GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1

Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Micro Four Thirds Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme puts this specialist manual focus lens designed to be used with MFT systems through its paces.


|  Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Voigtlander 10 5mm F 095 Lens (1)

This specialised manual focus lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras sports an incredibly fast f/0.95 maximum aperture, which will allow still image and video recording in very low light conditions, with a shallow depth of field and a wide field of view equivalent to a 21mm lens used on a 35mm camera. Also included is the selective aperture control system, which allows the click stops to be disabled for smooth exposure transitions when shooting video. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Handling and Features

Voigtlander 10 5mm F 095 Lens (3)

This Voigtlander's 10.5mm lens tips the scales at 586g, which is quite substantial lens when compared to other lenses for the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system. Due to the size and weight of this optic, it may feel a little cumbersome to use on some of the more compact MFT bodies available, but it balances well with the Panasonic Lumix G6 body used for testing.

The materials used in the construction of this lens are second to none. Lots of metal has been used in the construction of this lens, which adds to the overall robust feel. The manual focus action is silky smooth and can be adjusted with a very light touch, yet it is well enough damped to stay put when required. As depth of field is very shallow at maximum aperture, extreme care needs to be taken to get images properly focused. Most Micro Four Thirds cameras have a facility for magnifying the image during focusing and it is best to take advantage of this feature. A useful hyperfocal scale is provided on the lens for use with smaller apertures. A minimum focus distance of 17cm is great for shooting in claustrophobic environments, or for taking the occasional close-up image.

Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95

The aperture range is divided into half stop intervals, with a smooth clicking action between each setting. A ring located just in front of the aperture setting can be pushed toward the camera body and rotated to disengage the aperture clicks. This is a great feature for those wishing to use the lens for recording video, helping to produce smooth transitions between exposure adjustments.

The lens has a 72mm filter thread, which does not rotate during focusing. This makes the lens ideal for use with graduated or polarising filters. A petal shaped hood is also supplied.

Voigtlander 10 5mm F 095 Lens (4)
 

Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Performance

At maximum aperture, sharpness in the centre is already excellent. As is quite common with fast aperture lenses like this, sharpness towards the edges of the frame lags behind somewhat at maximum aperture, only achieving fairly poor levels of clarity.

Stopping down improves performance across the frame with outstanding sharpness being achieved in the centre from f/1.4. Peak performance across the frame is achieved f/5.6. Here sharpness is excellent across the frame.

 
MTF
 

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 G6 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are quite prominent towards the edges of the frame between maximum aperture and f/1.4, with fringing exceeding one and a half pixel widths at maximum aperture. This level of fringing may become visible along high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame.

 
CA
 

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 G6 using Imatest.

 

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is reasonable, given the extremely fast maximum aperture. At f/0.95 the corners are 2.43 stops darker than the centre of the frame and illumination is visually uniform with the aperture stopped down to f/5.6 and beyond.

Typical for lenses with a fast maximum aperture, slight barrel distortion is present. Imatest detected 1.57% barrelling, which is not that strong at all for a wide angle lens, never mind one with such a fast maximum aperture. Even so, distortion may be noticeable, especially with straight lines parallel to the edges of the frame or when shooting close up. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so applying corrections in image editing software afterwards should be relatively straightforward.

Flare and loss of contrast when shooting into the light are rarely an issue with this lens, except when shooting into a very strong light source, such as the sun at wide apertures. The supplied hood does as good a job as it can, considering the wide field of view. Contrast levels drop slightly at maximum aperture in all shooting conditions, which is fairly typical of very fast lenses.


Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 Sample Photos

 

Value For Money

A wide-angle lens with a maximum aperture of f/0.95 was never going to be cheap, but even so, the price of around £950 seems quite reasonable when the build and optical quality are taken onto account.

Neither Panasonic, or Olympus do a rectilinear prime lens as wide as this, or as fast as this. The closest is the 12mm f/2 from Olympus, which is around two stops slower, not as wide and costs £550.

 

Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Verdict

Overall this is another fine, fast lens from Voigtlander for Micro Four Thirds. Those shooting video will appreciate the option for a stepless aperture and many will enjoy exploiting the fast maximum aperture and ability to isolate a subject from their surroundings with shallow depth of field.

Sharpness delivered by this lens is excellent, with acceptable distortion and falloff. It’s a shame CA levels are a little on the high side, but then that is probably unavoidable on a lens as wide and as fast as this. Build quality harks back to a bygone era of brass lenses with a silky-smooth focusing action. As a result, it is sure to win over many fans.

Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Pros

Outstanding sharpness when stopped down
Excellent sharpness in the centre at maximum aperture
Superb build quality and handling
Hyperfocal focusing scale
Reasonably priced for what it is
Stepless aperture control

Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Cons

Slight loss of contrast shooting into the light at fast apertures
Needs stopping down to improve sharpness towards the edges of the frame
CAs a little high at fast apertures

 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton lens has a silky-smooth focusing action, excellent sharpness and superb build quality.

 


Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 Specifications

General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length10.5mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/0.95
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size72mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent21mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus17cm
Construction
Blades10
Elements13
Groups10
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight586g
HeightNo Data

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Comments


josa 7 25 Czech Republic
14 Jul 2015 9:00PM
Isn't Samyang 12mm better and cheaper choice?

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18 Feb 2019 6:18AM
The Rokinon 10mm f/2.8 lens is excellent and a far less expensive option, although I had to buy three (and return two) to get one that was completely free from decentering defects, which was critical for my application. I'm using the Rokinon 10mm with Nikon mount on a Kipon shift adapter with my Olympus EM5 MkII, and it's quite capable due to its coverage designed for APS-C format (up to 5mm vertical movement in landscape and 3.5mm in portrait orientation). With the newer model of Kipon shift adapter (10mm max. shift, no extending screw), there's no limitation on the shift rotation on my camera (no interference with viewfinder bulge or grip), but I have to use a grip plate and battery grip under the camera for tripod work (not with a ball head, though). I shaved off the built-in hood to enable more use of the shift, especially with the lens shifted on a diagonal for correction of both vertical and horizontal convergence. Distortion correction is challenging, however.

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