Leica King of Bokeh Lens Test! (Leica Lens Best Bokeh)

This Leica king of bokeh lens test was me testing the Leica lens best bokeh results from lenses I own.  These include different Leica M mount lenses (Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander) that I use on my Leica M9 camera.
Peg Bokeh Test! Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii by MatthewOsbornePhotography - Leica Photographer
(Testing shallow DOF & bokeh with lenses at their widest aperture) I did a similar test a long time ago when had my Lumix G1. It was an unplanned spur of the moment thing today.

The Leica lens best bokeh test

  • All lenses used at widest aperture and minimum focus distance
  • Photos taken as B&W JPEG on Leica M9 digital camera
  • JPEGs processed through Lightroom with increased sharpness

Qu. Which Leica M mount lenses were tested?

(I did not test the slower Zeiss ZM Planar T 50mm f2 lens and Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens)

Qu. Leica king of bokeh lens?  The winner is..?

  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 is King of Bokeh from lenses I own in terms of giving a very shallow DOF.

Qu. Lens giving the deepest DOF?

  • Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – A great lens but the 0.9M minimum focal distance kills it for the maximum bokeh crown.

Qu. Is Leica better than Zeiss or Voigtlander?

  • (In terms of image quality). Not at all! The Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii easily matched the Leica lenses in the test giving excellent results – sharp wide open, shallow DOF even for a 35mm lens and with attractive bokeh.

Qu. Did the ‘One of the best lenses ever made’ stand out – The Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4?

  • No in this test is the Summilux 50mm f1.4 was possibly the least impressive lens in terms of apparent sharpness, clarity and pop, which was a surprise.

Qu. Apparent sharpest lens wide open (combination of resolution and contrast)?

  • The 1960s Leica Elmar 135mm f4.  This lens is also by far the cheapest of those tested and is also very lightweight and slim with a 39mm filter thread.  Being an f4 lens and the longest focal length of the test it can capture both increased sharpness @f4 yet still give pleasing bokeh from the telephoto design.

Qu. Why did I do Leica lens best bokeh test?

  • To me I often see very little visual difference between lenses I use when shooting models to the extent that I find it very difficult to tag photos afterwards as there is no accurate EXIF data. I also wanted to see which lens would give me the most shallow DOF for use on my new Lumix G3 camera. The CV 35mm f1.2 would be equivalent to 70mm f1.2 with the 2x crop on the m4/3 body making it a perfect portrait lens.

Leica lens bokeh test results:

  • 1) Leica Elmar 135mm f4
Peg Bokeh Test! Leica Elmar 135mm f4
  • 2) Leica Summicron 90mm f2
Peg Bokeh Test! Leica Summicron 90mm f2
  • 3) Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5
Peg Bokeh Test! Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5
  • 4) Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4
Peg Bokeh Test! Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4
  • 5) Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii
Peg Bokeh Test! Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii *Please note this was not a scientific test and the conclusion are based merely on my taste and views of the results obtained.  I’m sure some people may disagree with my findings but that is fine.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 bokeh?

Update* – You may ask why I didn’t include the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens.  An obvious choice you might think?  The main reason was I didn’t own that lens at the time of writing this article.  Another Leica best bokeh contender might be the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens as it focuses in closer than the Summicron 90mm.  Again I didn’t have that lens at the time.

More Leica blog articles

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!

  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

7 thoughts on “Leica King Of Bokeh Lens Test! (Leica Lens Best Bokeh)”

  1. The all look very good, but the cron 90 and nokton 35 clearly outshine the others in this series. As a side note, I rarely see the “wow” in posted lux 50 images, but often really like cron 50 shots. Of course that extra light gathering of the 1.4 has it’s advantages. I’m nearly to the point of having to make decisions for my move to m-mount. I think I have it narrowed down to 35mm 1.2 nokton, 50mm cron ver. 4, and 90mm cron. A lot of my decision process has come from your blog/flickr…. so thanks for posting such frank and open information.


    1. Thanks Chris,

      Yes the 35/1.2 and 90/2 Cron were indeed the show stoppers. If I had to pick one it would be the CV 35/1.2 as a much more practical lens. With the RF lens the view fills the finder and you can get close to your subjects plus use in low light at f1.2 with a slow shutter speed. I need to use the Cron more really to get more examples up. I have the v5 Cron 50. To be fair to the Lux 50 it can be nice for portraits and is easy to use with reliable edge to edge sharpness in low light. It didn’t really come across in this mini test. See the Flickr lens sets for real life examples of the lens in use. Enjoy your purchase(s)!

  2. Hello!
    Very interesting comparison. I personally use the zeiss sonnar 1.5 with the A7s. I have to say that with the voigtlander close focus adapter, which reduces the focus distance by 1/2 (so .40 meter), the lens becomes most interesting. Probably the best bokeh you can get, except the Leica noctilux.

  3. Good review. I have all of these lenses but the summilux. There are literally dozens of other lenses one could compare as well. The contax g 90mm 2.8 lens is pretty nice eg.


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