Make Mine Wide with High Contrast Please

First shots with the Voigtlander Ultra-Wide Heliar 12mm


sonny rosenberg

10/6/20232 min read

This post is a result of the convergence of two recent "discoveries" on my part. The first one being the realization that Voigtlander (Cosina) made a 12mm f/5.6 LTM (Leica screw mount) lens. I knew they made both a 10mm and 12mm, but I was under the impression that they were exclusively M mount lenses. I recently learned that to be untrue at least for the 12mm. Being an afficiando of wide and wider lenses, I began to investigate the 12mm Ultra-Wide Heliar. They seem to have a reputation for higher build quality than the 15mm (I have no complaints about my 15mm), but more importantly, many of the shots I saw taken with them were spectacular! You'd be surprised, at least I would, but there's a substantial difference in the perspective of shots taken with a lens that's just 3 milimeters wider than the 15. I started to look on ebay and to my surprise there were a few available, ranging in price from an arm and a leg, to just a finger or so. I wound up with a beautiful version from Japan that appears and performs as an almost new lens, and it does feel very well built. It's a beautiful and tiny lens. The viewfinder as you'll see is gargantuan. It looks like a prop from the movie Brazil.

The other part of the story is that I recently learned of Flic Film's MQ-19. A recreation of Kodak's D-19 high contrast developer. Being ever in search of high and higher contrast from my films, this development (!) really piqued my interest.

Both the lens and developer arrived yesterday, and as it turns out, I finished my work at home a little early. It was a beautiful warm, clear and sunny day in Reno. Good thing, as I had a roll of Rollei RPX-25 in the Leica and I wasn't up for pushing it.

These are the results of my walk downtown, I know they won't be everyone's cup of tea, and they're a bit blown out. I didn't have any development times for RPX-25 so I used times for Ilford Pan-F. Close, but I think I overshot my mark a little. Still, for the moment I'm quite taken with the combination of very wide angle perspective and very high contrast.

I have a roll of Pan-F + in the Leica right now and hope to shoot it on the way to the eye doctor later today, I'm waffling whether to go with the MQ-19 again or a more conventional developer?