And so I have a Nokton

MarlaDec13-161But that’s from a PEN 38 1.8 πŸ˜‰

I have to apologize for the apetizing title because I’m not gonna be able to give you much Voigtlander goodness in this post. Blame the unability to identify manua lenses in the EXIF files, or even my own laziness to write down which lens took which shot…

MarlaDec13-162But for a fact, that is by the Nokton 40 1.4 Classic on the Sony A7

Nokton40-01Yeah, that gorgeous thing

MarlaDec13-163That’s probably from it as well

MarlaDec13-164And I’d guess that, too

MarlaDec13-166How do I like it ??

That’s a toughie. First of all, it’s a beauty. A real little gem of a lens. It exudes quality and is a joy to hold. I use a loaner Fotga M to NEX adapter with it, it’s thin and no nonsense, no play, does the job well.

MarlaDec13-167The rendering is lovely, I’ll dare say “very Leica” if that makes any sense

MarlaDec13-169So that’s all good news, right ? A superbly built, super sexy cool lens for less than 300€, pre-owned but as minty as they come ?? Wrong. There are two HUGE caveats with this baby. First of all, the focusing ring of the Voigt bears the typical “thumb lever” found on rangefinder lenses, and personally HATE it. The focus ring itself is narrow, very flat, and sort of recessed, absolutely not easy to locate and rotate by feel with your eye to the EVF, or even your eyes glued to the LCD trying to figure out critical focus.

MarlaDec13-171That’s from the N7, either Voigt or PEN, I can’t say…

MarlaDec13-168The other horrible issue with the Nokton is the *ridiculous* minimal focusing distance, of about 70 (yes, *seventy*) cms… How ass dumb is that ?? So I have this adorable, cute and sharp little lens that is fast and offers lots of subject isolation, except that I am stuck 70cm away from any subject and therefore cannot achieve any proper close-up 😦

MarlaDec13-173On another note, the Sony A7 went back to the retailer today. It’s a fantastic tehnological innovation… that has been marketed way too soon, and is not, for my use at least, a mature product. I don’t mind doing Beta testing, but not without my knowledge and on my own funds !!

MarlaDec13-170From the limited testing I did, I’d rate the Nokton 40 1.4 and the PEN 38 1.8 exactly on par for optical quality. On FF the Voigt does have an *ever so slight* edge in detail, AND doesn’t vignette at all. The PEN vignettes very, very slightly, and is not *quite* as bleedingly sharp as it is one APS-C. On APS-C they’re absolutely similar… Except the PEN’s focusing ring is very wide, buttery smooth, and the MFD is about 30 cm, woo hoo !

MarlaDec13-172My girl was invited to her boyfriend’s birthday party (did I say boyfriend ? She’s 5 yrs old !? Yeah, I said boyfriend….). I slipped the N7 in my purse (the very same one that can’t fit the A7) and went to pick her up. I asked them to pose and they stayed put for about 3 seconds. I had the SEL35 mounted and shot two frames at 1.8.

MarlaDec13-174PMNow how sweet is that ?? Would have FF brought anything more to the table here ? I don’t think so. The background was far enough that subject isolation is excellent and the image really “3D”

MarlaDec13-175PMI realized today that there isn’t a *single* camera on the market right now that I lust after. Not one. Pressed really hard I guess I’d could muster some curiosity for the Fuji XE-2, but that’s about it. I am, however, immensely curious of the next Sony mirrorless to come out. Until then, NEX 7 it is πŸ˜‰


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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15 Responses to And so I have a Nokton

  1. Ginger says:

    You know, I have wanted to post this for a week or two now, but not until today’s post did I feel motivated to actually unlurk and say my peace. The name of your site is “Its not the camera” and yet, you obsess over the equipment to the point of lunacy. As someone who has two degrees in fine art photography, may I let you in on a little secret? It actually is NOT about the camera, it IS about the PERSON using the camera. And by ‘camera’ I mean anything from your super high tech digital jobs to a Quaker Oats pinhole camera. I shot my entire graduat thesis photography show using a shitty little point and click because…say it with me…ITSNOTTHECAMERA! It was me, not the camera making lush, meaningful photographs. A camera isnt going to create my point of view. It is merely a means to an end.

    I’m not sure what your blog is supposed to be about…I thought it was about someone who loves photography and horses (two things I also love). But it’s turning into a psychotic vent that gives the vibe that photography is a thorn in your life. Nothing that is an artistic expression of the self should be as obsessively painful as what you write about photography.

    So please, either take a break from taking photos and just enjoy your child and horses, or stop obsessing about the fancy schmancy equipment and try focusing on finding your artistic point of view. But dayum, chill out already. It’s exhausting reading, and it sounds like you’re becoming unhinged over a camera. It aint worth that much angst.

    • marla2008 says:

      Thanks Ginger for your insightful comment. And you are totally right. That recent A7 stunt has, indeed, seemed to veer me off my normal, peaceful and rewarding photography path, into some gear obsession. Doubt not I mean it when I say it’s not the camera !!

  2. Dear Marla,
    When I found your blog several weeks ago, I read nearly all your previous posts for a year at least, and I liked your stories with different photography gizmos. As I see, your recent adventure with A7 has been/was very similar to the way/method you ever approached camera and lens evaluation. I enjoyed your comments tremendously ( one of my favorite was that you wrote about Nikon Df), and my interpretation is completely different from Ginger’s: I think to you really only photography is what important: if you do not like a camera, you ditch it (near) immediately; absolutely perfect practice. Your photos are terrific, and your enthusiastic approach towards gear is lovely too; you are a character.
    All the best and Merry Christmas to You and to Your Lovely Family, too.

