Olympus Pen E-P1 & Voigtländer NOKTON classic 35mm F1.4

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There are not many native micro 4/3 lenses available yet, especially large aperture prime lenses, which is basically non-existent at present. There is one 4/3 large aperture lens, the LEICA D SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH, but it is a rather big lens to fit on a micro 4/3 camera like the Pen E-P1 and it is also rather expensive. One of the attraction of the micro 4/3 system is that you can use a lens mount adapter to mount different system lenses to a micro 4/3 camera and Leica M mount lenses are one of the very popular choices.

I bought a Voigtländer NOKTON classic 35mm F1.4  today to go with the Olympus Pen E-P1. It is a straightly manual focus lens, but it is small and compact with a very good built quality. The retro look compliments the Pen E-P1 perfectly.

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I have not had time to test out the lens extensively yet, but here is just one test shot I took at home tonight at f1.4 and ISO 1600. It was shot with RAW and converted to TIFF file with Olympus bundled RAW converter. The TIFF file was then resized and sharpened in Photoshop before converted to jpg format for web output. No other post-processing was done.

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28 thoughts on “Olympus Pen E-P1 & Voigtländer NOKTON classic 35mm F1.4

  1. Roland,

    Great pictures. Question: How do you find the practicality of using a third party lens — focusing manually and setting the f-stop?

    I recently purchased the EP-1 and am really enjoying it — but eager to try new lenses.

    Randy

    • Randy,

      I personally have no difficulty using manual focus on the EP-1, and setting aperture on a manual lens like any Leica M mount lens or Nikon mount lens are easy, just use the good old aperture ring on the lens. Perhaps many people who only started using DSLR in recent few years (except Nikon models) would have never seen aperture ring on lenses, but they used to be the norm.

  2. I do miss the aperture ring on the lenses, that felt so natural in “da good old days” 🙂

    I still dont’ understand why that could not be done on today’s lenses…

    • Hi Pompo,

      I don’t think it’s a matter of “cannot be done”. It’s just that all modern DSLR can control the aperture electronically that it become unncessary to build a mechanical aperture ring on the lenses and that saves cost for the camera/lens makers.

  3. I’d be curious to try some street shooting with the Nikon glass on the E-P1 since all my old lenses have distance indicators. Something missing on my m43 glass.

    • Hi yarrayering,

      I bought my Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 (M mount) from Echo Photo & Audio and the adapter from a local camera accessories shop in Hong Kong. I have have seen Amazon selling Voigtlander lenses online, or you can try Tin Cheung Camera (www.tincheungcamera.com.hk), they sell Voigtlander lenses online too.

  4. I just bought the E-P1. I had a look first here in Hong Kong but the only outfit selling it is an advertiser on this site called DigitalRev. Cowboys… HKD8,950. I bought for HKD6,000 from Amazon.com. The DigitalRev guys have a ‘reward scheme’ which I calculated would need you to spend HKD125,000 to receive a ‘free’ HKD350 memory card. There must be a lot of gullible people out there for this place to survive.

    • Hi Tim,

      I don’t want to say anything bad about any particular camera shops, but if you have read my article on Recommended Camera shops in Hong Kong, you would notice that DigitalRev is not on my recommended list of shops. Congrats on the new E-P1 anyway. Have fun!

  5. Congratulations on your interesting site! By using 3rd party lens such as your EP-1 / Nokton set up, I know the camera does not read the aperture setting you have on the lens. If this is so, how does the camera adjust the shutter speed according to the F stop set, just like in Aperture Priority mode? Or does it work like in Manual mode where in you set the F and speed manually?

    I have a GH1 and would like to try M lenses with wide opening for low light shooting. My cam came with the 14-140mm, f4 lens and shooting without flash in doors often gives me blurred pics due to the slow lens. ISO from 800 starts to be visibly noisy.

    • Hi Winston,

      The camera does not need to be able to read the aperture value to do metering. It will work fine in aperture priority mode and manual mode. Shutter priority mode will not work of course.

    • Hi Manny,

      I am just using a generic no name brand Chinese made lens mount adapter.

      The lens on your link is just the Olympus 17mm 2.8 micro 4/3 kit lens. I am that lens cannot really give you a very shallow depth of field like the Voigtländer NOKTON classic. You will need a lens with much large aperture than f2.8 on a micro 4/3 camera to give you very shallow depth of field.

  6. Hi Roland

    I am also interested in using some CV lenses on the E-P1. I have some vintage PEN glass that I would like to try.

    Which shop did you get your adapters from – I think it would be better to try the adapter with the lens before purchase if possible, just to make sure of a snug fit. I work in Kowloon so it seems silly to order off of ebay…

    Cheers

    • Hi Matt,

      I bought my lens mount adapter at a shop at Sim City Shopping Mall at Mongkok. I forgot the name of the shop, but they specializes in selling lens mount adapter, and you should see lots of them at the shop.

  7. Hi,
    I have an Olympus Ep-1 and I love it, besides the slowness, but I am dealing with it.
    I got Nikon D3000 a gift , and I will certainly use it too.
    Now I am looking for adapters/lenses that I can use on both these systems.
    Does anybody have any suggestions as to what kind of path to follow.
    Thank you

    • HI elis,

      You can use Nikon F mount lenses on your EP-1. All you need is to buy a Nikon to micro4/3 lens mount adapter. Of course you will have to manual focus and shutter priority will not work, but you can still use aperture priority.

  8. hi there roland, im envious!

    i have been looking at some voigtlander lenses to pair up with my D60! for the love of manual focusing. unfortunately they dont have the 35mm 1.4 for F mount.. how does it perform on the EP1? care to share some more shots of it please?

    thanks a lot

    • Hi Azri,

      It works well, but on the EP-1, a 35mm lens have Full frame field of view equivalent of 70mm focal length. So it effectively becomes a short tele/portrait lens on the EP-1. I have not used it much though since I bought it.

  9. Hi Roland,
    Great site you have. Is there anyway I can mount a lens like the nokton classic 35 f1.4 onto a 7D?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Paul,

      It is not possible to use M mount lenses on DSLR like the Canon 7D. M mount lenses were originally designed to work on rangefinder cameras with very short back focus distance and will not work on any DSLR because of this. For the same reason, that’s why they will work on mirror-less cameras like the micro4/3 Olympus and Panasonic.

  10. Hi Roland

    As an artist foremost, rather than a photographer I am always needing to learn, and your excellent advice is helping.
    I have recently bought the EP1 body and added the Panasonic 1.7 lens which gives great results on landscape shots. But I now need to add another lens in 40/50 mm range and the Voigtlanders impress me.
    I read the thread concerning how the manual lens metre read and understand this but can the exposure compensation still be used?
    Also what lens would you recommend for distance and some portraiture; 40 or 50 mm.

    • Hi John,

      Using manual lenses like Voigtländer will not affect metering on the EP-1, and of course exposure compensation will still work, but only in aperture priority mode.

      Depnding on your working distance and shooting preferences, either 40 or 50mm should work fine.

  11. Nice site sir:-) looks like more m43 user will use voigtlander as 3rd party lens(mine have 4) so any plan to add you voigtlander collection?:-)

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