Look what came in! The Voigtlander 21 1.8 M mount Lens 1st look!


Look what came in! The Voigtlander 21 1.8 Lens! A first look at this M mount wide angle.

Happy Monday to all! Hope you all had a great weekend, mine was sort of a lazy weekend hanging around the house but had some time to relax which is always good. So let’s get on with it…


Thanks to Stephen Gandy at Cameraquest (who sent me this lens and viewfinder for review) I get to try out the Voigtlander 21 1.8 M mount lens and 1st impressions are that it is a beauty. I assumed this lens would be soft. WRONG. I assumed it would feel cheap. WRONG. I assumed it could not even begin to compete with the Leica 21 Lux. WRONG. I have only shot it for one day for “silly test shots” around my house but so far am quite impressed using it on the Leica Monochrom. I will have my full review in the next couple of weeks but also be on the lookout for a review of the Canon 50 1.8 LTM classic lens as well as the Nikkor 35 1.8 LTM. Maybe I will do a feature every Monday…hmmm. Maybe “Monochrom Monday” 🙂 – Anyone want to start contributing for that series? Film, digital…doesn’t matter.

Very 1st test shot. Set the lens to the closest focus of .5 meters and took a self-portrait. ISO 1000, f 1.8


Very 1st early thoughts on this Voigtlander lens is that it is well made, feels great, focus is smooth, aperture ring is smooth but clicks in firm and the quality even wide open is sharp, but in no way clinical – I’ll call it “sexy smooth sharp” and who doesn’t  like Sexy? At $1249 it is a semi affordable FAST 21mm Wide Angle and fills out the quite superb Voigtlander M mount lineup nicely.

With the 21f1.8, 28f2, 35f1,2, 50f1.1 and the 75 f1.8 already available and the brand new smoking hot looking Nokton 50 1.5 arriving soon, Voigtlander has improved mostly all of their lenses for M mount and having used them all, I really am impressed with the price/quality ratio. Actually, I am more than impressed.



I really have not been a wide-angle shooter over the past 4-5 years but sometimes it is pretty cool to have a super wide for your camera as it opens up a whole new world. The 2nd  image above was the 2nd shot taken with the lens and I “guessed” at focus by setting it o 0.5 meters (close focus) and then held the camera down to the dog’s eye level. I missed a little but the 21 still gives and interesting perspective and yes, even at 21mm you can get shallow depth of field 🙂

The 1st shot above the dog was also wide open at 1.8 and it is gorgeous in quality when you click it for the larger view. So far…me like.

Below is a shot with a 100% crop embedded, yea, this lens is  sharp wide open which appears to help give it the extra pop and 3D qualities. Usually a wide-angle like this renders in a somewhat flat way, but this lens gives you the choice of shallow DOF or LARGE DOF depending on the Aperture you choose.

Click the image for a large size with 100% crop embedded at 1.8


So yea, I know many of you are wondering..how will this lens do IN COLOR on the 240. Well, my 240 has been sold so can not say but I am getting fantastic results from the MM without setting up the camera for any lens at all. When I do the full review I will test it with the camera set to a 21 Lux to see how it goes. If I get a chance to try this on an M9 or 240 during my review period I will. You can see film samples HERE over at cameraquest.

One full size test shot that you can click on to see the full size from RAW image is below, and it is an OOC JPEG!

This one is wide open at 1.8 and an out of camera JPEG untouched   – click it to see how sharp it is even at 1.8 and being a JPEG


So stay tuned for much more from this lens as I will be shooting it over the next 1-2 weeks. I will also have the new Sony NEX 3 with 20 2.8 review up soon along with the Nikon Coolpix A review! Lots to do which means more fun for me 🙂




  1. Hey Steve,
    So many choices…how does it perform with the A7r…A7s …still sitting on the fence about what I’m getting in terms of lenses…your opinion?
    I am a travel and street/urban/get into random situations/sometimes landscape photographer who’s just making a move from a full sized Nikon rig…because of that…:)

  2. I have the 21 Ultron and it does well in color too on an M9. I normally set it to 21 Elmarit in manual coding. There’s some vignetting wide open and there’s some color fringing sometimes wide open as well. Both are usually fixable in PP when they happen (if it bothers you) either through Cornerfix and Lightroom.

