Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.1


TalkEmount Top Veteran
I am in the process of getting this lens exchanged for a different one as it it didn't really match up with my expectations.

I'm not going to give a review of this lens or present charts or say how good or bad it is as I am sure there are countless sites which already done that. Instead I want to impart my experience using this lens with the NEX to help other users who are contemplating of getting this lens to use with their NEX camera.

Size. The lens IS heavy, but not to the point of making it difficult to use. It does feel nice and solid with the metal body and it does need the wide glass surface area to let it suck in light for it's maximum 1.1 aperture. I just want to point this out as a lot of folks shooting an M9/M8 complain about it's size and weight and since the NEX body is physically smaller than the M9/M8 and.........(well..you know where I'm headed with this ;) )

Image quality. I have a a small number of legacy lenses but the closest I have to the Nokton's speed is a 30 year old Minolta 50mm 1.4 so I can really only compare it at 1.4. The images I am getting at 1.4 are pretty much the same in terms of sharpness and bokeh, I know there has been a lot of complaints regarding the Voigtlander's OOF rendition but I'll leave that to the experts, I'm just an enthusiast and to me they look fine. I have not used any lens faster than 1.1 so I would not know what to expect or what to compare to, I can only say what it felt: The 1 extra stop was good to use in low light, less sharpness as it is wide open which can be expected, bokeh was just a tad smoother than 1.4 and if there's one thing I want to emphasize when it's shot wide open is the RAZOR THIN DEPTH OF FIELD
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I have circled it in blue to give you an idea regarding it's DOF wide open at the minimum focusing distance.

Ease of use.I personally found the Nokton a very challenging lens to use with the NEX. Being a 50mm lens it roughly translates into a 75mm with the NEX's 1.5 crop sensor and the minimum focusing distance for the Nokton is 1m, this made me feel that I can only shoot things from afar (being a 75mm) and if I approach the subject (to anything closer than 1m) I was unable to get the subject in focus, I was beginning to feel that it was the camera who was telling me what to do rather than vice versa. I think for me this was the straw that broke the camel's back, either that or I'm just extremely spoilt by my old 50mm legacy lenses whose minimum focusing distance is 13 inches, either way I have decided that the Nokton just isn't my cup of tea. So I've decided to contact the retailer and advise them (actually it was more like grovelled to them) that I wasn't satisfied with the item and would like to get it exchanged to which they replied no worries, and informed me that the item I want it changed to was sold out at the moment. (They're actually really nice and efficient)

In closing. The Nokton isn't by any means a "bad" lens to use with the NEX, In fact it's a good lens, the build quality is great and for a 1.1 lens it's quite affordable. However I personally found it hard to use with the NEX, maybe I do not posses the aptitude to operate such a lens and I was doing everything wrong, or maybe I just didn't know what to expect from it and ended up expecting too much, whatever the reason may be, I just found that the Nokton good or bad did not suit my shooting style. I am not in any way shape or form encouraging or discouraging fellow NEXers (is that even a term?) to purchase this lens, we all have our own shooting style and one man's trash might be another man's treasure, I just wanted to express my experience with this lens and sincerly hope it helps others who are contemplating of purchasing the Nokton 1.1.

Special thanks: To Mainline Photographics, if you're a photographer and you're in Australia these are THE people to speak to. I'm in Melbourne and the shop is located in Sydney (911 kms to be precise) and I rather order stuff over the phone or online and wait a couple of days to be sent to me rather than go to the camera store across the road, THEY'RE THAT GOOD.


TalkEmount Regular
Good info. The lens is heavy? Is this the one?
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TalkEmount Top Veteran
Yup, I've posted what it looks like on the NEX in the sticky thread, and btw I did find it essential to shoot with the lens hood (which is metal as well) as it was prone to flaring without the hood.


TalkEmount All-Pro
Thanks for the nice review. I heard the same size complaints on M8/9 with this lens, but I think it is more relevant to nex bodies as you mentioned.

I also saw another review on M9 yesterday from Kai, which is more about its bokeh:
Voigtländer Nokton 50mm Hands-on - YouTube

My perfect normal lens for nex is VC 35mm 1.4 due to its size. The crop factor makes it 52.5mm lens. The min focus distance is longer then the slr lenses, but the smooth focus, size, and fast aperture make it my favorite. I don't know when Sony will have a similar lens but I am sure it may not be that small unless it is a pancake.



TalkEmount Top Veteran
Thanks for that. I agree, the 35mm 1.4 would be a great normal lens, especially due to it's size, I have requested an exchange for the 35mm f1.2 Asph VM II. It's not as compact as the 35mm 1.4 but I figured the 35mm would make it a 52.5 mm, at 1.2 it's actually quite fast, the minimum focusing distance is .5m, and it has 2 aspherical elements that should help with it's sharpness.
I until very recently owned the 50 1.5 Asph which imho was a very good lens, I sold it to fund my upcoming NEX-7 purchase, If the 35mm 1.2 uses the same formula as the 50mm 1.5 it'll probably be a really good lens.


TalkEmount Veteran
I've never owned it nor used it but the 35mm 1.2 is a special lens from the examples I've seen. When the 2nd version is released, I imagine it will be even better.


TalkEmount Top Veteran
Hi and welcome

Thanks for the links, you've got some very nice shots.

Yes I agree, it's a specialised lens, the focal length and the speed makes it an ideal lens for portraiture.


Super Moderator
I waffle to and fro between the 50/1.1 and the 35/1.2 as to which one I want to someday own. And then some days I want them both. ;)