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Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton
About the Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton lens

The new Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton is Cosina's fastest full frame lens to date and it is capable of very high contrast and resolution. That's quite an accomplishment considering it's a relatively compact 50mm f/1 lens. Cosina attributes this feat to the use of a double-sided aspherical element and a newly developed grinding aspherical (GA) front element.

It's a modern, well-corrected optical design with a promise of delivering high performance even wide open. Thanks to its floating element system, there is very low spherical aberration in the images it produces at close distance.

If Cosina's goal was to design the sharpest 50mm f/1 lens while keeping it as compact as possible, from what I've seen so far, it looks like they achieved this. However, there are compromises to every optical design. Due to the compact lens size and super fast aperture, field curvature and pronounced optical vignetting may cause unevenness in the rendering depending on subject distance. (Rendering will be explored in further detail later)


Pre-order the Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton lens:

CameraQuest | B&H Photo ($1,799)


Review Quick Links:
  1. Initial Thoughts
  2. Infinity performance compared to Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton
  3. Infinity performance compared to Leica-M Noctilux 50mm F1 Lens
  4. Infinity performance compared to Leica-M Noctilux 50mm F0.95 ASPH. Lens
  5. Infinity performance compared to TTArtisan 50mm f/0.95 Lens
  6. Infinity performance compared to Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens

  7. Rendering comparison to Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton
  8. Rendering comparison to Leica Noctilux 50/0.95 ASPH. and Leica Noctilux 50/1
  9. Rendering comparison using the Voigtlander 50/1 Nokton on M10-R vs Sony A7R IV
  10. Rendering comparison to Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM

  11. Distortion
  12. Vignetting
  13. Flare Resistance
  14. Sunstar Rendering
  15. Field Curvature and Optical Vignetting
  16. Color Aberration
  17. MFD performance and Focus Shift

  18. Final Thoughts
  19. Samples: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
____________


FM member's tests:
  1. @Edward Teller - Rendering comparison between Voigtlander 50/1 Nokton, Leica 50/1 Noctilux and Leica 50/1.4 Lux
  2. @Edward Teller - Rendering comparison between Voigtlander 50/1 Nokton and Leica 50/1 Noctilux adapted to Nikon Z 7











Leica M10-R + Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton


The optical design consists of 9 lens elements in 7 optical groups










The lens weighs 482 grams (without hood), 513 grams (with hood, included). It's compact for a super fast 50mm lens with total length of only 55mm. It has a 62mm filter thread (73.6mm diameter) and focus down to 0.9m.











Main specifications:
  1. Focal length: 50mm
  2. Lens configurations: 9 lens elements in 7 optical groups
  3. Angle of view: 47.8
  4. Number of aperture blades: 12
  5. Minimal focus distance (MFD): 0.9m
  6. Maximum diameter x total length: φ73,655mm
  7. Filter size: φ62mm
  8. Weight: 482 grams (weighted)
  9. Lens hood: Dedicated screw-in hood included (reversible!)









From left to right: Voigtlander 50/1.2, Voigtlander 50/1, Voigtlander 50/2 APO, Leica 50/1.4 Lux


Back to Quick Links

Initial Thoughts:

My initial impression after testing the Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton lens at infinity and close distances is that it was designed to achieve the highest resolution and contrast possible at f/1 while keeping the overall size relatively compact.

Rendering is pleasant at close distance where the high amount of blur at f/1 obliterates the background. Because this lens is equipped with a floating system, spherical aberration is mostly absent and subjects focused at close distance remain contrasty and detailed. This is a winning combination if the goal is to isolate the subject. However, at mid and long distance, the out of focus background is uneven across the image field where corners may appear sharper than center.

Although the lens has a very fast aperture, I am able to nail focus using the Leica rangefinder. And that's on the M10-R 40MP sensor, so there are no concerns being forced to use the EVF with this lens.

Physically, it's a well-built and charming lens. There is frameline blockage but nothing troublesome so far, blocking about 20% of the frame. The metal hood is well built and reversible. A nice touch.
The distance markings are painted white and engraved against a black metal barrel which makes it easy to see when shooting outdoors or under low light. Just like with the previous Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton, the aperture ring provide distinctive half-stop clicks and the focusing ring is smooth with perfect resistance.

One difference is the black filter thread instead of chrome, which many prefer:










Feb 02, 2022 at 07:46 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review



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Infinity performance compared to Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton

The Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton is optically designed for the Leica M sensor stack, which is a very thin. This initial infinity test will be done on the Leica M10-R (40MP sensor). Later on I will also post results using this lens on the Sony A7R IV camera in terms of resolution and rendering.

