The Voigtlander 40 f/1.2 Nokton Lens Review. A Noctilux for your Sony A7 or A9?
By Steve Huff
Hey guys! I have just arrived back from a trip to Whistler Canada where I visited friends (non photo) for a weekend getaway with Debby. We did not go there to shoot photos, but rather to hang out in a nice Chalet with close friends and chat, enjoy great food and good times. But I did have some time to get out and about during the weekend, just once or twice for an hour or so and what I brought with me this time was my Sony A9 and new Voigtlander 40 f/1.2 Lens. Yes, you heard that right.. a new Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical lens made just for SONY! I was all set to bring my Olympus and 25 1.2 but could only bring one system, and only one due to having to keep my baggage light. This lens arrived just in time, so it was a no brainer to make this decision.
So it was the Sony A9 and 40mm, along with my 28mm f/2 which I have been enjoying the heck out of lately. I also brought along my GoPro and Karma grip which is what I used to make this 1st Look video on this new lens.
The growing line of Voigtlander lenses for Sony E Mount. Photo courtesy of CameraQuest.
After truly looking over the lens, and attaching it to the A9 I started to appreciate what it was and what it offered. Those who truly know me and have followed me for years know I love lenses that have something about them..something special. Character, something different or unique along with great build and feel, and if manual focus, easy to use and smooth focus action. After reviewing the gorgeous and tiny Voigtlander 50 f/3.5 a while back (see that review HERE and the video HERE) I started to fall in love, seriously, with Voigtlander lenses. Sure, I really enjoyed some of the older Voigtlander lenses. The 35 f/1.2 (of which this lens beats, for sharpness, wide open performance and color) has been a long time favorite of mine, and while only for Leica M mount, it was easy enough to use adapters with. That lens offered a dreamy soft glow when shot at f/1.2 and had a traditional “Leica style” build and feel. This new 40mm f/1.2 is much sharper wide open, does not have the “glow” wide open and also improves upon the color, contrast, and to date, I have not seen any CA or real issues with performance other than some vignetting when wide open.
These Two were shot on the A7RIII
So what we have here is a lens with modern-day performance in color and sharpness with a very usable and amazing f/1.2 aperture. Low light, look out. The combo of a Sony A7 or A9 series with an f/1.2 native lens means you can shoot in any light. While not a huge difference over f/1.4 just mentally, knowing you have an f/1.2 lens will make you feel like you can create miracles in low light, lol. Honestly though, f/1.2 always sounds better than f/1.4 to those who love fast aperture glass.
The 40 1.2 on the Sony A7. Lens comes with a Hood.
To those who know me, you also know I do not do “scientific” reviews of any camera gear, as there always have been and always will be sites just for that and for those who enjoy the more pixel peeping kind of stuff. I feel it has nothing to do with what the lens was designed for (which is, going out and taking photos) as most issues that some find in the scientific testing realm, well, usually can not be seen or found when using the lens in reality by mere mortals. If there is something really bad about a lens, it will show up in real photos. If it doesn’t then to me, it is not a real issue. Hence, “real world reviews” of which I was the first site to offer this back 10 years ago now.
A quick B&W conversion, looks great. Click it for larger.
I expected this lens to arrive, be a tad soft wide open, have duller colors, low to medium contrast, busy bokeh and be you typical “old school” Voigtlander style of lens. But I seemed to have forgotten that Voigtlander has stepped up their game lately with lenses like the 65 f/2 APO and now that they are making lenses for the Sony E Mount it just re-affirms what I have said all along about the Sony A7 and A9 cameras. THEY ARE THE MOST VERSATILE CAMERAS on the market, and technically, most impressive. Yes, I love other cameras as you guys very well know but when we really study what each camera system can do, it is always Sony who comes out on top for just about everything, at least in my opinion. Speed? CHECK. Smaller than a DSLR? CHECK. Nice EVF Quality? CHECK. Amazing AF Performance? CHECK (A9), Can take almost any lens made? CHECK (via adapters), Great battery life? CHECK (a9), Dual SD Slots? CHECK (A9), Manual controls? CHECK (A9 mostly), Great Video? CHECK, I mean, the list goes on and on.
First Look Video from a few days ago!
