Noktor versus Olympus 12mm video comparison by Seb Farges (and review by ThePhoBlographer)


Seb Farges compared the two Olympus and Noktor 12mm lenses on a GH2. Seb writes: “The Olympus seems to be sharper, but the Noktor has a more strong “cinematic” feeling. The Noktor seems to be a little more wider than the Olympus.” I think the real highlight of the Noktor is the macro function, this is really something you don’t see often on a wide angle lens. I have been also told that Philip Bloom helped the SLRmagic company to design that lens.

And ThePhoBlographer (Click here) posted the full Noktor 12mm review: “This new lens is extremely good. It’s sharp wide open, exhibits minimal distortion, vignetting very slightly, and has an excellent construction. If anything, my only major complaints are that it may be a bit too heavy for some users and that the focusing and aperture rings turn in separate directions.“.

One more news: SLRmagic is looking for 30 volunteers who can help them by creating video footage and image samples. SLRmagic will offer them a slight discount before the official release in November/December. Contact them at

The new Noktor is not available for preorder yet. It will start shipment in late November. The other Noktor lens, the 50mm f/0.95 is in Stock on eBay (Click here) and on the Noktor website. As you know the Noktor project is now owned by SLRmagic.

Other SLRmagic lenses for Micro Four Thirds:
SLR Magic 12-36×50 ED Straight Spotting Scope lens (w/ hand grip) is now available on eBay (Click here).
SLR magic 11mm f/1.4 lens you can preorder on eBay (Click here).
Toy Lens 26mm f/1.4 lens on eBay (Click here).
SLR Magic 35mm f/1.7 MC lens on eBay (Click here).

  • Ben

    The Noktor looks sharper wide open at 1.6 than the oly at f2 but the oly looks sharper at smaller apertures than the noktor at smaller apertures. But there is one slight problem with the test at smaller apertures as the shutter speed was not kept constant so the wide open tests seem to be more fair. this also proves there is no vignetting with the noktor lens and it is a faster lens than the oly in the indoor shots. macro is much better on the noktor than the oly and explains the longer lens length. is it me or the noktor really looks wider than the oly? i think it is possible as software correction of distortion does crop off some of the wide angle in photoshop. im sure incamera distortion correction would do the same as photozone says the distortion on the olympus is around 6% uncorrected.

    • Jack

      yes the Noktor does look a bit wider. could be camear distortion correction causing the angle of view to be less on the Olympus. Can someone shoot a RAW photo and see if the distortion correction cause it to have less wide like a 13mm?

      • dumbo

        sadly it is not possible to shoot video in raw on current m43 cameras.

        i keep dreaming of the day though :)

        great video test, and also really cute. it made watching a video test fun

        i am actually really interested in the noctor now

        • Jack

          Right. And when the day comes there will be some device where there is an SD card adapter wtih a wire handing out connected to our externam 3.5″ harddrive with built-in 5000mah battery pack to be taking gigabites of video data

    • I tried to keep the same shutter speed between the two lenses. But the weather yesterday was alternate light. Anyway the shutter speed does not affect the sharpness on static backgrounds

      • Mike

        Thanks for the comparisons and to your lovely actress too! But is the Noktor really wider than the Oly?

    • Nick

      Various tests have shown that software-corrected MFT lenses are designed to have the correct field of view *post* correction, so you won’t ‘lose’ width with the 12mm (although it’s quite possible there’s slight focal length variation between the two…)

  • Andi

    “One more news: SLRmagic is looking for 30 volunteers who can help them by creating video footage and image samples. SLRmagic will offer them a slight discount before the official release in November/December. Contact them at”

    Where do I have to live?
    How much is a “slight” discount?

  • Melvin

    The Oly12 looks pinkish when compared to the Noktor12

  • Miroslav

    If they are to make serious lenses, then I suggest picking some more serious name than SLR Magic or Noktor. Kudos for this 12mm!

    • dumbo

      yup, sorry guys, slr magic is a really terrible name, maybe drop it and just keep noctor for the new lenses

    • Nick

      It is a bit odd for a company that only makes mirrorless lenses :/

      • Miroslav

        Mirrorless Magic :) ?

  • May be asked cosina Voigtlander to release a fast lens 12 mm lens for MTF ? )))
    will be competition between wide-angle, we will have a choice)

    • Jack

      yes it would be great if Cosina Voigtlander make a 12mm f0.95 for 250 euros

      • Mr. Reeee

        +10 on a Voigtländer wide angle!

        I’d prefer a 10mm! Now there are enough M4/3 12mm lenses! They have a Leica M mount 12mm, but I think it’s f4.5.

