Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Micro Four Thirds

The Nokton f/0.95 is an astounding lens. If you are seriously investing in Micro Four Thirds cameras, this lens offers excellent build quality, ease of use and images, which are all worth the investment.


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About The Author

CNET Editor

Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.


Design and features

It's very rare to get enthralled by the build quality of lenses unless you start venturing in to Leica territory. This lens from Voigtlander, manufactured by Cosina, is no ordinary lens. Made in Japan with an all-metal construction, it feels amazing to use — all 410 grams. It's almost double the weight of some of the lightest cameras it can be matched with from Panasonic and Olympus.

We matched the Nokton with the Panasonic Lumix GF2 and it was an excellent combination, not too lens-heavy despite the small footprint of this Micro Four Thirds camera. The aperture and focus rings are beautifully textured and have very good resistance, which makes them easy (though not quick) to turn. The aperture ring at the front of the camera has defined clicks which stop the lens down from f/0.95 all the way to f/16. Other markings on the lens are the focus measurements in both metres and feet, while the focus ring itself does not rotate freely but instead stops at either extreme. The minimum focusing distance is 17cm and the filter thread is 52mm (without the lens hood attached).

Voigtlander Nokton

The Nokton on the GF2 (Credit: CBSi)

The Nokton is an all-manual focus lens and it cannot be used when the camera is in automatic (intelligent Automatic mode in the case of the Panasonic), though it will function in Program mode. This also means that no shutter or aperture measures are recorded in the EXIF data, just ISO. Other minor design quirks include the pinch to remove lens cap, which does come free when the camera and lens is in a bag that doesn't sit snug around the body.

This is a fixed focal length lens at 25mm for the Micro Four Thirds system, which acts like a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera. It has 10 blades and 11 elements in eight groups.

Image quality

Naturally, given the maximum aperture of the Nokton, you'll want to shoot everything with this lens wide open. It can be hard to determine exactly where you need to select focus, particularly when shooting in low lighting, so you do need to make use of the manual focus enlargement on screen. To get a sharp shot at f/0.95, it is necessary to be very precise with the camera movement once the focus is set. Moving a centimetre or two away from the focus point can throw the whole picture out.

There's an eerie glow at f/0.95 of contrasty objects, as can be seen in the 100 per cent crop of the shot below.

Voigtlander Nokton

The 100 per cent crop (below) of a night shot taken on the Nokton. (Credit: CBSi)

Also, shooting in bright daylight might warrant investing in a neutral density (ND) filter so photos aren't overexposed. It would also be useful if you wished to shoot using a slower shutter speed. Images are at their sharpest as the lens is stopped down. At f/5.6 to f/8 the lens is incredibly sharp, offering excellent edge-to-edge clarity.

The bokeh that this lens produces is smooth and creamy, almost dream-like in the right circumstances. Vignetting is also kept to a bare minimum, with very little evident even at f/0.95.

A huge advantage for night shooters is the ability to clearly see the image on screen when opened up at the maximum aperture. It is really like wearing a set of night goggles when there's minimum light available. Naturally, the higher the resolution screen on your Micro Four Thirds camera, the better.

Image samples

Click each image for full-sized samples from the Nokton. Images were taken on the Panasonic Lumix GF2. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The Nokton f/0.95 is an astounding lens. If you are seriously investing in Micro Four Thirds cameras, this lens offers excellent build quality, ease of use and images, which are all worth the investment.

At the time of writing, this lens retails for AU$895 in Australia through distributor, Mainline Photographics. Not only is this an excellent price for such a fast lens, it's also incredibly competitive with retail prices for the same lens around the world.

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NicholasA1 posted a comment   

Hi Lexi,
Would this fit on a 600D with an adapter?
I know there is a comment below about the 60D,
But how bad would the Vignetting be?
Could this be fixed with an adapter that brings the lens closer or further away from the sensor?
Nick.

 

Lexy Savvides posted a reply   
Australia

Hi Nick,

After some extensive searching and asking around I can't find any adapter that will work in reverse. There's plenty that will let you mount EOS lenses on Micro Four Thirds cameras, but none that can go the other way to put this lens on a Canon. If anyone reading this finds a solution, do let me know, I'm intrigued... perhaps you could build one yourself?

 

NicholasA1 posted a reply   

Lexy,
Thanks!
Would it work if a put an adapter on a canon extender then the camera?
Also how does Vignetting work; is the lens to close or too far way from the sensor?
Nick.

 

Lexy Savvides posted a comment   
Australia

Hi Roland,

Yes it's compatible with all Micro Four Thirds cameras and all Pen cameras (including the E-P3).

 

rolandtang posted a comment   
Australia

hi im just wondering can I mount this lens on my new Olympus EP3? Is this lens generally compatible with PEN cameras? Thank you.

anonymous1
10
Rating
 

anonymous1 posted a review   

The Good:For professionals like me

The Bad:pretty expensive and some minor problems

Large initial cost with good outcomes =). sorry this is not a detailed review had it for short time.

 

Doc posted a comment   

I know this might sound odd but would it be possible to mount this lens on a Canon 60D (EF-S mount)?

 

Lexy Savvides posted a reply   
Australia

Hi Doc, while I think you technically could do it with a lot of effort, I wouldn't really see why you would because the APS-C sensor is physically bigger than a Four Thirds sensor. Also, the lens itself is smaller than the Canon mount which means that even if you did manage to attach it, you'd end up with a big black edge around the image, sort of like tunnel vision, because the lens isn't covering the entire sensor.

 

Doc posted a reply   

True... I guess it was wishful thinking on my part - a lens of that speed on a canon d series would shoot awesome 1080p footage.

hi
2
Rating
 

hi posted a review   

The Good:Those pictures look good

The Bad:but uh is it JUST a lens? or camera your talking about

?????

 

Lexy Savvides posted a reply   
Australia

It's just a lens. "Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Micro Four Thirds" is its actual name.




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User Reviews / Comments  Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Micro Four Thirds

  • NicholasA1

    NicholasA1

    "Hi Lexi,
    Would this fit on a 600D with an adapter?
    I know there is a comment below about the 60D,
    But how bad would the Vignetting be?
    Could this be fixed with an adapter th..."

  • Lexy Savvides

    Lexy Savvides

    "Hi Roland,

    Yes it's compatible with all Micro Four Thirds cameras and all Pen cameras (including the E-P3)."

  • rolandtang

    rolandtang

    "hi im just wondering can I mount this lens on my new Olympus EP3? Is this lens generally compatible with PEN cameras? Thank you."

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