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Showcase Voigtlander 40mm F1.2

bdbits

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I recently acquired this lens used from its first owner. It appears practically brand new, and is rather difficult to find right now new or used. There is a very long 150-page-plus thread on it over at fredmiranda.com. A summary is that the 40/1.2 can be a bit quirky, especially as you approach MFD and maximum aperture. It can suffer from purple fringing, there is field curvature, and it is best focused at shooting aperture. Bokeh can sometimes be a bit harsh. But there is a lot of "pop" and subject separation. Many like the colors, and it is especially popular for people pictures, close-ups at minimal apertures, and landscapes stopped down a bit. And the 40mm focal length is lauded as a good focal length for a general-purpose lens.

Below are a few of my own shots taken over my lunch break at a nearby park. They have been edited, though no more than I usually do. The light was not great, and these were more-or-less test shots tending to minimum aperture to see what I could do with the lens. I have more close-ups I have taken around the house, but nothing I wanted to share. I am not too much of a people person, so no portraits (yet, I will try it for that at some point).

I think it is interesting and promising for my use, but it will take a while to adjust to it. Up close the largest apertures make for a razor-thin depth-of-field, which I have experienced with macro lenses though not quite this fast/thin. Landscapes at f1.2 can be interesting. I also have the Voigtlander 65mm/f2, which I love and have had nearly glued to my A7ii for a while now. The lenses are different to be sure; the 65mm/f2 is nearly perfect optically and does not have the quirks of the 40/1.2. But I am keeping this one as well, at least for the time being.

Note: this is the Sony e-mount version of the lens. There is also an m-mount version that is very similar. Both are manual focus, but you could mount the m-mount on a TAP adapter for auto-focus if/when you need it. With the m-mount, of course, you would lose EXIF data and integration with the camera body's electronics (MF assist and the like).

I hope I've not been too long-winded. On to the pictures.

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2018.09.18_13.37.04_DSC02484 1.jpg

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Slowly picking up photography again after heart surgery 7 weeks ago. As I bought the Voigtländer 1.2/40 a day before the operation :), it seems only fitting to show some pictures of it now. Still getting used to it, I tend to set it to f/2 a lot because I like the results.

Yesterday we went to a castle nearby and I shot there to my heart's content, and I'm pleased with the results. I also took the highly-praised Pentax 3.5/28 (non-M) with pleasing output as well.

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The servants quarters, a classical Dutch kitchen of 50 years ago. The radio doesn't really fit in in my opinion, such an expensive piece would have been in the living room.
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Sand, soap and soda, very common to have these three tins in those days.
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The library, with the very popular Winkler-Prins encyclopedia.
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Of course we visited the restaurant. De Theetuin would translate into The Tea Garden.
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AlwaysOnAuto

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Ad, glad to hear your surgery went well.
You and Bob are making it hard on me with these pictures. I'm trying hard to save up for a native lens.

I have to ask, why have sand in the kitchen?
 

bdbits

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I was in New Orleans week before last for a conference. This was the only lens I took with me. It worked well for me, though there were some times I wished I had something wider. It was rather dreary weather, overcast for most of the week and I only was out and about in the late afternoon and into the evening. Having a fast lens definitely came in handy. I will have more pictures from the trip to post later, just have not taken the time to sort through all the pictures. But here is one from the French Quarter down by the Mississippi River (behind me).


2018.10.24_18.04.04_DSC02854 1.jpg
 

bdbits

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Playing with sunstars today in the early afternoon. I cross-posted the last one to the "Pic a day" thread.

Plenty of flare going on, but I think shooting into the sun like this is a pretty challenging situation for any lens.

2019.01.13_14.53.15_DSC03384.jpg


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2019.01.13_14.58.04_DSC03390.jpg
 

bdbits

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Pretty extreme contrast of course, the first one even shows sensor reflections (immediately south-west of the sun).

