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FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton
  
 
Steve Spencer
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Juha Kannisto wrote:
Huff is loving it:
https://youtu.be/M61bss8AUmk


Huff loves everything



Oct 15, 2017 at 01:45 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton




Steve Spencer wrote:
Huff loves everything


He has a certain enthusiasm but it seems genuine and he does usually like lenses just like this one I feel the same about this lens on my A9 so I can relate easily!



Oct 15, 2017 at 01:59 PM
rsrsrs
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


For me a 40mm lens has to be, or close to a pancake lens.


Oct 15, 2017 at 03:20 PM
sebboh
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


rsrsrs wrote:
For me a 40mm lens has to be, or close to a pancake lens.


how good does it need to be? i'm digging my rokkor 40/1.7 that i ripped off a hi-matic E.



Oct 15, 2017 at 04:45 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


I really like this lens but itís not for everyone.

The CV 40/1.2 is a lens with distinctive character at wider apertures. There is residual spherical aberration and below average color correction for both lateral and axial CA. There is some field curvature and focus shift is definitely an issue if not shooting at working aperture. It's sharp even wide open at center with a noticeable fall-off towards the mid-field and corners until about f/1.7.

Coma is not well controlled at wider apertures but that's expected. It's great at f/2.5 and outstanding at f/2.8 though.
Specular highlights show some outlining and onion pattern and cat-eyes are present from mid-field to edges until about f/2. There is very slight pincushion distortion.

As I see it, Voigtlander designed two lenses in one: It's a character lens with under-corrected color and spherical aberrations from f/1.2 until about one stop down. Its optical design gives us a compact f/1.2 lens capable of very pleasant out of focus rendering. At f/2.8 and smaller apertures, it acts as a modern lens, capable of high resolution, contrast and color correction.
By f/4, it's as good as it gets across the field and stepping down further does not significantly improve resolution except for the very corners which still benefit slightly from f/5.6. (optimum). I would not hesitate using this lens for landscapes starting at f/5.6.

On the positive side, it's capable of smooth rendering even at mid-distances and that's rare for a small fast lens. It also focuses very close and that combined with the f/1.2 aperture, it just melts the background away. The CV 40/1.2 is capable of high contrast images even at wide apertures. That's when you know you are shooting with a modern lens.

The 40mm focal length may seem odd at first but in fact it's very practical. Basically, it acts as a normal lens that allows the environment to interact a bit more with the subject, just like when youíre shooting with a 35mm lens. It's a great one-lens solution.

Just like with other Voigtlander lenses, the 10-straight aperture blades yield beautiful sunstar rendering. Itís possible to get defined 10-point sunstars starting at f/2.8!

Flare is also well-controlled even though I still see minor ghosting and veiling in some of my images. Iíd say flare resistance is very good on this Nokton.

Finally, the biggest plus: Size. There were optical compromises to develop a small and light f/1.2 lens but Voigtlander succeeded creating a lens capable of lovely rendering. It's also an E-mount native, so expect to see all the bells and whistles like EXIF transmission, focus auto-magnification, auto-IBIS as well as aperture de-clicking for video work.

Voigtlander knows it has something unique with the CV 40/1.2 and priced it accordingly. It renders a special look being moderately wide while capable of high amount of blur and smooth rendering.
One can get a lens capable of similar or higher blur but it won't match its combination of IQ, wide focal length and size. On top of that one gets full Sony E-mount native electronics.