        • henry

          it is f5.6 and i have it. terrible distortions and not usable for photos. they are better at 25mm and up

          • Nick Clark

            How is the CV 12/f5.6 in any way a fast 12mm for MFT? It’s a slow ultra *ultra* wide designed to cover 35mm sensor/film, and comes with all the optical problems that that comprises…

            • henry

              what i meant was i have a 12mm MFT and it was terrible. I sold it in fact. It was response to Mr.Reeee that Voigtlander made a 12 but it is terrible. It is Leica M and with an adapter it makes is heavier than the Olympus at f5.6

              • Mr. Reeee

                Too bad the V12mm is terrible. It’s been vaguely tempting given it’s size, I must say.

                As far as lens adaptors for M4/3 go, Leica M mount adaptors are quite small @ only 9mm thick vs. 25mm (or more) for Nikon and Pentax (ones I have)

                @ houdini +10!

                @ Nick Clark +1 … I have my eye on their 75mm f1.8!

                @ video bob +1 … The Olympus looks kind of cold and clinical. The Noktor has warmer colors and a sort of a more analogue feel. I don’t shoot much video, but wonder how that comparison would hold or translate to stills.

              • Vlad

                Are we talking about this one –
                It seems to be a rather good one. What issues did you have?

              • Frederic Hew

                You do realize that this lens is nothing like a mft 12mm – it covers an image circle four times as large and is a very specialized ultra-ultra wide.

                It is supposed to be great for film but not so great for digital because of light hitting the sensor in oblique angles.

                A mft version, should Voigtländer produce one, would have a TOTALLY different optical formula.

                As for the SLR magic 12mm – I think I see much more detail on the Olympus shots (and this is in video resolution, imagine the difference in still pictures.)

                • Steve

                  the images the noktor produces is similar to the images my angenieux 28-70mm produces on the 5D MKII. DOF looks like a 24 1.4 on the 5DII though

                • Frederic Hew

                  Just to clarify – by “this lens” I meant the Voigtländer 12mm for 35mm film RF cameras.

      • :)

        • even if the Cosina will release a 11-15 mm 1.5 -1.6, it would be a bomb, they have super build quality! 25 095 is my favorite lens :)

      • Dave B

        if they do it would be 899euros at least

    • Nick Clark

      Nokton 16mm f1.0 for the same price and size as the Nokton 25mm….

      Siiiigh, I’d be in heaven :)

      • Frederic Hew

        Why would you want a 32mm equivalent? It’s a weird focal length, somewhere between 28 and 35.

  • Bu

    Nice clip, and the music was pretty good to. Certainly looks like a good lens for video – my main space :)

    • video bob

      +1 the Olympus is too sharp for my liking. the Noktor looks just right for my needs

    • deleted

  • We are spoilt with such choices as the Olympus and Noktor 12mm lenses. I decided as soon as I saw the first few reviews on the Olympus that I’d get it (then changed my display picture to a photo of one on my GF1).

    So I saved up, and yesterday called my camera shop and they have an Olympus 12mm in stock (with my name on it until the end of the week) but it’s US$930. It has a 2 year warranty, is Australian stock and comes with 300 6×4 prints as sweeteners. Otherwise it’ll be a Hong Kong eBay deal for US$820.

    Now I’ve got cold feet and am thinking maybe this faster lens from Noktor might be better and for only US$500, worth waiting for.

    Size vs Speed
    Autofocus (and “quick-clutch manual) vs Full Manual
    Shiny metal sexiness vs a lens only a photographer can love.

    Also, I agree with Miroslav that SLR magic isn’t the best name, especially if they’re making lenses for mirrorless systems. That doesn’t even make sense. But I think Noktor is a great name. It hints at the design i.e. lenses so fast that they can see in the dark – nocturnal.

    • video bob

      email noktor they have a discount for the first 30 volunteers for video/photo samples. i think i can save the extra cash for an oly 45 too

  • What the m43 does need right now are bright moderate tele lenses (40…100 mm, at least F1.4) to gain the shallow DOF which can be aquired now just by vintage M42 lenses.

    The only exception is the Noktor 50/.95 which is quite expensive and its optical quality is not really the best (not sure whether SLR Magic 50/0.95 is a little better than the original one or not).

    By the way. I’ve read an excellent article about the interesting fact that virtually every more or less “serious” lens manufacturing company (obviously including SLR Magic) could/would make the best lens ever made if they had the guaranteed market for selling them at a good price point. So it’s a legend that nobody but Leica, Zeiss etc. can make ultra high quality lenses. No way, everybody can make them. But just Leica, Zeiss etc. can sell them at a really good price point – beause of the brand name.

    So simply doesn’t worth for a small company to make outstanding quality lenses.


