Voigtlander 50mm f1 Nokton review


The Voigtlander 50mm f1 Nokton proved to be one of the most satisfying and enjoyable lenses I’ve used in a long time. It may not match the ultimate sharpness or correction of the best mirrorless lenses available, especially wide-open, but more than makes up for it with character. Photos from the lens simply look fabulous with beautiful colours, contrast and rendering, plus if you are willing to stop-down a little, you can enjoy very crisp results across the frame from f2 onwards.


Perhaps the biggest surprise though was how easy and fun it was to use the manual focus. I often approach testing large aperture manual lenses with some trepidation, but the combination of a buttery-smooth focusing ring with the electronic aids on bodies like the EOS R5, made the process surprisingly painless and even enjoyable.

In an attempt to make things foolproof, the modern photographic experience can often feel detached and clinical. In contrast, the mechanical focusing of the 50mm f1 Nokton felt more engaging than any gear I’ve tested in a long time, invariably putting a smile on my face. It’s just the right balance of being sufficiently hands-on to feel like you’re in control, with enough hand-holding to make it truly easy.

And at a time when many new lenses are getting larger and heavier, the Nokton f1 is satisfyingly compact and manageable. This is a lens I’d be truly happy to leave on my camera for most situations, and one I can highly recommend for those who are left cold by high-tech alternatives. I’d personally sooner have it than an adapted Zeiss Otus 55 1.4 or a Canon 50 1.2L even if both of those models can be sharper with lower aberrations wide-open.

Check prices on the Voigtlander 50mm f1 Nokton at B&H, WEX UK or Robert White UK. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
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