Voigtländer Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SLII

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by 2F/2F, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    I just acquired this lens in Nikon mount, and since there is not a ton of Internet information on it like their is on the Cosina-built Zeiss, I wanted to start a thread on it.

    I have been shooting with it for almost two weeks now. I think it is outstanding.

    It manages to be very sharp without being bitingly so. (The fellow I bought it from suggested that this is because it is a lower contrast lens than some. Makes sense to me. It is very sharp while still being "smooth.") It is more than good enough for me wide open, and seems to get rolling well enough by f/2.0 that I cannot see any improvements past that f stop, except in regards to D of F and in the very corners. In a lab setting, I am sure there would be differences, but for the pictures I take, this is completely usable for sharp pictures at all apertures...except in the case that something I want tack sharp is in one of the corners. This is not likely for me in the real world unless shooting something totally flat straight on – almost never. If something in the corners needs to be sharp in a real world shot, I more than likely will not be wanting to shoot wide open anyhow.

    I could not be happier with the build quality; it is way better than I expected. It focuses like butter, and has a nice screw-in metal hood (which must be purchased separately). I lucked out and got them both together, NOS.

    It's weak spots that I have noticed so far:

    1) 58mm filters. 52mm like all my other Nikon lenses would really be nice. Good thing I don't rely on filters a whole ton to shoot what I shoot.
    2) No IR focusing indicator. I don't shoot IR a ton, and often not with a standard lens, but this really is a gross oversight IMO, considering that all they needed to do was scribe a single line on the lens.
    3) Out of focus areas are nothing to write home about. Not terrible, and not great. If this thing gave amazing "bokeh" I think it would be much more widely lauded. Fortunately, I do not care that much about this feature, and what the lens does in the blurry areas is good enough for my purposes.
    4) Lens cap is barely usable on bona-fide Nikon lenses. It fits too loosely, so pressure must be applied so that it does not find it's way off. I wrap my lenses in Ziplocs and rubber bands when I travel, so this is not a huge issue for me. But I like being able to throw whatever cap on whatever lens without thinking too much about it, so it is mildly annoying.

    I've not managed to look at distortion or light falloff yet, and I don't think I will bother. In the real-world pictures that I take, I haven't noticed it being any better or worse than any other of my "normal" lenses.

    I've also not noticed the overexposure issue, though I have not really tested for for it in a reliable way.

    I have always liked 55 and 58mm lenses better than 50's, so that is a big plus as well (for me, anyhow). It is what initially drew me to the lens more than anything else. A brand new, modern-designed, slightly long, fast, and sharp normal lens that works on film and digital with no hassles. It is pricey at about $500 brand new with hood. But if you want to spend the money for a brand new standard lens, this is very worthy of consideration alongside the Zeiss and the Nikon AI-S.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2011
  2. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Thanks, 2F. I've been looking at this lens quite a bit myself for a Canon mount, and, as you say, info is hard to find.

    I really appreciate your thoughts and observations.

    Can you post some images?
     
  3. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    This is a really helpful review. I'm probably not really looking at this lens, but I've really liked some of the CV lenses for rangefinders and I've long been curious how their SLR lenses measured up.

    It's interesting to find, as I just have, that this lens is apparently based on Topcon's original 58/1.4 Auto-Topcor! That's pretty respectable ancestry.

    -NT
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi, I will post pix on DPUG today or tomorrow.
     
  5. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    I have the CV 40/2 for Nikon and it is amazingly sharp.Would love to add the 58mm.
     
  6. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I have this lens which is badged as a Auto Topcor, even looks a bit like that legendary lens complete with the same lens hood. I beleive that Mr. Kobayashi really liked the early Topcon stuff, a kind of homage I guess.
    The lens is in NAIS mount, and I'm sure that it is the same as yours. I prefer it to the 50mm 1.4 Nikkor for the reasons that you have stated, flare control is really outstanding as well. Build quality is first class as you mentioned, and I love the focussing action, which is beautifully damped. I am always impressed with CV products, have quite a few, and they can't be beaten at their price point.
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I borrowed one for a weekend awhile back and agree with much of your take. Mostly, though, it's the 58mm focal length I like on film or FF bodies. The old Minolta 58/1.4 hooked me when I got back to photography in the late 90s. It's bokeh and slightly soft contrast made it a near-perfect short portrait lens for available light shots of my kid. I find the same ineffable quality in the little Nikon 45/2.8 Ai-P.