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Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review
Pre-order the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton lens: ($899)

CameraQuest | B&H Photo

________________


About the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton lens:

The new Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton is a very compact addition to Voigtlander's Vintage line. Although it features a "vintage" exterior style, it's equipped with a modern optical formula reminiscent of the Voigtlander 35/1.2 III Nokton design, featuring 9 elements in 6 groups with 4 aspherical surfaces. It is available in both Type I aluminum (192g) or Type II brass (284g), features a small φ39mm filter diameter and focus down to 0.5m. I will be reviewing the Type I version in "matte" black paint, which is gorgeous and the matches the finish of my Leica M10-R Black Chrome.












When picking up the lens for the first time, I was shocked by how light it was. It weighs a mere 192 grams, making it a perfect companion for travel, hikes and landscapes. On the Leica M10-R, the lens balances well and does not block the 35mm frameline. It sports 12 aperture blades for well defined 12-point sunstars.

The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton is very well built. The focus ring runs smoothly and the aperture ring has defined 1/2 stop clicks. The focus throw angle is not very long at ~100 degrees allowing precision and fast focusing. Although the haptics and appearance are reminiscent of the old days, the lens output is unmistakably modern, well-corrected, promising great performance.


Review Quick Links:

  1. Initial thoughts
  2. Infinity performance on Leica M10-R
  3. Infinity performance on Leica M10-R compared to Leica 35mm f/1.4 FLE
  4. Infinity performance on Leica M10-R compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 II Nokton
  5. Infinity performance on Leica M10-R compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/2 Ultron
  6. Infinity performance adapted to Sony A74
  7. Distortion
  8. Chromatic Aberration (CA)
  9. Optical Vignetting and Specular Highlights shape
  10. Focus Shift
  11. Sagittal Coma Flare performance
  12. Minimal Focus Distance performance
  13. Field Curvature
  14. Rendering compared to Leica 35mm f/1.4 FLE
  15. Rendering compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 II Nokton
  16. Rendering compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/2 Ultron
  17. Sunstar Rendering, Flare and Vignetting
  18. Final Thoughts
  19. Samples: 1 | 2



Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton tests and sample images from FM Members:

  1. @nehemiahphoto: 1, 2, 3
  2. @pmeheut: 1














Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton specifications:
  1. Focal Length 35mm
  2. Maximum Aperture f/1.5
  3. Minimum Aperture f/16
  4. Lens Mount Leica M
  5. Angle of View 61.7
  6. Minimum Focus Distance 0.5m (0.7m rangefinder coupled)
  7. Optical Design 9 Elements in 6 Groups
  8. Special glass: 4 aspherical surfaces
  9. Diaphragm Blades 12
  10. Filter Size 39 mm (Front)
  11. Dimensions ( x L) φ53 x 36 mm
  12. Weight 192 g (Type I, measured), 284g (Type II)













    Back to Quick Links

    Initial Thoughts:

    The new Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton has a modern, well-corrected optical design and therefore it's a high performer even on the 40MP Leica M10-R. At infinity distance, this lens is capable of high resolution and contrast at center while the mid-field and corners benefit from stopping down the aperture one or two stops.

    The optical design is reminiscent of the Voigtlander 35/1.2 III Nokton, which means that the new Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton shares similar characteristics including noticeable axial and lateral CA and spherical aberration at close distance when shooting wide open. On the bright side, it also shares the pleasant smooth out of focus transition zone rendering.








    Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 III Nokton (TOP) | Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton (BOTTOM)


    From the compact design and 39mm filter thread, I was expecting to see extreme vignetting but surprisingly it's at the same level of previous fast Voigtlander lenses and in the same ball-park as the Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux FLE. Still, it's a high vignetting lens, so expect "cats-eye" specular highlights towards the corners due to optical vignetting.

