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FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


I will be comparing the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux vs Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton and Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar lenses for resolution, contrast and rendering. All tests will be done on a Leica M10-R (40MP).

All three copies are well centered and the Visoflex (EVF) was used for better focus precision. However, for the resolution/contrast tests, the main subject is at infinity distance and all three lenses. You may noticed from the 1:1 crops that the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Lux is a bit narrower in focal length compared to both Voigtlander lenses.

Here are the respective weight, length and filter thread differences:
  1. Leica 50/1.4 (built-in hood): 329g, 53.5mm, 46mm
  2. Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton : 351g, 49mm, 52mm
  3. Voigtlander 50/2 APO: 287g, 53mm, 49mm










__________________________


In stock:
  1. Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton: CameraQuest, B&H Photo

  2. Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar: CamerQuest, B&H Photo

  3. Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux: B&H Photo



Jun 28, 2021 at 05:38 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Infinity Performance: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux











Here is the full image thumbnail showing the area demonstrated at 1:1 magnification.








  1. Distance: Infinity
  2. Camera: Leica M10-R
  3. Focus: Hard-stop (Live view confirmed it to be the most accurate focus)
  4. WB: Daylight
  5. Lens centered using my decentering test
  6. Software: Lightroom with my default landscape sharpening. All other settings set to default
PS: Distortion and CA was not corrected. Same sharpening for all lenses

___________


50mm
CENTER resolution/contrast comparison: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux





Center at f/1.4: Both lenses at f/1.4, the Leica 50/1.4 lux captures slightly higher contrast and resolution







Center at f/2: Both lenses improve and their performance is similar with high resolution







Center at f/2.8: Another incremental improvement.







Center at f/4: Small improvement. Perhaps optimal for both lenses







Center at f/5.6: Not much changes from f/4







Center at f/8: Signs of diffraction




Jun 28, 2021 at 05:42 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


50mm
MID-FIELD resolution/contrast comparison: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux





Mid-field at f/1.4: At this wide aperture neither performs well. The Leica has the advantage though







Mid-field at f/2: The Voigtlander catches up and they are similar at f/2







Mid-field at f/2.8: Jump in resolution and now the Voigtlander does slightly better







Mid-field at f/4: Another improvement for the Voigtlander which is now noticeable better







Mid-field at f/5.6: The Leica improves at f/5.6 and they are similar, although the Voigtlander still has the upper hand. Perhaps the optimal aperture for both lenses at mid-field







Mid-field at f/8: Not much changes




Jun 28, 2021 at 05:42 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


50mm
EXTREME CORNER resolution/contrast comparison: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux





Extreme corner at f/1.4: The Voigtlander is capable of higher resolution at f/1.4 at this area. There is some astigmatism for the Leica at the very corners (last 2%)







Extreme corner at f/2: Both lenses improve slightly







Extreme corner at f/2.8: Nice jump for both lenses. The Leica still struggles the very end o the extreme corner







Extreme corner at f/4: Both lenses are capable of decent resolution but the Voigtlander has better uniformity in this area







Extreme corner at f/5.6: Both lenses are optimal for the corners now







Extreme corner at f/8: The Leica improves very slightly for the extra




Jun 28, 2021 at 05:42 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Next...Leica 50mm f/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO.


Jun 28, 2021 at 05:48 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Fred Miranda wrote:
Next...Leica 50mm f/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO.


I'm getting my popcorn because that Lux is about to take a serious beating from the APO



Jun 28, 2021 at 07:32 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


highdesertmesa wrote:
I'm getting my popcorn because that Lux is about to take a serious beating from the APO


The Lux's performance at center is pretty incredible though. It even did slightly better than the Nokton.
The Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton is famous for being very sharp at center starting at f/2. (Even sharper than the APO)



Jun 28, 2021 at 08:23 PM
Joseph.
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Unbelievable! The Summilux is smeared on most of those shots! Is it possible that you got a very good copy of the Voigtlander and a very poor copy of the Leica?


Jun 28, 2021 at 08:31 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Fred Miranda wrote:
The Lux's performance at center is pretty incredible though. It even did slightly better than the Nokton.
The Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton is famous for being very sharp at center starting at f/2. (Even sharper than the APO)


There are only two situations I care about for sharpness/microcontrast:

1. Center and off-center sharpness at or near MFD
2. Corner sharpness at infinity

Center sharpness at infinity is easy these days, and nuances there are largely irrelevant to me, at least at 50 or fewer megapixels. The only lens that’s made my eyes pop for center sharpness at infinity has been the Q2M.