    • marla2008 says:

      Thank you Miki for the kind words and fierce support !! I admit that Ginger’s comment was a smidge hard, but on the other hand I do understand that the recent series of A7 posts might have sounded counterintuitive on a blog named “it’s not the camera”. I re affirm, that it is, indeed, not the camera that matters. By that I mean that I’ll do the exact same kind of photography with any body that I use, but some pieces of gear affect us in different ways : some inspire us, others annoy us, etc. Needless to say you’ll be happier with the former πŸ˜‰ I also have to admit that gear oriented posts tend to bring way more traffic, comments and questions, and since I enjoy interacting with readers, I sometimes succomb to the temptation of discussing gear for the sake or reader interaction. So while it is of course way more gratifying to get your sort of kind and enthusiastic comments, I didn’t hesitate at all to “approve” and answer Ginger’s comment. After all, without the possibility for citicism, praise loses its value, doesn’t it ? πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the warm words Miki, and I also wish you and your family a safe, happy and fun holiday season !!

  3. Patrick says:

    Hi Marla,
    Been waiting for your Nokton to arrive. I have the same lens on my NEX-6. What creative style do you suggest for it. I read and love your blog.

    • marla2008 says:

      Hello Patrick ! On NEX I’ve been using the same Creative Style for quite a long time, and it is based on Landscape, tweaked to -1 Contrast, +1 Saturation (optional) and +1 Sharpness (on N7 only, the N6 is way sharp enough that I leave it alone, or would even consider bringing it down one notch). The N6 has IMO the best IQ of the whole NEX line, enjoy !

      • Patrick says:

        Thank you. Will give it a try. Looking forward for more Nokton images. Cheers. Also, I was to order a Touit 32/1.8, but after seeing your SEL35 shot, I’m now having second thoughts. Hehehe. Regards and Merry Christmas. πŸ™‚

  4. marla2008 says:

    I’d skip the Touit ! I don’t see much that the SEL doesn’t do just as well, and the various head to head tests I’ve seen were not hugely in favor of the Zeiss, certainly not in a great margin anyway. Dial in the price difference and the SEL becomes the better buy (imo). I’m far from being a fan of native E lenses, I find most of them very mediocre, but the 35 really stands out, it’s a very solid performer that no one could go wrong buying. Merry Christmas to you too !!

    • Patrick says:

      Thanks for the advice Marla. I was able to save a lots of $$$. Not to mention the shipping and tax I’ll be spending to have it shipped here in the Philippines. πŸ™‚

  5. James (Aus.) says:

    Hi Marla,
    Could have knocked me down with a feather when I read the second A7 went back.
    But good on you; the on-line image samples I’ve seen still have the N7 doing rather well in comparison. I know prints may show greater differences, but I’ve yet to see them.

    About the ‘camera doesn’t matter’ etc; surely we know that is just a phrase which reminds us not to obsess too much over gear and that photography needs application of many skills. But quality equipment does matter. The image type, feel, colour, resolution, contrast etc that is possible with such gear can produce wonderful images not possible with “fuzzy” equipment ( all other things/skills being equal). Even the ownership of well functioning and attractive cameras contributes to more use (and practice) and fun. And of course, better gear will function more reliably in a range of extreme environments (well, it should..).

    We should spend some time (and we certainly spend money..) checking what suits us. After that, it’s full on snapping time.
    Some people get hung up on the literal meaning of such ‘proverbs’.

    Same goes for painting – I obsess a bit over sable brushes, the best pigments, old papers etc for watercolours. And why not. Maybe David Cox could knock out a masterpiece with lesser gear, but as far as I know the masters stuck with the good stuff. And I need all the help I can get..

    Merry Christmas in France (and after several very hot days here in SA, it’s now winter again!),


    • marla2008 says:

      James, thank you for your insightful comment. When I say (and mean VERY much) itsnotthecamera, I hear it as in “first and foremost”. However, as Miki as stated, all things being equal (same shooter, same light, same subject) the camera does start mattering tremendously. I have yet to see Ginger’s “lush and meaningful photographs” taken with a shitty point & shoot. She must really be worthy of those *two* degrees in fine art photography, because personally I’ve never been able to produce a meaningful shot that wasn’t a landscape with a point and shoot. Any picture that requires subject isolation to support its narrative needs at least a certain level of gear. Tools can be very important in any trade. Ask a world level musician if he wants to play a 100$ violin or 1000$ piano and I don’t think they’ll deliver their best performance with them. However, telling a photographer whose work you admire “you must have a really good camera” is like assuming Paul Bocuses achieves fine cuisine thanks to pricey pans…

  6. Hey, i’m with James here. Its not ABOUT the camera per se, but you/we DO neeeeeed a camera to shoot with, true? And, these companies charge a lot of money for said cameras, there’s plenty of hype surrounding them and we spend time researching what may suit, only to find in real world ‘beta testing’ that they don’t always live up to expectation. And, as a blogger, why not let others in on what you’ve discovered.

    So I, and others i’m sure, appreciate your recent posts about the marvellous A7. It’s not street ready and you have showed us that.

    Thank You.

    P.S Gorgeous set of photos as always. πŸ˜‰

  7. marla2008 says:

    Thanks Tracy, following our numerous private conversations I have pretty much decided to try and XE-2 at the beginning of the coming year πŸ˜‰

  8. Michael says:

    Just discovered your blog. V enjoyable, nicely written and “the rants” ring true. I also enjoy obsessing a little over my cameras, but not the partisanship that has weirdly exploded on the internet forums. Good to have your non sycophantic pov.

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