    When adapted to the Sony A74, astigmatism and 'induced' field curvature takes hold and therefore performance and rendering are greatly degraded. The corners need f/8 for optimal performance on the thicker Sony sensor while on the Leica, the lens is already optimal across the field at f/4.

    Physically, it's a well-built and charming lens. When the lens is focused at infinity distance, there is almost no blockage of the 35mm framelines while at closer distance the blockage is manageable. The distance markings in meters are painted white and engraved against a black metal barrel which makes it easy to see when shooting outdoors or under low light. I could not say the same for the red markings in "feet" which are very hard to see under any lighting.

    It's a very exciting fast and high performance 35mm lens with the right compromises to keep it as compact as possible.









    Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton with optional Voigtlander LH-4N hood.


Nov 29, 2022 at 11:55 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review



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Infinity performance on the Leica M10-R: Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton

The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton is optically designed for the thin Leica M sensor stack and therefore it will achieve the highest performance on Leica M bodies. This infinity test was done on the Leica M10-R (40MP sensor).
Later on I will also post results using this lens on the Sony A74 camera in terms of resolution and rendering.

The lens is sharp wide open at center, mid-field and corners but these regions perform optimally at different apertures:

The center is optimal at f/2.8, while the mid-field and corners are optimal at f/4. This is a similar performance to discontinued Voigtlander 35mm f/1.7 Ultron.

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 35mm f/1.5 Nokton is perfectly centered.
  6. Software: Lightroom with my default landscape sharpening. All other settings set to default
PS: Distortion is not corrected. All in-camera corrections turned 'off'.

___________


Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Center resolution





Center: f/1.5 (LEFT), f/2 (RIGHT): The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 is sharp at center and improves at f/2







Center: f/2 (LEFT), f/2.8 (RIGHT): The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 is optimal at f/2.8 in the center area







Center: f/2.8 (LEFT), f/4 (RIGHT): Just showing the difference between f/2.8 and f/4 at center which are very similar




Nov 29, 2022 at 05:44 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton: Mid-field resolution and contrast





Mid-field: f/1.5 (LEFT), f/2 (RIGHT): The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 improves slightly from f/1.5 to f/2 at mid-field







Mid-field: f/2 (LEFT), f/2.8 (RIGHT): At f/2.8 we see a big improvement and the lens is almost optimal







Mid-field: f/2.8 (LEFT), f/4 (RIGHT): The lens performs optimally at f/4 at mid-field







Mid-field: f/4 (LEFT), f/5.6 (RIGHT): Not much difference between f/4 and f/5.6




Nov 29, 2022 at 05:51 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton: Extreme Corner resolution and contrast





Extreme Corner: f/1.5 (LEFT), f/2 (RIGHT): The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 improves slightly from f/1.5 to f/2 at the corners







Extreme Corner: f/2 (LEFT), f/2.8 (RIGHT): At f/2.8 we see a big improvement and the lens is almost optimal







Extreme Corner: f/2.8 (LEFT), f/4 (RIGHT): Big improvement. The lens performs optimally at f/4 at the very corners







Extreme Corner: f/4 (LEFT), f/5.6 (RIGHT): Not much difference between f/4 and f/5.6




Nov 29, 2022 at 06:36 PM
Desmolicious
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Nice! While brass lenses are 'cool' and may have more collector appeal later in life, a lightweight aluminum lens is just so much better to carry around and use. It makes an M feel so much 'handier'!


Nov 29, 2022 at 07:42 PM
rodgerchee
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Thank you, Fred, for your tests.
Looking forward to your more samples and comparisons as usual.
These sample pictures taken at the infinity indicate this lens is not at the same level as the Ultron 28mmF2 in terms of corner performance.

Edited on Nov 29, 2022 at 08:00 PM · View previous versions



Nov 29, 2022 at 07:53 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Desmolicious wrote:
Nice! While brass lenses are 'cool' and may have more collector appeal later in life, a lightweight aluminum lens is just so much better to carry around and use. It makes an M feel so much 'handier'!


