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Voigtlander Ultron SLII 40mm F2

Reviews Views Date of last review
10 45,360 Sat March 13, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
90% of reviewers $392.88 9.10
Voigtlander Ultron SLII 40mm F2

Focal Length: 40mm
Lens Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Largest to smallest Aperture: F2 - F22
Picture Angle: 57°
Aperture Blades: 9
Closest Focus: 0.38m (1:7)
Diameter x Length: 63.0 mm x 24.5 mm
Weight: 200 g
Mount: KA
Filter diameter: 52mm
Mount Type: Pentax KA
Price History:

Add Review of Voigtlander Ultron SLII 40mm F2
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Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,594

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 13, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, overall optical performance
Cons: Rarity
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: Film and K3, KP   

I am going to declare a bias here. This is nearly my favourite lens. It just falls short because it is not the original SL Ultron model (I have 2 of these - one in M42 and one in Nikon F),which is my favourite. I prefer the aesthetics and slightly better handling of the SL over the SLii, but that is a personal preference,and I am certainly not knocking the later model which others may prefer. These lenses impart a sense of privilege to the user. There is something special about them which Pepperberry describes very well in his review below.

The optical performance of both the SL and SLii appear to me identical, apart from the SLii model produces slightly warmer images when tested side by side. The optical performance is exceptional. Sharp from wide open. Slight CAs which go away at f4. Great contrast.

For me a 40-45mm lens is a must have on 35mm or FF, and the SL lenses are the best I have ever used at this FL in terms of IQ, build quality and handling combined on film or FF. IMO slightly besting the 43mm Ltd, but only in the build and handling (but only then if you prefer MF).

On APSc, I am not so keen on the SLii. Not because it somehow becomes a lessor lens (it does not), but because it falls into a different FOV range, where it faces competition from more options like the HD FA 35mm, the HD DA 35mm Ltd and HD DA 40mm Ltd. Although optically at wide aperture it will best the two Ltd lenses (I can't comment on the FA as one is not in my hands...yet), at f4 and smaller I can not tell any of these lenses apart optically, other than their colour profiles, I prefer the Ltd lenses as their handling characteristics I feel are better on this format.

To sum up - these are astonishingly good lenses at a reasonable price when compared to other high end offerings from other manufacturers. On film or FF you may want to consider a 43mm Ltd instead, but I would not consider one lens better than the other except for ones own personal preferences in terms of handling. On APSc I feel that its appeal is restricted due to other options out there.
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 34,879
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: clarity, bokeh, color rendition, sharpness, build quality
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-3   

my end-of-month review of the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II:

normally, by week 3 of a SIC, I am starting to get a little itchy for the next month... I start looking ahead, thinking about the next lens, waiting for the new SIC thread to be posted....

mainly because by the 3rd week, I get bored with the lens I'm using - I've done all I'm going to do with her and it's time to move on.... sometimes, it happens in week 2 (that's when I know to sell that lens off)....

but not this month, not with this exquisite lens....

I've been burned by the legend before - I bought an FA43 Limited and was less than enamored of it... and sold it within 2 weeks of that SIC ending...

not this time...

let's start with the lens itself - all metal build by Cosina, deliciously engraved markings, striking black finish, with a hood/cap that is similar to the DA40 Limited's hood/cap arrangement (with one simple change - a pinch cap), and a helical that is just so smooth, so perfectly damped.... you can accurately adjust it with a single finger....

this is a manual-focus lens, with an automatic aperture (I only ever use the 'A' on the aperture ring), and it is perfect without the autofocus - really, it is...

I know that there was commentary on the forums about this lens being beyond peoples' reach, too expensive, or some that were not aware of it being available in K-mount - which is all a shame, because this lens should not be a secret at all...

