IN HAND: Voigtlander 40 1.2 Aspherical lens for the Sony E Mount

IN HAND: Voigtlander 40 1.2 Aspherical lens for the Sony E Mount

By Steve Huff

Hey all! I have been in Whistler Canada for the last 3 days on a mini vacation with some friends but the day before a special lens arrived to my mailbox. Yep, Cameraquest sent me the new Voigtlander 40 1.2 Aspherical lens for Sony E Mount and it’s a beauty, just as I expected it to be.

The lens is a nice size, has a great typical Voigtlander build and that f 1.2 aperture? Wonderful.

OOC JPEG, at f/1.2

As I sit here in my room writing this, I have 15 minutes before I have to leave for a 2 1/2 hour drive for the airport, and then a 4 hour flight back home. So this post here is a quick 1st look, with a new video (up at the top of this post) and just a few out of camera JPEGS here for your enjoyment.

The lens seems sharp at 1.4, has fantastic color, and gives that nice dreamy 1.2 bokeh. There is some vignetting wide open but that is to be expected in a $1000 f/1.2 lens. I will state that just after using this lens on my Sony A9 for a few hours, I am 99.9% sure I will be buying it and keeping it.

When I return home I will start on my full review of the lens, so more to come with this including many photos, raw conversions, and another video showcasing the lens. At just over $1000, it is not cheap but for what it is, so far, seems like a great buy. Stay tuned!

You can order this lens at cameraquest.com or at camera quest via Amazon 

27 Comments

  1. Hi, Steve.
    Did you find it difficult to manual focus at f/1.2. I’ve heard a couple of complains about it.
    Thank you.

    • NOT AT ALL, but I also do not find focusing a f/0.95 difficult with a Sony camera either. I found the 40 1.2 very easy to focus, and did not miss any shots, yet shot mostly at 1.2. Usually when some say it is difficult to focus a lens such as this, they are new to trying to focus a lens such as this. ; )

  2. Hi Steve,
    I have a question… I recently had a problem with the excellent Voigtlander 35mm 1.7. I needed to have it fixed and there is no contact info on the voigtlander website, there is no way to contact them directly!! That is crazy.
    On the website they just list their distributors and that is it.
    So basically once you are out of the 30 day return policy of a store, it would seem your waranty or repairs are impossible.
    I’ve loved these lenses for many years now but now I can’t bring myself to buying any more. Any thoughts? thanks.
    CAVA

    • Voigtlander will repair your lens. Go to the dealer where you purchased it and tell them you need to send it in for repair. They should be able to handle it for you without issue. I have owned and used Voigtlander lenses now for 15 years. NEVER had an issue with one, ever. If I did, I would have it repaired. For example, Stephen Gandy is the USA distributor, and top USA dealer for the brand. A simple email to him, I am sure, would bring you the info you need.

  3. I hope you enjoyed your time in Canada. You should come back when the snow is flying. Do some skiing or boarding. Anyway looks like a great lens, cheers.

  4. Amazing colors and overall IQ. I especially love the hug picture. I’m very tempted—this could become my main lens (forming a nearly complete kit with the 65mm APO-Lanthar). I agree with commenters who have said that 40mm is an ideal walkaround focal length. The Panny 20mm 1.7 and the tiny Nokton VM 40mm 1.4 (despite its optical idiosyncracies) are my favorite walkaround lenses on their respective systems. This E f1.2 seems optically much better than the VM 1.4—as it should be, being twice the size and price. If I get it, I’ll to keep the VM 1.4 for when I want a tiny setup and more classic look. (I think the f1.4 is underrated—you can get great results wide open, and in situations where its bokeh and flare would be distracting, you can always stop down a little.)

  5. great, can’t wait to see your 40/1.2 review. please give some thoughts about vs Voigtlander 35/1.2 ll.
    thanks.

    • Totally different vibe. The 35 1.2 will be softer wide open by quite a bit, with a glow and some CA. This one, not so. Sharp at 1.4, crisp, great color and no real glow. This is technically a better lens but has less “character”. Also, made for Sony so will have less vignetting as well.

      • thanks Steve, ok, “technically a better lens but has less “character”. yes, I’m using A7rll.. I have to get one to see how I like, might sell my new 35mm f1.2 .since I own batis 25mm anyway. thanks again, you always help !

  6. Isn’t this a wonderful lens?!
    Indeed great colors an bokeh. I appreciate the 40mm concept a lot. Too few manufacturers provide this focal length IMO, being closer to the natural perspective than 35 and 50mm. Again a very interesting option, again enlarging the already vast versatility of the E-mount system.
    Isn’t this just the most wonderful system on the planet these days?!

      • It is a fantastic lens. After using it more I have found it to be one of my fave voigtlander lenses ever. The little 50 3.5 is another, and then this for the low light or look with the shallow DOF. It’s just the right size for the Sony A7 or A9 as well.

  7. Hi Steve, after seeing the pictures it takes I’m not sure if it is better that the 35 nokton, on m mount. For one i was a bit surprised why they reduced the aperture blades from 12 in mount to 10. Also the bokeh of m mount lens looks better to me.
    Anyway, i do look forward to your pictures and insight.

    • Thanks for your opinion. I recently did a refresh on the 35 Nokton and when used on a Sony, this one wins without question technically. Sharper wide open, nicer color, less vignetting, and different bokeh that looks more like the Noctilux f/1. I feel this one is a better lens with a more modern look and the Nokton has more character, but is quite a bit softer wide open than the 40.

  8. Hi, can you if possible/have time, perform one check regarding the rendering/sharpness close to infinity when focused on the center and then on the edge and then display a region from the center and edges for both cases, maybe at f4-f8? Another reviewer noted the lens has a significant field curvature, thus at greater distances you either end up with the center being sharp, or the edges (mind you not actual extreme corners) are sharp, which is of course somewhat unfortunate for landscape photography. I personally would like to know whether this is simply sample variation or a feature of the lens itself.

    Thank you, P

    • I do not do things like that, as that is what the scientific pixel peeping reviewers do. I do real world, take real photos, and in real photos you will never see what you mention. At least, I highly doubt it. Ive never done things such as this in over 10 years of reviews. I will take some landscape shots but this is not meant to be a landscape lens. Not sure why someone would buy it for that purpose. It is more of a portrait, street, B&W, low light lens. For landscape I would choose something else entirely.

      • Hi, thank you very much for your reply. I am rooting for Voigtlander (having both 10 and 15mm) so i was kinda hoping for a nice do it all lens. The thing is – i shoot landscapes mostly, so i need the entire frame sharp from, well, at least f5,6 or so, but, i quite like shooting cars too – where the 35mm f2-ish works for me very well. Unfortunately, “my” type of lens is missing from Sony lineup. I used the 35 1.4 which was great, but a) heavy b) unnecessarily expensive. I had shortly the loxia 35 f2, regrettably the highlights rendering in contrasty situations till f4 make the lens a no-go for me. The small sonyzeiss 35 f2.8 is good, but i simply dont like the bokeh of it, seems somewhat nervous. So, this 40mm with relatively low weight of 420g is a significant interest to me, so i am looking forward to your review with great anticipation! 🙂

        Thanks again!
        Peter

  9. Gorgeous rendering…rather like the Zeiss Sonnar on the RX1, isn’t it. This lens is a no-brainer for anyone with a full frame e-mount. You had perfect lighting on that day 😉

  10. I am liking the photos that the lens can create. I really like 40mm focal length, sitting between 35mm, which I find too wide, and 50mm, which is too restricted. I am tempted to get this lens although I have an m-mount 40mm f1.4 via adapter, since this lens has the electrical contact with the camera.

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