Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1 Aspherical VM review – Setting a new standard.


We have always been fascinated with ultra-fast lenses. In Leica alone, the 1966 Leitz 50mm ƒ1.2 Noctilux paved the path towards the Noctilux-M 50mm ƒ1 variants (my review of the beautiful version 1 is here) to the now modern Noctilux-M 50mm ƒ0.95 lens.

To many, the mention of ƒ1 elicits a holy grail feel and Voigtlander surely understood this when they designed this new standard-setting piece of optics.

Of course, other manufacturers have joined the race. Every major brand has, but let us focus on the M-rangefinder system here. Some manufacturers were competent, some not, and Voigtlander among the more competent, announced in 2022 the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 ASPH VM lens and today, let us take a look at how the Voigtlander performs.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R

The Voigtlander 50mm ƒ1.0 comes into direct competition with Leica’s Noctilux-M 50mm ƒ0.95 at USD1799 versus Leica’s 50mm ƒ0.95 at USD12,995.

Simple mathematics tells you that one Leica Noctilux 50mm F0.95 buys you 8 pieces of the Voigtlander 50mm F1.0
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R


Some key specifications that matter to the photographer are,

Focal length of 50mm with angle of view at 47.8°

Optical design of 9 lens elements in 7 optical groups with 12 aperture blades

Minimal focus distance (MFD): 0.9m

Maximum diameter x total length: φ73,6×55mm with a filter size of φ62mm

Weight: 484 grams (515 grams with hood)

Lens hood: Dedicated screw-in hood included (reversible mounting)

The key factor of the Voigtlander 50mm F1.0’s performance is the specially ground front Aspherical element

Key to the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 ASPH VM’s optical design is the specially grounded front Aspherical element (acknowledged to be very expensive and tough to produce), allowing for the much more compact size of 55mm (length).

The more amazing thing is Voigtlander did not stop there, adding to the Voigtlander 50mm ƒ1.0 floating lens elements for optimal optical performance for shorter focusing distances and a 12-bladed aperture design for bokeh quality.

Handling and Performance

To my surprise, the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 delivers, and actually over-delivered, given its price-point against its direct competitor, the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm ƒ0.95.

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 is a well-built lens with no flex, and the aperture ring clicks in 1/2 stops. Working very well with its very well-dampened and smooth focusing ring. One will indeed feel the heft, but if the user is complaining about a 484 grams lens versus the 700g of a Noctilux, the person probably should not be using this category of lenses.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R

I am going to be very pragmatic and state here that manual focusing a rangefinder at F1.0 will require a lot of patience and practice due to the extremely thin depth of field you are dealing with.

Due to the floating elements design, spherical aberration is mostly absent, and subjects focused at a close distance remain contrasty and very detailed. Also, I felt I should credit Voigtlander for including the hood this round.

Manual focusing through the rangefinder OVF at F1.0 is never easy, but when one nails the shot, the sense of achievement is hard to describe, especially given the excellent potential image output the Voigtlander 50mm F1.0 has.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R

And, of course, nothing is perfect, and for those who are curious, it is still possible to make the lens flare, but you have to try hard to, given how optically excellent Voigtlander has designed this lens to be.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R

For an F1.0 lens, some amount of color aberration is expected, but I was surprised to see how well-controlled it is for this lens. I did see some purple fringing, especially when photographing certain scenes, but post-processing easily rectifies these.

Lastly, when planning to photograph wide open in strongly lit situations, I think it is obvious that one should use an N.D filter. Get a quality one to minimize color casts.

Even with the M10-R’s maximum 1/4000s shutter speed and at ISO100, a ND filter is still good to have when planning to photograph wide-open in strongly-lit situations. I use a 3-stop strength.


The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 has a close-to-perfect (note: it is not perfect) blend of sharpness, 3D pop, micro-contrast and clinical perfection utilizing the advantages of modern technology (such as lens coating, etc). In fact, I will gladly say that it is one of the sharpest 50mm ƒ1 lenses ever produced.

The floating elements design works to optimize optical performance close up. Although Leica purists may disagree, I find that the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 VM Aspherical outperforms the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm ƒ0.95, especially at close distances.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R

It is also important to note that I do not compare the Voigtlander 50mm F1 to say, the Leica Noctilux 50mm F1.2 nor the 50mm F1 as these lenses were designed to achieve a different type of rendering.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect, and to be honest, other than a possible issue with outwards field curvature at close distances and vignetting wide open, there is very little to find fault with the lens. The lens is more flare resistant than I expected, and of course, the purple fringing encountered photographing wide open is part and parcel of using such a fast lens.

Above this, Voigtlander has achieved all this in a well-built smaller, and lighter lens at 484 grams, versus the 700 grams of the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm ƒ0.95.

Of course no records were broken, but in the entirely of what matters to the user especially in the optical performance versus price area, the Voigtlander 50mm F1.0 sets a new standard.

At one-eighth of the price, I can fully understand why, easily a year after its release, the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 is still out of stock in some places.

Thank you for reading.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0 on M10-R


  1. All product photos and samples here were photographed by me. I believe any reviewer with pride should produce their own product photos.

2. All images were shot with the Leica M10-R and my personal copy of the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm ƒ1.0

3. This review is not sponsored. There is nothing to return this round as everything here is bought and paid for by me.

4. I do not do affiliate purchase links to keep myself neutral. I write as a passion and a hobby, and I appreciate that photography brands are kind enough to respect and work with me.

5. The best way to support me is to share the review, or you can always help support me by contributing to my fees to WordPress for the domain using the Paypal button at the bottom of the page.

10 Replies to “Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1 Aspherical VM review – Setting a new standard.”

  1. Bravo! I’m glad you have shared on the Voigt 50/1. It has been on my mind for a while and your review gave very clear insights on my decision to get one.


  2. Thanks so much for this review. I would really like to purchase a very fast 50, and this is among the lenses I’m looking at — to much research. LOL. That said, I don’t necessarily want a “perfect” 50, but one that has character. What are your thoughts about this one verus the Voigt/1.2, and the two Leicas you mentioned — the 1.2 and 1.0? Thanks again!


    1. Hi Tom, this answer may be a bit long hence bear with me.

      I think there’s no perfect lens of course but a 50 that suits one most is definitely present.

      The Leica 50/1 firstly are out of production and depending on the version (III is the least expensive) will cost differently. Only V1 is 58mm with its own signature vignette and Mandler rendering (you can see the review of it on my page) while Ver II and III are similar and these lenses don’t go for a modern sharp rendering that we see on the Voigt 50/1 or the Noct 50/.095.

      The 50/1.2 if about the reissue imo is similar too , hardly a sharp lens and maybe more for film like the 35 Steel Rim reissue and one needs to like the rendering to be ok with it.

      I have not shot the Voigt 50/1.2 but understand that between the Voigt 50/1 and the 1.2 there is no reason to get the latter.

      Hope this helps.


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