    • rUY

      I am kinda agree with what you said. For small lens manufacturers. they are rather difficult to survive. especially, for the one that surrender their design to a trader/broker. there does not have right or wrong but decision making of a destiny of a factory. So, think deeper if SLR Magic is a trader or a manufacturer?

      If they are neither a manufacturer nor a decent brand BUT mark up a lens 4 times and skim every drop of profit from the manufacturer. . . . . .I really prefer to give the premium for the one who really develop the lens.

    • Mr. Reeee

      You can still look toward Voigtländer in that range.
      Leica M mounts: 40mm f1.4 Nokton, 50mm f1.1 Nokton, 75mm f1.8. They also have a 35mm f1.2 and 35mm f1.4.
      Pentax and Nikon AI-S Mounts: 40mm f2.0 Ultron SLII, 58 mm f1.4 Nokton SLII.

      I certainly hope Voigtländer puts out more bright primes with M mounts! I have my doubts when we’ll see native M4/3 prime telephotos. The market is limited as are the customers. Y’know, the “pocketable” crowd.

      I let my nephew use my GH2 and Nokton 25mm. His first question? “How does it zoom?” Nuff Said!

  • They both seem like excellent lenses. The notable difference in colour response is a matter of preference. I would choose the Olympus for its size, though.
    Unlike some of the comments, IMO the manufacturer is unimportant. If voigtlander made this lens and sold it for the same price it wouldn’t matter to me (assuming the same level of quality control).

    • I agree, the manufacturer isn’t part of my decision making process. But imagine if Voigtlander did make a $500 wide-angle… well imagine the waiting list.

  • gl

    I have a hunch the sharpness difference is due to distortion correction – it probably applies some (too much!) digital sharpening to make up for the softness caused by the software correction.

    Has anyone compared video (or JPGs) shot with a corrected lens, with and without the contacts covered? That would show if the theory is right.

    • Mr. Reeee

      Does an Olympus lens have distortion correction on a GH2? I sort of doubt it.

      Panasonics correct with Panasonic lenses. Olympus with Olympus. I don’t think they correct for each other, but could be wrong.

      • You are wrong, lens distorsion correction is an inherent m43 feature.

        At least the distorsion is surely corrected for native m43 lenses with electric contacts, no matter about lens or body manufacturer.

        • Mr. Reeee

          Okay. Thanks. That’s good to know.
          Finding out some of these obscure details can be tricky.

        • Ben

          i read somewhere Panasonic cameras does correction and on olympus body it does not. Well, i just read it somewhere and the OP of the post may be wrong.

          • Frederic Hew

            It’s CA that is not (yet?) corrected on Olympus bodies.

            • Jim

              was a roumour a while ago saying oly would do CA correction – and in there lenses too….

              I’m still waiting for that one….

  • Can someone post the lens diagram and prove to me it is not this Kowa?

    with a .5 adapter “glued” to the front.

    Thanks in advance.

    • rUY

      Taran, you know what, I take a look on the photos, and interested on the barrel deformation of the lens, I just cannot understand why they claimed if it is below 2% deformation. I got a Distagon 18/4 MMJ, which I use it a lot, the distortion is not like that. and below 2% deformation without software rectification is difficult, especially for wide lens in M43. That is why, I really want to see the optic design of the lens and make some judgement on what it claimed. below 2% distortion is the statement that Contax claimed in the past for their wide lens.

      Don’t care too much for those persons that’re so excited for the clips, they either don’t know or……

      • I’m guessing that is why we still haven’t seen a RAW file.

        • rUY


      • adech

        Its terrible and soft. One of the worst contax cy lenses. Get thec21 mmj if you want a real lens

  • colors

    agreed the nokton looks better for some reason; the “cinematic” quality they refer to i’m not sure if the colors or what

    was there any form of color correction done to this? it looks so nice like watching a film, not straight out of camera. i’ve seen people make these amazing film like clips and don’t know how they get that look as my movies never look that nice out of camera. any ideas of what processing may have been used?

    i would have initially assumed nothing since this a lens comparison but for some reason it looks like these were tweaked.

    • If your question is “any post production modification”, I said No Color Correction at all.

  • And where did M. Farges wrote ðat? Call me blid, but I could not find the whole text anywhere, only video links.

  • dan scott

    so nowdays another name for a bad lens is just ‘cinematic feeling’

    even ther worst crappy adapter MF 15$ prime lens has the cinematic feeling going

  • Miroslav

    I finally watched the video. I like Noktor colors more. I’m waiting for some extensive test of Noktor stills’ capability to judge if it’s worth 500 USD, but so far it looks promising… If Oly comes up with better MF aid, this lens could find its way to my camera.

  • hi!,I like your writing very a lot! percentage we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your article on AOL? I need an expert in this space to unravel my problem. May be that is you! Looking forward to see you.

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