Portraits with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Classic. Lens Review

Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Classic Review

When you google “best lenses for Leica”, you’ll see this Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens on top of most lists. I ordered one just for fun and couldn’t wait to test it out on some portraits. It was a dark and cloudy day in Portland, just like any other day in here this time of the year, but who needs sun and golden hour when you have coffee and cute girlfriend to take photos of.

This is not a full lens review, I honestly just wanted to show some of these portraits we took around Society Hotel in Portland and write down some thoughts in case you’re looking to get this lens for yourself.

Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 portrait sample

Voigtlander 35mm on Leica M 240

One of the best 35mm lenses for Leica

First of all, this lens is very cheap compared to its competitors. It doesn’t feel cheap at all though, it’s heavy, firm, shiny, looks great, all that stuff. One thing I noticed right away was how soft this lens is at f1.4. It has this dreamy filmy look I’m obsessed with. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I hate sharp and modern looking photos. This Voigtlander is nothing like that, so I fell in love with it right away.

Quick note, all of these photos are heavily edited with lots of grain so you can’t really pixel peep and see how sharp or soft the photos are. You just have to trust me I guess. This is not that type of a review.

Leica portraits in a coffee shop in Portland

Portraits in front of Society Hotel in Portland Oregon

Another unique thing about this lens is its bokeh. It’s very soft, the background almost looks shaky. Again, I’m getting all those film vibes and I love it. If I need to get a clean and sharp photo though, I’d probably have to stop down to f2.8 for “best” performance. I’d lose some of that dreamy look, but good to know I can do both if I wanted to with this lens.

black and white portrait taken withVoigtlander 35mm f1.4 classic

portrait taken with best lenses for Leica

One of the reasons I got the Voigtlander (I already own a Leica Summarit 35mm f2.5) was the few extra stops of light. The f1.4 is great for shooting indoors and the super soft look is a nice added bonus. That being said, focusing with a rangefinder and a f1.4 lens is not easy at all, especially if you’re taking photos of people and dogs who constantly move. I missed the focus badly in these but somehow ended up loving the photos even more.

best 35mm lens for Leica

portrait of a girl playing with her dog in Portland Oregon

Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 is a great, unique lens for a great price. It’ll probably stay on my Leica M most of the time from now on and I can’t wait to take it with me on all these trips around Oregon.

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  5. What camera was this lens on? My favorite lens is my summilix 50mm that I use on sony. Thinking about getting into a leica camera though, perhaps the m8


  6. Great info. I got a M8 as a gift, first Leica ever so I’ve been saving for a lens, some thing compact. I think I’ll find a used Voigtlander.

  7. I’m thinking of trying and experimenting with new styles of photography and I really love your helpful blog posts! Also your photos are simply stunning 🙂

  8. I bought your presets and learned a lot about editing from using them as a base when I first started photography.

    You contacted me once to help me out, which was very appreciated!


  9. What’s your go to film? Also I’d love to shoot with you, weddings or just for fun! I honestly love the colors and your eye for the shots.


  10. Parádna atmosféra fotiek. Neláka ťa prejsť len na Leicu? Napr SL ?

  11. I would love to see a post about the difference between system cameras and reflex cameras. Your homepage is just interesting and cool. Ig: @kallethetoller

  12. Dang! I’m still new to the photography world and I never heard of Leica before until I read this blog. These photos are so beautiful and timeless!
    Instagram: @zack_french

  13. Skvělá recenze Lukáši, tenhle klenot mezi cheap objektivy už mám delší dobu v hledáčku. pro leicu uz temer kultovní sklo. Pak je ještě výborný ultron 35mm f1.7 který má podobný feeling,ale kvalitnější výstup na plnou díru.

    Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f1.2 ktery pouzivam i na sony emount,je ale naprostý král manuálních skel za slusnou cenu.

  14. Love the review Lukas! Been admiring your work for a while now. Id be interested to know your thoughts on the M240 as well. I currently own an M6 and love it, but also miss that immediacy of digital. Is a digital M worth picking up? Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Diego, thank you so much! I have the analog M2 and the digital M 240 and love having both. film for fun and random snaps around town, the M 240 for anything else around the house, on a trip etc. I’m gonna blog about it for sure, I’ve shot a wedding on Leica and want to write it from a wedding photographer’s perspective.

      1. Hey Lukas, thank you for the response. I love my M6 and im excited to venture further into the Leica M system. I have a feeling that your next blog post will probably push me to owning an M240.

        • Diego Chavez
        • Instagram: @Shlorped
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