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








  1. Distance: Infinity
  2. Camera: Leica M10-R
  3. Focus: Center - Best of three @ 12.4x magnification
  4. WB: Daylight
  5. Lens centered using my decentering test. The Voigtlander 50/1.2 Nokton is perfectly centered and the 50/1 Nokton is well-centered.
  6. Software: Lightroom with my default landscape sharpening. All other settings set to default
PS: Vignetting and distortion were NOT corrected. All in-camera corrections turned 'off'.

___________


Will it perform well at small apertures on the Sony? Here are some 100% crops showing center, mid-field and extreme corner areas.


At 50mm
Center Resolution and Contrast: Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton






Center: Voigtlander 50/1 (f/1 vs f/1.2): The CV 50/1 has great contrast and sharpness from wide open but improves slightly at f/1.2







Center at f/1.2: The CV 50/1 has higher contrast and less SA compared to the CV 50/1.2 Nokton wide open







Center at f/1.4: At f/1.4, both lenses look similar but the CV 50/1 still has a slight edge on contrast and resolution







Center at f/2: Both very similar







Center at f/2.8: The CV 50/1.2 looks really good here. Seems to be the optimal aperture for both lenses







Center at f/4: Nothing changes. Outstanding performance for both







Center at f/5.6: First signs of diffraction







Center at f/8: Diffraction reduces micro-contrast and blurs high frequency detail




Feb 02, 2022 at 08:21 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


At 50mm
MID-FIELD Resolution and Contrast: Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton






Mid-field: Voigtlander 50/1 (f/1 vs f/1.2): The CV 50/1 has a weaker mid-field but good considering the f/1 aperture. Improves slightly at f/1.2







Mid-field at f/1.2: Similar performance between the CV 50/1 and CV 50/1.2. I see a little bit higher detail for the CV 50/1.2 and higher contrast for the CV 50/1







Mid-field at f/1.4: Both lenses improve at f/1.4. I'd say the CV 50/1 looks slightly better







Mid-field at f/2: Big jump for both lenses. The CV 50/1 still slightly ahead







Mid-field at f/2.8: Another noticeable improvement. Both lenses look similar







Mid-field at f/4: Seems the optimal aperture for both lenses. The CV 50/1.2 improves more and is ahead now







Mid-field at f/5.6: Similar but CV 50/1.2 still ahead







Mid-field at f/8: Similar performance. Diffraction takes hold




Feb 02, 2022 at 08:23 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


At 50mm
EXTREME CORNER Resolution and Contrast: Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton






EXTREME CORNER: Voigtlander 50/1 (f/1 vs f/1.2): Not bad for a 50/1 at the very corners at the frame. Very slightly improvement at f/1.2







EXTREME CORNER at f/1.2: Here I see the CV 50/1.2 slightly ahead in terms of resolution. Vignetting is also lower even though it's wide open







EXTREME CORNER at f/1.4: Slight improvement for both lenses at f/1.4







EXTREME CORNER at f/2: They improve further. The CV 50/1.2 still slightly ahead







EXTREME CORNER at f/2.8: Nice jump in resolution and contrast for both lenses. (CV 50/1.2 head, able to discern finer detail)







EXTREME CORNER at f/4: Looks like the optimal aperture for both lenses. The CV 50/1.2 looks oustanding







EXTREME CORNER at f/5.6: The CV 50/1 improves further and they are now similar







EXTREME CORNER at f/8: Both still look great




Feb 02, 2022 at 08:24 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Thanks Fred. Having shot with both in real situations do you have a preference of one over the other? Ya know the stuff the tests don't always show like ease of use and personal preference. Heading out the door with a Leica M what 50 of these two would you grab.


Feb 02, 2022 at 08:32 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


airfrogusmc wrote:
Thanks Fred. Having shot with both in real situations do you have a preference of one over the other? Ya know the stuff the tests don't always show like ease of use and personal preference. Heading out the door with a Leica M what 50 of these two would you grab.


I only have the CV 50/1 Nokton for a day so it's hard to say. I think the 50/1 would be my dedicated lens for very low light shooting but the 50/1.2 is of course no slouch.



Feb 02, 2022 at 08:45 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Thanks Fred....


Feb 02, 2022 at 08:57 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review



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Rendering comparison to Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton

As we already saw from the resolution/contrast test, the Voigtlander 50/1 and 50/1.2 Nokton lenses perform similarly but how about rendering? Aside from the CV 50/1's larger maximum aperture, there is a noticeable difference in rendering between the two.

All the rendering tests were done with the help of the Visoflex 020 to make sure focus was precise for both lenses.

