Sony NEX-5N with Voigtlander and Zeiss rangefinder lenses – part 2 – a couple 35mm options

To continue with the test of rangefinder lenses on the Sony NEX-5N, next up are two 35mm lenses, simply because these are two that I use on the Leica M9 (B&H link – black, silver):

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2.8 C-Biogon (B&H link black silver)
Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 Aspherical VM II (B&H link)

The Zeiss is a very compact, high performance lens with very nice Zeiss contrast and sharpness. The Voigtlander is the new version of the already highly regarded 35mm f/1.2 that some claim to be as good or better than the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH non-floating element version, (B&H link to the latest FLE version). I definitely find it to be a good performer on the M9, especially at f/2. Stopped down the Zeiss seems to have better edge to edge sharpness.

Same idea as the previous post – clicking on an image (or link) will download the full resolution version that is straight from the camera with standard Sony settings. White balance was set manually here, at about 5500 degree Kelvin.

Focus for the forest scene was the tree 1/3 from the left side, set with magnified view with the lens wide open.

First up the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2. Click on the image for f/1.2 and the links for the rest:

f/1.2

f/1.4, f/1.6, f/2.0, f/2.5, f/2.8, f/3.5, f/4.0, f/4.5, f/5.6, f/6.7, f/8, f/9.5, f/11.

Same scene with the Zeiss ZM 35 f/2.8 C-Biogon, in full stop increments. Click on the image for f/2.8 and the links for the rest:

f/2.8

f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, f/11.

And as can be seen in the two images above, the Zeiss appears to have a slightly narrower angle of view.

BONUS Similar composition, though different tree, with the Leica M9 and Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 II from wide open through f/5.6. Same as above, click on the image for the f/1.2 full resolution version, the links for the rest:

f/1.2

f/1.4, f/1.6, f/2.0, f/2.5, f/2.8, f/3.5, f/4.0, f/4.5, f/5.6

It’s interesting to note the color quality difference between the NEX and M9, with the Sony definitely shifting towards more magenta. My opinion is the Leica color rendition (auto white balance here, so perhaps a bit cool) is more faithful to the actual scene, though the Sony often will look warmer and richer. Of course all of this can be adjusted in post production.

Back to the NEX-5N. Here’s another scene, intended to show the degree of background separation at the various aperture settings. Sorry for the difference in lighting between the two, unfortunately a huge cloud rolled in during the Zeiss captures and I was too impatient to wait it out. Again, color and tonality is straight from the camera at the Standard settings. Focus was set on the bigger birch tree at the left side.

Voigtlander 35 f/1.2 II with 3-stop Hoya ND filter, which I think added a bit more of a magenta shift, click on the image for f/1.2, the links for the rest:

f/1.2

f/1.4, f/1.6, f/2.0, f/2.5, f/2.8, f/3.5, f/4.0, f/4.5, f/5.6, f/6.7, f/8, f/11.

Same scene with the Zeiss ZM 35 f/2.8 C-Biogon, in full stop increments. Click on the image for f/2.8 and the links for the rest:

f/2.8

f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, f/11.

A couple notes about the lenses:

The Voigtlander typically has fairly nervous background blur at wider apertures with subjects at middle distances. Stopped down both are very good lenses. The Zeiss has perhaps a bit more contrast and though perhaps difficult to tell with these scenes, a bit better corner to corner performance.

Here are some random images with the Voigtlander. Again, click on the image to load the full resolution version:

Not sure what aperture the two below were at, but likely stopped down a bit, probably around f/5.6

|

The next three are all wide open, f/1.2:


|

|

The next one was at or near f/1.2 while the second was stopped down two stops, at ISO 800, so the Sony noise reduction, though set to low, is noticeably visible:


|

The next three are in order of wide open f/1.2, one stop down, two stops down, ISO 1600 with noticeable Sony noise reduction (though the camera was set to low for high ISO NR). Also, these were hand held, so there will be some framing variation:


|

|

The final two were hand held at ISO 1600 and shot wide open while trying to focus as the runners ran by. Missed the focus a bit, but should still give you an idea of the Voigtlander’s wide open performance:


|

You will see that there is some purple fringing with this lens wide open in some high contrast transition areas. My experience with the lens so far indicates that stopping down to f/2 will eliminate it.

If you’re looking to buy any of this equipment, please consider using the following links to help support this site:

For all Zeiss lenses (ZM, ZE, ZF, etc.), please contact Rob Skeoch at Big Camera Workshops or his sister site the Rangefinder Store. Rob has been my source for most of my Zeiss ZM purchases and is a great guy to deal with. Free shipping within Canada is included, as is a B+W UV filter with each Zeiss lens purchase. Rob will also ship outside Canada, please give him a call. Please contact Rob for availability and make sure you mention this site as a referral.

Otherwise, please consider using these B&H links:

Novoflex NEX-Leica M adapter
Sony NEX-5N camera only (black only) or kit with 18-55 in black or silver
Electronic viewfinder (EVF) for NEX-5N

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Sony NEX-5N with Voigtlander and Zeiss rangefinder lenses – part 2 – a couple 35mm options”

  1. 3D-Kraft.com Says:

    Thanks for that comparison. Have you ever compared the previous Nokton 35/1.2 ASPH version I to the newer version II?

    I did this and was quite surprised about the version I performing significantly better than version II (except the “onion rings” that ou can find in the circles of confusion of highlights in out-of-focus areas. To see what I mean, you can check this article: http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138&catid=40&Itemid=2 (see the update at the end).

    Can you confirm this or did I get a bad copy?

  2. Ron Says:

    I haven’t tried the older version of this lens, unfortunately. Of the forum discussions I’ve read, there seems to be a split among other photographers, with some claiming the first version is as good or better, with others claiming the second version is superior.

    Looking at your results, I think you might have received a bad copy of the new version. I don’t recall seeing such edge ghosting in my images, and considering that the ghosting is to one side of the bottle, which is in the center of the frame, it makes me suspicious about the lens.

Leave a Reply


Copyright © 2017 TechTalk with Ron Scheffler. All Rights Reserved.
No computers were harmed in the 0.230 seconds it took to produce this page.

Designed/Developed by Lloyd Armbrust & hot, fresh, coffee.