    I really like the newer Voigtlanders. I also own the 35 Nokton II. I’ve also owned the 28 Ultron and the 50/1.5 Nokton in the past but I sold the 28 (don’t like the 28 focal length AT ALL) and 50 to fund a Zeiss 50 Planar and 90 Summicron Pre-AA (which were huge upgrades for me.) I imagine I’d really love the 50/1.5 Nokton on a MM… Actually my only issue with it was the “muted” colors on my M9. It was a GREAT B&W lens though for a classic look.

  3. Great review, Steve. Looks like a fantastic lens. But you missed a lens when listing the CV M-mount line-up: the Nokton 40 1.4. It’s compact, well built, and sharp with character — and with a filed flange, fits the M9 35 frame line (which is tight) almost exactly. I have a fair collection of Zeiss glass – which I love – but find that the 40 is on my camera an inordinate amount of time.

    Also – for a 3 lens kit, it fits nicely between a 28 and a 50.

  4. Steve, thank you very much for the informative review, this helps me a lot. I have one question… I use a Walter Rx on my M9, do you think it will fit on the viewfinder?

  5. Woow ! Really impressive review Steve. The mix between the MM and the Voigtlander 21mm is a good idea. Really like the portrait with a wide angle lens. It’s different, not the same impression than a 50mm or a 90mm.

  6. Steve didn’t you already review the 21mm Lux before? Trying to google it up but can’t seemed to find it.

  7. ¡ǝʌɐǝʇs ʎǝɥ
    ¿6ɯ puɐ ǝɔuıן sıɥʇ ɥʇıʍ sǝɹnʇɔıd ǝɯos ǝʞɐɯ noʎ pןnoɔ
    ¡ɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ ɯɹoɟ “¡ʎǝɥ”

  8. Yes! been waiting for a review of this for a while! all i’m waiting now is a full frame NEX camera now before i buy this!

    also this lens was being sold so as low as $992 USD on eBay a couple of weeks ago, sadly i didn’t get one at such a good price 🙁

  9. Really nice results.
    A question about the upcoming Nokton 50mm 1.5… How is it going to be different from the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm 1.5? They are both based on 1950’s designs, and both made by Cosina in the same factory. Is the Nokton going to have a different optical formula than the Zeiss?

    • The Zeiss ZM 50/1.5 Sonnar and Voigtländer Nokton 50/1.5 have completely different optical formulas. I think both lenses already been reviewed on this site. Do a search! The new Nokton has a M-mount, different look and mechanical construction but as far as I know the same optical formula as the LTM 39mm version.

  10. You make mention of the new Nokton 1.5/50mm. Will this latest version have the same 15 aperture blades?

    Oh, and while I can understand your lamenting the sell of your 240, I am glad you kept the Monochrom!

  11. I look forward to your review of the new Voigtländer 50mm f/1.5 Nokton, when it comes out.

    I have the discontinued older version of the Voigtänder 50mm f/1.5 Aspherical Nokton in the Leica Thread Mount, which I got after you posted James Klotz’s review about it on your website a few years back. It would be great to see how the old and new 50mm Nokton’s compare in your future review. If you choose to do a comparison, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to lend you my older Nokton for the test.

    • Yes I’m really looking forward to the Nokton review also. Can’t wait!

      I’m interested as to how much it differs to my screw mount Nokton too rendering wise. Leica lens snobs can knock Voigtlander lenses all they want but I have no problem at all with them and sold off my Leica lenses to just use the Nokton 50mm f/1.5 & Skopar 35mm f/2.5. Hats off to Mr K!

      • Skopar 35 mm f/2.5’s great .. I use it on my L MM and I am impressed with the price and size are unbeatable!

        I just bought about 6 pieces of 50 mm f2 JUPITER-8, so preparing for the testing. Leika lenses are good, but do not always have to spend a pile of money!

