Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.4 Lens Review: Such Beautiful Colors!


When given a choice, I always go for manual focus lenses. I learned to photograph with a Hasselblad 501cm, an analog camera that gave me more opportunities to connect with photography because I had to do everything myself. Sure, the autofocus is excellent and handy, but it offers less satisfaction. The Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f1.4 Lens for Sony E Mount offers a great compromise.

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The 21mm Voigtlander lens is great for landscape, cityscape, portrait, interior, wedding, street photography and photojournalism. When shooting with a Sony a6600, it’s roughly equivalent to a full-frame 32mm f2 lens. Does the convenience of this do-it-all lens justify the $999 price tag? We think so. The aspherical lens focuses quickly while preserving the joy of manual photography. Read on to see why.

The big picture

The Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f1.4 aspherical lens is an ideal focal length for various applications. It fits comfortably in your hand and is light enough to shoot all day. Voigtländer’s Nokton is the ideal choice for Sony full-frame and crop sensor cameras. The lens has a lot of character and produces images with a lot of sharpness, vibrancy and contrast. The photos require minimal, if any, editing. Imperfections are rare and easily corrected.

Photographers familiar with manual focus lenses will find the Voigtlander 21mm f1.4 a breeze. Even less skilled users will find it easy to use. Also, Sony’s magnification is very user-friendly.

There is little to complain about with this lens. It is not fully weatherproof or dustproof. However, it withstands dusty winds and a bit of moisture very well. I would not recommend taking it if adverse weather conditions are forecast.

We are giving away the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f1.4 lens five out of five Stars. Do you want to try it? You can rent it from Lensrentals or buy it for $999.

Advantages and disadvantages

advantages

  • Light and comfortable
  • Lots of lens character
  • Beautiful colors with lots of contrast
  • Spicy
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Fast manual focus

Disadvantages

  • No weather resistance
  • Easy to miss focus when very close to subject at f1.4

gearbox used

The Voigtländer 21mm f1.4 lens, Sony a1 and Sony a6600 were provided on loan by Lensrentals.

innovations

Voigtlander’s 21mm f1.4 for Sony E is neither groundbreaking nor innovative. The lens strikes a harmonious balance by minimizing imperfections without sacrificing character. It’s easy to see why people enjoy this lens.

ergonomics

The Voigtlander 21mm Nokton measures 3.1″ and weighs just over a pound. It fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

The design of this lens follows a tried and tested blueprint. A depth of field scale is located closest to the lens mount. Next to it is the focus ring. I like how Voigtländer mixes texture and shape here. At the end of the lens is a click-style aperture ring.

This is how it looks from the side.

It takes a 62mm filter.

build quality

Voigtlander lenses are known for their metal design and the Nokton 21mm is no different. It looks and feels solid. There’s no weather seal in this lens and it’s not dustproof, but it’s handled well in dusty Montana winds and light rain. While sensor dust wasn’t an issue in this scenario, I wouldn’t take it with me in adverse weather conditions.

focus

The Voigtlander 21mm Nokton f1.4 is a manual focus lens. Achieving manual focus is easy for photographers of all experience levels. Most experienced professionals can see when each image is in focus. Use magnification and focus peaking for even faster focusing.

user friendliness

The Voigtländer 21mm f1.4 lens is a joy. The classic blueprint combined with different textures and shapes easily becomes an extension of the self. Aperture and focus settings become second nature. This lens will look familiar to you if you’ve shot with Leica or Fujifilm.

Photographers of all skill levels will enjoy using this lens. Experienced photographers will have no problem recognizing when the image is in focus without magnification or focus peaking. I opted for magnification when my subject was far away. I didn’t need focus peaking, but I found focus peaking helpful when familiarizing myself with a new lens or when my eyes were getting tired.

picture quality

Voigtländer has struck the ideal balance with this 21mm f1.4 lens for E-mount. Imperfections and distortions are minimal and can easily be corrected in post if you find them annoying. The lens is sharp and can produce lush bokeh if desired. Images are vibrant with reasonable contrast and require minimal editing.

bokeh

The Voigtlander Nokton 21mm lens creates skillful bokeh if you want it. Maximize your background separation with minimal focusing distance to reach their full potential. The bokeh can be buttery smooth and melt away from the subject. It can also be reminiscent of Monet’s painting in a flower garden.

Colour reproduction

This lens produces beautiful pink and yellow jewel tones with perfect shades of green. It’s so nice not having to reduce the saturation of the greens in post-production. The Voigtlander accurately reproduces the gold and pastel tones of summer sunsets. It also creates natural skin tones.

lens character

The Voigtlander 21mm f1.4 lens has a lot of character and minimal imperfections. Shoot at f4 if you’re a fan of natural vignetting. There is a bit of highlight fringing and a little bit of angular distortion. Imperfections can easily be corrected in post-production. It has 12 aperture blades that create stunning sun stars. You will find that capturing lens flares with this lens is a challenge.

sharpness

Overall, the Voigtländer 21mm f1.4 lens for Sony E is very sharp and detailed. Only the corners and edges of the frame are soft when the aperture is wide open. Stopping down extends the sharpness beyond the edges of the image when focus is set to infinity.

Who should buy the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.4 lens?

The Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f1.4 lens is a primary workhorse for Sony E mount users. It is an ideal focal length for travel, documentary, wedding, portrait, commercial and street photography. This lens should be on your camera most of the time. I would buy this lens if I owned a Sony E mount camera. It was fun to shoot with Sony’s a1 and a6600.

The main downside to this lens is that it’s not fully weatherproof or dustproof. This limits its use when the weather is far from ideal. In addition, any deficiencies in post-production are corrected quickly and easily.

The pros far outweigh the cons with this lens. Achieving manual focus is quick and easy. It’s the perfect storytelling lens to take anywhere and document life. Photographers of all levels will enjoy it. It is available from Adorama for $999. You can also rent it from Lensrentals if you want to try before you buy.

Additional image examples

From day one, The Phoblographer has placed a high value on transparency with our audience. Nothing in this review is sponsored. In addition, many people will post reviews and show many edits in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They don’t show what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples section to show off edited and unedited photos. From this you can make your own decision.

Processed

unedited

Technical specifications

All specs are from Lensrental’s listing.

  • Viewing angle: 90.8°
  • Aperture blades: 12
  • Aspherical elements: 2
  • Auto Focus: Manual focus only
  • Brand: Voigtlander
  • Compatibility: Crop and Full Frame
  • Diameter: 2.8″
  • Filter Size: 62.0mm
  • Focal Length: 21.0-21.0
  • Groups/Elements: 11/13
  • Hood included: Yes
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Item Type: Lens
  • Length: 3.1″
  • Lens Type: Wide Angle
  • Maximum aperture: 1.4
  • Manufacturer’s model number: BA352A
  • Minimum aperture: 16.0
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.8ft
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Partial dispersion elements: 3
  • Weight: 1.23 pounds.





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