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Archive 2022 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)

  
 
wzok
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Thanks for this post and your images. I came across this camera and the 3 lenses last year. I purchased the Yeenon adapter for the 50mm lens to Sony E mount. It is a unique lens, and I was most interested in the bokeh character wide open. I wish I could find an adapter for the other two lenses: Skoparon 35/3.5, and Dynaron 100/4.5.

The busy look can be good or bad, depending on the situation and one's preference. I rather like the shots from the fair. I have not used the lens much, but a couple of shots here:

Prominent 50mm 1.5 by Wayne Shumaker, on Flickr

Prominent Nokton 50mm F1.5 by Wayne Shumaker, on Flickr




May 16, 2023 at 10:18 AM
sander9t
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Thanks for the discussion. Your observation is absolutely right - the lens wide open produce extremely busy bokeh under strong light. Stopping down to f/2 doesn't smooth it out much, and it takes about f/2.8 to become very contrasty without glow and have clean/smooth bokeh. Most people probably won't appreciate the busy bokeh much, but there are a few including myself who dig this type of rendering - bubbly, wild, and painterly. One man's meat is another man's poison, I guess .

Back in those days, the optical designers probably had smooth bokeh as their goals. However, most vintage fast lenses have quite a lot of SA wide open, which causes highlight glow and busy bokeh. It was a compromise to offer fast aperture. I think they probably envisioned using the lens wide open only in low light situation as well. The other thing is that digital sensors tend to make the busy bokeh even busier than on film. So using these vintages on digital certainly deviates from designers' intention, but there are quite a bit of followers of this, maybe you can call, cult :P

Jman13 wrote:
It certainly has a unique rendering, though in the busy shots from the fair, I think the bokeh is rather awful - you've got ringed highlights appearing on people's arms, for instance. It's extremely busy. That look can be interesting, but also quite rough in some circumstances. I think it looks a lot better a stop or two down. Remember also that these older lenses were never really inteded to be shot wide open that often. The ultra-shallow depth of field look is really a more modern aesthetic, and most of the time people would have stopped this lens down
...Show more



Edited on Oct 13, 2023 at 12:29 PM · View previous versions



May 16, 2023 at 02:14 PM
sander9t
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Thanks for sharing your photos and the discussion!
wzok wrote:
Thanks for this post and your images. I came across this camera and the 3 lenses last year. I purchased the Yeenon adapter for the 50mm lens to Sony E mount. It is a unique lens, and I was most interested in the bokeh character wide open. I wish I could find an adapter for the other two lenses: Skoparon 35/3.5, and Dynaron 100/4.5.

The busy look can be good or bad, depending on the situation and one's preference. I rather like the shots from the fair. I have not used the lens much, but a couple of shots here:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52903069583_b474541bea_k.jpgProminent 50mm by Wayne Shumaker, on Flickr

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52656779353_3a834f37c0_h.jpgProminent Nokton 50mm F1.5 by Wayne Shumaker, on Flickr

...Show more




May 16, 2023 at 02:44 PM
sander9t
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


A few more on X-T3. The first three are wide open.

Dozing off by Sander Li, on Flickr

Street in Bokeh by Sander Li, on Flickr

Yellow/Blue by Sander Li, on Flickr

The 4th is an example of using a lens wide open for street photography, with a dreamy and glowy rendition.
Wide Open Street Photography by Sander Li, on Flickr

The last one is a stop-down street, sharp and clean without looking clinical.
My Take on Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation by Sander Li, on Flickr



May 24, 2023 at 08:03 PM
sander9t
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Would like to update this post with some photos from a full frame sensor. These are from my a7C. Compared to a crop sensor, FF obviously shows more swirls towards the peripheral part of the image but the painterly bokeh characters remain similar.

S7C02558 by Sander Li, on Flickr

S7C00849 by Sander Li, on Flickr

S7C00812 by Sander Li, on Flickr

S7C01088 by Sander Li, on Flickr

S7C01183 by Sander Li, on Flickr




Oct 13, 2023 at 11:58 AM
sander9t
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


The first three from a7C and the last two from on X-T3. Note that a crop sensor still shows some swirls but obviously less prominent (pun intended) than a FF sensor. All wide open except the third one which was stopped down to f/8.

Cusco, Peru by Sander Li, on Flickr

Cusco, Peru by Sander Li, on Flickr

Cusco, Peru by Sander Li, on Flickr

Arequipa, Peru by Sander Li, on Flickr

Cusco, Peru by Sander Li, on Flickr



Oct 13, 2023 at 12:11 PM
gyoung143
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Interesting to see these. I went to work for the photo dept of a big chemical company on 1963, amongst the medium and large format stuff in the cupboard there was a Prominent with the 1.5 Nokton. Not much use to us, it had apparently been bought so one of the research scientists could make use of the good (for its time) f/1.5 for a bit of industrial espionage!
Just a small point, I think from memory the Cosina Voigtlander version first appeared in LTM with their first batch of lenses, in the 1990s. I didn't buy one, but I did buy two of the others 25mm f/4 and the 15mm 4.5 (which I still have).

