Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II (Nikon mount) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Markus Stamm!

Introduction

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 The most obvious difference is the new finish - it's all black now and the chrome focus ring has been replaced by a rubber variant (which is a good thing in my opinion).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.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length60 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/3 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction6 elements in 5 groups inc. 1 aspherical element
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.45 m (max. magnification ratio 1:7)
Dimensions63 x 25 mm
Weight200 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodincluded, dome shaped (screw-in)
Other featuresclose up lens for 0.25 m (1:4 magnification) included




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