Friday, August 5, 2011

Leica M9 & Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1

Left - Leica Summicron 50mm f/2
Right - Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1

I went to Yosemite shortly after getting the M9 in 2010 and found I fell in love shooting landscape with it.  I started out originally with 3-focal lengths, Summicron 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2 as well as a Summarit 90mm f/2.5.  I enjoyed using this trio adding an Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 in August and later in September I was fortunate in finding a 135mm f/3.4 APO Telyt juts before going to Jackson Hole WY.

Cheyenne Dog Soldier
f/1.1 1/250 ISO 500

I've used the 5-lenses with great success shooting in Yosemite, Yellowstone, Teton National Parks, as well as in Jackson Wyoming and Arizona and Utah in such places as Monument Valley, and in slot Canyons and Cliff Dwellings.

Cheynne Dog Soldier
f/1.1 1/250 ISO 1000

What I'm leading up to is that shortly after I returned from my first trip with the Leica I met a friend and fellow Leica photographer for lunch and "show and tell".  I was a Leica neophyte (and in many ways still am) and welcomed the chance to meet with and discuss various lenses available for my M9.  It was here that I was introduced to the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1. 

f/1.1 1/1000 ISO 500

One of the things I enjoy about using the Leica system is the size of the lenses. I can fit 2 or 3 in my hand. I can place the 35mm or 50mm in the palm of my hand and close it and feel like I'm holding something slight larger than a roll of quarters. I've gone on walks (Fort Apache & Kinishba Ruins) where I have a lens connected and carry a spare in my pocket with no need to carry a bag.

f/1.1 1/1000 ISO 500

The size of the 50mm has one downsize and that is often times it's so small my hand envelops it as I try for critical focus. I've learned to work around it however.

Going back to my lunch meeting with the Voigtlander; I remember being very impressed with the size, the general feel in my hands, as well as the all too few sample image files I left with. I remember returning home and telling Sandy about the lens and how impressed I was saying "someday".

"Mr Moose"
f/1.1 1/1000 ISO 1000

Someday came last month. I finally ordered a new Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 from Stephen Gandy's CameraQuest paying a total of $1014 including shipping.

f/1.1 1/250 ISO 1000

I've been experimenting with the lens for the past couple weeks shooting in normal to low light normally found in various rooms; all at f/1.1 and have been very pleased with the results. So far what I've done is have the ISO set to "Auto" and changed the shutter speed.

f/1.1 1/250 ISO 1000

I want to thank our good friends Marykay and Mike for allowing me to use them and their puppies in my experimentation. 

f/1.1 1/1000 ISO 1000

f/1.1 1/500 ISO 1000

I've found the Voigtlander easy to use handheld as it just feels "right" in my hand.  I've also found this lens to be extremely easy to focus and in the end the image files are great.

One final note:  Please don't misconstrue the testing as anything other than my attempt to be familiar with what I can hope to accomplish with the lens. 

Thank you as always for allowing me to share and please remember your questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome.


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