Saturday, January 10, 2015

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 M Aspherical Review

It takes almost 6 months to get my 50mm lens for my M240. Since the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH was out my budget, and I need want a fast lens,  my choices were downed to Zeiss 50 Sonnar T F/1.5 and Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F/1.5 ASPH. I like the Sonnar, but it suffers from the well known focus shift Issue, so that my final choice is the Voigtlander.


This is a retro version of the legacy lens and I prefer the chrome version because it preserve  the vintage outlook better than the black. Even though I like the Leica lens outlook more (simple and clean),  this Voigtlander still looks awesome.

The built is excellent and the focus ring is silky smooth, i tried the Zeiss Planar and I think the Voigtlander has better built quality, which matches the Leica. It weight 220g, and it is lighter than the Leica 50 Lux 335g and the Zeiss Sonnar 250g, which is a good thing.

In terms of image quality, this lens delivers. In the centre, this lens is sharp at F/1.5 , and it is track sharp at F/2.8. The corner is soft at F/1.5 and gets a lot better at F/2.8.  The transition between the in and out of focus area is quite smooth and so does the overall rendering. I would say it is a really good lens for the M mount user.

F/1.5 

F/1.5 ISO1600

F/1.5,  processed with VSCO film.

F/1.5, the cinematic look from the shallow depth of field, processed with VSCO film.
F/2.8, it is pin sharp

Even though the lens has a classic outlook, it renders like a modern lens. The rendering is close to the Leica side than Zeiss. Since it is not a coded lens, I use the 50mm Lux F/1.4 ASPH setting and the vignetting is under control, more images below:

F/1.5 ISO 800
One think I don't like is the marking on the focusing ring, which is hard to see harsh sunlight and also the dark.

Stopped down to F/8, 

 F/1.5

 F/1.5

 F/1.5

F/1.5, the detail is really good
F/1.5
F/2.8 

F/1.5

F/1.5 ISO1250




F/1.5 this shot shows the smooth rendering of this lens, processed with VSCO film.


F/1.5, processed with VSCO film.

F/5.6, processed with VSCO film.





































F/1.5, for the bokeh lovers



Even though I didn't experience the Leica 50mm Summilux F/1.4 ASPH, but I did tried the Zeiss's Planar,  Sonnar and also the SLR Magic 50mm T/0.95 lens. If no better, I would say this Voigtlander is on par with these guys. For this cost, I have no doubt to say it is a good option for the M mount user.

Pros
- Vintage outlook
- Light: 220g
- 0.7min focus distance compare to 0.9 with the Zeiss Sonnar
- Sharp at wide open
- Track sharp at F/2.8
- Smooth rendering
- Bokeh is good

Cons
- Markings are not easy to read in harsh light and dark condition
- Has noticeable distortion, which is not suit Architecture shooter
- Poor man Leica's image rendering
- The chrome version looks better than the black but I just feel the surface is way too shinny sometimes.

Maybe I will get the 50 Lux when I'm rich enough in the future, but this doesn't mean this Nokton is not good, just because I want the perfection and also the engagement with Leica. In real conditions, this Voightlander Nokton is an excellent lens for most users to create stunning photographs and I'm getting more love to this lens everyday.