Here are some rendering comparisons various distances:

Scene 1: Focused at 2.5m distance




Thumbnail showing the entire image







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







CV 50/1.2 Nokton @ f/1.2 - More even rendering and lower vignetting when comparing the CV 50/1.2 Nokton vs CV 50/1 @f/1.2

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Feb 03, 2022 at 11:12 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Scene 2: Focused at 1.5m distance




thumbnail showing focus area







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1: High resolution/contrast for a 50/1 at this distance

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2: The rendering towards the corners does not change when stopping the lens down to f/1.2

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1.2/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Feb 03, 2022 at 11:20 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Scene 3: Focused at 3m distance




thumbnail showing focus area







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1: It flares significantly more than the 50/1.2 under same lighting conditions. High Optical vignetting + FC causes the corners to look sharper than center

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/1500s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2: Improvement in rendering off-axis at this distance

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







CV 50/1.2 Nokton @ f/1.2: Although not as sharp, the CV 50/1.2 shows better flare resistance and more even rendering across the field

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1.2/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







Sharpness comparison with both lenses wide open: At this distance the 50/1 Nokton appears slightly sharper/contrasty than the 50/1.2 Nokton




Feb 03, 2022 at 11:41 AM
 


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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Scene 4: Focused at 4m distance





CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/4000s    100 ISO    -0.7 EV  







CV 50/1.2 Nokton @ f/1.2

  LEICA M10-R    Voigtlander Nokton-M 1:1.2/50 lens    50mm    f/4.0    1/3000s    100 ISO    -0.7 EV  






thumbnail showing the OOF area in the corner







50% magnification crop from image above




Feb 03, 2022 at 11:57 AM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Scene 5: Focused at 1m distance

Here is where the 50/1 Nokton shows its superiority delivering sharper and more contrasty images at ~ MFD thanks for the floating system.




thumbnail showing focus area







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2







CV 50/1.2 Nokton @ f/1.2







Voigtlander 50/1 @f1.0 vs Voigtlander 50/1.2 @f/1.2




Feb 03, 2022 at 12:09 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Scene 6: Focused at 1.5m distance




thumbnail showing focus area







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2







CV 50/1.2 Nokton @ f/1.2: A bit overexposed image. (metering error but histogram normalized in post). The 50/1.2 Nokton shows smoother rendering towards the corners even at this distance




Feb 03, 2022 at 12:16 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Scene 7: Focused at 5m distance




thumbnail showing focus area







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1







CV 50/1 Nokton @ f/1.2







CV 50/1.2 Nokton @ f/1.2




Feb 03, 2022 at 12:23 PM
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review



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Rendering comparison between M10-R vs Sony A7R IV

When using the Voigtlander 50/1 Nokton on a mirrorless with a thicker sensor stack, field curvature gets amplified and out of focus rendering gets even more uneven. (OOF corners will sharpen up compared to center)

Here is a comparison the subject focused at 3m distance. The A7R IV 61MP file was normalized to 40.9MP to match the Leica M10-R's.




thumbnail showing area of the image being demostrated







LEFT: CV 50/1 on M10-R | RIGHT: CV 50/1 on Sony A7R IV: Lens wide open for both cameras. The OOF focus looks sharper off-axis for the Sony A7R IV's crop




Feb 03, 2022 at 12:50 PM
grahamgibson
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Hmm, bokeh looks "a bit rough around the edges"

Fred, you don't happen to have access to a Sony 50GM do you? Has there been a comparison between the GM and the Nokton f1.2?



Feb 03, 2022 at 01:36 PM
bluloo
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Thanks for this Fred!


Feb 03, 2022 at 01:41 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


grahamgibson wrote:
Hmm, bokeh looks "a bit rough around the edges"

Fred, you don't happen to have access to a Sony 50GM do you? Has there been a comparison between the GM and the Nokton f1.2?


Yes, I have both lenses. I will test them out. The difference in size/weight between M10-R + CV 50/1.2 vs A7R4 + GM 50/1.2 is comical tough.
David vs Goliath but this time it won't end up well for David.



Feb 03, 2022 at 01:46 PM
zalmyb
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


thanks for this!! less excited about it now than I was initially...


Feb 03, 2022 at 02:10 PM
LarsHP
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Review


Thanks, Fred!

I am so happy I didn't preorder the Nokton f/1.0 (which required paying the full amount).
The reverse field curvature ruined the idea of getting that lens for me.

The central part of the image looks impressive, but the sides (and corners) are not worth it, having the f/1.2.



Feb 03, 2022 at 02:59 PM
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