Skip to main content

Focus Shift with Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic


I am currently reviewing the Ricoh GXR A12 M-mount body and have the super-compact not to mention super fast Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic MC rangefinder lens for review also. Before the reviews are published I thought I would show the focus shift that this particular lens exhibits. On a camera like the Ricoh GXR M-mount (or, for that matter, any mirrorless camera using an adaptor) this particular characteristic isn't really an issue, providing you focus at the taking aperture. It is, however, a distinct issue if you focus at the maximum aperture and then stop down to the taking aperture or if you're using a coupled rangefinder such as the maker's own Bessa models or a Leica M series, which do not compensate for focus shift.

I've used the Michael Tapes Design Lens Align Mk II to demonstrate the focus shift - it's a first class focus calibration tool which was originally designed to highlight issues with DSLRs and AF lenses but it's perfectly suited for this particular purpose. The following images are unretouched JPEGs displayed at 1:1 in Adobe Lightroom 4.



At maximum aperture, this is about as accurate as we can get (at a distance of around 3 1/2 feet), using focus peaking and the somewhat poor resolution of the Ricoh's VF-2 viewfinder in magnified mode. We've focused on the target to the left. If you look at the ruler to the right, focus is centered evenly on the +4 0 -4 digits.

If you're concerned by the amount of LoCA I can say that photographing targets with high contrast edges like this at close distances easily reveals this trait and others (such as SA) but real world images aren't likely to look quite so aberrated.


Besides, as you can see from the photo above, I can remove nearly all traces of LoCA in the latest version of Lightroom 4 - it's one of the most powerful features of the recent upgrade and one of the reasons why I recommend the utility for professional users.



Focus shift is immediately apparent at f/2.0, as the focus plane has shifted rearwards (exhibiting back-focus) with the depth of field over +12, 8, 4, 0 -4 (the +12 and -4 being equally unsharp)



By f/2.8 the depth of field continues to expand but the red ±0 is now out of focus, with the focus plane being over +24 to +4 range and the sharpest point of focus being around +20 to +16



At f/4 the focus shift continues rearward with the sharpest focus point being around +26 to +20, note the red colored rear target intersecting the large 4 is clearly in focus.



At f/5.6 the depth of field is beginning to encompass the original focus target (it's still a bit soft however) but the point of sharpest focus remains to the rear at around +36 to +20.



Much the same can be said at f/8, only now the depth of field now encompasses the original focus target (though the sharpest point of focus remains rearward at +36). And things don't change at f/11 or f/16 (there's little point showing those). Apart from the focus shift there's a lot to like about the Nokton, which we'll reveal in our forthcoming review so please check back for that.

The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic MC can be purchased online in the UK at pro-dealer Robert White.


Popular posts from this blog

Hasselblad H4D-60 review

UPDATE 18 May, 2012: Hasseblad is set to reduce the price on the H4D cameras by as much as $11,000 / 6,200 Euros on the H4D-60, bringing the price to 23,900 euros ($30,995 / £21,995). Please see here for more details.

The last couple of decades have been turbulent for medium format camera manufacturers, but now after several well-known names have withdrawn, the market looks healthy. Two new unexpected entrants, Leica and Pentax have added to the dynamic at opposing ends of the pricing scale, forcing the two established system players to compete fiercely in their traditional rarefied role as well as the entry-level.

Partnering with both Leaf and Mamiya, Phase One has developed a trio of entry-level Mamiya DM models starting at under $14k/ £9k while continuing to offer a wide range of Phase One and Leaf backs, up to 80-megapixels. Through various offers and incentives these backs, are most likely to be partnered with the 645DF body but they are in fact compatible with a wide range of …

Fujifilm IS Pro UV-IR DSLR review

Fuji’s IS Pro is the up-date to maker’s earlier S3 UV-IR camera, and like that particular camera, the IS Pro adopts a modified image sensor that’s not shielded from UV or IR light. Consequently, with various filtration methods, the IS Pro is designed for Ultraviolet (UVA), visible and near Infrared photography.

Although there is a healthy demand for DSLRs with IR capability especially, and there are number of independent vendors (mainly in the US, but the UK also) that offer IR dedicated and full-spectrum conversion of current Nikon and Canon bodies, it’s anticipated the IS Pro will appeal largely to the scientific and forensic communities. With the departure of the S3 UV-IR, Fuji’s IS Pro continues to be the only dedicated full-spectrum interchangeable lens based DSLR that has professional-level support from a camera maker. As well as official product support and 12-month warranty, for government agencies and the like, the OEM status of the IS Pro will be particularly reassuring an…

Mitsubishi CP-D70DW dye-sublimation printer review

Roll-fed dye-sublimation transfer printers are often used in photo-kiosks but with their fast operation and touch dry photos, they’re also the printer of choice for event photographers.

Mitsubishi Electric CP-D70DW


£1214 (£999 ex VAT) $1,399.95
Mitsubishi Electric;
Mac OS X 10.5 or Windows XP later
Print quality, job times, low media costs, durability, build, noise levels
Noise levels, paper handling niggles, colour profile on request

Buy at Adorama Camera (US) at $1,279.95, plus mail-in rebate available. Buy at Amazon US (sold by Adorama).

Buy the Dual deck CP-D70DW at Adorama now at $1,939.95, plus mail-in rebate (was $2,950).


Unlike the process of dithering liquid ink in an inkjet, dye-sublimation printers produce authentic continuous tone images with an analogous look like that of a conventional lab-produced print. They achieve this using thin c…