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Cosina-Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2.0 SL II

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This article is part of the small but growing Index of Pancake Lenses!

Specifications for the Cosina-Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2.0 SL II
"Honorary Pancake"
Years Produced 2005 - Still in production
• According to some sources this lens was also produced briefly in the Olympus OM mount, but this has yet to be verified
• Cosina-Voigtlander tends to produce lenses in smaller numbers compared to other manufacturers
Street Price US - $379.00 (In 2005)
Lens Type Normal
Available Mounts • Nikon F
• Pentax K
• Canon EF
• Canon EF-S
Optical Construction 6 elements in 5 groups with 1 aspherical element
• Zeiss-Planar type lens
Weather Sealing No
Aperture Blades 9 - Circular blade pattern
Focus Type Manual Focus
Image Stabilization No
Min. Focus Distance • 0.45m
• (17.72 inches)
• The lens includes a separate close-up lens which fits over the lens hood and allows minimum focus of 0.25m. Magnification is 1:4 with this setup
Dimensions • 63.0 x 25.0mm
• (2.48 x 0.98 inches)
Weight • 200g
• (7.05 ounces)
Filter Size 52mm
Hood Included, inverted-dome shaped. Has an additional 49mm filter for the nested cap

I purchased one of these lenses for myself, and I like it quite a lot. I picked the Nikon mount version, and it is mounted on my Canon 1D Mark III and Canon 40D bodies via an adapter made by Fotodiox.com. Save yourself some money and buy their adapters through eBay. It is invariably cheaper that way than going through their online store. Rest assured that the protrusion coming out the back of the lens does NOT interfere with the mirror of the 1D/5D series full-frame body. One of the cool things about this lens for Nikon body users is that electronic metering support is built in to this lens.

Update – Now Available in Canon EF Mount

In late 2009, this lens was made available for the Canon EF mount. The EF version works well with both crop sensor and full frame bodies.

Construction & Ergonomics

The Ultron 40 f/2.0 is VERY well made. It’s basically all metal, and has a very solid and reassuring sense of ergonomics. The focus ring actually has a textured rubber element to it, making grip very snappy and crisp. Be aware that for Canon users, everything made for Nikon is ‘in reverse’, as is the direction of the focus ring.

The aperture blades are beautifully rounded, as shown in the picture below.


What’s Included

The lens comes with a hood, lens cap (for the hood) and close-up magnification lens that is meant to give the lens a bit of a macro edge.

It’s a Damn Good Lens

Even at f/2.0, this is a pretty sharp lens based on my subjective testing. Reviews of this lens are generally very good. This gentleman has put together a fine review (scroll down on his page for English) complete with MTF charts detailing the lens’ performance, so that won’t be covered here.

Every once in a while I wonder why Canon feels as if they can’t be be bothered to release such a lens. Their current 50mm f/1.4L simply does not come close to the feel of this one. However, don’t mistake my annoyance at Canon for envy. This lens does a very fine job and with the mount adapter setup to work the way it does, I couldn’t care less if the brand on the front said Praktica or Polaroid. It works on my camera body. If you own a Pentax or a Nikon, that’s one less step for you to worry about.


Mounted on a Canon Digital Rebel XTi (400D) it is a surprisingly small, and almost pocketable camera!


Even when mounted on one of the larger Canon 1D series bodies, the camera becomes something you don’t normally associate with a 1D-sized frame…. it becomes nimble, and almost portable.

What now, haters?


This lens is probably the best option for most people who want the faster f/2.0 aperture and don’t want to purchase a discontinued lens. Be aware however that if you’re in the USA, none of these lenses are covered under Cosina-Voigtlander warranty! That means if the lens breaks you’re out of luck unless you can find a local shop that supports it, or are willing to ship it back to Japan for work.

Depending on who you ask, this lens was apparently once available in the Olympus OM mount. It is my first Cosina-Voigtlander lens, but I have not verified this to be true. Most likely it is just an Internet-fueled rumor. There is no mention in the instructions of the lens for Olympus support anywhere.

Along the same lines are apparently the only criticism by some people towards the manufacturer is that they tend to  have relatively short production runs. It could just be clever marketing, but the performance of this lens makes a very convincing argument to get it new while it’s hot!

Some Reference Links To Chew On

Some Sample Shots

These are just a few sample shots that I have taken with this lens. The lens is wide open at f/2.0 for all of these shots. The EXIF information in the photos should be ignored because the Nikon F adapter I was using does not support EF communications.

Statue on 15th Street

Scavenged for Parts

Impromptu shot plus bunny bokeh effect (paper aperture filter)

Some Macro Sample Shots

These are a few sample shots taken with the macro lens attachment. All shots were handheld at 1/50sec, f/8.0, at 100ISO. The EXIF information if you click through should be ignored, because I was using a Nikon F adapter supported EF communications but registered any lens connected to it as a 50mm f/1.8.




Written by Tijger Tsou

March 11th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

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8 Responses to 'Cosina-Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2.0 SL II'

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  1. is the focus ring called the distance ring in the literature that comes with the voigtlander 40mm? thank you

    jo hall

    21 Mar 09 at 9:24 am

  2. Hello, The focus ring is indeed called the distance ring with the included documentation (it’s one sheet in many languages, basically)
    I scanned the copy I have and it is available here:


    The parts labeled 3 and 4 on the sheet are the same piece. The distance scale rotates along with the focus ring. The parts labeled 5 and 7 are the same, and are on the lens body so they don’t rotate. I hope this helps!

    Tijger Tsou

    21 Mar 09 at 4:40 pm

  3. re the Hucheng review:
    if by “put together” you mean “copy-paste” or “embed”, it’s true.
    But really, it’s just the Ultron review from Photozone.de.
    Just to give credit where credit is due.
    To be fair, Hucheng inserts the general link to Photozone above the review, so no harm done.


    3 Apr 09 at 8:19 pm

  4. Chris, thanks for the heads up. I feel like a bit of a dope for not catching that copy/paste job on the first read-through. But then again I’ve got a habit of trying to credit my sources, whether they deserve it or not. In any event i’ve updated the content to indicate the status of hucheng’s ‘article’. Thanks again!

    Tijger Tsou

    3 Apr 09 at 8:32 pm

  5. […] Cosina-Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2.0 SL II […]

  6. Hi. Thanks for the wonderful review. I am just wondering between two lenses for my canon 5D. Ultron 40mm f2 and Carl zeiss 50mm f1.4. Both are now electronically compatible with Canon. Which one is your preference? Another option for me is to buy an adpapter and Contax 50mm f1.7. I have tried Canon 50mm 1.4 and 1.8 but not satisfactory. Thanks Charlie


    3 Dec 09 at 10:25 am

  7. hi, save yourself some money and buy a cheap 1.7 lens as they render best sharpness overall. many on ebay below 50e
    if you are on the search for a Bokeh, a 1.4 has better bikeh for the same apertures so go for the Zeiss. or a Af Sigma 50 1,4 m heavy but modern lens

    or be brave and buy this ones. seems very good


    17 Feb 10 at 8:21 pm

  8. Regarding the rumored OM-mount availability: there was indeed an Ultron 40/2 for OM system, but it was of the original SL I version, not the SL II listed here.

    The OM40/2 maybe rare, but this one seems to be nowhere to be found at all. There are only brief mentioning of the lens (some lucky sap who actually acquired the thing) even on Japanese websites.

    All the CV Ultron 40/2s seems to be excellent performers. Given the relatively inferior performance of the OM 40/2 the Ultron might be the ultimate wet dream for many OM shooters including me..


    6 Nov 10 at 3:20 am

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