Thanks for that bit of info. I wondered what the source of that pattern might be. I've not seen that before.
 

ggibson

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I picked up a copy of this lens after debating for a long time whether I could work with the manual focus. It’s a big adjustment, but there are so many things I really like about this lens otherwise. The speed of course, but even stopped down the bokeh rendering is very smooth in most circumstances. Wide open the lens is sharp already, but stopping it down to f1.4 or f1.6 makes it even better. It doubles as a great landscape lens also, very good performance across the frame stopped down and with lovely sunstars. Here’s my album with many images taken with this lens:
Voigtlander 40mm f1.2 Nokton
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Richard Crowe

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I had a 40mm Canon EF lens that I used for a while on both my full frame and crop-sensor DSLR cameras. The image quality was excellent but, I always felt that the lens was difficult to use. It always seemed either too wide or too short. I have replaced all of my mid-range primes with the Tamron 28-70mm f/2.8 lens.
I seldom shot at the 40mm focal length but, when shooting with an APSC body, I shot at 28mm fairly often (which is a 42mm equivalent).
 

SpecFoto

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Just received my Nokton 40mm f1.2 earlier this week. It joins my C/V 15mm f4.5 and 21mm f3.5. Was planning a trip to the eastern Sierra mountains starting tomorrow to catch the fall colors, but due to the wildfires, the Inyo Nat. forest is still closed for another week. 🙁 Next week should be the peak for color, and hopefully it will open up before the fall colors are gone.
 

JonathanF2

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I'm kicking myself for losing out on an Ebay auction on this lens in M-mount. The listing was misspelled and didn't come up in regular searches, hence the final bid price was fairly low!
 

SpecFoto

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I'm kicking myself for losing out on an Ebay auction on this lens in M-mount. The listing was misspelled and didn't come up in regular searches, hence the final bid price was fairly low!
Sorry to go a bit OT, but not that much going on here anyway..... :hiding:

Jonathan, do you have any other M mount lenses with adapter on your Sony? What adapter do you use and how are they working for you? I remember at one time you had a Techart adapter that brought AF to MF lenses, but I don't really want to spend that much on an adapter. In reading a few Voigtlander threads at FM, some of the M mounts lenses don't seem to work quite as well with Sony as others. I rarely use my Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 and am thinking of selling it and getting the 75mm f1.5, which is only available as an M mount. That would give me a 21, 40 and 75mm pairing, which would be much more useful to me.
 
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JonathanF2

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Sorry to go a bit OT, but not that much going on here anyway..... :hiding:

Jonathan, do you have any other M mount lenses with adapter on your Sony? What adapter do you use and how are they working for you? I remember at one time you had a Techart adapter that brought AF to MF lenses, but I don't really want to spend that much on an adapter. In reading a few Voigtlander threads at FM, some of the M mounts lenses don't seem to work quite as well with Sony as others. I rarely use my Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 and am thinking of selling it and getting the 75mm f1.5, which is only available as an M mount. That would give me a 21, 40 and 75mm pairing, which would be much more useful to me.

I sold my M-mount lenses to go with the Samyang 18mm 2.8 and 45mm 1.8 FE street pairing to replacing my CV 15mm 4.5 II and CV 40mm 1.4 Nokton. Saying that, I still miss the rendering and size of M-mount lenses especially for fast aperture glass, though anything below 50mm will be best for centered focusing only due to the soft corners on the Sony sensor stack glass (you can get a thin sensor stack mod for $500 USD to get better corners). I think from 50mm and up, you shouldn't have any corner softness issues on a non-modded Sony body. Though I did try the older Voigtlander 75mm 1.8 in M-mount and found it heavier and less sharp compared to my Nikon 85mm f/2 AI-S manual lens. I haven't tried the new Voigtlander 75mm 1.5 though, but I'm sure it's better than the older lens!
 

SpecFoto

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Jonathan, thank you for your reply. That helps me understand why there were the comments with some M mount lenses on Sony bodies. Not interested in doing a sensor swap though, I think I will just wait until Feb. 2021 and hopefully an E mount version of the 75 f1.5 Voigtlander will be announced, as a couple of well placed sources speculated. Both Fred Miranda and Phillip Reeve reviews gave the new 75mm f1.5 M mount version very high marks, saying it was better than the older 75mm f1.8 version. Besides I really like having the EXIF data and I really don't need this lens right now as I have the Basis 85mm f1.8, It is more for a long term goal of having a very good set of 3 Voigtlander lenses.
 

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