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Initial Impressions: Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 for Leica M

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 for Leica M

I went out for a nice bike ride on my Moots MootoX YBB 29er this morning, taking along the Leica M9P with the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1, stowed in a hip-pack.

Bicycling can be a great way to cover a lot of ground exploring photographic opportunities. The M9/M9P makes a terrific ultra-high-quality cycling camera, and I prefer it even over the Fuji X100 for that purpose so long as I don’t need to fit it into a jersey pocket.

I already like the ergonomics of the Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.1, and the image quality is intriguing in a variety of ways which I will describe in my report.

My experience report will soon be published in my Guide to Leica, along with the usual high-res sample images.

Get the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 at B&H Photo. I already like the Voigtlander 50/1.1 quite a bit— if you’re looking for a fast “artistic” lens for Leica M, don’t wait, grab one. Then again, I’m a sucker for lenses that “draw” in interesting ways.

Below are a few oddball images that I shot on my ride that show some of the character of the Voigtlander 50mm Nokton 50mm f/1.1. When I approach a new lens, I like to shoot numerous ad-hoc images, looking for effects, how a lens behaves and draws. At this early stage, the technical performance is of far less interest than the feeling the lens can produce.

Image below are straight conversions (aside from exposure adjustment).

At f/1.1, 1/4000 second still blows-out bright areas badly, so I decided to have some fun with the image below; this is with -4 stops exposure compensation during RAW conversion— nothing more than that. I rather like the result.

High-speed microwave links on Black Mountain
Leica M9P + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 @ f/1.1

This shot was underexposed by 2-3 stops, so I “pushed” it. I learned that at f/1.1, a mere 1cm of focus error ruins it; focusing on the ribbon blurs the greenery; focusing on the greenery blurs the ribbon!

Leica M9P + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 @ f/1.1
Mossy tree trunk deep in a San Francisco Bay Area canyon
Leica M9P + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 @ f/1.1
Alpine Road in early morning shade
Leica M9P + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 @ f/1.1
Oak leaves
Leica M9P + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 @ f/1.1
Sedges wet with dew, morning
Leica M9P + Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 @ f/8

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