Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 ASPH VM – A Razor Sharp Samurai Sword

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 ASPH VM - A Razor Sharp Samurai Sword

Lens Review

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.0 ASPH VM – A Razor Sharp Samurai Sword

Cosina Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.0 ASPH on Leica M3
Top view of Nokton 50mm f/1.0 ASPH

Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.0 ASPH VM

I have been online following all the news about Cosina’s Voigtlander 50mm f1.0 ASPH M mount lens. Since 2018 Voigtlander has been rolling out aggressive lens maps, upgrading its existing lineup with the best available optics in this modern era. My heart leapt when I heard about upcoming ultra-fast lenses. In 2022, Voigtlander released this Nokton 50mm f/1.0 ASPH VM lens. As a regular Noctilux user, I would like to share what I think about this lens. If you would like to explore lenses faster than f/1.4 and how it compares with the f/0.95 and f/1.0 Noctilux. I am going to share more about what I feel here. 

Thanks to my internet buddies, I finally had a chance to try out Noctilux 50mm f0.95 and Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.0 ASPH. Noctilux has always been my holy grail and my favourite Leica M mount lens. I always wanted one, but I thought it would be just a faster, heavier, but more expensive Noctilux to own. Nokton 50mm f1 is perfectly balanced in every aspect, and I would firmly say it is like an upgraded Noctilux. And, It is razor sharp like a samurai sword. I have used it on both Leica M10-P and film Leica M3 and Konica Hexar RF. Let me explain why.

shot with Leica M10-P at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/8, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/1.0, Hong Kong

Nokton 50mm f/1.0 ASPH TECHNICAL DATA

  • Focal Length: 50 mm
  • Max Aperture: f1.0
  • Min Aperture: f16
  • Lens Construction: 7 groups 9 elements
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 12
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.9m
  • Dimensions: 73.6 x 55 mm
  • 1 x Grinding Aspherical (GA) Front Lens
  • 1 x Aspherical element
  • Includes reversible lens hood
  • Filter diameter: 62 mm
  • Mount: Leica M mount
  • Hood: included (reversible hood)
Aperture blades at f/2.8
Aperture blade at f/8.0

Construction - Weight Loss Noctilux

My biggest worry is the same for every rangefinder user: size and weight. I wouldn’t want to hold a heavy lens all the time (maybe I need to do more grip training). Honestly, Noctilux is heavy, and Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 is literally my limit holding its 700g weight. I wouldn’t want to carry it around every day. Noctilux 50mm f/1 E58 weighs 580g, and the later version weighs 630g. How about this new Nokton? It is only 484g!

But the barrel of this Nokton is broader than a Noctilux. The closest example would be kind of like the Canon 50mm f/0.95. This increases the viewfinder blockage and feels like the lens is quite big on hand. Overall it’s a sturdy lens though I think it’s a bit cumbersome to put it in my bag or hold it in my hand.

Coating colour
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0, Hungry ghost festival, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/5.6, Hong Kong

Viewfinder Blockage

Viewfinder blockage without hood
Viewfinder blockage with hood


Almost all ultra-fast lenses with an aperture value of f/0.95 or f/1.0 have a minimum focus distance of 1 metre. But this Nokton 50mm has a minimum focus at 0.9M, which is very good for those who want to take some close-up portraits because sometimes, when I take pictures for my wife, I have to lean back a bit to fit the standard 1 metre distance.

Filter 62mm makes it easier to shop filters in the market, unlike Noctilux in 58mm and 60mm it seems that Nokton would be much easier to get different filters. 

The Hood is also practical, with some lovely velvet stuck in the interior of the lens hood to prevent any light reflections, but the trade-off would be becoming dusty.

No 6-bit coded, meaning you need to manually select the lens profile on your digital M body if you need correction. I set this as Noctilux 50/1.0 on my Leica M10-P

Barrel design and finishing
Non reflective velvet inside the hood
Nokton 50/1.0 ASPH without hood

Sharp and Sharp!

It is a compact lens with a double-sided aspherical element and a newly developed grinding aspherical (GA) front element. It is well corrected to ensure that it is wide open and gives you the best firepower. I am not a technical person. You can refer to the explanation below on their website.

shot with Reflx Lab 400D at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/2.8, Hong Kong

Reason for its outstanding sharpness from Voigtlander website:

“The GA manufacturing technique (grinding aspherical) achieves the fastest and sharpest F1.0 lens amongst the entire Voigtländer full-frame interchangeable lens line.

Being an ultra-fast standard lens, it satisfies both the requirements of sharp image making and unique styling in a short barrel product. All this capability without sacrificing lens performance or increased size is a remarkable feat.

GA lenses are employed, with their high melting points and ultra-high-refraction glass materials. These manufacturing techniques are very difficult to control during lens creation when compared to standard molded aspherical lenses.