Jun 28, 2021 at 08:42 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Joseph. wrote:
Unbelievable! The Summilux is smeared on most of those shots! Is it possible that you got a very good copy of the Voigtlander and a very poor copy of the Leica?


This is normal for Summilux lenses. They are not designed for superior corners at infinity at any aperture. The 50 Lux (any copy) is a dumpster fire in the corners at infinity when compared with something like the CV 50 APO. Even the Noktons do (much) better there. Leica probably expects landscape junkies to get one of their f/2 or smaller maximum aperture lenses for infinity corners. The 50 Summicron for example is as sharp in the corners as the CV 50 APO, but it has its own issues for landscape, namely an old optical design that has low contrast and muted color.

FWIW, my 28 Summilux (one of Leica’s newer designs) is better in the far corners at infinity than the 50 Lux, but it is probably still outdone in that one parameter by even the new retro-inspired CV 28 f2 II.



Jun 28, 2021 at 08:51 PM
 


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Fred Miranda
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Joseph. wrote:
Unbelievable! The Summilux is smeared on most of those shots! Is it possible that you got a very good copy of the Voigtlander and a very poor copy of the Leica?


They are both optimal and well centered copies. I've tested two copies of the Summilux and saw the exact same performance. I'm not surprised by these results since that's how the lens' MTF describes its performance. I've tested numerous copies of the Voigtlander 50/1.2 and this copy is optimal as well. In normal usage, both Nokton and Lux are very sharp lenses, especially at center.

The 50/1.4 Lux is not a relatively new design and 40MP shows its weaknesses which perhaps were not that noticeable on 18 or 24MP bodies before.



Jun 28, 2021 at 08:55 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


highdesertmesa wrote:
This is normal for Summilux lenses. They are not designed for superior corners at infinity at any aperture. The 50 Lux (any copy) is a dumpster fire in the corners at infinity when compared with something like the CV 50 APO. Even the Noktons do (much) better there. Leica probably expects landscape junkies to get one of their f/2 or smaller maximum aperture lenses for infinity corners. The 50 Summicron for example is as sharp in the corners as the CV 50 APO, but it has its own issues for landscape, namely an old optical design that has low contrast
...Show more

I agree. For landscapes, the new APO lenses are way superior across the image field. The new CV 28mm f/2 Ultron II is outstanding at infinity as well.

Both Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton and Leica 50/1.4 Lux are more like character lenses with very pleasant rendering (actually very similar between the two) and high resolution around the 'center' area. They ado well stopped down for landscapes as well but that's not their primary application.




Jun 28, 2021 at 09:00 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Fred Miranda wrote:
I agree. For landscapes, the new APO lenses are way superior across the image field. The new CV 28mm f/2 Ultron II is outstanding at infinity as well.

Both Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton and Leica 50/1.4 Lux are more like character lenses with very pleasant rendering (actually very similar between the two) and high resolution around the 'center' area. They ado well stopped down for landscapes as well but that's not their primary application.



At least with the Summilux lenses, corner sharpness at mid to close distance is extremely good when focus is at infinity or far distance and the aperture is stopped down some. I'm guessing that's field curvature (?). Whatever it is, it works very well for traditional wide angle landscape photography where the subject is close to the camera and everything is in focus – for example, a large plant in the foreground with leading lines to a mountain range in the background. For compositions like that, the Summilux lenses, particularly the wider ones, do really well. It's when I compose with clouds/sky as the subject with a small slice of land at the bottom of the frame that the Summilux lenses show a lot of weakness in the corners.



Jun 28, 2021 at 09:18 PM
robgo2
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


I had a Summilux 50 f/1.4 ASPH that I used on an SL and a CL. Then, I bought a Nokton 50 f/1.2, which I thought was every bit as good. So I sold the much more expensive Lux and have had no regrets. I also bought the Nokton 75 f/1.5, which may be even better than the 50mm. I use both
Noktons for portraiture and love that they exhibit a touch of glow wide open. Voigtlander is really on a roll with their M-mount lenses.



Jun 28, 2021 at 09:41 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


I have both the Leica M 50 f/1.4 Asph and the Voigtlander 50 f/1.2 E mount. They are both very nice lenses, but keep in mind the difference in diameter. According to Cameraquest the diameter of the Voigtlander is 63.3mm, whereas the diameter of the Leica 50 f/1.4 is 53.5, so almost 10mm difference in diameter, which does make a difference for viewfinder blockage and not really a small difference especially if you use the hood on the Voigt, which is pretty ridiculously large.

