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Voigtlander SL 12/5.6 and SL 15/4.5 Lenses: Discontinued and SOLD OUT
See Current Voigtlander Products
WANTED TO BUY: VOIGTLANDER FS ADAPTERS
Nikon F/F2 Replacement Accessory Finder Base $199
SL 12/15 Replacement Chrome Front Cap $59
Voigtlander SL 12/5.6 and 15/4.5 Aspherical Lenses for Nikon F/F2 Mirror Lockup (and hundreds of other cameras)
In August 2003 Cosina Voigtlander introduced the SL series 12/5.6 and 15/4.5 in Nikon F mount for mirror lockup. Shown above is the 12 mounted on a Nikon SP rangefinder, and the 15 mounted on a Nikon F2. These are deeply recessed NON-retrofocus lenses which require mirror lockup. The SL 12/5.6 is the widest non-fisheye lens ever made in Nikon F mount. The SL 15/4.5 is by far the least expensive and smallest 15mm lens ever made in Nikon F mount. They will ONLY fit Nikon SLRs with full mirror lock up, but Cosina only guarantees compatibility with the Nikon F and F2. With adapters, the SL and 15 can easily be used on hundreds of other cameras. The Voigtlander FS adapter allows the SL 12 or 15 to be used on either Nikon or classic Contax rangefinders, and probably Kiev Contax copies as well. The Voigtlander FL adapter allows their use on hundreds of different Leica screw mount cameras. Add a screw mount to bayonet adapter to the FS adapter to mount them on Leica M mount cameras. With the same optics as their Leica mount counterparts, the SL 12 and 15 also mount and focus properly even on the Leica M5 and CL with their mechanical meter cells, but you will probably have to test the meter readings for possible adjustments. With the hard to find Canon N adapter you can also mount the SL 12 and 15 on many Canon FD bodies which have mirror lock up. Thus the SL 12 and 15 are among the most versatile super wides ever produced in terms of multiple camera platforms.
This non-retrofocus Voigtlander 12mm lens is the widest non fish eye ever made for either Nikon Rangefinder or Nikon SLRs. These are the same non-retrofocus optics as Voigtlander's Leica screw mount lenses, but produced in Nikon F mount designed for mirror lock up, with higher standards of finish and machining than the Leica screw lenses. The SL 12 and 15 are so well made they look like they came off a production line in the late 1950's during the rangefinder's golden era. The rear cap (which also stores the viewfinder) is constructed of very heavy duty plastic, similar in design to the original rear caps for the classic 21/4 Nikkor mirror lock up lens, only better. The thin original 21/4 caps have a tendency to break, these new caps appear much more robust. SPECS: SL 12/5.6, f/stop range 5.6 to 22, half click stops, close focus .3 meters, SL 15/5.6 f/stop range 4.5 to 22, close focus to .3 meters. Finders and front/rear caps included with lenses. Optional are the Nikon F Accessory shoe, F-S adapter, and F-L adapter.
Here the SL 12/5.6 is mounted on a Nikon Ftn using Nikon Accessory Shoe. The SL 15/4.5 is mounted on Nikon F2 using Voigtlander F/F2 Accessory Shoe, both cameras with mirror locked UP. The Voigtlander F accessory shoe is optional, since the Nikon F/F2 accessory shoes are easily available on the used market. What Nikons will these lenses fit? Cosina only guarantees compatibility with the Nikon F and F2, however it is likely the new SL 12 and 15 will work on most if not all Nikon SLRs with mirror lockup: Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, F5, Nikkormat FT, FTN, FT2, FT3, EL, EL2 and EL2. The Cosina web site says the lenses will NOT fit the meterless version of the FT, the Nikkormat FS.
The high quality machining and finish of the new SL 12 and 15 are easily apparent. Like the original Voigtlander 12 and 15 lenses in Leica screw mount, these are scale focus lenses. The SL 12 and 15 add to Cosina's modern multi-coated 21/4, 25/4, 35/2.5, 50/1.5, and 85/3.5 multi-coated Nikon Rangefinder mount lens line up. These Voigtlander lenses are the only Nikon Rangefinder mount lenses made after Nikon's Rangefinder production line shut down in the mid 1960's -- with the exception of Nikon's 50/1.4 for the S3 2000. Unfortunately for those with the Nikon F mount 21/4 Nikkor, the FS adapter will NOT fit properly with it, nor will the new SL 12 rear lens cap fit it.
