I spent a few week earlier to check out the new Nokton 40mm f1.2 Aspherical lens manufactured by Voigtlander. The bokeh and mood were the major factors for me to consider it to replace the Noctilux (at last I sold my Noctilux). I always believe you have to try different lenses on both film and with digital camera to consider whether you like or not. So I decided to get one to try.
40mm is truly something new to me. A new chapter for me to explore the perspective between 35mm and 50mm. It takes courage to try this focal length especially some of you may notice that I mainly use 35mm and 50mm lenses in the past. But after trying it with Leica M10 and film shots with Agfa Vista 400, now I quite like this focal length. Mainly because 40mm is quite useful and easier to compose. In this case, Nokton 40/1.2 did the job very well.
Images in Black and White film
Cosmetically, I love how the subtle black finishing was done, having a red scale index is a bonus. I also have bought the 40mm frameline viewfinder from B&H Photos because it is not available in Hong Kong. I tried the lens with Leica M10 and film Leica camera. The result was amazing! The bokeh is so creamy at wide open, the focus point got a little bit of glow which is similar to the Noctilux f1. Some people don’t like the cat eye bokeh but for me it is something what I want, which I believe it adds character in the picture and it helps to bring out the subject when shooting a portrait. Also, the size balance on a Leica M camera very well. The only thing I think Voigtlander can improve is to add a focusing tab for the lens.
Images with Colour Negative Film (Agfa Vista 400)
I have been using different Noctilux f1.0 lens ranging from version 1 (E58), version 3 and version 4 for a number of years. But this lens can do the same trick as what the expensive glass can offer you. I have tried the “Dreamy” Canon 50mm f1.2 LTM, not bad. Canon 50mm 0.95 is totally another story. But I guess the major differences between this Nokton and Noctilux will be on the vignetting and bokeh creaminess. The Noctilux got more dark corners and Nokton gives out a cooler colour tone than Leica, which is quite similar to the Nokton 35/1.2 II Aspherical which I have tried in the past. Because it is a 40mm, the depth of field won’t be as shallow as a 50mm Noctilux but if you shoot it at 0.5 to 0.6m, it gives you similar DOF. Overall, I am happy with this little Noct most surprisingly is that it can focus down to 0.5m!
Images shot with Leica M10 and Voigtlander 40/1.2 VM
What I think about taking pictures is that, you really have to try a lot (literally a lot!) of different kinds of lenses, brands and focal length to know what you prefer. What you are shooting now might be something you eventually look for because of the mood and how the lens has given you confidence and character in your photographs.
Images shot with Cinestill 800T (left and middle) and Agfa Vista 400 (Right)
Images shot with Leica M10