Voigtlander 50mm f1 Nokton RF Review

Gordon from CameraLabs has done a great review of the Voigtlander 50mm F1.0 Nokton RF. Yes, that’s an F-One-Point-Zero.

Of course, the only reason it’s allowed on our precious RF mount legally is that it’s manual focus, so, at F1.0, that’s going to provide some challenges. But if you grew up with manual focus lenses or want to jump into that world for the first time, perhaps this smaller lens is right for you.

How much smaller? Quite a bit actually. The Voigtlander is a little smaller than the Canon EF 50mm F1.2L, so shown below is a comparison just to show how different the sizes are. The size difference is fairly substantial, as would be the balance on the camera. Thanks to camerasize.com for this comparison.

image 12 728x455 - Voigtlander 50mm f1 Nokton RF Reviewimage 12 728x455 - Voigtlander 50mm f1 Nokton RF Review

Now, granted the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L has the fantastic resolution chops to warrant the larger size, and it’s more optically corrected as well. The Canon RF 50mm F1.2L also has autofocus and auto aperture, something the Voigtlander is missing in a completely manual lens. The Voigtlander does have electrical contacts and does actually talk to the RF cameras, allowing for the recording of aperture selection and also for focus assist tools to work on the camera. The Voigtlander is also cheaper than the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L coming in at $1799 versus the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L’s $2299.

I love these sorts of lenses for what they force us to do – slow down to a more methodical approach, but it’s certainly not for everyone. I also used Voigtlander lenses on a film rangefinder and enjoyed the experience, so I’m perhaps a little biased. At F1.0, your depth of field is very narrow making it a challenge to use efficiently or even accurately. You will have to take many more pictures just to make sure you grab on in focus, versus one that misses. But our digital film is free now, so that’s less of a concern.

Gordon has done a great review, and you can tell he really enjoyed using the lens and the challenges imposed by the manual focus. If you are not a youtube watcher you can read his review here.

Gordon concludes;

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.

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.

You can grab this lens at B&H for 1799.00.

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