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Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.4 II


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Looking forward to your insights. I just picked up the c-Biogon 2.8 and I’m really impressed with it that I’m super curious on the F1.4 Distagon.  This VM 35 was also on my radar as well in spite of the known imperfections. 

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Well, the lens arrived, and mechanical design and construction are basically the same as ver1 - which is very much like a Leica lens and is a joy to use. All I've done so far is shoot a quick focus-shift test from a tripod to a focus scale chart, using both ver1 and ver2 lenses. As I suspected (because all fast lenses I've checked carefully show some shift when stopping down), the focus shift has NOT been completely "eliminated" as they stated, but has been reduced. As I've gotten some very

Directly taken from Cameraquest - great source of info How to Recognize Version II?Version II on the filter ringVersion I has no I or II designationVersion I introduced in 2008 for film How to Recognize SC or MC?SC or Single Coated lenses are marked SC on the filter ringMC or Multi Coated lenses have no MC or SC markings   

Love it for its size, on the right lightning conditions you can expect some lovely rendering.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

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Well, the lens arrived, and mechanical design and construction are basically the same as ver1 - which is very much like a Leica lens and is a joy to use.

All I've done so far is shoot a quick focus-shift test from a tripod to a focus scale chart, using both ver1 and ver2 lenses. As I suspected (because all fast lenses I've checked carefully show some shift when stopping down), the focus shift has NOT been completely "eliminated" as they stated, but has been reduced. As I've gotten some very good results with ver1, ver2 should be more useful.

Both lenses show perfect focus at f1.4, and while ver1 shows slight shift at f2.0 (with the focus point still within DOF), the new lens shift isn't really visible yet. By 2.8 on the new lens shift is obvious (looking at the scale), but the focus point is still within the DOF - while ver1 the focus point is clearly blurred. On the new lens the focus point is worst at f4.0, while by 5.6 the DOF begins to cover it again, and it's quite good at f8.0 and by f11 the whole chart looks good. (On v1, even at f11 the near side of the chart was quite out of focus.)

I found with v1 the sharpness was about the same as my 1971 Summicron 35 (v2), and the ver2 may be a bit better - but a Zeiss f2 or Summarit is obviously sharper.

So I'm not sending it back - it will be a good lens for my M9, where only f4 may take a bit of compensation. I'll stick with the Summarit 35 on my M10.

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Thanks so much for this. I've been waiting for this lens to come out and then decide between it and the Zeiss f/2. Looking for something that will soften the digital rendering of the CL.

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 6:14 PM, Gregm61 said:

Within what distance range is focus shift at f4 an issue? I'm assuming at longer distances focus/depth of field at f4 is fine, but maybe within 8-10 feet or slightly longer?

I also have this question - this lens has a lot to recommend it, but if I can't focus accurately at f4 within 15 feet, it's a non-starter.

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On 6/26/2019 at 4:32 PM, TomB_tx said:

the focus shift has NOT been completely "eliminated" as they stated,

The Voigtlander website says 'almost entirely eliminated' so I don't think they're claiming anything untrue..  

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1 hour ago, mdp said:

The Voigtlander website says 'almost entirely eliminated' so I don't think they're claiming anything untrue..  

OK - I didn't see their website. The announcement from CameraQuest said:

Version II improved to eliminate focus shift
with new high index glass element

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1 hour ago, geoffnik said:

Tom - Do you see any difference or improvement in distortion?

While I haven't done any tests to measure it, it looks to me about like the V1 distortion.

I've now taken a series of focus-shift pictures using a test chart with my collection of 35mm lenses in M-mount. These include Summaron 2.8, Summicron V1, Summicron V2, Summarit 2.5, Zeiss Biogon 2.0, VC Nokton 1.4 V1, VC Nokton 1.4 V2, and 7 Artisans 35 f2.0. All lenses shot in sequence in one session without taking the camera off the tripod.

For focus shift the worst (of course) was the Nokton V1, and while the Nokton V2 shows significant improvement, it was obviously worse than the other lenses - but these were all f2 and slower, so this can be expected. I think you can indeed get good pictures with the V2 Nokton.

While this was done just to look at focus shift, comparing the fine detail in the focus chart at 100% mag does give a feel for the crispness (resolution & contrast combined) of the different lenses. I expected the good "image" results of the Summarit and Biogon (which does show some mild focus shift), but I was pleasantly surprised by the Summaron 2.8 and 7 Artisans 2.0. Both gave crisp images and no obvious focus shift. The 7 Artisans does have barrel distortion, but otherwise its IQ is impressive. As I noted in other posts the focus cam slope isn't perfect, so the focus accuracy of my sample varies with distance, but the images in this test look as good as any of the others.

I know the Biogon 2.8 would probably beat them all, but I bought the 2.0 instead - and the Summarit is the only modern Leica brand 35 that I have. It is still my favorite on the M10.

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Although this ver II Nokton still has the “character” of the ver I (lower contrast wide open, limited sharpness compared to Leica or Zeiss, noticeable barrel distortion, etc), it has been giving me nice images on my M9, where the speed is handy. And indeed, I haven’t noticed its remaining focus shift being objectionable. And like the ver I the mechanical build and handling are great. For me it’s a winner.

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On ‎7‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 4:55 PM, TomB_tx said:

Although this ver II Nokton still has the “character” of the ver I (lower contrast wide open, limited sharpness compared to Leica or Zeiss, noticeable barrel distortion, etc), it has been giving me nice images on my M9, where the speed is handy. And indeed, I haven’t noticed its remaining focus shift being objectionable. And like the ver I the mechanical build and handling are great. For me it’s a winner.

Thank you for this.  I'm looking for something faster than my 50mm Summicron for low light and evenings...would love a 35 Summilux but that isn't in the budget at the moment.  This is a tempting compromise between speed, budget, size, and image quality.

Edited by Jon Glass
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If anybody is interested I published a full review of the Nokton 35mm 1.4 ver II on my new blog, and just added a comparison with ver I.

I go over image quality, distortion and importantly, focus shift and how much difference there is.

Here’s the link: https://www.47-degree.com/focus-shift

Let me know what you think!

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I have recently acquired a Nokton 35/1.4 II MC with the LH-6 hood. I am trying to figure out if it can replace the 35mm pre-ASPH Summilux and Summicron of Walter Mandler. I want a small, classic rendering lens with f/1.4 aperture and 0.7m close focus. Because Leica cannot offer all of this in one lens I wanted to try something else. The Voigtlander is a great little lens, but I have to try it a little more before I can make up my mind fully about the most important thing to me: How does it render compared to the classic Leica lenses?

Does anyone else have any experience with this? What do you think?

Edited by evikne
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