So it is nice to see that Voigtlander is releasing amazingly good quality glass for the Sony E Mount system, and yes, you can use this lens on the other great Sony cameras, the A6000 series. You will get a 60mm FOV due to being APS-C but even so, 60 f/1.2 (light gathering) is also quite nice. So this lens will be wonderful on Sony full frame, and great on APS-C where you will only lose some of the character as it will be cropped out so to speak. With 10 aperture blades, and a pretty nice close focus distance of 10.5 inches from the lens, along with two aspherical elements optimized for Sony sensors… it is no wonder this lens is so good.
Nice colors right from camera, and lovely sharpness even when wide open.
So while my expectations were lower (in my mind) for this lens, I could not have been more surprised when I started to shoot with it.
I was seeing fantastic sharpness wide open, much sharper than the 35 f/1.2 and while not brutally sharp wide open, it’s much sharper than I expected. I was seeing a nice crisp rendering and gorgeous colors, no casts or off “dirty” color. I was seeing a nice contrast and great subject separation without being too crazy or wonky. The bokeh was much nicer than expected and the images had that “snap” and I was not seeing any CA or issues besides softer corners when shot at f/1.2. Even this was minimal. While I would not buy this lens as a landscape lens, as I feel it is made for street, portraits, low light and walk around, stop it down to f/8 and it can indeed be used for landscape (though again, there are better lenses for this on your Sony system).
I am happy to say this lens exceeded my expectations in every way.
I was driving and just held the camera up, set to infinity, as I approached a red light.
As I teased in the title and mentioned the word “Noctilux” I figured some of you would laugh and say HAHAHAH, yea right. Well, no laughs here as this lens reminds me a little bit of the original Noctilux f/1 but with better color, sharper wide open and with a little bit of the same character, but not fully there. For $1059 one can get closer to the Noctilux than ever before without spending $6-8k for one of the older versions. What we have here for our Sony cameras is a lens that reaches to 40mm vs 50, and offers f/1.2 vs f/1 so I see it as an original “Noctilux Light”. Almost there but not quite, yet in some ways, even better than the old f/1 version that yes, sells for crazy money used.
THIS LENS HAS BETTER COLOR THAN THE OLD NOCTILUX!
This lens, for some, may even sell a Sony A7 or A9 or two. This could be a tipping point lens for a few out there who wanted these kind of manual focus lenses without having to break the bank for a Leica M or go to a huge fat DSLR and huge lenses.
On the Sony A9, this lens feels fantastic. Not large, not small but right in the middle and it feels just right. If one wanted to spend $2k, you could go for a brand new Sony A7 for under $1000 and then this lens for $1059. A few bucks over $2k but a powerful low light manual focus combo for street, or whatever you like.
But look at the color from the next two shots…wowzers. Click them to see them larger, and in a much better way.
Look at the creamy bokeh and shallow DOF here. I focused on the leaf at the upper part of the image, easy to see. Click it for larger. 2nd image has lovely colors and was also shot wide open.
So this lens, IMO, shows Voigtlander is getting serious. I guess they have to as if we look at the competition today in the lens world, there are so many lenses being released from all kinds of manufacturers and many of them, are very cheap and affordable (though not up to performance levels like this). I remember with some older Voigtlander glass, like the M mount 40 1.4 for example, the colors would be more muted, contrast would be low, sharpness…meh, and the bokeh would be wonky at times (see a nice user report on that lens here). These days Voigtlader is making glass that rivals lenses that cost much more. I think this is wonderful as I have always like Voigtlander as a company and the fact that they always offered those who shot Leica a lower cost alternative.
With this lens at $1059, while not cheap, it offers color performance in the $2k range. It offers the color and sharpness of more expensive lenses and as a bonus, we get that f/1.2 aperture for when the lights get low. Not too shabby my friends.
As for the A9, I still love it to pieces and use it almost daily wether it is for video or photo. With my 16-35, 28 f/2, 65 f/2 APO and other lenses, it offers me anything I need. While not as satisfying to use as something like a X1D, it is a technically better camera, a more “all rounder” that can do anything I need it to do. To date, since launch, this Sony A9 has not let me down in one area. It has instead, excelled in every area from AF to Video to Photo quality to speed and response, etc. The $4500 I paid for it has already paid off for me, and it still looks brand new, so holding up very well. I love my A9.
WHY DOES ONE NEED f/1.2?
