The Voigtlander 21 f/1.8 ASPH VM Lens by Andrea Bonetti

USER REPORT: The Voigtlander 21 f/1.8 ASPH M mount Lens

By Andrea Bonetti

Hi Steve,

I follow your website since the very beginnings. It’s been very inspiring to read your articles and those of all other contributing photographers. Thanks!

I have just bought the Voigtlander 21mm f 1.8 ASPH for Leica M mount. It’s such a great lens, that I thought of sending you some pictures that I took in the past 10 days on the small island of Anafi, in the Cyclades (Greece).

I think few are the people who really use 21mm wide angles or even 16mm on the Leica M system. I never understood much why of this. I have been a wide-angle user since the very beginning of my photography journey. I love the depict subjects in their surroundings.

I had the M8 for several years, and I kept the wonderful tiny 15mm Voigtlander f4.5 ASPH (the first model) on it for at least 90% of my shots. I loved the very compact combo, with a 19mm equivalent. But I felt that the lens had too much depth of field, which would make it difficult to separate subjects from their background. To overcome this issue, I often found myself using the panning technique with a slow aperture speed to maintain the subjects as sharp as possible while blurring the background. But I kept on dreaming of a 21mm equivalent wide-angle lens with a f2 or even less! And there was none for the M8… The only option would have been a M9 with a 21mm f1.4 ASPH Summilux, but this combo was way out of my possibilities.

When I read your post about the new Voigtlander 21mm 1.8 ASPH, I knew my dream came true. Finally a cheap 21mm with less than f2! I saved money in order to buy a used M9, and the new lens.

I can’t believe how good the lens is. I have tested the 21mm f1.4 ASPH Summilux too, and I must say that I find no real difference between the two to justify the huge cost difference.

I love the 21mm f1.8 wide open. It is perfect for shooting people and create that typical Leica M “pop”. It is very sharp even in the corners, it has a beautiful bokeh, which is still noticeable even with subjects at 1.5 – 2 m of distance. I can handheld the camera/lens at speeds of 1/4 – 1/2 sec. I used the camera this way, with up to 1000 ISO, in situation with very low light.

For landscapes, f 5.6 is already enough to create perfectly sharp, crispy images corner to corner, with no flare nor ghosts when used against the sun.

I discovered the lens through your website and I thank you very much for this. It made me buy an M9, which is a perfect camera for my needs, and it will give me many opportunities for great photos. Thanks a lot, Steve!

Here below are some pics taken with the 21mm f 1.8; those of people are taken wide open; the landscapes are at f5.6 and, the back-lit ones, at f11.

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (04 of 9)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (05 of 9)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (6 of 1)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (06 of 9)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (08 of 9)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (09 of 9)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (01 of 9)

-A Bonetti - S Huff site (03 of 9)



  1. Wow!
    Could you please elaborate on this, or direct me to a place where it is explained: ” I often found myself using the panning technique with a slow aperture speed to maintain the subjects as sharp as possible while blurring the background.”

    • Hi Ivan,
      I actually use also a few other techniques in order to isolate the subject with a wideangle lens that has a large depth of field. I will write a small post about the subject adding some pictures and if Steve finds it interesting he can publish it. But I could do it in a couple of weeks because right now I am sailing and don’t have the pictures with me. Thanks for asking!

    • Yep! Actually at the moment I am sailing in the Ionian Islands (along the western coast of Greece), which are also very very beautiful. And of course, my M9 and lenses are on board with me…

  2. Gotta admit I like your style, Andrea! From your images it is obvious that you know your FOV well! I love them all but #1, 2, & 5 really appeal to me. Thanks for sharing!

  3. beautiful lens and pictures, thinking of investing in this lens to my x-pro1 and future m9.
    Like the first one.

    • I don’t think it would be a great investment money-wise, but surely it would be a lens that you would use a lot! Thanks for the positive comment!

  4. I was actually saving for the zeiss 21 f2.8 and didn’t consider the voigtlander at all. Just didn’t think about it. Thanks for bringing it up!

    • if you have the chance, try both the 21mm Voigtlander and the Zeiss. Then make your choice… For me it would be the first of the two again!

  5. Granny panties! Quite literally. So big too.
    On another note, love the traditional white and blue look of Greek houses.
    Mimics the sky and clouds so easily.

  6. Nice article, bravo Andrea!
    My most used and adored lens is Zeiss 18 f2 DISTAGON, and I bet it’s probably sharper and generally better then the Voigtlander! I’ll make an article very soon with my pics from Norwegian Fjords!!! But, the photographer counts more then the lens in this 2 cases, in my opinion!

    • Hi Paul, they have been all taken with the M9 and 21mm Voigtlander. Yes, the M9 is still really a great camera. I won’t change it now that I got it.

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