Lens review

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical
5 May 2020
Maciej Latałło

1. Introduction

In 20th century most of fast standard lenses were based on the double gauss construction. They usually consisted of 5 -7 elements but, of course, it doesn't mean that really fast devices of different producers couldn't feature more elements. The Canon EF 50 mm f/1.0L USM is a good example - it was also a double gauss lens but it consisted of as many as 11 elements positioned in 9 groups.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Introduction
1896 Zeiss Planar lens construction

The double gauss constructions with a higher number of elements became more frequent in 21st century. For example the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, launched in 2008, has 8 elements in 6 groups and the Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G, launched roughly at the same time, consists of 8 elements and 7 groups. One year later Voigtlander added to that segment its Nokton 50 mm f/1.1; it's interesting that, with such a great aperture fastness, the Nokton featured 7 element, a quite typical number for such a construction.

Increasing requirements connected to introduction of 30-50 Mpix sensors were the reasons why fast standard lenses had to abandon the classic gauss construction. Soon such models as the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 (12 elements in 10 groups), the Zeiss Milvus 1.4/50 (10 elements in 8 groups) or the Sigma A 50 mm f/1.4 DG HSM (13 elements in 8 groups) appeared on the market and they include many special glass elements. As a result their optical performance improved but they had to pay a price in a form of significnat weight and huge physical dimensions. Compared to that trend the launch of the Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 on 2 February 2019 seems to be a back-to-the-roots move. Still, that lens is not the classic double gauss construction as well. It looks as if a 5-element construction with a focal length of about 70-80 mm and f/1.8 aperture was given a 3-element focus reducer. What's important, that way the designers managed to preserve small physical dimensions without giving up that excellent aperture fastness.

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How this new lens fares in our test? Of course we didn't hesitate to check it and the results you can find in the following chapters.

The test was possible courtesy of the FoxFotocompany, the Polish Voigtlander brand name distributor, as they managed to send one specimen of that lens to our office very efficiently.

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Introduction

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Introduction

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