Lens review

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical

5 May 2020
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary


  • solid, moderately big casing made of metal,
  • record-breaking resolution values in frame centre on stopping down,
  • sensible image quality on the edge of the APS-C sensor,
  • slight longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • negligible lateral chromatic aberration,
  • excellent distortion correction.


  • weak image quality in the frame centre by f/1.2 and f/1.4,
  • resolution on the edge of full frame sensor leaves a lot to be desired,
  • huge vignetting on full frame,
  • noticeable coma.
The final assessment of the tested lens depends a bit on your expectations. If you have been spoiled by performances of new, optically complex 1.4/50 lenses you might feel disappointed. A realist, however, will be able to notice far more positive features. The Nokton 1.2/50, with an excellent aperture fastness, is a small, shapely instrument that doesn't differ much from old, double gauss 1.4/50 constructions. The reduction of physical dimensions are the main reason of weak image quality in the close area of the maximum relative aperture.However, if you are able to accept that, or even exploit it in a creative way, the Voigtlander might repay your efforts. From f/1.6 upwards the lens improves its performance and in the f/2.8-8.0 range its resolution values are simply record-breaking.

You shouldn't forget about build quality because here you won't find any weaknesses. It is a classic manual lens made of metal and glass, with the contact plate being the only electronic part you see and it ensures a seamless communication with the camera body. This favourable image is complemented with an impressive aperture featuring as many as 12 blades.

The matter of the price is a separate issue. You have to remember that full frame f/1.2 lenses have never been cheap – it's enough you look at the old Canon 50 mm f/1.2 L EF USM which still costs around $1300. Compared to that the price tag of the new Voigtlander, $950, doesn't seem so bad. On the other hand the excellent and optically complex Sigma A 50 mm f/1.4 DG HSM can be also bought for $950 but, of course, it doesn't provide you f/1.2 aperture and in its case you also have to accept bigger dimensions and weight.

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To be perfectly frank I wish the Nokton was a bit cheaper but still I am glad we have such an instrument on the market because it means a wider choice for many photographers (and not only those affluent ones). After all not everyone has to be a fan of big and heavy lenses and, compared to other small 50 mm devices the Voigtlander has a lot to offer.