REVIEW: Voigtlander Nokton 40mm F1.2 Aspherical

When I switched to mirrorless in 2012 I chose the micro 4/3 system with the Panasonic GH2. On of the most offered lens of the system was the Panasonic 20mm F1.7. Although it had some shortcomings like the noisy and slow autofocus motor you could hardly complain about its image quality. It was sharp straight from F1.7, one of the best amongst the micro 4/3 lens. I used this lens a lot on photo walks and holidays. This was the point when I fell in love with the equivalent 40mm focal length. Later when I switched to Fujifilm I also used their 27mm F2.8, which was very close to this angle of view. So far in Sony E-mount this focal length was not available as a fix lens only with adapter. I tried Canon’s 40mm F2.8 with my Viltrox IV adapter. Although it’s a sharp lens it has not much characteristic and it’s not especially fast. I rather stayed with the Zeiss Loxia 35mm F2 Biogon as it suited more to my landscape works having brilliant micro-contrast and also giving beautiful sunstars.

But last year Voigtlander announced a 40mm lens in their Nokton range. This meant it was going to have at least F1.4 aperture. At the end it became an F1.2. I got really excited but I wanted to wait a bit until the first reviews were released. I really like the reviews of Phillip Reeve’s team. Their interest is very similar to mine, they do lot of landscapes and travel photography and some family portraits too. After reading their review of the lens I was sold. I knew one day I was going to get it.

The lens has everything I wanted:

  • 40mm focal length

  • fast aperture of F1.2

  • when stopped down sharp enough for shooting landscapes

  • better flare control than the Zeiss 35mm F2 Biogon

  • same punchy micro-contrast as Zeiss lenses.

  • beautiful 10-pointed sunstars

  • 58mm filter thread to use Nisi 70mm filter system

  • light and compact for being an F1.2 lens

Of course there is a high demand for this lens. It’s almost always out of stock and you need to order and wait if you want to have it. Luckily a couple of weeks ago I bumped into a mint used copy of a fellow photographer on eBay. He didn’t really prefer the focal length and decided to sell it. I didn’t hesitate and bought it from him. After some first initial shots at home by rubbish indoor lights I took the lens with me on a beautiful sunny afternoon into a nearby woods for a walk. You can see the results in the gallery below. All the photos are full-size unchanged SOOC JPG’s, style set to Portrait. I’m not going to do detailed tests you can find them on several pages on the internet, the best one is Phillip Reeve’s which I already linked above. I’m rather going to upload more and more images into this gallery later and leave it to judge yourself. One thing is sure: if you’re into the 40mm focal length and not bothered by focusing manually you won’t regret it.

Please click on the photos to open it full size in my Flickr gallery.


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