The Voigtlander F accessory shoe replaces the F/F2 finder, locking in and removing the same way as the original finders via the push button on the back edge of the top plate. You can also use the less convenient Nikon F/F2 accessory shoe which fits over the rewind knob.
Using the discontinued Canon N adapter, the Voigtlander SL 12 or 15 mounts on any of the Canon F1 bodies, with the mirror locked up. The Voigtlander SL 12 is the widest non-fisheye lens available for the Canon FD bodies. They will likely mount with the N adapter on the Canon FT-QL, FTb, FX and FP as these bodies have mirror lock up. However, BE CAREFUL when trying it to make sure you do not inadvertently damage the lens or the camera.
Mount the F-L adapter on your Voigtlander SL 12/5.6 or 15/4.5 lens, add a screw mount to bayonet adapter, and they will work perfectly on Leica M mount bodies. Here such a combination is mounted on this magnificently Shintaro painted grey hammertone Leica M3 body.
The SL 12/5.6 is shown mounted on the screw mount Bessa R with the F-L adapter. The SL 15/4.5 is mounted on a Contax IIIa with the F-S adapter.
On the left is the SL 12/5.6 mounted on a 1936 Contax II. On the right is the SL 15/4.5 mounted on Contax IIIa, both using the Voigtlander F-S adapter. Either lens is substantially wider than the widest lens Zeiss made for classic Contax, the 21/4 Zeiss Biogon.
The SL 15/4.5 lens still mounts the F-S adapter. I hoped the F-S adapter would allow me to mount Nikkor wides on my Nikon and Contax rangefinders. Alas, it was not to be, at least on the lenses I tried. It seems the inside of the F-S adapter is chock full of the camera's focusing helical. Most Nikkor wides have rear elements which protrude slightly into the SLR body, which hit the body helical inside the F-S adapter. I found my examples of the 20/2.8, 28/2, 50/2, 50/1.4 and 105/2.5 AI lenses would not work, but my 50/3.5 Macro and 85/1.8 would.
Nikon SP with both SL 15/4.5 and SL 12/5.6 lenses, FS adapter, 12 and 15 finders, rear cap, and metal front cap. Either of these lenses are the widest lenses ever for either Nikon Rangefinder or classic Contax rangefinder bodies (not G series). Classic Nikon and Zeiss Contax shooters have never had it so good.
The F-S adapter uses a breech mount to mount on the camera. The lens locks into the F-S adapter bayonet style. The F-S adapter can be left on the camera to interchange the SL 12 and 15 lenses.
For those who doubt a Rangefinder Renaissance over the last few years, take a look at these new products for classic Nikon and Zeiss Contax rangefinders (not the current G series). Back Row, left to right: Voigtlander Bessa R2C (the first and only production TTL metering Rangefinder in classic Contax mount) mounting the new metal Voigtlander 28mm finder (in my opinion the best 28mm brightline ever), the Voigtlander Bessa R2S (the first and only production TTL metering Rangefinder in classic Nikon Rangefinder mount) mounting the Voigtlander multi-coated 21/4 with Voigtlander's unique low angle 21mm viewfinder. Front Row: classic Zeiss Contax IIa mounting the multi-coated Voigtlander 35/2.5 with the metal Voigtlander 35mm brightline (in my opinion the best 35mm brightline ever), the Voigtlander SL 15/4.5, a classic Shintaro painted black Nikon SP with Voigtlander SL 12/5.6 with double accessory shoe and Voigtlander VC meter, the Voigtlander F-L adapter for SL 12 and 15 to Leica screw mount cameras, Nikon F SL accessory shoe, Voigtlander 21 and 25 brightline finders, and the multicoated Voigtlander 25/4 lens. All of these new Cosina made Voigtlander lenses and finders are quite simply the best ever produced for the classic Nikon and Contax rangefinder cameras in these focal lengths due to their benefiting from a half a century of optical design improvements. Cosina's CEO Mr. Kobayashi has given classic camera fans new choices long after the original manufacturers abandoned their customers. The SC 28/3.5 and 50/2.5 in Nikon Rangefinder mount arrived September 2003! The 50/3.5 Heliar in Nikon Rangefinder mount for the special edition Nikon R2S NHS set was announced late 2004.
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Revised: October 19, 2013 . Copyright © 2003-2012 Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved. This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.