Double V time - Vietnam with a Veydra 16mm!

Keeping it simple

Vietnam is one of my most favourite countries to visit and I find photographic opportunities on every street.  If you ever have a couple of days free in Vietnam, I strongly suggest just randomly walking around to see what adventure awaits you.  I had a few hours spare on a recent trip and managed to snap the following selection of photos, with the specific aim of testing my Veydra 16mm lens.  My lens options were deliberately limited to 2 lenses for the whole trip - the Veydra 16mm mounted on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II and the Leica Nocticron 42.5mm lens mounted on the Panasonic GH4.   My initial impressions of the Veydra lens are extremely positive. The Veydra lens is an all-manual lens and is definitely becoming one of my favourite lenses - not just for video work, but for still photography.  Prior to this excursion with the Veydra Lens, one of my favourites was the Voigtlander 17.5mm lens.

The Veydra 16mm mini prime lens is a manual focus lens that is intended for video work.  You will find that the lenses all have 0.8 cinema pitch gears on the focus/iris rings which have this really nice fluid-dampened feel to them.  When you pick up these lenses you know that they are quality made, and while the 16mm lens does weigh just over .5 kg, I'm quite happy to carry this around with me (using a sling strap). The lenses all use a 77mm filter thread which means that it doesn't matter which of the Veydra lenses you choose (12, 16, 25, 35 or 50mm), you can use the same screw in filters for all.  There is a very bright yellow focus scale on each side of the lens that really is quite convenient.  If you are used to using a lens with a focus scale on the top for photography it may take you a little while to get used to the scale being on the side.  Personally, I am really preferring the side scale as I can just tilt the camera to one side to easily see the settings if needed.  As for the iris (shutter in photography terms) ring there are only markings on the left side.  The iris is measured in T-stops (more info about a t-stop can be found here -  Overall this is one solid good quality lens which I will definitely be bringing along for a photography session again.

All the following photos were shot on the Olympus EM-D E-M5II and an occasional photo was taken with the Leica Panasonic mounted on the Panasonic GH4.  I have shown a few photos from the voigtlander at the bottom to compare - though they are not the most accurate as I did not correctly match T stop to F stop and I really should have used a tripod - but I was feeling hungry and wanted to eat the food.  This is just a selection of the photos that I took while in Hanoi.


Vietnamese Sales Model - Veydra t/4, 1/160th sec, iso 400

The Veydra lens with very clear markings (taken with the Voigtlander 17.5mm lens at f/2.8)

Focusing on food delivery - Veydra 16mm, t/4

A sequence of mopeds - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/13th sec shutter

Peeping out - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/60th sec shutter

Vertical panels - Veydra 16mm, t/4

The journey home from school - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Construction opposites - Veydra 16mm, f/4.  I took a seriesd of photos here - but it was quite difficult to get the shot I wanted as everything was moving so fast and there was never an entirely empty scene.

Vietnamese fashion - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Framed in the curves - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Always with the welcome mat out - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Vietnam! - Veydra 16mm, t/4

In Hanoi it is often difficult to find an empty scene where everhting has just stopped and where there are no people.  It is a bustling city full of life.

Waiting to boil water - Veydra 16mm, t/4

A broom and cooked rice - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Boiling water - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Analysing the scene - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Selling by the road side - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Its dark and raining - Veydra 16mm, t/4

A green umbrella - Veydra 16mm, t/2.2

Never too wet for a drink - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Pots and pans - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Holding back the weight - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Drying cloths - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Cooking rice - Veydra 16mm, t/4

A view from above - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/13th sec shutter

Preparing for the breakfast rush - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Drinks, Torso and legs come in two's - Veydra 16mm, t/4

development! - Veydra 16mm, t/4

This is my bike! - Veydra 16mm, t/4

A red and blue restaurant setting - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Life - Veydra 16mm, t/4

A haircut and reflections - Veydra 16mm, t/4

The rain is coming - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/60th sec shutter

Selling balloons in the rain - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/60th sec shutter

a dry leg - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/60th sec shutter

