Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Review (40mm Nokton Classic MC Lens)(VM) + YouTube
My love & history with the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens + Sample images (Bessa R3A,Leica M8/M9/M240,Nikon D90,Lumix G1!!) + YouTube review!
Me and my Best Friend!, a photo by MatthewOsbornePhotography_ on Flickr.
1. Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 – The Lens that taught me photography
I just dug this old self portrait shot from the Flickr archives as it shows me using probably my favourite lens of all time. The Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens (Nokton Classic). It is ultra compact, really well made, sharp wide open and a joy to use. The Panasonic Lumix G1 was my first ‘proper’ camera and from that developed my all consuming photography passion that is now a huge part of my life.
Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 MC
2. Using the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens on the M43 Lumix G1
I remember the Nokton Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 arriving and I fitted in to my red Lumix G1 instead of the usual 14-45mm Lumix kit lens (via a Leica M- M42 adapter). WOW! I was blown away by the quality and shallow DOF. The kit lens started collecting dust and my collection of primes began. It was a dark day when I decided to move to the Nikon camp in search of bigger and better. What saddened me most was not parting with the Lumix G1, though it had served me well, but the fact that I could not use the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 with Nikon bodies. I sold my beloved Voigtlander 40mm 1.4 and switched over to Nikon.
That was 2010. Now 2013 things have changed some what. I now own many cameras and lenses, have a studio, shoot as a model photographer and wedding photographer and also teach photography courses and lighting workshops. Not only that but I now shoot 35mm and medium format film.
3. The first signs of me looking at a Leica camera
Today I was chatting with a like minded photographer and we got onto the subject of his Leica M9. As I strive for ultimate perfection in my photography work i’m always looking for bigger and better. I’ve never owned a Leica or even held a Leica but I know they are good. In part because of the great lenses available.
Can you see a link approaching..!? 🙂
4. New camera purchase – with a Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens!
After my friend left I got on eBay.. Leica M3.M4.. hmm. I wanted a 35mm film body so was looking at the older models. I then stumbled across a mint condition Voigtlander Bessa R3A…with…a..Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens with it! SOLD to the man with the finger on the buy it now button! ME! I couldn’t risk losing the bid.
After buying the Voigtlander Bessa R3A it was not long before I bought a Digital Leica M9 to use the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens on!
5. Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 MC vs SC – Comparison
I bought the MC (multi-coated) version of the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens rather than the SC (single coated) as the MC version has slightly less flare and more contrast. People often say the Voigtlander 40mm SC lens is best for black and white film and MC for colour film. As I develop my own B&W film I control the contrast when I develop the film so I can easily develop film to be less constrasty if I need to retain more shadow detail. On the whole it is better for me to have high contrast and more apparent sharpness in camera from the lens so I chose the MC version.
6. Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 MC vs SC – How to tell the difference?
When buying the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens i’m sure I was one of the many people who had to search for the phase “how to tell the difference between the Voigtlander SC and MC”. Once you know it’s really easy to identify. If your lens or a lens you see says “NOKTON CLASSIC” on the front and nothing after the word classic then it is the MC version (as I have). If it is a SC version there are the letters “SC” written in blue after the word CLASSIC.
7. Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Flickr / Sample Photos
Voigtlander Bessa R3A + Voigtlander 40mm 1.4
Leica M9 + Voigtlander 40mm f1.4
Leica M8 + Voigtlander 40mm f1.4
Leica M240 + Voigtlander 40mm f1.4
Panasonic Lumix G1 + Voigtlander 40mm 1.4
Some of my early photography pre model photography!
Nokton Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 + Raynox 250 macro lens on Lumix G1 (My passion used to be macro before models!)
Nikon D90 + Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 (reverse mounted!)
I even used my favourite lens on my Nikon D90!!
Lastly, look out for a slightly modified version of this photo with a dafodil on the swing as Marie Curie charity are using it as their 2013 photo.
Ken rates the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 too!
Ken Rockwell’s thoughts on a Voigtlander 40mm.. “I never thought it would come to this, but this Voigtländer lens is better than Nikon’s own lenses: it has better optics, better mechanics, and better ergonomics. How about that!”
Yep..as I said! 🙂
Tempted to buy yourself a Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 lens!? Check out the latest prices on Amazon! (UK) / (US)
Robert White Discount Code – Use “MRLEICA” to get 5% off Voigtlander lenses – https://www.robertwhite.co.uk/
YouTube: Voigtlander 40mm vs 35mm
11 thoughts on “Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Review (40mm Nokton Classic MC Lens)(VM)”
Wow — great depth of field.
For extra fun, add the trigger winder to your R3A.
I kind of went the other way – traded away my R3A and 40mm Nokton, only to buy another 40mm a few years later. Lovely little lens.
Yes the little 40mm is a great lenses. That was one of the reasons for getting the camera ..plus Bessa are cheape than Leica! 🙂
Matt – it’s 2022 now. Time flies. What do you think would be a good match for the 40 Nokton from today’s batch of really good, mirrorless or otherwise, digital cameras?
Hey Sam, I think you can use any mirrorless camera BUT some are better suited to M mount so check if others are using Leica M lenses on that system before buying. Leica are best optimised for M lenses, then perhaps Lumix S. I use both.
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