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04-19-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
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Anyone experienced with both the Nokton 58/1.4 and FA77 Ltd?

I currently have the Voigtlander Nokton 58/1.4 and the Tokina "Bokina" 90/2.5 Macro. Both are incredible lenses in their own right, but I'm starting to consider the FA77 as well. Essentially 58mm seems too short (and too dreamy at f/1.4) and 90mm is too long (and at f/2.5 too sharp, which I hardly consider a fault). The FA77/1.8 seems to fit in nicely.

Does anyone have experience with both the Nokton and the FA77? Are both worth owning/using, or are they too close to justify the cost? I primarily would be shooting portraits (both head/shoulders and half-full length). The things that appeal to me about the FA77 are sharpness wide-open, phenomenal bokeh, good MF operation, and focal length. I had the chance to handle the FA77 briefly about a month ago. I liked the smooth MF operation and slide out hood, but I didn't get to test it's optics against the Nokton.

Looking at the two lens formulas, they look fairly similar (7 elements in 6 groups), but I'm no expert on optical designs:

(src:RiceHigh's Blog)

04-19-2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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I wish I could help more specifically, but I always thought that the biggest FL gap in my lens lineup was between my 50s and my FA77. So maybe 58 and 77 would be a nice complement.
04-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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I would be genuinely interested to read the outcome of the thread. I have the VL58mm, the FA31mm and a CZ85mm. The FA77mm is a legendary lens IMO and it is sometimes refered to as the best of the FA Ltd lenses! I do not have it but the comparison between the FA Ltd and VL58mm is a challenging one.

I like both my FA31mm Ltd and VL58mm. They are very different and yet both have outstanding IQ. There is very little between the two lenses IMHO. Maybe the VL58mm is more robust/sturdy but the FA31mm is a more polyvalent focal length. Beyond these details, I love both and would not sale them.

In my own case, I feel that the VL58mm focal length is too close to the FA77mm to justify its purchase... (but I may still get the FA77mm and keep the VL58mm).

Food for thoughts....

Last edited by hcc; 04-19-2012 at 09:23 PM.
04-19-2012, 11:13 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I had the Nokton, and still have the 77. They are very different lenses. In some respects I wish I had kept the 58, but I sold it (one of the very few times I have sold a lens once I had bought it) to help finance a DA55/1.4. The Nokton is a fine lens, I had very little to complain about with it. I used it mostly for portraiture when I needed to do full lengths or thereabouts. Compared to Pentax glass, it is a bit more prone to flare, but most lenses are more prone to flare than Pentax glass, and it did need to be stopped down a little for it's best performance. The 55 is significantly sharper wide open, but it's bokeh isn't quite as smooth. I suspect the Nokton has a bit more spherical aberration. The 55 is definitely busier.
The 77 is magical. It's quite sharp wide open, and renders images with an almost 3 dimensional look to them. While the optical formula of the two are similar, the extra millimeters of the 77 give more separation between subject and background.
Were I you, I would definitely consider the 77. I am definitely considering another Nokton.

04-20-2012, 12:43 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I had the Nokton, and still have the 77. They are very different lenses. In some respects I wish I had kept the 58, but I sold it (one of the very few times I have sold a lens once I had bought it) to help finance a DA55/1.4. The Nokton is a fine lens, I had very little to complain about with it. I used it mostly for portraiture when I needed to do full lengths or thereabouts. Compared to Pentax glass, it is a bit more prone to flare, but most lenses are more prone to flare than Pentax glass, and it did need to be stopped down a little for it's best performance. The 55 is significantly sharper wide open, but it's bokeh isn't quite as smooth. I suspect the Nokton has a bit more spherical aberration. The 55 is definitely busier.
The 77 is magical. It's quite sharp wide open, and renders images with an almost 3 dimensional look to them. While the optical formula of the two are similar, the extra millimeters of the 77 give more separation between subject and background.
Were I you, I would definitely consider the 77. I am definitely considering another Nokton.
I have both, and my comments would be similar, although to my eyes the Nokton has very different colouring to the Pentax glass. I recently purchased an A50/1.2 from a Forum member, but I haven't had enough time to compare it across the subjects I've used the Nokton for, as yet, but there is clearly a difference in some subjects, again mainly the colouring.
04-20-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I wish I could help more specifically, but I always thought that the biggest FL gap in my lens lineup was between my 50s and my FA77. So maybe 58 and 77 would be a nice complement.
Thanks DSims. It does seem like a big difference, even though technically it's not that much. I see no need for something between my 35mm and 58mm for example.
QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I would be genuinely interested to read the outcome of the thread. I have the VL58mm, the FA31mm and a CZ85mm. The FA77mm is a legendary lens IMO and it is sometimes refered to as the best of the FA Ltd lenses! I do not have it but the comparison between the FA Ltd and VL58mm is a challenging one.

I like both my FA31mm Ltd and VL58mm. They are very different and yet both have outstanding IQ. There is very little between the two lenses IMHO. Maybe the VL58mm is more robust/sturdy but the FA31mm is a more polyvalent focal length. Beyond these details, I love both and would not sale them.

In my own case, I feel that the VL58mm focal length is too close to the FA77mm to justify its purchase... (but I may still get the FA77mm and keep the VL58mm).

Food for thoughts....
If I end up getting one I'll do a comparison here for you.
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I had the Nokton, and still have the 77. They are very different lenses. In some respects I wish I had kept the 58, but I sold it (one of the very few times I have sold a lens once I had bought it) to help finance a DA55/1.4. The Nokton is a fine lens, I had very little to complain about with it. I used it mostly for portraiture when I needed to do full lengths or thereabouts. Compared to Pentax glass, it is a bit more prone to flare, but most lenses are more prone to flare than Pentax glass, and it did need to be stopped down a little for it's best performance. The 55 is significantly sharper wide open, but it's bokeh isn't quite as smooth. I suspect the Nokton has a bit more spherical aberration. The 55 is definitely busier.
The 77 is magical. It's quite sharp wide open, and renders images with an almost 3 dimensional look to them. While the optical formula of the two are similar, the extra millimeters of the 77 give more separation between subject and background.
Were I you, I would definitely consider the 77. I am definitely considering another Nokton.
Thanks Wheatfield, very informative. I actually sometimes feel the Nokton's bokeh is too busy against highlights - which the 77 seems to excel at.
QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
I have both, and my comments would be similar, although to my eyes the Nokton has very different colouring to the Pentax glass. I recently purchased an A50/1.2 from a Forum member, but I haven't had enough time to compare it across the subjects I've used the Nokton for, as yet, but there is clearly a difference in some subjects, again mainly the colouring.
Hmm, the color difference must be due to different coatings...thanks for the input.
04-28-2012, 10:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
In my own case, I feel that the VL58mm focal length is too close to the FA77mm to justify its purchase... (but I may still get the FA77mm and keep the VL58mm).

Food for thoughts....
I agree. If I need anything longer than my ZK35mm, I go to the VL58mm. If I need anything longer, and that is not often, I bring out my M100/2.8 or 135/2.5. Anything in between, I shoot wider and crop. The resolution of the ZK35 and VK58 make cropping the area of interest really easy. Plus, I save $$$. No dount, images of the FA77mm are impressive.
04-28-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The Nokton is a fine lens. The 55 is significantly sharper wide open.
Interesting. Photozone's tests on 10MP sensors suggest the opposite.

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