Because of these techniques and utilizing a floating mechanism, when the aperture open to its widest (F1.0, ) you can enjoy a very large bokeh effect, creating mood and style. At the same time you will notice the extremely sharp image depiction of in-focus areas.”

shot with Kodak Double-X, rated 400 at f/1.0, developed in 1+50 Rodinal, Hong Kong

I would highly praise it as the sharpest ultra-fast lens in the market right now (happy to know if there is any better out there in the market). It is like the Nokton 50mm f/1.2 ASPH with one extra stop, but I have read some say the Nokton 50/1.2 is slightly sharper and better performed at corners. Excellent sharpness gives a better definition to your subject and makes it easier to stand out, giving you a nice 3D pop.

shot with Reflx Lab 400D at f/1.0, tram station, Hong Kong


It has relatively reasonable vignette control at wide open compared with Noctilux 50/0.95 and 50/1.0, it has much better performance.

Lens Bokeh

Minor detail that I have noticed is the flatter field curvature on the bokeh shape. Towards the centre of the image, it has less significant cat eye than the Noctilux 50/1 and Noctilux 50/0.95. The f0.95 has intense light fall off at the edge. Bokeh from this giant has a distinct bokeh shape, and when they overlap, it looks clean but less creamy than normal Noctilux.

shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0 testing bokeh shape
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/1.0, Hong Kong


High contrast as expected on film and digital performance and similar to its Voigtlander siblings with a little bit of cold tone compared with Leica glass.

shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/5.6, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0, Taxi, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 400D at f/1.0, Hong Kong

Film Performance

High contrast as expected on film and digital performance and similar to its Voigtlander siblings with a little bit of cold tone compared with Leica glass.

shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/5.6, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Ektachrome E100D at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Portra 160 at f/8, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Portra 160 at f/8, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong

Digital Performance

Surprisingly at its maximum aperture, performance is great and the purple fringe is not as serious as I expected. It is an impressively well-controlled lens!

shot with Leica M10-P at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Leica M10-P at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Leica M10-P at f/1.0, Hong Kong
shot with Leica M10-P at f/1.0, Hong Kong


  • Lightweight (compared with Noctilux)
  • Minimum focus distance at 0.9M
  • Sharpest among all Noctilux
  • 62mm filter 
  • 3D pop
  • More affordable compared with Noctilux


  • Viewfinder blockage
  • The lens is a bit wide in shape
  • Transition not as smooth as Leica (personal preference on film)

Overall Impression

This is not a technical review, but I can say that it is a perfectly balanced Noctilux alternative. It has excellent bokeh at wide open, sharp and produces clean images. If anyone wants to pick a travel lens or a daily lens with an f1.0 aperture, at its weight, this Nokton is definitely a good option despite its wider body. It is also less costly than a Noctilux, and you wouldn’t have to worry too much if you brought it as a travel lens. Sharpness-wise, the Nokton 50/1.2 ASPH is better but considering you can have half a stop faster to do some moody shots at night on the street. This will be the best alternative to Noctilux 50mm f0.95 you can get in 2022!

A side story was that back in 2011, I read something about the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.1 compared with Noctilux 50mm f1.0 V4 saying that they are almost the same. I trusted that and bought the Nokton, but I was pretty disappointed and sold the lens. But after trying it for a few months, I am happy with the result of this new lens and you will like it if you prefer clinical (clean) images.

shot with Kodak Double-X, rated 400 at f/1.0, developed in 1+50 Rodinal, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Portra 160 at f/8, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
shot with Kodak Portra 160 at f/1.0, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 800T at f/1.0 on the metal texture, Bardeluxe, Hong Kong
shot with Reflx Lab 400D in Bardeluxe at f/1.0, Hong Kong

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  1. I haven’t tried this lens but I do have the 50mm 0.95 Noctilux and the 75mm noctilux. The 75mm noctilux although obscenely expensive is worth every penny and I would say it appears to be noticeably sharper than this lens. I really enjoyed your lens review and just bought an apo lanthar VM 35mm after reading your review on it. I am very pleased! Thank you!

  2. I had this lens for 6M. Optically very )very) good imo.

    BUT I sold yesterday – the weight was a problem – imo, this is NOT a lens to be taken for an all day walks or sim. For hour or 2, lovely, for longer, the weight becomes a hurdle …& very much depends on what one indeed wants to wear on one ´s shoulders – half a kilo plus body (sl2-s here) is quite a weight … level on dslrs, smtg I did not want to go back to.

    Again – optical performance is very very good.

      • Good question – decided to go 40 f/1,2 & – for nearer future – leave the 35 vs 50 dilema. I know – not part. a light lens, but 300g vs almost 500 IS a difference. So far – the outcome from the 40 Nokton looks very nice, even the sharpness is somewhat more natural looking (nit less sharp for my eyes even wife open, just seems ´sweeter´ … very 1st pics though

        • The Nokton 40/1.2 is a true stellar, I made a post about it before. And I also miss the nice 40mm viewfinder made by Voigtlander.

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