Voigtlaender 35 mm / 1:1.2 Nokton for Fujifilm’s X system

Last week I had the opportunity to try this relatively recent lens (announced in July 2021) from Voigtlaender. You can find all the details about this lens here:


The number of third – party lenses for Fujifilm’s X mount has been increasing in the last few years, and Voigtlaender has already introduced several of them, including this fast 35mm lens, which provides a standard/normal angle of view for the APSC format. As many other Voigtlaender lenses available for other mounts (e.g. VM for Leica M), this is actually made by Cosina. This is similar to other famous names in photographic lenses; for example, many Zeiss lenses are also made by Cosina (think Loxia for Sony E and ZM for Leica M). The bottom line is that all of them are manual focus only and made to very high standards.

To try out the lens, I mounted it on my Fujifilm X-T4 and went to one of my favourite places in Portugal’s SW coast, near Almograve and Cavaleiro villages. This is not a lens test, as I am no expert. I have simply used the lens under various circumstances, checking the results for aspects like bokeh, transition between in-focus and out-of-focus zones, flaring, contrast, colours, etc. Even though it is a very fast lens (f/1.2), it is quite small, thanks to the APSC format and lack of AF and IS motors. Regarding the details on how to manually focus the lens, all the assists in the X-T4 worked without problems; you can use magnification, split prism, microprism, and peak highlight. Given that my subjects were static, I was in not hurry, so I mostly used magnification.

Image courtesy of Voigtlaender.

I have organized this article by topics, so lets start with the first one.

Bokeh and focus transition

From some of the comments and samples that I had researched prior to my experience with the lens, I already knew a few things about it. The photos I got confirmed that the lens, when used wide-open (say between f/1.2 – f/2), is not clinically sharp, and shows some “glow” around the edges of the focused subject. This combination delivers a unique look, which I think is adequate for portraits. I have seen this look in other lenses that I used before, like the Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm f/1,5 ZM and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2. Basically, the optical aberrations of the lens are under-corrected when used wide-open and near wide-open. As the aperture is stopped down, this “glow” effect goes away and sharpness increases. It is almost like you get two lenses in one.

I have shot Raw and processed the files via two steps: the first one was using Iridient to convert RAF to DNG, and then using Lightroom (LR) on those (I have an old LR version that does not recognize the Raf files from my cameras). Processing in LR is my usual one, starting with Provia “film choice”, followed by simple adjustments to the basic parameters. I really like the rich but natural colours from the lens, plus the excellent contrast.

Below we can the first example I shot, a marker of the Fishermen’s Trail in the Vicentina Route, near Cabo Sardão. Timing was the onset of the golden hour before sunset. This is a focus distance that might represents a close portrait; the background shrub is very close to the wood marker. It is also worth mentioning that the aperture features a 12-bladed diaphragm, and that as we stop down, its shape becomes well defined. I like the transition between the focused and non-focused areas.

At f/1.2, the glow is very clear around the marker. Together with the absence of clinical sharpness, I think it is a nice portrait lens. The background is sent to oblivion.
At f/2, the glow is reduced but still present. Sharpness increases also. Bokeh still features a rounded aperture shape.
At f/4, the lens is really sharp. Bokeh continues to be excellent, with the shape of the 12 bladed aperture becoming apparent. I was lucky because a few trekkers passed by, providing more background elements to the scene.
At f/5.6, the shape of the aperture is clear, but the rendering is still nice.
At f/8, there is still some degree of subject isolation.

The second scene features a football pitch in the foreground and the Cabo Sardão lighthouse in the background. I have focused on the letters in the bench, which were around 2 or 3 m away from my position. It could represent a half-body to full body portrait, for example.

Example with the focus at a more normal distance. Background is also further away, compared to the previous scene. At f/2, the sharpness and focus fall-off are excellent. The depth-of-field is so shallow that the wood post with the rope is already out of focus.
By f/4, the wood post becomes in focus, with the background a little bit more well defined.
At f/8, the depth-of-field extends to more or less the middle of the pitch, so the building is still out of focus.

Finally, my third scene was shot in the coastal dunes near Almograve, at sunrise. I chose the nice flowers blooming around. What we see is the lens behaving similarly to the scenes above.

Flower f/1.2. Example of wide-open glow.
Flower f/2. Glow is less evident, but is still visible.
Flowers at f/5.6.

