I have never been a fan of manual lenses. Most of it are short lived. I just don’t have the patience with it or I am just not good at manual focusing. With only myself to be blame. Today I had the opportunity to give myself a second chance at it.Not for just a stingy day; a generous few days. A big thank you to the nice people at Rice Ball (IG @riceballphoto), I have the privilege to test the little Voigtlander 23mm F1.2 Nokton. It’s a manual lens for X-mount. This is a pretty looking little lens. In fact, it looks good on any X-series camera. As I am bias; I think it looks best with X-Pro and X-E series.
I am pretty slow in focusing with this lens. The thought of using this lens transported me to my early days of using my very first film camera. It was a hand me down from my father. A Nikon FM with a 35 -70mm lens. Things were slower then, simpler too. After using this lens for a couple days; I begin to shoot at a slower pace. In some ways I see more. It’s like driving slowly; you see more. If one were speeding, everything around us becomes a blur.
This lens is definitely not a clinically uber-sharp lens. But sharp enough. It’s a little soft when shot wide. Feel a little similar to the classic XF35mm F1.4. Magical in their own way. Of course when one stop down to F2.8 onward; this lens gets sharper. This lens has electronic connection with the camera. So your exif is recorded. It has a 12 blade rounded diaphragm.
I like the size of this lens when its mounted with a X-Pro or X-E series cameras. It has a 46mm filter size. The weight of 214 grams is a nice balance with X-Pro3. The built of this lens is definitely premium. A buttery smooth focusing ring and lovely aperture ring that clicks nicely. 1/3 stop per click, all the way to F16. After using this lens for a few days; I am kinda of fond of it. Especially Its at my favorite focal length. Below are some snaps taken in the last few days. I will now let the photos do the talking. Let me know what you think?
Lastly I have a few request on how this lens compare with other Chinese lens maker. Here is a non scientific comparison that I did over my dining table.
So what do you think? This is a tough one. Bokeh department, I like TTartisan more. Voigtlander has more character. The shot have more “pop” and I like the warm hue from the glass. But it cost a lot more. If you have the cash, why not. It’s a sexy lens. If not, I think TTartisan do commands great value.
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Thank you for that.
I think it looks really good, full of character. Only problem is price and usage. Like with all manual focus lenses I am not sure I would really use them at an event that much, relying on AF helps the keeper rate naturally. So this lens would be for personal work more, lower pressure and slower shooting stuff, which when factoring in the price tag becomes quite a hard sale!
Hi Eddy, I agree on fully that this lens is more for personal work. Less pressure indeed.
Thanks for the review. I have been contemplating. Would it be possible to post some closer focus portraits at 1.2? That would be great. That’s how I will use this lens if I buy..
Hi there! Nice review and great photos! Just a question: is this lens focus by wire or mechanical?
hello. It’s mechanical.
Hi Ivan, Wonderful review! Was wondering how this compares to the XF 23mm F1.4 R (as well as the WR)? Is the IQ comparable? Thank you in advance!
Hello Larry, I would think the new 23mm F1.4 WR is definitely sharper. For character; the nokton has more appeal.
Hi Ivan. Thank you for your review. I’m looking for a manual focus 23mm (35mm ffe) lens for a X-Pro 3. I’ve tried a couple but the DoF scale was somewhat off on the TTArtisian and very off on the Kipon. Did you happen to test the scale for the Voigtlander? Thanks : )
Hello Jeremy, This is mine workflow for manual focus lens. I don’t used scale. I just used peak focus and punch on further to confirm my focus. work pretty well for me.