Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M Asph. 50mm f/1.4

Most of the reviews I am making in my blog are for two main purposes:

  1. For anyone out there that may have the same questions I do. Share information and love to share my ideas to those that may not have the opportunity to test gear.
  2. My main question  (is Leica gear worth its premium?)

Is the premium you pay for Leica gear really worth what you get? Yes, but don’t think you get 100% better image quality over your other gear. In the end, a much lower priced camera will also get you the same composition and essence in your photograph.

I have been reviewing M mount Leica, Carl Zeiss, Canon and Voigtlander lenses lately and passing my findings to the online community. So, let me start now:

The two lenses I will be reviewing here can be purchased at amazon:

 Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Aspherical Manual Focus Lens (11892)

 Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 Leica M Mount Lens – Black

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 is bigger, feels solid and looks nice but not heavier than my Summilux 50 Asph. I find the Nokton easier to focus than my Summilux, this is because the bigger barrel makes it easier to turn. The aperture ring is nice and solid and the focusing barrel smooth.

Here are some images that compare side by side of the two lenses.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4 (notice the brightness difference is what you gain by going from f/1.4 to f/1.1)

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

One of the things you will notice (besides sharpness and color) is the type of blurred backgrounds you get from the Summilux. They are softer and more natural vs the bokeh found on the Nokton which seems to render harsher outer lines.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4 both at f/2.8

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

If you can’t acquire a Summilux or Noctilux, you have other alternatives like the Canon 1.2 LTM, this Nokton f/1.1 or the Nokton Aspherical f/1.5 which has more similar bokeh like the Summilux. There are many more 50mm lenses you can use on your Leica like the Summicron, Zeiss  and even Contax adapted  but I find these the most common in my area.

Some people like to shoot the Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 but dislike the focus shift. Its smaller and doesn’t weight as much. The Summicron 50mm is great, nice balance and great sharpness. Just be careful with other lenses that may experience focus shift (focus distance is changed when aperture is changed)

If you need a low light lens where you can shoot ISO 3200 + f/1.1 + 1/60sec. just by the light from a television at 3 meters and no additional light then I would definitely recommend this Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 but if you are after the Leica look of sharp focus and smooth bokeh, save your pennies and get a new aspherical lens from Leica. In the meantime, you can make great images with any lens.

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3 thoughts on “Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M Asph. 50mm f/1.4

  1. I own the 50 ‘Lux and bought it specifically for the deliciously creamy bokeh that it produces. I have yet to find anything that can match it there.

    There was a time when Leica and Zeiss truly did produce the best glass on the planet, but since CNC machines came along, that claim has been fading fast. These days, most of the Zeiss glass is actually produced on contract by Cosina in Japan. And Cosina seems to be learning from their partnership with Zeiss because their latest Voigtländer lenses are superior to the glass that they first began producing back in the 1990’s.

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