I placed a 'wanted' ad here on the forum and was rewarded by an offer of a barely-used lens, complete with caps, hood, and close-up diopter, all in the original packaging for $325 - yes, I jumped at it...

not once during the month did I wish there was more to this lens - it's MFD is usable, it's sharp, it's contrasty, the bokeh is gorgeous - what else could you ask for in a 40mm walk-around lens?

and some of the shots:

Garment District by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

turning maple, blue sky by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

toad... by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

raindrops in fog by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and the rest of my flickr album for this lens:

in short - if you can find one within your budget, buy it....
New Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: August 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $379.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Traditional high quality lens
Cons: N/A
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3-II   

An uncommon standard focal length prime, the 40mm falls into the natural angle of view category - useful
for many subjects.

This manual K mount standard prime is superior high quality all metal build - no nonsense designed, constructed &
machined without any noticeable physical defect.

A small lens, I describe the controls as diminutive. Physically thinner & shorter, but quite a bit heavier
than comparable pancake Pentax FA 43mm F1.9 Limited.

Easy to focus operation, is a short full range 3/4 turn, is smooth and precise.
Aperture (nine blades) includes "A" setting with full-hard stops between f/22 to f/2.0
and half-hard stops between f/11 to f/2.8. Aperture ring clicks quick, short & precise, and requires above
average effort to move.

I think contrast is lenient, on the shaded bright side. Image definition is vital & sharpness sehr gut at any aperture.
The color appears faithful, however middling chromatic aberration can be evident and is exacerbated with excessive process.
In black & white process this lens is capable of sharp flawless work. For comparison, distortion % is said
to be in common to the Pentax HD DA 21mm. Vignette appears but is graceful, gradual, & will blend with
bokeh, usually I don't notice it.

Convenient close focus is 1:7 which produces pretty nice bokeh character at wider aperture. A fiddly accessory close-up lens increases
view to 1:4, certainly remains sharp and is effective, with increase to stronger but not necessarily better looking bokeh,
dependent on background. At normal view distances, wide aperture bokeh, which some may say non existent, is mostly agreeable, nondescript, and luminous.
New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: June 20, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Useful focal lenght, extremely sharp, minimum focus distance (with or without additional lens)
Cons: Bokeh is not the best, a bit of distortion
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: A7   

This is my second favorite lens behind the Voigtlander 58mm f/1,4 Nokton, and probably my most used since I got it.

The lens is beautifully made, even if less compact when adding adapter. Handling is great. 40mm focal lenght with close focus abilities is very useful and versatile on full frame.

Sharpness is nothing but outstanding, the lens is sharp corner to corner from f/2. You can easily get crisp and contrasty pictures. Contrast and colors are a bit more pronounced than with the Nokton 58mm f/1,4, I may call the rendering more modern.

Bokeh is not the best. At long and medium distance, it's average, nervous to neutral depending on the situation. Not great, but I find it less distracting than some "bokeh monster" lens. At close focus distance, it can be good but it has nothing to do with the Nokton. Simply expect the background to be blur without special effect.

I saw no optical flaws except little distortion, noticeable when shooting something straight but still correctable easily.

This lens is light, very sharp and has nice punchy rendering combine with amazing close focus abilities. I don't mind having paid so much for it since it is versatile and even collectible. I strongly recommend it if you are lucky to find it for a good price.

Price is given in € for a new one.
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 157
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, well made, smooth, IQ
Cons: Narrow focus ring, makes my other lenses seem ordinary.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, k-5 iis   

Beautifully made by Cosina, where they make the Zeiss stuff. Handles well, and is generally an object of joy to behold. Havent noticed any problem with CA or distorsion.
Sharpness and contrast are severely good. When i want ultimate iq i go to this lens or the pentax m macro 100. I give it a 9 for sharpness only because i have seen pics from the voigtlander 58 nokton, which is even slightly better, somehow. I dont know how they did it. the great shame is that cosina have discontinued manufacture of the pentax k varieties niw, so final stocks only available. likely to pish prices up. It is an exquisite lens.

Registered: April, 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 2,811
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, well built, smooth focusing
Cons: I.Q. is just a hair above average
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K3ii   

I've owned two of these lenses over the years. I've also shot lots of Pentax and Zeiss ZK lenses in this range. Frankly, many of these other lenses' IQ clearly exceed the IQ of this lens.

It's build is exceptional, an easy 10 out of 10.

