Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II lens review. I had read a lot of positive reviews on Voigtlander lenses and decided I really wanted to get hold of one for my old Sony A7R. The Nokton 50mm 1.4 was almost double the price of the Voigtlander 58mm and, as this was to be my first Voigtlander I opted for the 58mm f1/4.
I managed to pick up a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm lens at my local camera shop for a little over USD 300. They were even kind enough to let me take it away for a quick test and as soon as I attached it to my Sony A7R I was hooked! The first thing I noticed was the quality and weight. It’s quite heavy for its size and for one good reason! It’s from a bygone age when lenses were made of brass and designed to last a lifetime. Turning the focus ring was silky smooth and the aperture ring clicked into place, leaving an impression this was extremely well made!
When focusing, the filter ring doesn’t rotate making it ideal for 58mm filters. So far so good but how about the image quality!
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm – Image Quality
With a bright f1/4 aperture this lens is ideal for travel, portraits or even some street photography! The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 has real character! It is sharp, especially when stopped down with a sweet spot at f/4 and f/5.6. Wide open it renders a beautiful, dreamy glow! I love the contrast and the bokeh (the out-of-focus blur), which was soft and creamy!
Being a manual lens it takes a little getting used to, especially for street photography. I do lose a higher percentage of shots compared to perhaps, the Sony Zeiss 58mm f1/8 which has super fast auto-focus but the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 is still a lens to consider. I don’t regret buying this over the Voigtlander 50mm f1/4 as I already have a Rokkor 50mm f1/4 so it was ideal for my lens collection.
Nokton vs Leica
Dare I say that this is not a Leica Noctilux or Summilux, but then it didn’t cost thousands of dollars. Is it equal to Leica? No, but it’s not that far behind! I simply cannot justify paying over USD 5000 for a lens and wonder how much of a status symbol Leica has become over other lenses, such as this beautiful Voigtlander. However, I have never owned or used a Leica and if I had the money I would probably want get my hands on them too!
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm Verdict
58mm is longer than the average 50mm focal length with a field of view equivalent to 85mm for APS-C DSLR users. This lens is really good and up to today’s standards. If you are fortunate to see one at the price I paid, get it as you’ll not regret it!