Lens review

Voigtlander Nokton 35 mm f/0.9 Aspherical

18 February 2024
Maciej Latałło

10. Focusing and focus breathing

The tested Voigtlander is a manual lens so its focus is set via a dedicated ring, 26 mm wide. Over a half of its surface takes up metal ribbing and a distance scale, expressed both in meters and feet, occupies the restu. Behing the infinity mark you can see the focal length value of the lens.

The ring moves smoothly with even, and proper resistance. When you move it, the whole optical system moves as well so after passing to the minimum focusing distance the dimension of the lens increases by almost 1 cm. The focus throw amounts to an angle of about 140 degrees. It's a value allowing you precise settings.

Voigtlander Nokton 35 mm f/0.9 Aspherical - Focusing and focus breathing

A DOF scale, situated below the ring, is supposed to make these settings even easier. You get markings for apertures from f/4 to f/22 but whithout f/5.6. The distance between f/4 markings is so slight that the usefullness of this scale ends at f/2.8-4. In case of taking photos near the maximum relative aperture the scale won't be practically useful at all.

Focus breathing

Focus breathing tests show refraiming images as you oversharp them. We conduct the test by manually passing from the minimum focusing distance to infinity with the aperture stopped down; then we check how the field of view of the lens changed as a result.

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After conducting a number of tests now we think we are able to determine some reference points. A frame change ranging from 0 to 5% we consider to be low. Between 5 and 10% you can speak about medium levels. Usually such values constitute also the maximum efficiency level of any breathing compensation algorithms, present in some bodies. Between 10 and 15% focus breathing is high, above 15% its level can be called very high.

The test video of the Nokton lens we present below:

On the basis of the recording above, comparing freeze-frames before and after oversharpening, we can estimate that the breathing of the tested lens amounts to about 15% so is on the borderline between high and very high level. It means this aberration might be bothersome and disturbing in many situations and it's not corrected perfectly well.