However, from an image standpoint, the Voigtlander 40mm lens is maybe a bit above average at best. It's certainly not worthy of the 9.75 overall rating that it currently carries on this website.
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 22, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color, bokeh
Cons: CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-7   

Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Posts: 9,830

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 27, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Metal construction, fast, terrific IQ, covers film, buttery focus, KA mount
Cons: No AF--not a big con for me, though

What can I say, this is a near-perfect lens. The image quality is absolutely superb. Resolution meets or exceeds the now legendary performace of the DA40 (which I also use) and adds a stop of speed. The F/2 is not just for show, as the lens performs very well wide open. It has replaced the fast 50 as my film lens. I like its wider view, greater depth of field and excellent speed for travel and landscape.

I bought this for my fiilm bodies. What I did not expect is what a superb and enjoyable performer it is on a DSLR. It has a neutral color rendition and nice microcontrast. The KA mount means DSLR metering and flash work fine. I don't even miss the autofocus. With an F/2 max apertue, the finder is bright and easy to focus, even on pentamirror bodies. Great results are possible at F/8 even if you don't focus at all but just use the hyperfocal setting.

The DA40 was already one of my most used lenses. This lens is destined to join it for my film work.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 115
Lens Review Date: January 2, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $379.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: light, sharp, well built
Cons: some CA

These are my impressions after using the lens for 3 weeks. I find this lens to be top quality, both optically and mechanically. The focal length, equivalent to 60 mm when used on a k20d, is very convenient. Focusing is very smooth and precise. Comes with a matched close-up adapter that allows the lens to do a quarter of life size. Using the adapter introduces no distortion that I can see. Wide open I find the lens to be sharp but of course requires careful focusing due to the shallow depth of field.

The only negative characteristic that I have observed is that the lens suffers from CA in very high contrast areas. This has not been a problem for the kind of photography I normally do, but is clearly visible under the right conditions. I think I read in photozone that this is a common problem with fast lenses. This doesn't affect most of my images , so I gave the lens a rating of 10; having the possibility I would have rated it 9.5 due to the CA.

The following image illustrates the CA. The aperture was f2.

Forum Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Vienna
Posts: 96
Lens Review Date: July 30, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent build quality, fast, compact, sharp wide open, good image quality, fair pricing, accessories
Cons: unpractical lens cap, some flare

It's remarkable that nobody has reviewed this lens here yet as one would assume that with its all metal build, excellent overall image quality and compact size it would particularly appeal to Pentax users.

The Ultron's physical length doesn't exceed that of the Pentax DA 21mm and 70mm Limited pancakes and also the build quality is easily on par with that of Pentax' counterparts. Manual focus on this lens is easily the best and most enjoyable I have operated to date, the focus ring being very well damped and rubberized with a focus throw that is just about perfect. The lens comes with a tiny, thoughtfully designed lens hood, a close-up filter and a snap-on lens cap. The latter is the only minor design flaw: it is made of plastic and only fits on the lens hood. Due to its small size (33mm, I think) it is sometimes awkward to use. Overall the Ultron SLII feels very substantial and balances well on my K-m.

Image quality is generally very good. Colour reproduction, sharpness and contrast seem excellent to me and while I do not perfrom any formal tests with my lenses, I cannot complain about chromatic aberration, vignetting or distortion. My pictures generally turn out very well with this lens. Notably, it is already sharp at its biggest aperture of F/2, which allows for some interesting possibilities in low light. While the bokeh is not outstanding, it commonly looks good to me. I have also seen examples where it could have been a bit more pleasant, but overall you'd have to be very critical to seriously call it problematic, I'd say. Anyway, depth of field is more than shallow enough for creative use without making manual focussing too difficult.

I bought the Voigtländer Ultron to complement my setup with a fast, compact lens for travelling and while I thought I preferred normal to wide focal ranges, it has quickly grown on me with its 40mm, i. e. long-normal, focal length. It is a very versatile lens and a great option for street and night photography. Anyone interested in the incredibly popular Pentax DA 40mm Limited lens should seriously consider the Ultron SLII as an alternative. It is hardly any bigger than the DA but a whole stop faster and provides plenty of value for a fair price.
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