A trip to Taiwan with Voigtlander Nokton on film
By Thomas Chan
Two weeks ago, I went to Taiwan for 6 days with my Konica Hexar RF. I only brought with me one M-mount lens: The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 ASPH. A large proportion of my shooting (except some photos for friends) were done with this camera with Fujifilm X-Tra 400 film, a film known for its cheap price.
Initially I was quite disappointed, because the weather was never good, with clouds and even rain throughout the trip, while the sun never really appeared. I tried to make the most out of this lens and film, but still I wish the weather was better.
Regarding the camera and lens, I think the Konica Hexar RF performed really well, because of its 1/4000 shutter speed and also accurate metering in A mode. A mode allows me to do some street photography really quickly without spending much time on adjusting the shutter speed. This is particularly important when you are on a trip, as you can save quite some time. It’s also much cheaper than the Leica M7, though the focusing shifted slightly during the trip, so I sent it to maintenance after the trip.
The lens is also a bargain (Compared to the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH), which delivers some good image quality and nice bokeh.
Fujifilm X-Tra 400 is a bargain, however, I think it’s not the best film choice under cloudy weather. The colour is a little sad but I think it is a common problem with cheap films. Most pictures I took were 1-2 stop overexposed.
I think the photographic experience in Taiwan is unique. There are large variety of themes, from the street such as night markets, to rural areas with nice scenery, so you have no excuse when you didn’t find anything to take pictures of.
Hope you like my photos in Taiwan. Here’s my flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/36373785@N03/
From Steve: Thank you Thomas for the lovely post and images! For anyone else that would like to write a user report or review or even a daily inspiration, see the page here for details!
It is quite easy to adjust the focus yourself, just unscrew the top. Unfortunately my rangefinder prism was crushed, so I had to change to leica… I prefer the hexar. The only fault I can think of is that the rangefinder mechanism much more fragile than on the leica.
The one with so many cars and motorbikes… how could you get that wonderful moment on film?
Everything moving is nicely located in the picture.
These are great. Thanks for sharing!
Nice shots and colours too.
Thanks for photographing my home (Literally, my building is in one of your shots!).
There is one thing wrong with all of these images. They are not in my portfolio.
Great images, all of them
Photos of kids on bikes and the umbrella photo are excellent
these are fantastic scans of superia xtra. Good pointer on overexposing it, I normallly get much grainier results at box speed.
so boring. come on!
I’m just an amateur who is still exploring in photography. Moreover, this trip is not a trip just for photography(as we go as a group of 10), so I cannot really spend a lot of time staying at a place and wait for a moment. I respect your opinion, and will continue taking pictures everywhere.
Hey Thomas, no need to give this loser any explanations. You enjoy this wonderful craft. Just let the haters hate and don’t waste a single moment of your time on them.
Fuji colour negative films are so, so nice in good light. One day I’d love to try the Hexar RF. Is the motor winder’s noise acceptable?
I don’t know much about the CV 50/1.5 – as far as I know, it’s similar to the Zeiss 50/1.5, and if that’s true, it has focus shift. Focus shift is not a problem with live view, but for RFs it’s a deal-breaker.
Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Thank you, Karim.
The Hexar RF winder is not very loud, but yet the frequency is kind of sharp, so it gets a bit of attention if you are in a quiet place.
Indeed I think CV 50/1.5 gets a bit of focus shift, which is something people don’t mention during a review. I’m not sure if it’s just my lens though.
You can have the lens tweaked to have perfect focus wide open, then the shift will effect shots taken at 2.8 or so, by the time you get to F5.6 or F8 it doesn’t matter anymore. Plus there’s more leeway with film then digital. Very nice pictures as well.
I owned the Zeiss ZM 50 1.5; I now own the Nokton 1.5. The Zeiss had focus shift issues; my copy of the Nokton does not. The Zeiss, additionally, was sometimes impossible to focus (though I got some beautiful images when it did), which has never been a problem for the Nokton. Note also that Steve never experienced focus shift in his tests of the Nokton. See his review here: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2013/06/19/the-voigtlander-50-1-5-aspherical-vm-lens-review/
The new CV 1.5 is an aspherical double Gauss design and should not focus shift. The Zeiss is a Sonnar lens, and, like all sonnars, has a unique look, but considerable shift. IMHO, the Zeiss 1.5 does best when optimized at 2.8 – particularly when shooting film where you can’t chimp and then adjust. You may have to lean in a foot or so when wide open, but depth of field will pretty much cover the focus shift at 3.5 and above. Roger Hicks did a nice review when the lens first came out (and came from Zeiss optimized at 2.8). He demonstrated how the depth of field covers the shift. Zeiss now issues the lens optimized at 1.5. I’ve been using my 1.5 copy for three years, and am probably going to send it in to be optimized at 2.8.
Very interesting. Thanks!
What I noticed is that at f/2 or f/2.8, the focusing is slightly inaccurate at distances around 5m – somewhere near infinity. The focal point is closer to the image I tried to focus. I wonder if it’s because of my camera instead of the lens though. This is something I’m really unsure about.
Great shoots. The 2 photos from above with the woman with a 2 children and other women with the umbrella are trully awesome. Thanks for the share! The beautify and magic of film is still unparalleled.
I really like your street shots, Thomas. Don’t bother about the weather. That’s how it is! Taking street shots only in sunny weather would be rediculous, because totally unreal.
Nice work Thomas.
The photo of the mum with the two kids in red on the tricycles is great!
Nice images. I quite like the colours, they have a nice pastel look to them. I’d be pretty pleased if I took these images!