I will be getting the brass version as well for comparison.



Nov 29, 2022 at 07:57 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


rodgerchee wrote:
Thank you, Fred, for your tests.
Looking forward to your more samples and comparisons as usual.
These sample pictures taken at the infinite indicate this lens is not at the same level as the Ultron 28mmF2 in terms of corner performance.


I agree. The CV 28/2 II Ultron performs better across the field when shooting wide open. However the CV 35/1.5 Nokton should match it at smaller apertures.

To be determined is if the resolution drop at mid-field and corners is due to field curvature or just a lens characteristic.

I'm getting two more copies to make sure the resolution test already posted stands.



Nov 29, 2022 at 08:03 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Here are a couple size comparisons:




Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton vs Voigtlander 28mm f/2 II Ultron






Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton vs Leica 35mm f/1.4 FLE vs Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 II Nokton




Nov 29, 2022 at 08:08 PM
Desmolicious
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


its amazing how small the cv 35 1.4 is! The matt black finish of the cv 35 1.5 will match my 2022 M6 rather well.


Nov 29, 2022 at 10:06 PM
 


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phinix
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Can you get nice sunstars with this lens? Like other Voigtlanders?


Nov 30, 2022 at 09:46 AM
Alan Parker
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


The design language on that is just beautiful! With performance to match too!


Nov 30, 2022 at 09:49 AM
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


phinix wrote:
Can you get nice sunstars with this lens? Like other Voigtlanders?


yeah, defined sun start at f2.



Nov 30, 2022 at 10:26 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


phinix wrote:
Can you get nice sunstars with this lens? Like other Voigtlanders?


Yes you can get very defined 12-point sunstars since the blades are straight like previous Voigtlander lenses. It does not have circular aperture at f/2.8 and f/4 like the 35/50 APO-Lanthar lenses.

I will post a sunstar test when the weather cooperates here.

I saw defined sunstars starting at f/2.5.



Nov 30, 2022 at 10:28 AM
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


f2.8 being very usable, and f4 optimal across the field is great at this size. Thanks for the crops Fred 👍🏻


Nov 30, 2022 at 10:30 AM
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Yes you can get defined 12-point sunstars since the blades are straight like previous Voigtlander lenses. It does not have circular apertures at f/2.8 and f/4 like the 35/50 APO-Lanthar lenses.

I will post a sunstar test when the weather cooperates here.

I saw defined sunstars starting at f/2.5.


Interesting. I need to recheck then.



Nov 30, 2022 at 10:34 AM
Desmolicious
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


I wish Voigtlander made black trim rings to cover up the bright chrome filter threads when a lens hood is not being used. Something similar to what Leica does with the 35mm FLE v1.
It would make the lenses look so much better and perhaps help reduce flare when a hood is not used.



Nov 30, 2022 at 10:58 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review




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Distortion

The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton is very well-corrected for distortion. There is very slight pincushion which is easy to correct in post but it will probably go unnoticeable for most images.

In Lightroom, setting the distortion slider to "-2" fully corrects the pincushion effect.

Here is the before and after pincushion correction in LR:




Uncorrected for distortion






Corrected for distortion in Lightroom (Pincushion -2)






Lightroom Distortion setting for this lens




Nov 30, 2022 at 11:28 AM
Desmolicious
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


yeah, I wouldn't have even noticed that!


Nov 30, 2022 at 11:54 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Voigtlander 35mm f/1.5 Nokton Review


Desmolicious wrote:
I wish Voigtlander made black trim rings to cover up the bright chrome filter threads when a lens hood is not being used. Something similar to what Leica does with the 35mm FLE v1.
It would make the lenses look so much better and perhaps help reduce flare when a hood is not used.


That would be cool. Sounds like a good 3D printer project for someone.

Or remove the glass from a cheap 39mm filter? Or a 39-43mm step ring?



Nov 30, 2022 at 12:12 PM
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