Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published January 2008


The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II is the second new lens of the Voigtlander SL II series made by Cosina. It is not a brand new design but based on the Voigtlander Topcor 58mm f/1.4 SL which was released in very limited quantities (1600 units) back in 2003. There were probably only a handful Topcors that ever left the home market (Japan) whereas the new Nokton is now distributed around the globe. The Nokton has been revised a little over its predecessor. The most obvious difference is the new finish - it's all black now and under the skin it features a CPU now so you can take advantage of the camera's matrix metering system. Used on an APS-C DSLR its field-of-view is equivalent to a classical 85mm lens which is obviously quite attractive for portrait photography for instance. However, it is a full format lens and as such not limited to the APS-C scope.

The build quality of the lens is superb - the outer barrel is made of metal and it's a pure joy to use the well-damped focus ring. The lens extends a bit when focusing towards closer distances and the front element does not rotate. Typical for all Voigtlander SL lenses it offers manual focusing only. 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 will help to increase your keeper rate specifically at large aperture settings. .

The Nokton has been discussed quite a bit within the user community lately. The discussions circled not so much around the optical or mechanical qualities but the metering results. Based on my sample I can confirm that the lens does overexpose by about 2/3 f-stops. This is a (relatively) constant correction value so it's not a principal show-stopper. Nonetheless it is a bit of a disturbing aspect here.

Equiv. focal length87 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.1 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction7 elements in 6 groups
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.45 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.8)
Dimensions64 x 48 mm
Weight320 g
Filter size58 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodoptional, barrel-shaped (screw-in)
Other features-

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