Oct 15, 2017 at 05:50 PM
davewolfs
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Just some quick interior shots. Half body

Untitled by Dave - FM, on Flickr

Untitled by Dave - FM, on Flickr



Edited on Oct 15, 2017 at 06:17 PM · View previous versions



Oct 15, 2017 at 05:51 PM
GMPhotography
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Iím curious has anyone compared this to the classic Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 MC Lens




Oct 15, 2017 at 06:04 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Fred Miranda wrote:
I like this lens but itís not for everyone

From what I've seen so far, the CV 40/1.2 is a lens with distinctive character at wider apertures. There is residual spherical aberration and below average color correction for both lateral and axial CA. There is some field curvature and focus shift is definitely an issue if not shooting at working aperture.
It's sharp enough in the center at f/1.4 but not as much towards the mid-field until about f/2.8. This was a disappointment to me as I expected better mid-zone resolution when shooting wide-open or at least at one
...Show more

Fred this is a great summary and David has provided a great review at Philip Reeve's site. I am a big fan of lenses that have character wide open that I like, but have few aberrations and good sharpness when stopped down. When evaluating those lenses, however, I think you have to ask two questions: 1) Do you like the character wide open? I think this lens will get mixed reviews on that. I has some real strengths, but also some weaknesses. My own reaction is mixed. I really like the bokeh and that matters to me, but I hate the purple fringing as I shoot a lot of backlit scenes wide open and I hate fixing purple fringing in post. So, although I can see why some will like it, the purple fringing and other color aberration are just too much for me. 2) How good is it stopped down? For me this lens fails in that regard. It does have good flare resistance as you would expect with a lens with modern coatings and his has great sunstars with the 10-bladed aperture, but to me there are several gotchas that prevent it from functioning well as a stopped down lens. First, it has significant focus shift and this means that you have to focus at taking aperture which does hurt focus accuracy for me quite a bit. Second, the outer zones never really sharpen up very well. Third, it has quite a bit of lateral CA and lateral CA unlike almost every other aberration does not improve as you stop down. Fourth, it has significant enough field curvature that focussing is going to be a bit of a pain as you have to move off center and find the optimal zone to balance focussing between the centre and the corners.

So, for me in the end I am not interested. I don't like the character enough wide open and I just don't think it is all that good stopped down. I do thank you and David for providing excellent reviews. It has been very useful in understanding this lens.



Oct 15, 2017 at 06:22 PM
DavidBM
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Fred Miranda wrote:
I like this lens but itís not for everyone

From what I've seen so far, the CV 40/1.2 is a lens with distinctive character at wider apertures. There is residual spherical aberration and below average color correction for both lateral and axial CA. There is some field curvature and focus shift is definitely an issue if not shooting at working aperture.
It's sharp enough in the center at f/1.4 but not as much towards the mid-field until about f/2.8. This was a disappointment to me as I expected better mid-zone resolution when shooting wide-open or at least at one
...Show more

Great summary Fred, and pretty much my take on this too. You may have a slightly better copy than me, though, as mine takes f5.6 to get close to it's best in the corners, and improves slightly around f6.7-8 (that's focussing in the outer midfield for overall resolution - f4 or so is about peak for corners focussed on corners, and centre focussed on centre)



Oct 15, 2017 at 08:59 PM
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


DavidBM wrote:
Great summary Fred, and pretty much my take on this too. You may have a slightly better copy than me, though, as mine takes f5.6 to get close to it's best in the corners, and improves slightly around f6.7-8 (that's focussing in the outer midfield for overall resolution - f4 or so is about peak for corners focussed on corners, and centre focussed on centre)


It could also be the effect of focus shift David. Did you shoot at working aperture? I tested this carefully and found that for best results at infinity, focusing and aperture should be as synced as possible.

I took the lens to a local Carnival today with the kids and it was a lot of fun shooting wide open at very harsh lighting.
Later on, I will some more "harsh" lighting and low lighting samples. All high shutter speed samples had EFCS turned off. Loving the color rendering.








Oct 15, 2017 at 11:36 PM
 

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Fred Miranda
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Couple more samples:





Still very noticeable PF at f/1.4 but very unique look.







Shooting at f/1.2, up close in motion. Challenging but fun!




Oct 15, 2017 at 11:49 PM
DavidBM
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Fred Miranda wrote:
It could also be the effect of focus shift David. Did you shoot at working aperture? I tested this carefully and found that for best results at infinity, focusing and aperture should be as synced as possible.

