Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 (repaired at last)

Until recently my arsenal of 50mm lenses included the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.1 and the 1950’s Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8.
Despite being an almost 60 years lens, the collapsible Elmar performs flawlessly. When collapsed, it makes the Leica M a very compact and portable camera which can be easily fitted in my jacket’s pocket, so it’s a fantastic all around lens. But for available light photography, the f2.8 aperture is not enough. I had added the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 for this reason which was a superb lens at an amazing price. Then, the aperture blades collapsed and despite being fixed once, the blades collapsed again,so I had to find a replacement.
The Nokton 50mm f1.1 took its place (the f1.5 was no longer in production and I thought one extra stop would count). The problem is that the f1.1 has two problems (at least for me). It’s huge and heavy and it has focus shift. At f1.1 you can produce some very special images, but as a walk around lens, I find it not very practical.

So, when I finally found a good repair shop, I tried fixing the f1.5 one more time. It came back fully working and immediately it replaced the f1.1. Much smaller, with no focus shift and fantastic sharpness, it’s a fantastic lens for the M system. I really hope this time that there will be no more problems with it, since it’s by far the best alternative to the Summilux 50mm.

All images below were taken with the Nokton 50mm f1.5 fitted on the Leica M7 with Kodak TRI-X 400 film.

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(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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3 Responses to Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 (repaired at last)

  1. Jake Jones says:

    Hey I recently came across a Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 on a camera that was being sold for repair/parts. The lens has a minor crack in it and I was wondering where you got yours repaired. Great pictures by the way!

    Thanks!

  2. Thanks for they write-up on your CV Nokton experiences. I found your page because, for the second time since I purchased my 50/1.5 Nokton around 2007, the lens is again in need of a rebuild! Rebuild 1 was required around 2011 when a friend’s child dropped it when mounted to my Leica M6 from a height of less than 2 feet. Same as your experience, the aperture diaphragm collapsed. Gandy’s repair guy fixed it at that time. Just a few weeks ago, I myself dropped the M6 with the Nokton mounted again. This time from around 4 feet and onto concrete. The aperture held up but the focus ring got very stiff. It’s actually usable but not comfortably. I swore I’d replace it with a Summilux when this happened again but I LOVE the performance of this lens. I’m tempted to try the new 50/1.5 Nokton as the look of it is GREAT and performance is supposed to be about the same but do I really want to spend $700-$900 on another CV product given my track record? I am getting buy just fine with my two other Leica 50’s but I may just give the 50/1.5 Nokton another chance. Afterall, it keeps breaking due to “abuse”, not normal use. However, you know that any run of the mill vintage Nikon, Canon or Pentax lens wouldn’t have even flinched…

    Oh and btw, the bokeh of the 1.1 Nokton looks very harsh so it’s never appealed much to me. Crazy that it costs about the same as the new 1.5 though!

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