These days I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff I’d like to treat myself with for christmas. Alas, the budget for new toys roughly equals zero this year. Still, being the gearhead that I am, here’s a list of what I would have Santa bring me
- M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 — Olympus’ latest Micro Four Thirds lens offering, equivalent to a 90mm portrait lens / short tele in 35mm terms. Being raved about by everyone who has it, and generally getting quite favourable reviews. This would complement my Lumix 20/1.7 nicely for a two-lens kit.
- Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4 — The fastest 40mm lens for 35mm photography, and conviniently this comes in M-mount. Since its über-fast sibling, the Nokton 35/1.2, is not only two to three times as expensive, but also two to three times as large and heavy, this would make for a nice carry-anywhere 50mm-equivalent available-light lens on my M8.
- Leica CL 35mm rangefinder camera — the camera that almost killed the M series. Much smaller and lighter than its M siblings, the CL was manufactured by Minolta and features 40, 50 and 90mm framelines. It’s one of the smallest M-mount cameras, has an integrated light meter and would nicely lend itself at being used with the 40mm Nokton. Also, it’s beautiful!
- Leica M Thumbie — a less expensive and less obtrusive alternative to the Thumbs Up grip by Match Technical. The Thumbie is attached to the back of your Leica M by adhesive tape, and thus keeps the hot shoe free for accessories. It’s also smaller than the Thumbs Up and only half the price.
- Leather half case for the Leica M8 — there are many varieties of this very useful and very good-looking accessory. I would want one in light brown (“cognac”) with an integrated grip, preferrably the Mr. Zhou version. Protects the camera, makes it look nice and provides grip.
What would you like Santa to bring you for christmas?
The new Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.2 II lens seems to be available in some parts of the world already, and a user at rangefinderforum.com has posted some first thoughts and sample pictures taken with a Leica M9.
He claims the lens has better contrast wide open than its predecessor, is still sharp at f/1.2 and still exhibits pleasing bokeh. But judge for yourselves: http://rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=110011
Cosina now have finally announced a retail price for the new Nokton 35/1.2. It’s going to be JPY 135,000, which is ~ USD 1,700 or EUR 1,200. Ouch.
http://www.cosina.co.jp/seihin/voigt/v-lens/v-l-m/vm35-1.2/ (Google tranlated)
EDIT: Interestingly, this British vendor lists it for GBP 900, which is a “mere” EUR 1,000 or USD 1,400. Maybe there’s hope yet …
According to this page on Cosina’s website (reminder: Cosina is the Japanese manufacturer that produces most of the Voigtländer and Zeiss photographic products), the new Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2 II will be released in August. According to Cosina, it will retail for approx. 135k JPY, which is quite a bit steeper than the original version.
The page also mentions that the new 35/1.2 has now three aspherical surfaces, as opposed to the original version which had two aspherical surfaces. As the original 35/1.2 Nokton was a highly regarded lens, the rangefinder community is of course very anxious to see inhowfar the optical qualities of the v. II will compare to those of v. I.
P.S.: In the rff thread linked to above, you can find the lens schematics of both version to compare. The overall construction remains the same, only the aspherical lenses have been altered, as Cosina have stated earlier.
After recently having discontinued their very high-esteemed and popular Nokton 35mm f/1.2 Aspherical M-mount lens, Voigtländer announced that they were working on a successor which was to be released in the second half of 2011. On this year’s CP+ in Japan, the new Nokton 35mm f/1.2 Aspherical II was officially presented.
Picture courtesy of Cosina/Voigtländer
According to photoscala.de, the new version is much more compact than the original Nokton 35/1.2. This is probably due to an overhaul of the optical formula, which was needed because the glass of the aspherical lens element was no longer obtainable. The new version also focuses closer, to .5m instead of .75m. A retail price has not yet been announced, but I reckon it will be about the same price as the old version (~ $ 1200/€ 900).