Keeping the hair dry - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/60th sec

covered transport - Veydra 16mm, t/4 and 1/13th sec shutter

Pork Hocks - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Making a selection - Veydra 16mm, t/4

Fruit sales - Veydra 16mm

Prepping pineapples - Veydra 16mm, t/2.2

Pho Bo - Veydra 16mm, t/2.2

Thirsty work - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/2

Getting the work done! - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/2

Holding the flowers - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/11 and 1/13th sec shutter

Split by the red hair - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/4

Do you vespa? - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/3.5

An electric smile - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/2.8

Behind the glass - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/2.8

learning to ride - Leica, Nocticron 42.5mm, f/3.2

The following photos were a very rough comparison of the Veydra and Voigtlander Nokton - the Nokton is a much faster piece of glass so I have included a photo at f/0.95 as well.  You will notice how soft that particular shot is.  I found that with the Veydra 16mm there was a little barrel distorton but the image was particularly sharp. There was no chromatic aberation that I could detect and it could easily focus at approximately 20cm.  I feel I can focus a little closer with the Voigtlander 17.5mm lens - however I never tested this.  There is a good initial video review of the pre-production Veydra lenses at

 Veydra 16mm, T2.2

Veydra 16mm, 4

Viogtlander, f/2

Viogtlander, f/4

Viogtlander, f/0.95



I been exactly the same streets done the same thing and eaten the same food as you haha. Anyway Hanoi is a place worth to go again, you should visit Sapa too if have enough time.

By Edward (not verified)

Hi Edward - Hanoi is a lovely place and I have visited SaPa several times as well.



By Shaun

Hi! I'm glad I stumbled upon you blog after reading one of Robin Wong's posts, your pics are really inspiring :)
I'm travelling to Hanoi myself on Monday and I'm planning some photo strolls/people watching. Would you recommend any route in particular? I've also been thinking of restricting myself, maybe to the 45 mm and a new wide angle lens. Do you know of any Olympus store in Hanoi? Maybe I can get my hands on the new 7-14mm :)

By Johan (not verified)

Hi Johan

Apologies for the delay in responding - I have been in transit a lot the last couple of months.  I would love to see your photos from the trip to Hanoi.  Generally when I am in Hanoi I literally just get lost.  I mark my hotel with the GPS and jsut walk and walk and venture down any alley or lane way that I find.  Other times I just sit and watch everything go by me by finding a comfortable seat and a drink in the old quarter.  If you are in to markets then there are a lot of small street markets around the old quarter that are worth visiting.

By Shaun

Beautiful, beautiful shots Shaun, and glad to see them so soon!! Thanks for sharing and I see the Veydra is doing really well!
I really wish I was not so busy with work and I could join you and TF. Oh well, maybe next time.

By Robin Wong (not verified)

Hi, I was wondering if you could expand any more about the pros and cons of the Voigtlander vs Veydra lens. I'm on the fence between these two lenses (primarily video work) and while I know Veydra's build is a bit more optimized for Video - I've never had a problem using my other Voigtlander for video work. I'm wondering if you think the Veydra is sharper than the Voigtlander at equal F Stops or are they about the same? Anything else you noticed? If only the Veydra's had been T 1.5 I would say no brainier for video work but I am concerned about low light work being limited by the T 2.2. Any thoughts you had are appreciated!

By Ryan (not verified)

Hi Ryan

I love both these lenses and had been caught up on the Veydra almost forgetting about my Voigtlander then on my recent trip I decided to leave the Veydra at home and take the voigtlander just to make sure I wasn't missing something. I believe the Veydra is a sharper lens and while it does have some slight  barrel distortion I prefer it over the voigtlander which can be quite soft (especially in the corners wide open).  Having said that if you rely on capturing video in low light and need the 0.95 f stop then the voigtlander still does a great job and I have loved the low light video I have taken wide open with the voigtlander.  Its a hard choice and really depends on how you use the lens and the camera it is attached to.  If it is in a rig, then the gearing on the Veydra is useful and if you are using a number of Veydra lenses it is easy to match the T stop.  It's a hard decision between these lenses and thats why I still have both of them.

By Shaun

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