Camels, turbans and the people of Rajasthan with the new Voigtlander Ultron 35/1.7 by fiftyasa

Camels, turbans and the people of Rajasthan with the new Voigtlander Ultron 35/1.7

by fiftyasa

You might remember my previous post about traveling in the sate of Rajasthan in India with some film cameras (here). This year I came back to Rajasthan with a Leica M9 and would like to share some images with you and the readers of your excellent blog.

A few weeks before leaving for this trip I acquired the new version of the Voigtlaender Ultron 35/1.7. I was in search of an affordable, small, sharp and fast 35 mm lens as main travel-photography lens, and gave the Ultron a try. I wrote a user review of the lens on my website here, mainly talking about sharpness and the use of the Ultron on the Leica M9 vs the Sony A7, but the first real use of the lens was going to be in this trip to Rajasthan.

The images below, unless otherwise stated, are shot with the new Utron 35/1.7 and Leica M9.

Bathing and preying in the sacred waters of the Pushkar lake:




Although I was carrying around also a Planar 50/2 and a Biogon 25/2.8, the Ultron stayed on my camera 90% of the time. 35mm seems to be the perfect focal lens for me for travel photography: not too wide and not too short, excellent for environmental portraits and easy to manage when composing the scene.



Pushkar also hosts a very popular camel trade fair which offers amazing opportunities for portraits and rural life scenes:





I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but I have to say that I am very satisfied with the Ultron. Sharpness, bokeh, pop, micro-contrast are top. My only complaint is that my version seems not correctly calibrated. It back focuses. Before the trip I just glued a piece of black tape on the rangefinder cam and that solved the problem. Unfortunately achieving precise focus on a digital M system is in general a pretty difficult task, no matter how many times you send your M body to Wetzlar for calibration…


In a temple in the countryside of Pushkar, Aloo Baba grows his potatoes (aloo) and kindly poses for a portrait:


In Ajmer I visited some projects of a local non governmental organization (NGO) called RSKS ( RSKS is active in developing the rural areas around Ajmer with various programs, such as educational programs and income generation activities. I visited one of their schools in a poor rural village, a sewing training center for young women and a micro-finance program in a remote village.

The following picture portraits a student of the school (this time shot with Zeiss Planar 50/2):


Here a woman who took part of a micro-finance program:


After visiting Pushkar and its surroundings, I moved to Bundi, a small city in the South of Rajasthan. It looks like the blue city of Jodhpur but on a smaller scale. Its people are extraordinary friendly:






For those interested in seeing more images of this trip, please visit:



  1. You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but
    I to find this topic to be really something which I believe I’d never understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and extremely vast for me.

    I am taking a look ahead for your subsequent post, I will try to get the
    hang of it!

  2. Really nice shots and looking at these I prefer the colour from the M9 (and my old M-E) to my M240.
    It’s interesting to note your back focussing issues. All my Leica lenses focus perfectly, but the only Cosina Voigtlander one that does is the Zeiss Planar 50. My Sonnar 50 front focusses, and my Voigtlander 35 1.2 back focusses. I have not done anything about it as now that I know they do that, I adjust for it when shooting.

    Again, great shots.

    Best regards

  3. Great colours and interesting scenes. The portraits of the young ones are lovely.

    I have the Ultron 28/1.9 which is a great lens, and have recently added the Color Skopar 21/4 and Heliar 15/4. The results look very promising, although I have yet to make large prints with the last two.

  4. I liked the film shots better, these are too dark and contrasty in comparison (for me). The lightness and the color of your film shots is really beautiful, please let us see more of them 🙂

    • I totally disagree with erikneu, the shallow depth of field glorifies your subjects. Beautiful work. So touching and revealing of these people.

      The boy in the doorway and the clay pot on the ground by the foot shots both need to be printed large and hung on a wall.

      • Perhaps I should have been more specific with my comment. I am talking only about the portraits. For me the faces have a paper cut out appearance. I feel not connected to the person. A little bit more depth would have given them more 3D and liveliness. But that is only my personal impression.

        • Great photographs, congrats! As Erik pointed out the straight front-shots for portraits look a bit static. Try the next time a more angled view and use a portion of one shoulder as a leading edge. After many years I found out that due to my left leading arm I prefer the person’s right side to be closer to the camera. It helps the eyes to wander into the face of the person. Especially with moderate wide angle lenses. For me, a 28mm lens works perfect but needs closer distances – not everyone’s style…

  5. Love the images, also there’s something about the M9 files especially the colour and tone that I prefer to to that which the newer sensors give.

  6. Lovely set. I loved Voigtländer lenses for quite a while now and I also have this new Ultron, which is fantastic. I have an a7II and it works very well together. A couple of days ago I also got an M9 and I struggle with focussing – but I will be getting better at it. Thinking about taking it with me for the French xmas markets tomorrow.. Curious if I can handle that combo, the M9 and the 35 Ultron II.

    Could you elaborate that point with the black tape, though, please?

    Thanks for sharing ,-)

    • Thanks for the comment. Assuming your camera is perfectly within specs (assuming… but actually very hard to be sure of this), you can have two focusing issues with rangefinder lenses: back-focus or front-focus. With front-focus the lens has to be sent back to the factory for calibration (unless your are an expert, can dismantle it and adjust the shims yourself… not recommended). With back-focus you could just prolong the rangefinder cam of the lens in the area where it touches the “little wheel” on the camera body with some tape (I know some people use copper tape) to compensate for the back-focusing. this does not require dismantling the lens, but it is just a temporary solution. the result is that the focus accuracy via the rangefinder patch will be OK (if you extend the cam by the correct extent), but your infinite stop will not be correct, i.e. infinite will be reached in the rangefinder patch (and on the sensor) before the infinite stop… hope it is clear. if not, please ask.

  7. “Unfortunately achieving precise focus on a digital M system is in general a pretty difficult task, no matter how many times you send your M body to Wetzlar for calibration…”

    Can someone expand on this statement? Is this only an issue with *digital* M’s? I haven’t experienced this yet with my film M’s (I don’t have a digital M). I hope I never do.

    • Mostly digital M’s, been an issue since the M8 and just comes with the territory. If they are 100% in calibration, lens and body, it is easy to focus even a Noctilux wide open. If one of the other is even 2% off, it makes it a nightmare or gives you back images that are no where near as good as they can be in regards to detail/sharpness.

      • Thanks Steve. Definitely something to think about when considering a purchase then. I don’t want to be sending my camera in for calibration a couple times per year. Is it an issue with digital m’s because of the high sensor resolution compared to film?

    • Even if it’s not ” perfect ” calibrated in real every day use, I can’t see any difference using M digital cameras in comparison to auto focus or focus peaking methods in other cameras. I may say that I’m loosing more shots in real “fast” every day use, trying auto focus or focus peaking.

  8. Nice and colorful shots!
    The Voigtländer delivers!
    Few days ago I acquired the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 40/1.4 –
    Satisfied so far!

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