Nikkor 35mm f1.4Ai-S vs. Voigtlander 40mm f2.0

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_bellayr, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. I have a Nikon F3HP with a 24mm, 50mm, & 85mm. I am considering adding a 35/40mm lens as the 50mm is too narrow and the 24mm is too wide for street shooting. The two lenses that I am considering is are the 35mm f1.4 Ai-S, which has very high ratings but may be large and heavy as compared to the new Voigtlander 40mm f2.0. Since I have not used or handled either I would appreciate comments and recommendations on these two lenses. Thank you.
  2. Sharpness are about the same for both. The 35 is a bit bigger and heavier. The 35 is a bit wider. The 35 has better bokeh. The 35 is a bit faster. I have both and love them both. However I believe the 35 can do more simply because it is faster. I take the 40 when I want the ultimate in compactness otherwise I almost always take the 35.
  3. Why not the Nikon 35mm f2? I'd get that over the Voigtlander. I love my 35mm f2 AI.
  4. It seems to me with the 35/1.4 you are paying for low light performance. For street photography you don't require low light performance.
    I would either get the 35/2 AIS or the 28/2.8 AIS, With a DW-3 finder and scale focusing, the 28/2.8 would be great for the street. I used to shot that way on my F3HP. You can get close with the 28/2.8 – DW-3 finder. When you look down, people think you're fiddling with your camera instead of taking a shot.
  5. Im a 35mm person in 135 and I just cant use a 50mm at all. Although this is usually on a rangefinder, I actually have the Voigtlander 40mm (1st version) on my F3HP and really like it. It certainly feels much more like a 35mm than a 50mm. As a caveat, I havent used the Nikon 35mm AIS so I cant compare. The quality of the bokeh on the VC varies. With specular highlights in the background it can be a little harsh but otherwise it can be very acceptable. The first 2 rows here are with this lens wide open:
  6. For street photography faster is better. Dunno 'bout other folks but I shoot handheld at night and in dimly lit interiors too. Even an f/2 isn't always fast enough for available light shooting.
    The 35/1.4 isn't too large and heavy. It's a good match for something like the F3. Only reason I didn't buy one is because I couldn't find one locally at a reasonable price. Mostly I use an f/2.8 midrange zoom to cover this range. It's much larger and heavier than the 35/1.4, and not always fast enough.
  7. It's pretty much exactly a year ago when I made a short trip to the US and shot a lot with the 35/1.4. The speed certainly comes in handy, in the south the night drops quickly and early. In less sunny locales, skies might be heavily overcast and light limited. This is true especially in the winter in northern regions.
    The 35/1.4 can produce excellent results already at larger apertures, although f1.4 is markedly low in contrast. That said, the 35/1.4 has all the elements of a classic: superb build, fast aperture, challenging for the user but produces superb results when employed properly. It's not a small lens, but smaller than the Zeiss 35/2. The corners don't get really sharp until f8, but then the center resolution outresolves a D300 already at f4. I don't have experience of the 40/2, but it's most likely a nice lens.
  8. I used the 35/1.4 on the F3 for many years. It never seemed big or heavy to me. It takes the usual 52mm filters, which is a significant plus. I always liked the fast lenses on the F3 because it's so nice to frame and focus with the ultra-bright image. Performance wide-open is, ahem, more than a little lacking in terms of contrast, but it gets nice and snappy by f/2 or f/2.8. By f/5.6 it's superb.
  9. Maybe you should look into the 28mm f/2.0 ais, its one of the best Nikkor lenses, look at reviews by Bjorn, and elsewhere. I think with cameras like the recent Nikon dslrs you have no problem with lenses that are f2.0, since these new cameras are excellent at iso 1600 and you should be able to hold to at lease 1/30 sec. so all together f2.0 @ 1/30 @ iso 1600 thats good enough for some pretty dark places. Also, if you noise process you could push even more.
  10. I've had the 40mm for about a week now and it's a pleasure to use. I can only compare it to the 35/2 that I also own. I find that I'm thinking more about my photography with the manual focus of the 40mm. It's compact and feels totally solid. It's an inconspicuous lens.
    For everyday use, the 40mm remains on my camera. From my perspective , somewhere in between 35mm and 40mm resides the demarcation of wide and normal. Unless I need the wide for a specific purpose, I enjoy the normal view that the 40mm affords.
  11. I've only shot the older version of the 40/2 and it was good but not outstanding. The 35/1.4 can outresolve even the D3X (at f/4 and thereabouts), but unlike the 40, it is very temperamental and changes character a lot along the aperture scale. Also there is significant barrel distortion seen up close.
    I'd say the 35/1.4 is an acquired taste but when you discover its potential you'll love it. I revived it with a CPU upgrade and am using it a lot on D3 and D3X where it shines.
  12. I`m currenty falling in love with my old 35/1.4AiS on a D700. The main drawback on it could be the unpleasant bokeh it shows wide open, with clearly drawed doble lines and sharp "soap pumps" from highlight points. Specially with this lens I should avoid anything but diffuse light all over the frame. The flare it provides wide open from illuminated subjects (e.g. the face on a portrait) is wonderful to my taste, with a mixture of sharpness and softness that reminds me that famous Leica "glow".
    It`s funny there was a time when I even hated this lens for several reasons. Now, I`m loving it.
  13. Sorry, repost.

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