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50mm Nokton F1.1 review

Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 09:59 a.m.

I just wanted to voice my opinion on the Voigtlander Nokton F1.1 lens, Ken just reviewed this lens and gave it a poor review, i don't want his review to discourage anyone from buying this lens.
Yes it is some what of a specialty lens, being a F1.1, but this lens can give you images that the F1.4 and F2.0 lenses can not.
I have found in my comparison tests that it is not that bad, in fact i like it.
It should however be used for artistic and moody pictures though, but so should a Noctilux.
I have found like others that these F1.1 lenses have extremely narrow depth of field, even as little as inch, so this must be considered before composing any picture.
You will see in some of my examples the narrow in focus area.
I have absolutely no regret buying this lens, i wanted to have a lens that was one stop faster than my other 1.4-1.5 lenses, just to have that special different character.
So my point is if you were considering buying one don't let his review change your mind.
In my non scientific comparison and amateur examples i try to show sharpness, shallow depth of field, bokeh in real life examples.

Nokton wide open showing very narrow depth of field


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Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 10:02 a.m.

next pic showing bokeh quality, i like it.

Nokton @1.1

Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 10:03 a.m.

next pic showing sharpness at F8.0

Nokton @ F8.0

Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 10:05 a.m.

Next two pics comparing Nokton and Summilux wide open, im not saying nokton is better, but i think its is very good, not that much difference.

50mm Summilux preasph wide open

Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 10:06 a.m.

next Nokton

50mm Nokton wide open

Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 10:12 a.m.

Lastly i want to mention that my first love is alway with Leica, i just don't want the Voigtlanders to get a bad rap.
I want to encourage new rangefinder enthusiast to at lease start with some of these cheaper lenses if they can not afford the better more expensive Leica lenses yet.
They will enevitably end up with Leica lenses but can learn and have fun along the way.

Ray Cutting , Feb 02, 2011; 10:18 a.m.

Also wanted to mention, first 3 pics are Tmax 100 film, so some of the spots and dust ect. are due to scanning, i didnt have time to cleanup in photoshop, also there are no adjustments made either.

Arthur Plumpton , Feb 02, 2011; 11:12 a.m.

Rockwell is just another reviewer, is he not? Is he taken so seriously because there are so few reviewers in North America? I personally like the European reviews which are often more detailed and less opinionated. Perhaps he had a decentered lens assembly, which is apparently one downside of less expensive, more massively produced lenses. How many will notice the difference between your lens at moderately large print sizes and the 10X more expensive 0.95 Noctilux? I think you made a wise choice and have $9000 for film, chemicals, other lenses, camera bodies, 2500 dollar Nikon scanners, etc

Juergen Sattleru , Feb 02, 2011; 11:36 a.m.

I would never give any credit to what KR says.

Gus Lazzari , Feb 02, 2011; 11:44 a.m.

"Its optics are hellaciously soft and blurry at f/1.1, and stopped down, it's softer than other lenses at the same apertures."

Good point Ray, but wow ! - That's as bad a roasting of a lens that I've ever seen from KR...

Juergen, his reviews are an easy read, filled with technical backup images and very logical. Anyway, newspapers have "Opinion" sections that are considered desirable & very popular.

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