The second aspect I want to mention is flare. Given the lens is under-corrected by design (when used wide-open, and I think similar to what Cosina does with their “Classic” line of VM lenses), I was actually expecting a worse result than the one I obtained.


I used the same area with the flowers as above, and shot against the rising sun. One photo with the sun in the upper left corner, almost outside of the frame; and another photo with the sun right in the frame, shining directly on the lens. In both cases I see that the flower is still clear, with no loss of contrast. This is a very good result, and I will have no issues with shooting against the sun. It is important to mention that flare depends on how clean the lens (or filter) is; any particle of dust or any smudge will increase the likelihood of inducing lens flare. I had the lens hood mounted as well. This would be a good time to mention that I saw no chromatic aberrations also, which is good.

Flare #1, f/5.6.
Flare #2, f/5. Even with the sun shining straight on the lens, the result is good.

The third characteristic of the lens I wanted to check is its capability of producing nice sun stars. For that, I went to Odemira for a very early photo session.

Sun stars

Below are two examples shot at f/8 in Odemira, where very nice stars can be seen on the street lamps.

View of Odemira at dawn. The lens makes nice stars around the bright lights.
Another example of sun stars.

Finally, I leave you with a few more image samples taken during my time with this lens. In conclusion, for my typical use cases, I find this lens to be excellent: small, light, robust, easy to use, and with very high (and unique in some aspects) image quality. I do not mind that wide open the lens shows “glow” and less than razor sharpness, because when I take portraits, I am not after forensic detail. For landscapes and general photography, at f/2.8 and above, the lens provides more “modern look” results. One of the things I enjoyed when I was using the Sony E system several years ago was the Zeiss Loxia range of lenses; they were small and very high quality too. I am glad to see that Cosina/Voigtlaender are investing on a similar approach for Fujifilm X. And I hope they release a nice wide-angle landscape lens next.

Nice color and contrast in a normal landscape scene.
The typical white storks of Cabo Sardão.
Cliffs at sunset.
Coastal view. Panorama assembled from 4 images.
Wonderful sunset.
Ghosts at dawn, Odemira.
Windmills at sunrise, Odemira.
Windmills, Odemira.
Windmills, Odemira.
View towards the Serra of Monchique in the south, Odemira.
Posing, Odemira.

One summer afternoon in SW Portugal

The following photos were taken during a recent visit to one of my favorite beaches in the SW Alentejo coast in Portugal, Brejo Largo. I usually visit this beach several times every year, and I have written about it many times before. Located between the villages of Almograve and Vila Nova de Milfontes, this beach is still very quiet, thanks to the absence of a black top road. Summer is not my preferred time of the year to photograph it, because the sky is usually cloudless, but on this occasion I decided to carry my photo backpack with me; the reason being a low tide at sunset.

After spending a wonderful day at the beach, I grabbed my backpack and tripod, and walked along the shoreface. The tide was so low that it was possible to access by foot several other beaches to the south. The geology in tis area is spectacular, with the cliff faces displaying dark Paleozoic schists that are vertical and folded. Numerous quartz veins cut the rock and in places the water runoff creates a strong red and orange iron oxide mineralization.

For this visit I had with me my Fujifilm X-T3 camera and Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 wide angle lens, which I knew was adequate for this beach. This lens also has some useful close focus abilities, that allow concentrating in a few interesting details of the rocks. I leave you with a collection of the photos I made that afternoon.

Water runoff and plants.
Black and white.
Rocks at low tide.
Green cover.
Sand patterns.
Tidal pool.
Incoming wave.
During low tide.
Mineral colors.
Tidal pool.
On the beach.

Under the smoky sky

We have all seen the news about the ravaging forest fires in Canada, and the resulting enormous associated volume of smoke particles. Propelled by winds, these clouds of smoke have travelled all the way to Europe, arriving in continental Portugal at the end of June. At the time, I was spending a few days in the SW coast of Alentejo, and I had the opportunity to photograph the sunset under these special conditions. Because the light of the sun had to cross this thick dust layer, its color became more intense, while the sky acquired a greyish-purple hue. After a few days, the skies cleared, but this phenomenon remains a strong reminder of the consequences of larger periods of heat and drought that affect our planet.

Walking along a nearby rural road, I took several photos using my 70-300mm telephoto lens, as I wanted the sun to be relatively large in the frame.

This man was going to tend to his cows in a nearby field.
Fire ball.
House of the setting sun.
The path.