  12. I tried it out a few weeks back when tryin’ to decide between some 21’s for my MM (also in the tryout-bunch was the awesome little C-Biogon)…. I think it draws very nice indeed however the built-in hood is really a pain in the b… when handling the lens in and out the bag. Also it’s rather bigg-ish in my view for a RF-lens… Offcourse thats all very subjective, I know. For a lens with this 2nd largest aperture (in its focallength) in the M-world it’s somewhat of a ‘specialty’-lens and I guess the size would be an acceptable trade-off? But for a walkaround 21 I’m not so sure… But for certain it’s cheap considering it’s closest competitor, speedwise;o)

    • Yep, it is a little large but smaller than the Leica 21 Lux and 28 Elmarit. It is also 1/5th the cost. Still, I feel the Leica 21 Super Elmar would be THE 21 to own if Size is a concern, that lens is perfect as it can get in a 21. This Voigtlander is for those that want speed and wide without breaking the bank..nice to see some shallow DOF from a 21 🙂 The C-Biogon is an f/4.5 lens isn’t it? I have yet to try that one.

      • I totally agree on the 21 SE – it’s an amazing little jewel of a lens! And yeah, the C-Biogon is f/4.5 but that shouldn’t hold someone back from shootin’ it… It’s really a great lens for a little less than half the price of the 21SE – hard to beat and dead-straight too… The only ‘drawback’ as such would be the fact that it’s somewhat akward to handle focus-wise mainly because of its tinyness – this one could really use a Leica focusing tab, I think – Well I guess it depends to a large extent on the size of ones hands?… Regarding the 21 Ultron – i actually think You get a little more shallow DOF from that one compared to the 21 ‘lux due to it’s closer focussing-limit of 0.5m… Pretty cool!

        A little OT: can hardly wait to Your GR-review – I so much hope You also get Your hands on the GW-3 wideangle-converter along with it… this should be fun – and probably will determine my potential switch from the otherwise great little X100S as pocketcam…


      • I had the C Biogon on the M8, a gem of a lens. However, on the M9 corner performance is a real issue and can`t be fixed in post, so I sold it. Maybe on the MM it`s workable.

        • Hi Retow,
          It’s a lot more than just ‘workable’ since for obvious reasons it wont suffer from any colorcast(magenta/cyan-drift)-issues on the MM;o) – Even some, albeit modest, shallow DOF is possible again mainly due to its close focus-limit of 0.5m (similar to the 21 Ultron)… Only rarely did I find the need to open up beyond its limit of f/4.5 due to the high-iso capability of the MM. I was actually more or less set on this one until I tried the Ultron later same day – now I’m torn between these two and the stunning 21/3.4 SE… Pricewise the C-Biogon and Ultron are more or less the same (here in Denmark at least). In comparison the 21SE is a little more than double up:o(( Oouch, and in Leicaland that’s still a bargain…

  13. Wow Steve, you are right, just from these couple of random samples I can see this lens has a real personality. It has a lot of creative potential. I love Voigt lenses and this one seems like another winner. Look forward to some more samples.

  14. Steve:

    Thanks for posting this!!! I’m looking forward to seeing the color snaps when you get around to it. So far, it seems like a very good lens. I’m really thinking about getting this lens for my Ricoh GXR as a companion to my other fast-wide: a Canon FD 24mm f/1.4 L with a Novoflex LemCam adapter.

    If I do get it, I’ll make sure to go through your amazon affiliate link and then select “cameraquest” as the featured Amazon merchant. Stephen Gandy is a good guy. In the past he’s been helpful to me on the phone and once when I needed a Voigtländer lens in a hurry, he really expedited the shipping, when he didn’t have to! Anyhow I’d be happier to have both you guys get something from my purchase.

  15. Some people hate on these lenses a bit but I think they produce a nice and somewhat unique look. They also feel great, are made well, and at the end of the day, probably better than you are. Look forward to more lens reviews!

    • p.s. anyone else notice the bloom? I see it in the shot of the flowers Steve did, and the shot Ron put up. I see it in the areas slightly out of focus but not fully…on bright objects in this area of focus there always seems to be a bloom. I notice it on my 35 1.4 Single Coated…I personally love optical fx in my lens like this.

  16. Wow Steve; very impressive indeed. I can easily see why you chose to keep the MM…and that lens renders beautifully.

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