Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 Nokton Brief Evaluation

Started Dec 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
Artichoke
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need for speed
In reply to jffielde, Jan 2, 2013

jffielde wrote:

I bought the Nokton 50mm f/1.1 in hopes of mitigating my desire for the Noctilux enough to avoid buying it, and I thought I would write briefly about my experience in case it would be helpful to others in the same boat. I don't know that I will ever buy the Noctilux, but I do not have any immediate plans to do so. I lust after it regularly, however.

I can understand lusting for the Noctilux, but if it is speed you want, there are many other excellent options in the normal range for the M mount

Of additional concern to me (unless there's a mistake in my methodology which there may be) was that the Nokton gathered no more light than my Leica 50mm f/1.4. I shot it a dozen different ways, but at the same shutter speed, with the Nokton at f/1.1 and the Summilux at f/1.4, the M9 always chose the same ISO setting and both images were comparably bright. When I manually set the ISO to the same settings as well, the images were still comparably bright. In short, with every wide-open permutation I dialed in, the Nocton offered zero light gathering advantage over the 1.4, even in the center of the image (ie, disregarding vignetting).

In short, this lens added nothing to my arsenal, so I sent it back.

not knowing your arsenal, I think you should consider some of these "poor man's" Noctilux options

CV 40 Nokton f1.4

small, well built and available with two lens coating options, one optimized for monotone capture

the 40 mm focal length is closer to normal on the M8, for which I got it, but I find I like this lens even more with my M9 & it remains one of my most used lenses

I find the 40 mm focal length comforting

Konica Hexanon 60 f1.2

great bokeh and marvelous if you prize narrow DOF from your fast lenses

very hard to find, particularly after recent blogs/reviews from Steve Huff & Prosophos

CV 35 Nokton f1.2

the wider the lens, the better for hand holding in low light, providing you can get in close to the subject for the same field of capture

this lens is more than the match for any 35 available ...sharp, great color rendering & creamy bokeh

there are two versions of this lens, I have the older one, but the new one is reported as every bit as good & I believe has a shorter minimal focus distance

both versions are large lenses, but mine feels perfectly at home on the M9

I am certain there are many other ways to sate your Noctilux lust, but reason doesn't always work in such matters

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