USER REPORT: The Voigtlander 21 f/1.8 ASPH M mount Lens
By Andrea Bonetti
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.