I took the lens to a local Carnival today with the kids and it was a lot of fun shooting wide open at very harsh lighting.
Later on, I will some more "harsh" lighting and low lighting samples. All high shutter speed samples had EFCS turned off. Loving the color rendering.


Yes I thought of that (focus shift would mean that it'd get worse as you stop down a bit, then DOF would kick in to reverse it by f8 or so)

But my infinity stuff was all shot at working aperture because there was plenty of light

(I only noticed the focus shift when I started to shoot MFD stuff, because I was doing it in dimmer light and I started by focussing wide open and just leaving it, and got much worse results than I expected...)



Oct 16, 2017 at 01:01 AM
DavidBM
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


GMPhotography wrote:
Iím curious has anyone compared this to the classic Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 MC Lens



Not directly, Guy, but I did try it once. It's a shocker on Sony unless you take "classic" very seriously. There is a tiny spot of semi usable sharpness in the middle at wide apertures, and that spot takes a long while to get bigger as you stop down and it never gets sharp across the field. And it doesn't really have other things to recommend it either.
It's very small though. It makes the new one look like a super corrected modern lens (which is an achievement, coz it's not).

Of course there are uses for the old one if you like a certain look, but it is definitely not for me...



Oct 16, 2017 at 01:06 AM
GMPhotography
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Thanks David was just curious


Oct 16, 2017 at 01:17 AM
GMPhotography
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


I need to stop looking at these images. Lol


Oct 16, 2017 at 01:52 AM
DavidBM
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


GMPhotography wrote:
I need to stop looking at these images. Lol


Yep some of those fairground images of Fred's are one of the things that this lens does very distinctively: you get a sense of the environment from it being a fair bit wider than a 50-55 class lens, but you get the blur levels of a fairly fast 50. It's a great niche to fill.

Then the other issue is the size quality tradeoff. The lens would have to be bigger than Otus to be Otus grade at this speed. I don't want that. How much better would it be if the designers gave themselves, say, the form factor of the 65 to play with? If the answer is a tiny bit better, maybe what we've got is the best tradeoff. If the answer is a lot better, but not Otus better, maybe that would be my preference/



Oct 16, 2017 at 02:16 AM
jhinkey
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


DavidBM wrote:
Not directly, Guy, but I did try it once. It's a shocker on Sony unless you take "classic" very seriously. There is a tiny spot of semi usable sharpness in the middle at wide apertures, and that spot takes a long while to get bigger as you stop down and it never gets sharp across the field. And it doesn't really have other things to recommend it either.
It's very small though. It makes the new one look like a super corrected modern lens (which is an achievement, coz it's not).

Of course there are uses for the old one if
...Show more

I agree with David - nice and small, but not terribly sharp until way stopped down and then never quite gets there off in the borders. Also has flare/ghosting issues - see first image.

Also has some funky field curvature issues that don't go away when stopped down. If you follow the rock wall my daughter is sitting on (she's in perfect focus), it goes in and out of focus - so the FC is very interesting in a bad way.

I also could never find the stupid focusing tab when I wanted to without taking the camera away from my face. Usual great mechanics though.





  ILCE-7RM2    ---- lens    1/800s    100 ISO    -2.0 EV  






  ILCE-7RM2    ---- lens    1/1000s    100 ISO    -1.3 EV  




Oct 16, 2017 at 02:27 AM
GMPhotography
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Yea I saw one used for 369 and my radar went off. Lol


Oct 16, 2017 at 02:30 AM
Juha Kannisto
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Those are very nice samples, Fred! Good to see you are enjoying the lens even if it's not ideal for landscape use.


Oct 16, 2017 at 02:33 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · FM Review of the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Nokton


Some more samples from today. It was a pleasure shooting with this lens. It's very easy to nail focus in low light even at f/1.2.










































Oct 16, 2017 at 04:32 AM
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