Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II (Nikon mount) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Page 1 of 3
Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Markus Stamm!
In a world of plastic zoom lenses it is fun to check out high quality fix-focal length lenses
every once in a while and the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II is one representative of the
species. It almost seemed as if Cosina, the manufacturer of Voigtlander lenses, abandoned
the SLR lens market in favor of the Zeiss Z-series which are manufactured in the same factory.
However, Mr. Kobayashi, the president of Cosina, obviously felt that old itch again to rival
the big boyz by releasing a couple of lenses of his own. The Ultron 40mm f/2 and Nokton 58mm f/1.4 (to
be reviewed soon) are the first and hopefully not the last of these new SL II lenses.
Both lenses aren't really new - they were already part of the SL I series - but they've been
revised a little. The most obvious difference is the new finish - it's all black now and the
chrome focus ring has been replaced by a rubber variant (which is a good thing in my opinion).
Under the skin the lenses feature a CPU now so they can take advantage of the camera's
matrix metering system. The Ultron 40mm f/2 is marketed as a so-called pancake lens
because it is merely 25mm "long" - this is very short but the discontinued Nikkor
Ai-P 45mm f/2.8 is still shorter (although also slower obviously). Used on an APS-C DSLR its
field-of-view is equivalent to a classical 60mm lens which is a bit in No Mans Land in my humble
opinion. However, it is a full format lens and as such not limited to the APS-C scope.
The build quality of the lens is absolutely beautiful. The outer barrel is made of
metal and it's a pure joy to use the well-damped focus ring. Unlike on other pancake
lenses manual focusing is also doable without major obstacles - it's a tiny lens but
not to the max. The lens extends a bit when focusing towards closer distances and the
front element does not rotate. The tiny but efficient dome-type lens hood can remain
mounted without any significant increase in length. Typical for Voigtlander SL lenses
the Ultron is a manual focus lens. This may be a strange thought for some but the
in-focus indicator in the camera viewfinder remains active so you always have some sort
of guidance other than the visual feedback although a split-image screen helps to increase
your keeper rate naturally. The lens has a dedicated aperture ring but on modern
Nikon DSLRs you have to set the lens to automatic aperture.
|Optical construction||6 elements in 5 groups inc. 1 aspherical element|
|Number of aperture blades||9|
|min. focus distance||0.45m (max. magnification ratio 1:7)|
|Filter size||52mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||included, dome shaped (screw-in)|
|Other features||close up lens for 0.25m (1:4 magnification) included|