A valid question I often get. Usually it is “Why do I need an f/1.4 Lens”? Well, you do not need a fast prime unless you need it. By that I mean, and I will talk about this lens in general here…:
- Do you often shoot in very low light? If so, you will benefit from a lens such as this.
- Do you like shallow depth of field and “bokeh”? If so, this lens will be worth a look.
- Do you enjoy manual focus, manual aperture dials and classic build quality? If so, this is a lens to look at.
- Do you enjoy a lens that gives nice results out of camera? If so this lens is beautiful.
- Do you shoot a Sony A7 or A9 and want all of the above? Well, here you go.
Basically a fast prime will offer you two worlds. They are sometimes like a “Jeckyl and Hyde” and by that I mean when wide open at f/1.2 you will get a nice lovely feel and look. A teeny but of softness wide open at your focus point but much sharper than you would expect for a lens at this kind of price tag.
At this wide open aperture you will also get lovely shallow DOF, nice subject separation and nice colors.
Stop it down a tad, to f/2 or f/2.8 and get sharper performance and the look of a more traditional lens. With a fast prime, well, a good fast prime you get the best of both worlds.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE LENS
What I enjoy about this lens besides the obvious is well, everything. The Size is perfect, not too big, not too small. Weight is nice. Focus barrel is smooth and the aperture dial is solid yet smooth. No slop anywhere. This is a 40mm Aspherical lens, so not quite 50 and more reach than your typical 35. This means we also get more shallow DOF than a 35 and less than a 50 of similar aperture. Being an f/1.2 design, we will get very close to the DOF of a 50mm f/1.4 but with a wider reach, slightly. I have always found the 40mm focal length to be interesting, as it is not what I am used to nor what most of us are used to. But different is good, and can be good for pumping up your creative juices.
I also like the fact that the lens triggers the auto magnify feature of the Sony A9 EVF. Turn the lens, and the EVF magnifies to allow you to nail focus much easier. This can be turned off of course but it is my preferred way to shoot. Makes it quick and easy once you get the hang of it. It will work with focus peaking and you can set the aperture dial to be silent for video use.
The lens is also priced right. If Voigtlander skimped on the lens to make it a $699 special then it would have suffered. We would have suffered. The colors would be dull, we would see CA and we would get softness wide open. So at $1059, this lens is priced just about right. $999 would have been a GREAT number and a steal but at $1059, it is also a great buy for what you get.
I love that the lens is so easy to use on the Sony and while it does not have the all out pop of the Sony 50 1.4 Zeiss, it does give a more gentler approach to the way it renders images. Maybe not quite as digital in appearance. While still looking digital, because it is, this lens renders in a way that will show you a little bit of classic and a lot of modern. That little bit of classic thrown in makes it what it is. Special and unique.
A QUICK COMPARISON, JUST FOR FUN
I own the Olympus EM1 MKII and 25 f/1.2, which is a fanatic combo that delivers a 50mm FOV to your Olympus Micro 4/3 camera (the lens). While we are only getting the DOF of a 25 1.2, we are getting that light gathering which is so valuable. Even so, the DOF will not be as extreme as the 40 f/1.2 as we are using a 25mm lens. Hence, DOF of a 25mm at f/1.2. Sound confusing? It’s not if you think of it in this way. When not using full frame sensors, such as APS-C and Micro 4/3 lenses will have a sort of magnification effect, so wth a M 4/3 sensor and crop factor of 2X, a 25mm will give you the reach of a 50mm lens, but the character and bokeh of a 25mm lens. So the Olympus being a 25mm lens will give us more DOF than the Voigtlander 40mm. Below is an example of the same shot taken with the A9 and 40 1.2 and then the EM1 MKII and 25 1.2 :
1st shot is the Sony A9 and 40 1.2 at f/1.2 – close up focusing will deliver an even more shallow DOF effect as the closer you are to the subject, the more background blur you will achieve. Here we do not even have enough DOF to get the entire can of “TAB” in focus ; ) Who here remembers TAB? ISO 100, 1/40s, f/1.2
The next shot is with the EM1 MKII and 25 f/1.2 which will give the magnification of a 50mm lens, but the DOF of a 25mm (as it is a 25mm lens and never should be labeled as a 50 as some want). At f/1.2 we have a larger DOF (less blur) because we are using a wider focal length lens. As we know, the longer the lens (more telephoto) the more shallow DOF we can achieve at the same aperture. ISO 200, 1/60s – We still get the light gathering of that f/1.2 aperture.
