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Voigtlander 42.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Lens Review

Voigtlander 42.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews this bright Micro Four Thirds lens, the Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95
Price : £800
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Voigtlander Nokton 42 5mm F 095 Mft Lens (5)
This manual focus telephoto lens is available to fit Micro Four Thirds system cameras. The lens provides an angle of view equivalent to an 85mm telephoto lens on a 35mm camera and sports an incredibly bright f/0.95 maximum aperture. The lens costs around £800, which certainly isn't cheap, but given Voigtlander's reputation for high quality optics it will be interesting to see how it performs.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Handling and Features

Voigtlander Nokton 42 5mm F 095 Mft Lens (7)

This lens feels very solidly built, thanks to the all-metal construction. As a result if feels quite weighty for its size. Even so it balances well with the Panasonic Lumix G3 camera used for testing.

The focusing ring is very smooth to operate and has just the right amount of resistance to make applying fine adjustments a pleasure. Closest focus for this lens is 23cm, which is very impressive given the fast maximum aperture.

Voigtlander Nokton 42 5mm F 095 Mft Lens (1)

There is no electronic communication between the lens and camera so Olympus camera owners will have to input the lens' focal length to take advantage of image stabilisation. A novel feature of the aperture selector ring is the ability to choose whether it will click for each stop or not. Disengaging the clicks can be especially useful for video recording, allowing for seamless aperture changes.  The clicks are engaged or disengaged by pulling a knurled section towards the camera body and rotating it by 180 degrees. This system makes it virtually impossible to disengage the clicks by accident, but easy enough to complete in a hurry. With click engaged, there are distinct half stop steps.

Voigtlander Nokton 42 5mm F 095 Mft Lens (6)

The lens accepts 58mm filters, and the filter ring does not rotate during focusing, which makes it perfect for use with graduated and polarising filters. A circular lens hood is supplied, which attaches around the filter ring on the lens.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Performance

This lens performs very well as far as sharpness is concerned. At f/0.95 sharpness in the centre of the frame is approaching very good levels, although the clarity towards the edges of the frame is only fairly good at this aperture, which is typical for a lens with such a fast maximum aperture. Stopping down greatly improves sharpness across the frame, resulting in outstanding clarity between f/2.8 and f/8 across the frame.

MTF @ 42.5mm
MTF @ 42.5mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled at all apertures, barely registering a quarter of a pixel width at maximum aperture. This low level of colour fringing should be very difficult to spot, even in harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

CA @ 42.5mm
CA @ 42.5mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is quite well controlled for a lens with such a fast maximum aperture. At maximum aperture, the corners are 2.09 stops darker than the image centre and illumination is visually uniform by f/5.6.

Imatest detected 1.64% barrel distortion, which is typical for a telephoto with a fast maximum aperture. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so applying corrections in image editing software should be relatively straightforward.

Contrast is good, even when shooting into the light. A circular hood is supplied with the lens, which does a sterling job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Sample Photos


Value For Money

With a price of around £800 from RobertWhite, this lens certainly isn't cheap, but given its optical performance and excellent build quality, it may well be worth a look.

The closest comparable lens available for Micro Four Thirds system cameras is the SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95, which costs around £800 also.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Verdict

This lens is capable of delivering images of exceptional quality, as well as opening up extra creative opportunities due to the shallow depth of field possible at such fast apertures. It's built well, handles well and although it is a specialist lens, it will be worth every penny of the £800 asking price to those who will make the most of this lens' features.


 
  The Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 delivers images of exceptional quality.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Pros

Fast f/0.95 maximum aperture
Good sharpness in the centre at maximum aperture
Outstanding sharpness across the frame when stopped down
Very low CA
Metal build
Great handling
Selective aperture control system

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Cons

None really

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 Specifications

General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length42.5mm
Angle of View30.5
Max Aperturef/0.95
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size58mm
35mm equivalent85mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus23cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades10
Elements11
Groups8
Box Contents
Box ContentsLenshood with hood cap included
Dimensions
WeightNo Data
Height74.6mm

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