Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Page 1 of 2
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.
|Optical construction||7 elements in 6 groups|
|Number of aperture blades||9|
|min. focus distance||0.45m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.8)|
|Filter size||58mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||optional, barrel-shaped (screw-in)|