As you can see the Olympus combo will give you a more “usable” DOF with am ore modern look. The color of the Sony combo is a little more flashier. I’d say the color is somewhere in between these two in reality. Both will deliver in low light but the performance will depend on the camera hardware and high ISO capabilities. This is where the Sony would win. But for a more modern look, the Olympus would take it. For a mix of modern and vintage, the 40 1.2 wins.
MORE INFO ON THE LENS (FROM CAMERAQUEST.COM)
The FASTEST production full frame 40mm lens ever made!
Manual Focus Short Super Fast Normal lens providing limited depth of field at f/1.2
Advanced optical design with TWO Aspherical elements optimized for Sony mirrorless cameras
Selective Aperture Control allows click-less aperture selection for video
Chipped to take advantage of Sony’s electronic interface:
Providing EXIF, Focus Peaking, 5 Axis Image Stabilization if camera supported, Lens correction
60mm field of view on APS-C sensors
Precision 1/3 click f/stops
8 elements in 6 groups
Filter size: 58mm
Close focus 13.78″ or 1:6.2 (or 10.5″ from front of lens)
10 Aperture blades for dreamy bokeh
f/stop range f/1.2 to f/22
Size: Weight 14.6 oz, lens extends 58mm from camera body at infinity,70.1mm diameter
Lens hood and Lens caps included
WHO IS THIS LENS FOR?
This lens is for anyone who wats a well made, great feeling and solid manual focus lens for their Sony A7 or A9 or A6000 series camera that will offer them an f/1.2 aperture and one that is great at that aperture. No low quality here when shooting wide open, nope. Instead we get a beautiful rendering with all of the qualities we look for in a lens. Let’s face it, lenses these days are not cheap, and to find one like this, with this kind of versatility (amazing wide open or stopped down) for about a grand is fantastic. So if you want a classic feeling and beautiful lens for your Sony and do not mind Manual Focus, this lens comes highly recommended by me. It’s gorgeous and would offer you something different in your lens arsenal. I love it. Two more shots below to show the Bokeh and color, straight from RAW’s.
WHERE TO BUY?
You can buy this lens at CameraQuest HERE. You can also buy it from CameraQeuest via Amazon PRIME HERE.
This copy came from them, for review. But I am trying to scrape the funds to purchase for my A9! It’s a lovely lens. A few more samples as shot on the new Sony A7RIII
UPDATE: I have now had this lens for about a month or more and WOW, I can not take it off of my A9 nor did I want to remove it from the A7RIII I was testing this past week. It’s been my fave lens for my Sony since it arrived as it offers a dreamy, beautiful image quality with nice colors and a tiny bit of glow. This lens is so nice for the Sony system as it is made for it, and integrates perfectly. The size is also perfect. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS LENS!!!
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Steve – How would you compare this to the 35/1.2 ? That one has been on my shortlist. Thanks !
No contest IMO. This is a superior lens with sharper performance wide open, sharper corners, better color and more snap/contrast. I recently took a new look at the old 35 f/1.2 and this lens, technically, is superior.
Thanks Steve !
Steve: Based on your reviews, and in-part my reading opinions on other sites, in short order I’ll be taking delivery of the A7R3, the A6500, the e-mount Voigtlander 40, 1.2 and 15 Heliar, as well as the G Master 24-70. Will be cool to try the Voigt’s on the APS-C 6500. Can’t wait! Regarding the 2 Voigtlander lenses. I’m assuming they’ll function on full manual exposure, or aperture priority. DO I need to set any other in-camera menu-items to allow these lenses to function with the Sony bodies?
Thanks for your informative road tests!
Wow, great set up! The Voigtlander will work on both bodies, and nothing special is required. Just attach and it will work as it is made for E mount. You will love that lens, and the RIII is fantastic. The 24-70 GM is also a beautiful lens. You did good!
I think the two Voigtlander lenses will be more intriguing on the 6500 than mounted to the A7 (better A7 image quality not withstanding of course). I’ll have the equivalent of a 22mm F4.5 wide and a very cool 60mm F1.2 lens! Once I get up to speed with everything, I’ll plan to post a full update on a new thread with both lenses on each body.
