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.
(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.