photographer Peter Novak
weddings; theatre; portraits & life

Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Classic – lens review


When looking for a lens for my Leica M-E (which is similar to M9), I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of information I could find on these lenses. And most of it is not technical, but rather focused on a feeling (as we are used to with Leica). Feeling of using them + feeling from photographs. And so you gradually click your way through to the Voigtlander Classic Nocton.

Before that, though, we can summarize the options you have with Leica and lenses. There is list of options.

Leica lenses. Noctilux, Summilux, Summicron, Summarit. Noctilux is about $10k, Summarit is like $2000. Aperture from f0.95 to f2.4.

Carl Zeiss lenses. Distagon, Biogon, Planar. Same story as Leica but cheaper. 

Voigtlander lenses. Best price/performance ratio as these lenses from second hand are like 500 GBP. Everything is solid and holding as it should, apetures from f1.4 are available, so this was my go-to option. 

Voigtlander – it is any good?


Bokeh seems to be wobbly, like it's almost shaking, but I find it great. Pictures which are out-of-focus are still feel somewhat good and not as a mistake! Edges of the objects seem to shine at low aperture (similar to mist filters) + the transition from sharpness to blur is great too.

And yet, at higher apertures, for example, the landscape photos are very very sharp! If this is the look you're looking for, you've found it.

What about next?


I think my next lens would be 50mm Summarit.

I will have a comparison of Voigtlander vs Leica lens, Summarit 50mm (second hand) will not ruin my budget, and at the same time I will have 35mm with f1.4 aperture for wide shots + lowlight and 50mm at f2.4 will be easier to focus. We'll see!