Steve and everyone, how much do you feel the curved focal plane effect on out of focus areas (bokeh mostly) impacts overall use of this lens? With the 40/1.4 M Nokton usually in the 1m-3m range the corners in the background start to be in focus, and it can be distracting (only in daylight though, for low light vignetting and the dark nature of the scenes end up hiding this characteristic of the lens). I’ve seen some photos with the FE 40/1.2 Nokton and noticed this also happens (maybe less than on the 1.4?), trying to decide whether getting one would be an upgrade or just switching 6 for half a dozen. The 40/1.4 M is currently my fav lens on the A7Rii (pairing with a 20/2 FiRiN). Thanks!
Have you ever tried the Voigtlander 15 heliar e-mount on the A7RIII or A9?
Sure, and have written about it on this site ; ) I suggest using the search tool to find them. Thanks.
Thanks! Based on your review, and my having rented the 15 for my long-gone M240 I’ll be purchasing for my Sony. “Another opinion from you”, if you have a moment. 40 is not quite wide enough for my needs. What in your opinion is the best “35mm native (not adapted) lens for the e-mount? In order of most to least important…
1- Optical quality wide open.
2 -Must have a useable depth-of-field-scale.
3-Speed (1.4, 1.8 etc)
4-AF or MF, doesn’t matter
You choices are limited if you want a NATIVE lens that fits your criteria. Only one I can think of is the Zeiss Loxia 35. Manual focus only. Not quite as nice as this 40, but it’s a 35mm f/2. It’s small as well.
I’ll play a bit with both but in retrospect, will probably get the 40, and re-adjust my field of view. My use-case for the 35 I think is more being a creature-of-habit; so I’ll modify how I shoot this prime!
You can wait for the e mount lens voigtlander is bringing in a few months. Heard it will be 35/1.4
Dear Steve, thx for that post and the images. Now i have my a7r III and the Zeiss 35mm 1.4 does not render well like on my a7 II (Non R). Same with the Sonnar 55mm 1.8. Tooo sad 🙁 So i’m searching for a replacement for the 35mm. Looks good! The Loxia 35 is nice but only f/2. What do you think, at f/2 the same sharpness? Thanks!
At f/2 this is most likely sharper than the loxia at f/2. Not sure why your 35 1.4 or 55 1.8 do not perform the same, as they should be better than what your II gives you. I would take the 40 1.2 over a Loxia. It’s outstanding.
Thank you Steve, will look for the Nokton 🙂 I think the II is underated… but for real, the Results in C1 are looking better on the II but with less good colors.
The 55mm 1.4 has more pop?!
Which lens has the most microcontrast.
The 40mm or the 55mm?
Sorry I meant the 50mm has more pop?
I was considering buying the 55mm
The 55 1.8 is AF. But for my tastes it is too clinical. I was never a huge fan of that lens. The best Sony Af 50 is the 50 1.4 they sell. Amazing lens that competes with a Leica summilux. The 55 1.8 was their first lens for full frame and is good, share but for my eyes lacks a bit. I would use worlds like “dry” “clinical” and the color is not as nice as what the 40 gives. BTW, the 40 being an f/1.2 will give the same pop if not more than the 55 as it is f/1.8. I don’t know, I just love this lens. But for anyone considering it be sure you are ok with manual focus. Good luck in your decision.
Just answered your other comment. Thank you.
Hi Steve… Lovely pictures. I wonder how this will fare with my zm sonnar 50. This is a very lovely lens but sadly might be too close to my lovely little sonnar.
Thanks for reading and looking! I have owned the Sonnar a few times in my lifetime. Lovely lens but totally different rendering. Like two different lenses really. This Voigtlander, IMO, is a better lens when it comes to color performance and overall vibe. The Sonnar is nice but has more busy bokeh in some scenarios. But both are lovely lenses.
Thanks Steve. I wonder now….. I have the new Sony A7Riii and the CL might tempt me when it is available. Would it be worth getting this lens in the m mount, that way would work on Sony as well as Leica.
PS – I am sure Leica will bring full frame EVF camera by 2019. Meanwhile they might bring different fancy versions of M10.
Thinking of selling my M240 (might keep my 50mm and 35 mm) and my Oly 5 mark 2 with 12-40, 20, 17 and 45 mm – and buy the a7r3. What lenes would you get for travel and family needs? What is the best choise for an all purpose standard zoom.? Am I right to believe that manual lenses made for the Sony are easier to work with than M lenses and adapter? Keep up the good work Steve, you are still the best place for inspiration and good advice 🙂
All depends on what you like. Do you want manual lenses? Do you want auto focus? Small with some sacrifice of IQ or large bests that deliver the best you can get?
