In praise of the Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.2 by Fahad

In praise of the Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.2

by Fahad

Last February, I went to Istanbul for a quick visit, of course along with my camera and lenses.

As soon as I arrived, and started taking few pictures, I noticed that my Summicron 50mm (the one i used in both previous articles) is out of focus on all distances, after a full day of testing, I was certain something is wrong.

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Luckily, for that trip I had space to bring along the nokton 35mm 1.2, which I rarely use and was thinking about getting rid of it, the weight was the major disadvantage, and 35mm was just too wide for my taste.

So I had no other option but to use the nokton for now and buy another 50mm lens once the shops are open.

Well, that quick walk using the nokton changed my mind. now its my favorite lens. and I just appreciate the luxury of having f1.2, as for the weight, I just got used to it.

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I found that the 35mm is more versatile for the streets than the 50mm, with the 35mm I can shoot few building then go back my normal photo subjects without changing the lens. only now I understand why most photographers prefer the 35mm range.

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One last observation, the focus ring is smooth and you can feel so confident with this lens’ build quality.

attached are a few images.

my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fahad85/

Fahad A

26 Comments

  1. Great shots. Love the street scenes.

    How to you deal with the vignetting on the 35mm?
    I have the A7ii with the 35mm 1.4 and I am cropping the image to get rid of the dark corners.
    I also found that I can zoom to 1,4 and that gets rid of them as well. But when I save the settings to MR2, my manual lens mode, it does not stick and I have to zoom again when I power the camera on again.

    I also downloaded Lens Compesation App from Sony Store, but whilst it has more correcting tools It does not solve the vignetting problem. Lest I do not know how to use it yet.

    Anyway, are you cropping in software? using digital zoom?

    Thanks.

    • Hey Cesar,

      Yes this lens vignettes like crazy wide open, i fix it in adobe camera raw (under effects tab). but to be honest, i enjoy the vignette effect in some images, it just helps in making the image look more authentic and less digital.

      This lens is beautiful, by far my favorite. what i love about it is the classic rendering, while still having smooth out of focus area. and for the price, i don’t mind having some vignetting here and there 🙂

      • Thanks Fahad.

        I finally figured out why I was getting the dark, unresolvable vignettes. It was the Lens hood!!! Once I removed the lens hood, voila! Gone.

        Now back to loving this lens. I did order a lens hood that states specifically that it will not Vignette the Sony A7ii.

        Thanks for the ping.

  2. I like these street views, but I compared them with your 50mm posting from earlier this year and found myself more engaged with the shots from that lens. But you encourage me to try a bit more with 35. Maybe I should take the teleconverter off my X100S again!

    • Thanks John,

      i might agree with you here about the 50mm being more engaging to look at. that’s why i’m adapting my shooting to focus closer to my subjects with the 35mm. and by far i’m getting great results.

      I have a soft spot for the x100s, its a fun little camera that delivers fantastic results. i just wish they would get rid of the focus by wire thing! doesn’t serve well in zone focusing, they should also engrave that lens with distance scale.

    • Thanks Eric.

      if shoot this lens wide open, you would get that softness, but at f2.8, its just as sharp as any modern lens.

  3. Lovely photos.

    Regarding weight and size: Don’t forget the tiny Nokton 35 1.4, and 40 1.4. They may not have quite the dreamy rendering of the 1.2, but they’re no slouches, well built, and (did I mention?) small.

    • Thank you jim.

      for the past three days i’v been carrying this lens (on Leica M) for over 9 hours a day. and i got to say it gets a bit too much. i might be considering a lighter lens that dosen’t break my neck.

      and that zeiss 35mm 1.4 is huge, my only options ar CV and maybe a Summilux.

  4. Sharpness is highly overrated. If at all this lens is soft only at 1.2, which even the Canon 50 1.2 L is, maybe worse. The moment you go to 1.8 and above this gives amazingly sharp results anyway, and I love the Bokeh

    • Exactly! i don’t get why some say its soft, of course it’s soft wide open.

      Regarding the bokeh, its not the smoothest, but it has character.

  5. The CV35/1.2 is a great and underestimated lens. It is still my number one low light lens and there’s virtually no wedding that I could do without it…

    • I think you can live without VSCO when you shoot with the Voigtländer lens 😉 From what i see here i would say it is just the way the lens renders. Some call it classic. I prefer a lens that is more neutral and if i want character i do it in post. But if you are a fan of that look, i guess there is no better way than shooting this lens.

      • i usually use my own presets, but i cant achive that look without shooting this lens wide open (2.0 1.4 and 1.2)

  6. The viogtlander 35 1.2 is a little soft but that said I love the look it’s got a great vibe thanks for great shots and article I personally have version 1 which is even not as sharp but for a certain look I love it

    • i still cant find a lens that is modern built, fast, classic rending with butter smooth out of focus area.

      Pretending as if the noctilux does not exist.

    • concur the focus ring exudes confidence. 35mm or 28mm should be good compromise if you’re only taking one lens with you. i would like it better if the lens is more compact though.

  7. Thank you for your write up. I find your immages very moody. One can almost hear the sounds of the street. I like the 35mm focal length as well, but find it hard to focus manually, in a hurry.
    Best wishes from Switzerland!
    Joseph

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