First Look: Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 lens

voighty.10.5Today’s Post by Joe Farace

There are some mirrorless shooters that will never, never buy a manual focus lens, like Voigtlander’s Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 lens for Micro Four-thirds. That’s too bad because it’s an impressive optic. And if your camera has focus peaking, manually focusing isn’t all that hard or you could do like I did and just set the hyperfocal distance and shoot. And in a day when many companies are adapting APS-C lenses to Micro Four-thirds, the Voighty was designed for this format. On the other hand if the $1,099 price tag is a bit much for you, I understand.

When you pick up the Nokton two things are immediately apparent. The first is a build quality that rivals high-end German-made lenses but it’s also a hefty lens. Weighing in at 1.29 lbs, it’s heaver than a Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 lens (.65 lbs.) Mounting it on my Lumix G6 to shoot some infrared photographs before seasonal winds blew all the leaves away, produced a somewhat imbalanced, front heavy package that prime lens purists will ignore and was exacerbated by the G6’s light weight (.75 lbs.) Tip: Be sure to set your Lumix camera on “Shoot without Lens” so you cam make images with the Nokton.

The Nokton has a 72 mm filter thread. I know some photographers don’t like using any kind of filter but if this was my lens I would and put on a high quality B+W protection filter because even replacing an expensive filter like the B+W ($62) is cheaper than having the lens repaired or worse yet replaced.

voighty.IR

In a day when some companies adapt APS-C lenses to Micro Four-thirds, the Voighty was designed for the format. With its 21mm (equivalent) focal length, the Nokton has a metal lens barrel and a 10-blade diaphragm. The lens hood is metal too but I did see occasional and minor flare in early testing. Optically it uses a pair of aspherical elements to reduce aberrations and distortions but as you can see in the above some pincushion distortion occurs, which is not uncommon in wide-angle lenses, if the camera is tilted. And based on my initial impressions it is really, really sharp.

The lens features Voigtlander’s Selective Aperture Control System, which permits switching between a stepless, de-clicked aperture selection method—for shooting video— and a traditional aperture control method with click stops. Voigtlander likes to say that the lens is “extremely bright and fast” and while it’s obviously fast the brightness aspect doesn’t affect Micro Four-thirds shooters as much as it would SLR users.

The Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 lens is clearly not for everyone but it’s the kind of lens that if you need it you really need it, especially for producing shallow depth-of-field. Once you get past the manual focusing, however you deal with it, the Nokton is many times faster than most lenses making it the go-to lens for low light shooters. (to be continued…)

  • Equivalent Focal Length:                         21mm
  • Minimum aperture :                                  f/16
  • Angle of View:                                           93°
  • Minimum Focus Distance:                        6.69-inches
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio:                 1:8.2
  • Elements/Groups                                    13/10

Special Note: Voigtlander recently announced that it was discontinuing a large number of lenses and camera bodies but the Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 lens is not one of them