Fujinon GF50 vs. Voigtlander 50MM F1.2

I recently received a comment from Mr. Blessingx on a recent post where I reviewed the superb Fujinon GF50 F3.5 lens. In addition a reader reached out some time ago via the contact form to ask how the Voigtlander 50MM Nokton F1.2 compares to native Fujinon lenses on the Fujifilm GFX 50R.

If someone takes the time to write in, I think they deserve a response, so below you’ll find a test chart comparison of the two lenses. I should note that this test has a few limitations that the reader should be aware of:

  • By the nature of the focal length on the GFX, both lenses were near their minimum focus distance when matching the 4:3 target on the test chart; therefore, further testing at infinity is required. It’s very cold and polluted at the moment in Beijing so I haven’t yet gotten the chance to get outside and do some landscape testing at infinity.
  • All RAW files were processed in Capture One with white balance normalized on the white circle in the middle of the centre target. Distortion, light fall off, and chromatic aberration corrections were turned off on all images.
  • The Fujinon is obviously a native lens, however the Voigtlander, which is a Leica M mount, was adapted using a Kipon M-to-GFX adapter.
  • This test is of one lens of each, and it is common for there to be some variation in manufacturing, so your lens may have better or worse performance than the two tested here.

The Results

In the chart below, the Fujinon is the first and third column, and the Voigtlander is the second and fourth column. The circle target is from the centre and cropped at 100% (the image is scaled by 50% with a high resolution version linked below where the scale was kept at 100%), and the “8, 7, 6” target is from the edge of the image.

Fujinon GF50 F3.5 compared to Voigtlander VM Nokton 50MM F1.2
High resolution version of the image above can be found here

Voigtlander VM Nokton 50MM F1.2

There are some takeaways from this test, some rather unexpected. I’ve used the Voigtlander extensively and subjectively have considered it tack sharp, even at F1.2. However, in the quantitative testing above, it’s clear that there are some aberrations at the centre, and significant vignetting at the edges at that wide aperture.

It’s remarkable how quickly the resolution picks up however, with F2 showing very good contrast and sharpness in the centre target. The corner also improves, especially the vignetting. The sweet spot for this lens on the GFX appears to be F5.6 to F8 for the centre and F8-F11 for the edges.

Pros:

  • F1.2!
  • Incredibly small and relatively light for a 50MM F1.2 lens
  • Exceptional build quality and delicious tactile feedback

Cons:

  • Compared to the native Fujinon lenses, it just can’t keep up
  • Manual focus of course, but this can also be a pro
  • Has some “Leica Glow” at F1.2

Fujinon GF50 F3.5

This little tiny wonder of a lens keeps impressing. It’s pretty much sharp edge-to-edge from wide open right through to F11. The lens’ sweet spot is F5.6 to F8 in the centre and F8 for the edges, but in reality, it’s sharp at any aperture.

With the distortion correction turned off, you can see some curvature to the lines, which is no surprise since Fujinon had to compromise somewhere in a pancake design. There was also some mild chromatic aberration and purple fringing with the corrections turned off in Capture One.

Pros:

  • Incredibly small and even lighter than the Voigtlander
  • Native medium format lens with super fast autofocus
  • Sharp edge to edge from wide open to F11

Cons:

  • F3.5!
  • Some distortion (at least at the minimum focus distance this test was conducted at)
  • Build quality is excellent, but it falls short in the company of the Voigtlander’s all metal construction and wonderfully tactile aperture ring and smooth-as-butter focus ring

Conclusion

At the minimum focus distance, the Voigtlander did very well in the company of the excellent Fujinon GF50 F3.5 lens. If I had the choice of buying only one of these lenses for the GFX system, it would definitely be the GF50. It’s just sublime how sharp and portable this lens is.

The Voigtlander puts up a good fight, but at the end, it’s a speciality lens with exceptional subjection separation capabilities due to the F1.2 aperture. If however, you already have the Voigtlander, or if you have a Leica camera and want to have a dual purpose lens, the Voigtlander is a pretty compelling option.

I hope you’ve found the above useful. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll follow up on this post with one that looks at the two lens focused at infinity. I know from having used the Voigtlander in Mumbai that at infinity, there’s more vignetting and I found it best to crop the image a bit.

If you’ve used the Voigtlander on your GFX, let me know what you think of it in the comments section below. You don’t have to sign up or login to post a comment.

If you’ve found the above helpful and are considering buying either (or both) of the lenses mentioned in this article, please consider buying it from Amazon.com (as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases): Voigtlander VM Nokton 50MM F1.2 and Fujinon GF50 50MM F3.5.

Comments (3)

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this test. Interesting to see the CV center at f/2-4. As an often wide open shooter, an image you linked to in the comments ( https://fcracer.com/wp-content/uploads/GFXR1753-JPEG-blog.jpg ) on the Medium Format Travel Camera post ( https://fcracer.com/medium-format-travel-camera/ ) started me down the question of which lens I’d prefer. I just hope the answer isn’t both. Thanks again for these tests.

I’m surprised to see the adapted lens doing this well in the corners. Will be great to see a future comparison using a landscape scene.

Great post. Thanks for sharing this information.

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