So many lenses for Sony these days. The better Sony lenses are the 50 1.4 Zeiss, the 85 1.4 GM, the 24-70 GM and 16-35 GM. They are all large, auto focus and fantastic quality. If you want lighter, try the Zeiss Batis line, all fantastic. Smaller? Try the manual focus Zeiss Loxia line. They are small, well made, and feel wonderful while giving you superb IQ. They are made for the Sony mount so no issues. Then you have a lens like this, which is one of my faves as it feels and performs like a more expensive lens. If you are OK with manual lenses on your Sony, this one is a must try out at least. I’d recommend this over any adapted Leica lens. Lenses I am not a huge fan of these days with the Sony system are the Sony/Zeiss 55 1.8, Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8 (though it is tiny and performs well) and Sony/Zeiss 24-70 f/4.
Great review Steve, this lens looks amazing!
You say “Two more shots below to show the Bokeh and color, straight from RAW’s.”
But what exactly does straight from raw even mean? The default rendering for a Sony raw file in Capture 1 and Lightroom is completely different. Given we all use different raw converters differently, and most serious users will change the default settings, I think you have to specify which raw converter that you are using. Better yet, just give us Standard JPEGs straight from the camera, because everyone who shoots Sony will know what they look like. If you say, “uh-uh, I only shoot RAW!!!” I have two things to say.
1. Raw is an adjective in the english language which means uncooked, it is not an acronym like JPEG, and therefore should not be capitalized as RAW unless you are screaming “ohhh baby I like it RAAAWWW!!!”
2. Even if you only ever shoot raw, you should still shoot raw+JPEG(S). Why? Because it actually provides both a faster and a higher quality image preview than the tiny sidecar file embedded in the raw. This is most necessary on the A7RII, to a lesser extent the a6500, while I have not yet tried the a9, I would likely set the camera up the same way for quality reasons alone, but especially now given how lightroom was just updated to use the paired jpeg instead of the embedded raw preview.
Have you ever tried Zeiss Loxia 35 f2 and Loxia 50 f2?
I love the rendering and the colours of these lenses, but wonder how this Voigtlander would compare to the Loxia when stopped down to f2.
I already have 16-35 f/4 and want to find one more fast lens for travelling.
Thank you so much for all your reviews! I have been your secret reader for a while now 🙂
Yep, reviewed both of those here when they came out. You can find them under the ‘Mirrorless Central” page in the menu ; ) Different looks to the Voigtlander vs Zeiss.
How is the handling Loxia vs Voigtlander? Does either feel better balanced? Easier to focus?
Different lenses. The Loxia lenses all feel similar. Smooth lens barrel, etc. The Nokton feels like most Voigtlanders. Both are very nice, and have great handling. Either choice is wonderful but the Voihtlander is more up my alley for IQ over the 35mm Loxia.
What’s that city, Steve? It’s beautiful.
Whistler – Canada.
Great review of a very nice (and tempting) lens. Moreover, 40mm is a focal length I do love (I’m rarely shooting out of 35mm-50mm, except for my architectural work when wider TS lenses are needed). But, what if I already have a Noctilux f1? (I had to get rid of many stuff to be able to afford such lens!).
I had the Voight 50mm Nokton 1.1 (on my Sony A7 R II, I’ve never shot with a Leica camera), and I liked it a lot. This 40mm seems to be very similar (great colors, nice contrast, sharp enough for my taste wide open and really sharp stopped down), but it seems to render out of focus areas in a much creamier way than the Nokton (bokeh is not its main strength). Hmm… so many wonderful lenses and so little money (and time!).
I was going to pick up an X-E1 to mate with my collection of vintage lenses, but your throwaway line about the original A7 along with this Voigtländer got me thinking, “hmmmm….” (Samys in Pasadena got inundated with requests for the original A7 after your post, btw!)
It’s lenses like this that prevent me from buying into a system like the X1D. Don’t get me wrong I love the detail coming from the X1D, I just don’t love it enough to settle for it’s stock lenses. I suppose I could ad it to my collection but with all of life’s little surprises and opportunities, having a twelve thousand dollar ++ camera sitting around depreciating seems wasteful to me. Picking up this new Voigtlander for my A9, for around a grand feels really good 😉
thank you again Steve
seems the that the lens is very suitable for all-around
how it will be on the SL?
