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Lens review

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical

5 May 2020
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart shows you a comparison between the Voigtlander 1.2/50 and other fast 50 mm lenses designed for full frame mirrorless cameras. It is pretty obvious that the Voigtlander is definitely the smallest, and the lightest lens and it comes with a filter thread of the smallest diameter. Along with the Leica Noctilux it is also optically the simplest.

Still remaining in the category of physical dimensions, let's glance at a photo below where the Voigtalnder Nokton 1.2/50 is positioned next to the Nokton 40 mm f/1.2 and the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM. The comparison between the tested lens and the Canon is especially enlightening – despite a better aperture fastness and a more complex optical design, the Nokton is not bigger than its rival.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount and on its edge, also made of metal, you can find the serial number and an inscription „COSINA CO, LTD”. The mount surrounds a contact plate and an inner tube made of dark, matt and ribbed metal. Inside the tube you see a rear element, 25 mm in diameter. The element moves and is the closest to the rim at infinity; at the minimum focusing distance it hides inside the barrel about 1 cm deep.

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Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Build quality

The proper casing of the Voigtlander 1.2/50 is made of metal; it starts with an immobile ring, 6 mm wide and partially ribbed, on which you can find a whole array of useful features. Looking from the above you see a clear depth of field scale with markings from f/4.0 to f/22. On the right side of the scale there is a focal length mark and on the left a red dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, and the mount variant indicator (E-mount in this case). On the opposite side from the DOF scale you can find an inscription „Lens made in Japan”.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Build quality

The manual focus ring occupies a lot of space on the proper barrel as it is 29 mm wide. On the ring you can find a distance scale, expressed in feet and meters, and a protrusion with indentations and ribs in order to secure your grip and improve the performance. The ring moves very smoothly, with a proper resistance; the focus throw amounts to an angle of about 140 degrees – a moderate value for a manual device with such an aperture fastness.

The next part is an aperture ring. It works as it should, providing aperture control every 1/3 EV.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Build quality

The front element is 43 mm in diameter, very slightly hidden inside the black barrel. Additionally it is surrounded by an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens, a non-rotating filter thread, 58 mm in diameter, and a thread for a metal hood.

It's worth adding that the movement of the manual focus ring makes all parts of the casing situated above it, (including the aperture ring) shift forwards. That way the lens increases its dimensions by about 1 cm at the maximum.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction, the tested Voigtlander consists of 8 elements positioned in 6 groups. As we've already mentioned you deal here with a construction differing from the classic double gauss. Producers also took proper care of special elements – inside you can find two double aspherical and one APD element (APD meaning abnormal partial dispersion), made of a special, low-dispersion glass. The number of aperture's diaphragm blades is also impressive – there are 12 of them- and the aperture can be closed down to a maximum value of f/22.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps and a metal hood.

Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical - Build quality