Voigtlander 40 . . . but which one?

Joined
Dec 7, 2005
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369
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MN, USA
Maybe I'm making this more difficult than it is but could one of you alt-gear guru's explain to me the difference between the voigtlander 40mm f/2 ultron sl ii-s, and compact pancake version (if there is any difference)?

Is the M version identical glass except for the mounting?

There are also f2 versions, f1.4 and f1.2. Other than the obvious faster glass, are the IQ characteristics similar (I'm thinking of sharpness across the field at smaller stops and bokeh characteristics)?

Just for context, I'm looking for a small, compact walk-around for the Z6 . . .
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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15,064
Location
Los Angeles, USA
Maybe I'm making this more difficult than it is but could one of you alt-gear guru's explain to me the difference between the voigtlander 40mm f/2 ultron sl ii-s, and compact pancake version (if there is any difference)?

Is the M version identical glass except for the mounting?

There are also f2 versions, f1.4 and f1.2. Other than the obvious faster glass, are the IQ characteristics similar (I'm thinking of sharpness across the field at smaller stops and bokeh characteristics)?

Just for context, I'm looking for a small, compact walk-around for the Z6 . . .
I shot the Voigtlander 40mm 1.4 Nokton in M mount for about a year before eventually selling it. It's tack sharp in the center, but on mirrorless cameras, the thick sensor stack results in soft corners and soft mid-frame. I switched over to the 7Artisans 35mm f/2.0 M-mount. This lens isn't as sharp in the center, but the softness is more gradual towards the corners, unlike the Voigtlander which was razor sharp in the center and then abruptly gets soft. Though the 7A 35mm f2.0 M-mount has a very different rendering which borders on classic, while the Voigtlander 40mm is a bit more traditional for an M-mount lens. The allure of the M-mount glass though despite all the faults, is the compactness and unique rendering that you won't get from any SLR lens. Also I stick with M-mount lenses mainly due to the ultra wide angles. Voigtlander has 10mm (bulbous front), 12mm and 15mm (both rectilinear) lenses that have some of the best light points of any wide angle. Even putting to shame many SLR wide angles lenses when it comes to flare control and light rendering when stop-down shooting.

If you're interested, here are some samples of the Voigtlander and 7Artisans lenses -

Voigtlander 40mm 1.4 Nokton MC (before I sold it):
190322_VOIGTLANDER_40_15_LENSES_FRIOLO

Samples of the 7Artisans 35mm f/2.0 in M-mount:
190413_DTLA_NIGHT_PHOTOS_FRIOLO

If you want a more traditional lens, I'd consider the Voigt 40mm f/2 Ultron SL II/II-S. Supposedly the newer one is a bit better. Honestly I didn't find the previous version to be much sharper than the Nikon 35mm f/2.0 AF-D, so my vote goes towards the newer lens.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
703
Location
Denmark
I have the 40/2 ultron and use it on a number of Nikon (d)slr. It is VERY compact so I use it when size matters.

It is MF only, but I suspect you know this. It is also only marginally smaller than Nikkor 35/2 af-d that also does AF.

Images from the ultron are different than from the nikkor, not better or worse but different (slightly softer colours, perhaps?).
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,482
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
The two best options are the 40/2 Ultron SL-II in F-mount used on the FTZ adapter, and the 40/1.2 Nokton in M-mount used on an M to Z adapter.

Benefit of the Ultron is that you get EXIF, the IBIS will be automatically set to 40mm, and you can use the camera dials to control aperture when you set the lens aperture to the smallest value.

Benefit of the Nokton is that it's faster, has more pleasant bokeh, and is generally sharper when stopped down to similar apertures.

Nokton weighs more than twice as much as the Ultron, though I'm not sure how the lenses would compare accounting for adapter size and weight. The Ultron ships with (or used to at least) a close focus diopter that screwed into the tiny hood, making for a very compact close focus lens.

For now I'm really happy using the CV 40/2 and 90/3.5 lenses on the FTZ because they function like native mount glass with the Z6. When you adapt lenses, especially modern lenses, you are compromising a bit. As Jonathan mentioned, each manufacturer has different thickness cover glass on their sensors. These essentially function as an additional lens element, so the rest of the lens is designed around this fact. It's most relevant for lenses from wide angle to around 50mm focal lengths. Sony, Nikon, and Canon differ a bit, and all of these brands have cover glass significantly thicker than Leica. So all lenses produced with M-mount are optimized for Leica sensors, and will have smearing and astigmatism to varying degrees at edges and corners, by nature of rangefinder lens design (small lenses to avoid viewfinder blockage, short exit pupils). I'm actually hoping that Zeiss releases their Loxia lenses for Z-mount, and tweaks the optical formula so they work well on the Z cameras. Some people have adapted the Loxia E-mount lenses to the Z6, and they are pretty good, but still a bit better at the edges and corners on their native mount. As the Z-mount is more conducive to these types of lens designs, we may even see superior performance compared to Sony if and when they are released.
 

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