Also keep in mind that the Leica 50 f/1.4 Asph has a floating element that the Voigtlander 50 f/1.2 does not. I would love to see it tested, but in just comparing to the E mount version of the Voigt, I really like the close up performance better on the Leica.

All that said, both these lenses are great for portraits and both can do landscapes pretty well stopped down. They are both excellent lenses, but on a Leica M camera I would prefer the smaller size of the Leica, but of course opinions are going to differ on that.

Edit: B & H has the diameter and length backwards compared to the Leica data sheet. The Leica data sheet has length 52.5mm and diameter 53.5mm, so in the first picture that is why the CVM 50 f/2 APO is looks just slightly longer than the Leica. It is but only by .5mm.



Jun 28, 2021 at 10:21 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Steve Spencer wrote:
All that said, both these lenses are great for portraits and both can do landscapes pretty well stopped down. They are both excellent lenses, but on a Leica M camera I would prefer the smaller size of the Leica, but of course opinions are going to differ on that.


But I find the Lux's mid-frame weakness to be an annoyance for people photos when placing them in that area at apertures between f/2.8-5.6. I haven't really explored this to determine if it's just field curvature that messes with you when RF focusing, or if it's astigmatism that you can't really work around. I kind of think it's the latter.



Jun 28, 2021 at 11:45 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


rscheffler wrote:
But I find the Lux's mid-frame weakness to be an annoyance for people photos when placing them in that area at apertures between f/2.8-5.6. I haven't really explored this to determine if it's just field curvature that messes with you when RF focusing, or if it's astigmatism that you can't really work around. I kind of think it's the latter.


I generally agree and therefore typically shoot the Lux at a wider aperture than f/2.8 for most portraits. On a rangefinder I also sometimes focus in the middle with the plan to crop to 4 X 5 by shifting to the left or right (or up or down in portrait mode) when cropping. I find that works quite well on the Lux for f/2.8 and narrower apertures.



Jun 28, 2021 at 11:56 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Steve Spencer wrote:
I have both the Leica M 50 f/1.4 Asph and the Voigtlander 50 f/1.2 E mount. They are both very nice lenses, but keep in mind the difference in diameter. According to Cameraquest the diameter of the Voigtlander is 63.3mm, whereas the diameter of the Leica 50 f/1.4 is 53.5, so almost 10mm difference in diameter, which does make a difference for viewfinder blockage and not really a small difference especially if you use the hood on the Voigt, which is pretty ridiculously large.

Also keep in mind that the Leica 50 f/1.4 Asph has a floating element that
...Show more

The Leica is noticeably sharper at close distance due to FLE. I will post samples.



Jun 29, 2021 at 12:04 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


Infinity Performance: Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux











Here is the full image thumbnail showing the area demonstrated at 1:1 magnification.








  1. Distance: Infinity
  2. Camera: Leica M10-R
  3. Focus: Hard-stop (Live view confirmed it to be the most accurate focus)
  4. WB: Daylight
  5. Lens centered using my decentering test
  6. Software: Lightroom with my default landscape sharpening. All other settings set to default
PS: Distortion and CA was not corrected. Same sharpening for all lenses

___________


50mm
CENTER resolution/contrast comparison: Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux





Center at f/2: Both lenses have similar performance. The Leica is oustanding at f/2 and center while the Voigtlander 50/2 APO kept with it while being wide open!







Center at f/2.8: Both lenses improve slightly







Center at f/4: Perhaps optimal aperture for both lenses but not that different from wide open







Center at f/5.6: Still strong performance







Center at f/8: Diffraction takes hold




Jun 29, 2021 at 08:32 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · FM Test: Leica 50/1.4 Lux vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton vs 50/2 APO


50mm
MID-FIELD resolution/contrast comparison: Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar vs Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux





Mid-field at f/2: Here the Voigtlander is clearly winning in resolution and contrast even though it's wide open!







Mid-field at f/2.8: Both lenses improve. The CV 50/2 APO is still substantially ahead







Mid-field at f/4: The Leica improves further but still far behind







Mid-field at f/5.6: The Leica is finally keeping up with the Voigtlander, although the latter is still stronger







Mid-field at f/8: Both diffract but still great performance for both lenses




Jun 29, 2021 at 08:33 AM
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