtlander’s similar adapter (Voigtlander Micro 4/3 – Leica M Adapter). They’re both rather pricey for a piece of metal. But with that price, you’re also paying for accurate tolerances and the ability to focus to infinite.
If you make an adapter even the slightest bit too thick. It’s not going to focus to infinite. And that doesn’t make photographers happy at all. So what third party adapter makers do is play it safe. They intentionally make the adapter too thin. That way, you’re guaranteed a lens that goes all the way to infinity focus (and “beyond”).
The problem is that you pay a price for that. Everything bit of turn on the focus ring beyond infinity focus is lost in what you would normally get at the minimum focusing distance.
This isn’t always a big deal. SLR lenses tend to have relatively short minimum focusing distances anyway. So what’s the the loss of an extra inch, really? No much, most of the time. But M mount lenses aren’t SLR lenses. And they don’t have SLR lenses’ focusing distances. And that means the loss is that much more significant because the smaller flange distance allows less room for error. And that my complaint. In pairing this superb lens to my camera, I picked up second hand with a cheapo $15 adapter (RAINBOWIMAGING Leica M Lm Lens to Micro 4/3 Four Thirds). The lens that’s supposed to focus down to 70cm, only focusing to 90cm. That’s nearly eight inches for any Americans out there. It also changes the dimensions of the frame at the closest focusing distance from having a 17 inch diagonal to having a 22 inch diagonal and adds an extra inch of depth of field when shooting wide open: from 3.64cm at 70cm to 6cm at 90cm. All of this is frustrating when you only get so much to work with from the start. This longer minimum focusing distance hurts a lot.
So now I need to decide between trying a new adapter or just living with it. I don’t know yet.