Mu-43 Top Veteran
Registered: January 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Review Date: Wed November 10, 2010
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: $895.00
| Rating: 10
Fabulous quality for an affordable ultra-fast lens
No electrical contacts for Micro Four Thirds
This review was originally written in 3 parts but I have combined them for this posting...
Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 review (Part 1)
I have been waiting for this lens for a while. I ordered in the day after it was announced in late August as my birthday present to myself. It arrived on Melbourne Cup day and I made arrangements to go and pick up the lens after the race (no luck there as I didn't win anything). It was great to meet Scott at Mainline Photographics - obviously a bunch keen on their photography and keen pricing (at the time the cheapest in the World but our dollar has since risen and it is about line ball with USD pricing).
Here is my review after its first week of use. Note - click on image or link for a larger version of photos. I will post the review in several parts and this is of course Part 1.
_B025004 by peterb666, on Flickr
_B025006 by peterb666, on Flickr
_B025007 by peterb666, on Flickr
_B025008 by peterb666, on Flickr
A rather modest thing. Well packed and you get a hood and two lens caps, a 52mm one for the lens body and a 67mm for the front of the lens hood. Both are snap on types.
The build quality is superb. The lens has a nice solid feel to it having an all metal construction. It isn't too heavy and it oozes quality. This is how a good quality lens was made 3 or 4 decades ago.
The focus ring is ultra smooth and a generous amount of rotation covers the zoom range from 0.17m to infinity. You would expect a lens like this to focus no closer than around 0.25m, maybe even 0.3m. With about 280 degrees of rotation and much of it in that range between 0.3m and 0.17m, it is very easy to accurately focus the lens.
The aperture ring in towards the front of the lens. I am not a big fan of this type of design but have got use to it over the years. I have the same on a number of Olympus OM lenses as well as my Schneider 40mm lens from my Robot Star IIa. I also prefer full-stop clicks but the half-stop clicks are bearable enough. The aperture ring is light and the click stops positive.
Voigtlander 25mm by peterb666, on Flickr
Voigtlander 25mm-1 by peterb666, on Flickr
One disappointment is the lack of electrical interface with the Micro Four Thirds mount. Examining the rear element, it is fairly obvious that it would be difficult to provide space for the contacts other than slicing off the bottom of the rear lens elements. That of course would make assembly difficult and add to the cost of lens.
Voigtlander 25mm-2 by peterb666, on Flickr
Part 2 of review...
On the Camera
Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 self portrait by peterb666, on Flickr
The lens is relatively long yet quite slim. You would think that this may present a handling problem with the Olympus E-P1 but it is very easy to hand-hold with one hand supporting the lens as you do with an SLR or an older, larger rangefinder camera. This is sufficient dampening in the focus ring that you wouldn't normally knock the lens off-focus.
This is not the quickest lens in the world to use. For a start you need to use the traditional focus and stop-down metering of old pre-set lenses. If you are prepared for this and patient, the lens a joy to use and will give superb results. Consequently, this lens is not suited to things that move around unless you are prepared to pre-focus and wait for the object to come into the focus zone.
As you would expect, this lens excels in low light or when you want minimum depth of field. It is nice to be able to see something in the LCD in pre-dawn light levels and to be able to focus even on the very few occasions when you cannot see anything in the LCD. To those use to scale focussing, the focus distances seem very accurate. As the lens is moderately wide compared (OK it is a standard in MFT terms), dept of field is good when stopped down to f/8 or f/11 and you can use hyperfocal focusing to good effect. There is a generous dept of field making on the lens. Mechanical focus rings, infinity stops and depth of field markings are all things most advanced photographers miss from most Micro Four Thirds lenses. I certainly do.
In the Field
Pre-dawn and sunrise
Pre-dawn at Tamarama by peterb666, on Flickr
Tamarama Sunrise 2 by peterb666, on Flickr
Hen's night out by peterb666, on Flickr
Seaside Photographers by peterb666, on Flickr
Tripods at Tamarama by peterb666, on Flickr
Depth of field
Focus is on the letter O on the mug and the noses of the 2 dogs left & centre. Distance is around 0.3 metres from the sensor…
Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 test 1 f0.95 by peterb666, on Flickr
That shot also shows the excessive glow that can appear with highligts on edges (see top of mug). It is well and truely gone by f/1.4.
Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 test 3 f2 by peterb666, on Flickr
Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 test 7 f8 by peterb666, on Flickr
Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 test 9 f16 by peterb666, on Flickr
Hair Dressing in Hyde Park-2 by peterb666, on Flickr
Hair Dressing in Hyde Park-4 by peterb666, on Flickr
_B075159 by peterb666, on Flickr
Part 3 of review...
Superb image quality from around f/1.4 and up
You can get usable images at f/0.95 (also see 'Cons')
Incredibly sharp and great detail
Very accurate and relatively easy (but slow) focussing
Shallow depth of field when required
Great value for money (but this is really a specialised lens).
It isn't always easy to get a good image at f/0.95, especially if there is backlighting or extreme highlights and strange edge glows/halos. Stopping down to f/1.4 fixes that while still maintaining a shallow depth of field.
Very slow to focus due to generous rotation angle of focus ring (this however makes focussing very accurate)
Not suited to moving things due to the slow focussing.
This is a specialised lens. If you want shallow depth of field or need a lens that you can work with in low light levels, this is it.
The lens is good value for money and a bargain if you are in the market for this type of lens. The only ultra-fast lenses that provide a normal focal length for Micro Four Thirds are adapted C-mount lenses, most of which vignette badly and many have poor IQ and bokeh.
On price it competes with the Noktor 50mm f/0.95, the manual focus Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 (which is still available new) and the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 (about $300 more expensive in Australia) however these are far too long for general purpose lenses on Micro Four Thirds and other than the Noktor, require an adapter. I think the image quality is up there with the Nikon and Voigtlander lenses and well ahead of what I have seen out of the Noktor.
I am very happy with the results. In most situations where the bokeh comes into play, it looks reasonable enough. Things like grass and leaves can be a little messy rather than smooth but that seems a common trait of short focal length ultra-fast lenses. Shooting point sources of light seem pleasing enough, and quite frankly outstanding for a lens at this sort of price range. It isn't like the defunct 58mm Noct Nikkor or an ultrafast Leica, but then it only costs between 10 and 20% or less of the asking price of those but it is comparable to the Voigtlander Noktor 50mm and Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 lenses but with a more useful focal length for general use.
Now if only Voigtlander will bring out a 10mm f/1.4 or thereabouts, I would grab that too - preferably with electrical contacts for Micro Four Thirds.
New to Mu-43
Registered: March 2012
Location: Czech republic
Review Date: Mon April 16, 2012
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: $810.00
| Rating: 10
0.95, bokeh, sharpness, macro
you need ND8 in day, aviability
In terms of focal lenght and DOF is the basic lens, but the aperture is amazing - in the daylight ND filter is a necessity. Quality "ND filters" are expensive and cheap are not quality. Perfect bokeh without disturbing elements, very well mastered flare. I can compare with Pentax FA35mm/2.0 and Voigtlanred is doing better (subjectively). The disadvantage may be blurring in the corners and f4.
This is the best lens I had (1 of 30)