Home Reviews Voigtländer 40mm f/1.2 Nokton: The meat in the sandwich

Voigtländer 40mm f/1.2 Nokton: The meat in the sandwich

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  On the Leica CL, this 40mm Nokton has an full-frame equivalent focal length of 60mm. As with the 40mm view through the M10, the CL enjoys betwixt-and-between goodness, with 60mm sitting between the 50-75mm range. It
On the Leica CL, this 40mm Nokton has an full-frame equivalent focal length of 60mm. As with the 40mm view through the M10, the CL enjoys betwixt-and-between goodness, with 60mm sitting between the 50-75mm range. It’s good for street work as well as portraiture.

See below for details of the Voigtländer 10% cashback promotion

During the past few days I’ve been carrying a Leica CL and Leica M10 with just one prime lens. It’s the two bodies, one lens trick. The optic in focus is the new 40mm f/1.2 Voigtländer Nokton, the perfect fast optic for those who want a bit of everything in one neat, squat and relatively light package. It’s a looker, too. Ditherers avast, this could be the answer to your every dream. 

   With friends like these....  The Nokton offers a new focal length for street photography (Leica M10)
With friends like these…. The Nokton offers a new focal length for street photography (Leica M10)

When Hardy Haase of Flaghead, Voigtländer’s UK distributors, asked me at the Photography Show if I’d like to borrow one of the new 40mm Noktons I jumped at the chance. With my CL and M10 on hand, this lens could make a fair pass at accommodating the useful 35mm-75mm range in a prime package weighing only 330g. On the M10, banish ditherance between 35mm and 50mm; on the CL, it’s almost 50mm, nearly 75mm. If you see what I mean. It’s uncannily useful for a prime lens. In many ways it reminds me why I’ve always liked the 20mm Panasonic pancake for m4/3; it has the identical effective focal length and has always shown its mettle as a versatile all-rounder.

   Anyone for pingpong?  The field of view of the Nokton on a full-frame camera, such as here with the M10, is not much narrower than with the usual 35mm workhorse, but it is also remarkably close to a fifty. With the rangefinder, the trick is to estimate how much of your composition extends outside the 50mm framelines. It takes some practice but isn
Anyone for pingpong? The field of view of the Nokton on a full-frame camera, such as here with the M10, is not much narrower than with the usual 35mm workhorse, but it is also remarkably close to a fifty. With the rangefinder, the trick is to estimate how much of your composition extends outside the 50mm framelines. It takes some practice but isn’t a great deal

On paper the Nokton ticks all the boxes — extremely fast maximum aperture of f/1.2 and an unusual but very useful focal length that excels particularly on mirrorless cameras with electronic viewfinders. It does have a few problems when mounted on a Leica rangefinder simply because there are no 40mm framelines. Instead, it brings up the 50mm frame and you have to learn to shoot a little outside of the box. 

  An impressive bit of kit — with its 52mm diameter face, the Nokton definitely looks like a seriously fast performer. But at 330g it
An impressive bit of kit — with its 52mm diameter face, the Nokton definitely looks like a seriously fast performer. But at 330g it’s a lens you can carry around all day. Protective filter courtesy of my old Fuji bits-and-pieces box

The Nokton reminds me just how good these Voigländer lenses can be, and what terrific value for money they represent. Build quality is excellent and this particular 40mm example really looks the business. It could be a mini Noctilux (certainly in price) and offers tremendous all-round capabilities. It is remarkably good value at £699 and I will be covering it in more detail in a future Macfilos article. 

10% Cashback

It gets better. This month, up to May 10, Flaghead Photographic is offering a 10% cashback on all Voigtländer 35mm focal-length lenses for Leica M Mount and Sony E-Mount. Full details of the promotion are here. (Apologies for my earlier mistake in which I implied the cashback applied to all VM and E-Mount lenses, including the 40mm featured here).

Voigtländer lenses are now available from Red Dot Cameras in London 

And when you’ve finished playing with the novelty of having an unusual focal length, whether 40mm or 60mm, deep down you get a very fast prime with a narrow depth of field to better the Leica Summilux f/1.4 when used (as here) with the M10. With the CL, of course, the depth of field is wider. (The right-hand picture is a crop from the shot on the left)

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been waiting to pick this up for my new Minolta CLE – very pleased to hear how good it seems on the CL and the M10- thanks for the preview Mike!

  2. Hi Mike… I’m sitting right since I heard about the new 50 nokton that’s due to come out 🙂 however as you say 40 might be more flexible, also considering I already have a 50 sonnar

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