Not usable on the SL, this is a Sony E Mount and Sony glass can not be used on the SL.
Just announced for the M mount!
Overall, very nice bokeh…but a bit lacking in sharpness/detail on the focus point at f/1.2.
I figured as it would be a natural lens for the M.
Very impressive—amazing colors, image quality at 1.2, rendering. (And it’s probably the perfect time of year to photograph here in Western Canada.) I’m beginning to think these 3 Voigtlander lenses—35, 40, 65—could be about all I’d need. I think the 35/1.4 will probably not be as stellar as the other two, apparently being about the same as the VM version. But even then, it may be a solid option for when compactness is more a priority than ultimate IQ (the main reason I still love my VM 40/1.4).
(That should read, you use the directional buttons while magnification is engaged.)
OMG those COLORS!!!! This, coming right after the 65mm f/2… Cosina- Voigtlander suddenly offer some great lenses for the Sony E- mount system, perfect combination of modern high performance and classic character and look… great Manual Focusing lenses.
I just recieved my copy yesterday. I love it. It has CA at 1.2 for sure. Also it is apparent on your tree shot. But it is not a big deal breaker for me. Built quality is excellent.
Great review as always Steve, thanks. I’m with you on making ‘character’ a priority when choosing lenses. I have the Nokton 40mm 1.4, which I love for it’s character, and also size and weight. It’s also a technically very decent lens, at least for my purposes. Could you make a case for getting the 40mm 1.2 over the 40mm 1.4, given the extra size and weight and more than double the cost?
Well, this is a totally different lens than the 40 1.4 Mount. The 1.4 will vignette much more, have a more muted color, not be as sharp at 1.4 as this one is at 1.2, will not auto magnify for focusing, will not show up in EXIF, and the 1.4 is not E Mount. This is a much more advanced lens IMO than the 1.4 though I will say the 40 1.4 has more character ; )
I do wish the 1.4 focused closer, that has been somewhat of a drawback for me. The 1.4 definitely has a glow to the highlights wide open, which can be nice if you want it. I have the single-coated version to further set it off from other lenses I have, it’s great for contrasty situations. I’m not a big fan of the auto magnify unless I’m shooting something totally stationary, which is almost never. The focus peaking feature works quite well once you get used to using it. It’s always good to have choices, I’m sure I would have this lens if I could afford it right now. From your examples it looks wonderful. Thanks again for all the time and thoughtfulness you devote to these reviews.
I have been using the 40/1.4 SC Nokton a lot lately on my A7Rii, it’s probably my favourite lens as of now – back when I shot with rangefinders the 35/1.4 SC Nokton was my most used lens, but I’ve been much enjoying the FOV of the 40mm. What I strongly recommend if you decide to keep the 40/1.4 is to go for the Voigtlander close focus adapter. Not only it expands the versatility of the lens but also allows one to quickly adjust infinity, as the physical infinity point on the barrel will go past the actual infinity.
Although a slightly different focal length, how would you compare this with the Nocturnus ?
And there I was thinking I already own every lens I want. Thanks a bunch! 🙂
About the auto-zoom on focus thing. I turn that off and assign zoom to C1 instead (on A9 and A7rii). I like the idea of auto zoom, but if I focus on something away from the centre then zoom doesn’t necessarily centre on the right place. I have to kind of “focus and recompose” which is difficult/inaccurate when zoomed in. On A9, I suppose I should move the focus point first with ‘zoom to focus point’ turned on, but I usually forget, and I’m pretty sure it’s not an option on A7rii anyway (where I use MF lenses most). Could you give a little more detail on how you use auto zoom? Thanks.
I don’t have any native manual-focus E-mount lenses like this, but I do sometimes manual-focus some of my Sony lenses on my a7rii. It’s easy to move the magnification zone—you just use the directional buttons while focus is engaged or, before shooting, push that C1 magnification button once and move the area. Half-pressing the shutter release gives you your full view back again. I assume it works the same way for actual manual-focus E-mount lenses. I often use non-native glass with an adapter, but I do think shooting is much more natural with automatic magnification rather than having to push C1 twice to get magnification and then twice again to turn it off.