Gerry

Edited on Oct 14, 2023 at 02:18 PM · View previous versions



Oct 13, 2023 at 01:38 PM
sander9t
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Hi Gerry, thank you so much for sharing the story and pointing out my incorrect information on the Cosina reissue. I did a little more homework this time and updated the original post with what I believe is accurate. Indeed the first CV Nokton was the Aspherical 50/1.5 in LTM introduced in 1999; however, not until 2013 did CV actually replicate the exterior design of the original 1950s' LTM Nokton with the VM Aspherical. Here is a picture of the VM Aspherical Nokton in chromed brass (there is also another black version in aluminum which is lighter).

Voigtlander Nokton 1.5/50 Aspherical VM chrome version (2013) on X-T3 by Sander Li, on Flickr

gyoung143 wrote:
Interesting to see these. I went to work for the photo dept of a big chemical company on 1963, amongst the medium and large format stuff in the cupboard there was a Prominent with the 1.5 Nokton. Not much use to us, it had apparently been bought so one of the reseatch scientists could nake use of the good (for its tome) f/1.5 for a bit of industrial espionage!
Just a small point, I think from memory the Cosina Voigtlander version first appeared in LTM with their first batch of lenses, in the 1990s. I didn't buy one, but I did
...Show more




Oct 14, 2023 at 12:51 PM
gyoung143
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)



sander9t wrote:
Hi Gerry, thank you so much for sharing the story and pointing out my incorrect information on the Cosina reissue. I did a little more homework this time and updated the original post with what I believe is accurate. Indeed the first CV Nokton was the Aspherical 50/1.5 in LTM introduced in 1999; however, not until 2013 did CV actually replicate the exterior design of the original 1950s' LTM Nokton with the VM Aspherical. Here is a picture of the VM Aspherical Nokton in chromed brass (there is also another black version in aluminum which is lighter).

Voigtlander Nokton 1.5/50 by Sander Li, on Flickr


...Show more
No problem, the other of the original Cosina Voigtlander quartet was the 35mm/1.7, which I also had for a while.
A bit later than the Prominent the original Voigtlander company had Vitessa rangefinder and Bessamatic SLR cameras with a similar if not identical lens mount to each other (different to the Prominent). There are some interesting prime lenses for them, but avoid the Zoomar, one of the earliest zooms, which rivals the Nikon 43-86 of the same era as quite the worst lens ever sold for 35mm!
There was also an Agfa rangefinder 'system' similar to the Prominent, the Ambi Silette with interesting lenses, although not in the same league as the Nokton.

Gerry


Oct 14, 2023 at 02:15 PM
helimat
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Nice images! I've long been curious about the original Nokton, as my local camera store has a very rare LTM version in stock. Thanks for sharing


Oct 14, 2023 at 02:26 PM
sander9t
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Thanks for the discussion.

The DKL mount lenses for Vitessa T and Bessamatic/Ultramatic are definitely for another discussion - very high quality and still very reasonably priced - the Septon 50/2 is something I am particularly interested. Hope one day I can get one and compare to my Prominent Ultron 50/2.

The Ambi Silette system looks interesting. Will look into it.
gyoung143 wrote:
No problem, the other of the original Cosina Voigtlander quartet was the 35mm/1.7, which I also had for a while.
A bit later than the Prominent the original Voigtlander company had Vitessa rangefinder and Bessamatic SLR cameras with a similar if not identical lens mount to each other (different to the Prominent). There are some interesting prime lenses for them, but avoid the Zoomar, one of the earliest zooms, which rivals the Nikon 43-86 of the same era as quite the worst lens ever sold for 35mm!
There was also an Agfa rangefinder 'system' similar to the Prominent, the Ambi Silette with
...Show more




Oct 15, 2023 at 10:23 AM
sander9t
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Thank you. The original LTM Nokton is a highly sought after lens! The same optics as the Prominent version, without the hassle of adapting.

helimat wrote:
Nice images! I've long been curious about the original Nokton, as my local camera store has a very rare LTM version in stock. Thanks for sharing





Oct 15, 2023 at 10:25 AM
helimat
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


sander9t wrote:
Thank you. The original LTM Nokton is a highly sought after lens! The same optics as the Prominent version, without the hassle of adapting.



Yes! The price they are asking surprised me, until I found out just how few there are. Pretty neat!

Here's the link in for those that are curious:

https://www.camera-traders.com/products/voigtlander-50mm-f1-5-nokton-black-rim-for-ltm-1



Oct 15, 2023 at 10:33 AM
sander9t
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Original Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 (Prominent 1951-1960)


Just want to update the post with a few shots using the Techart AF adapter on Sony a7C. So double adapter setup as describe in the original post: YIFENG Prominent-M helicoid adapter + Techart LM-EA9 AF adapter. Manual focusing a 1.5 lens wide open is surely challenging and my hit rate is usually around 50%, but with Techart the hit rate is around 90% with camera's tracking and eye/face detection all working well.

Now I can comfortably hand my camera to someone else to take a picture of me. Wide open.
AF Power: Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.5 Prominent (1950s) + YIFENG Prominent-M helicoid adapter + TECHART LM-EA9 autofocus adapter by Sander Li, on Flickr

Wide open for street - the glow is obvious, producing a little dreamy look.
Learning to stop down? by Sander Li, on Flickr

Stopped down to f/2.8 - things clear up a lot and microcontrast improves.
Learning to stop down? by Sander Li, on Flickr



Dec 05, 2023 at 01:12 PM
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