Leica M9 – Best Leica M Mount Lenses (For Me!)

With my new (to me) Leica M9 black body arriving soon my head is already starting to wander with regards to lenses on my to buy list.

To recap from my last post (here) I bought the Leica M9 body to let me shoot Voigtlander lenses on a full frame sensor body. I want to have a smaller camera to use for documentary style wedding photography. The D800 is great but is hardly discrete. So my brain is already excited at the thought of all the Leica M lenses I can now use. That said I have started to think what lenses I would buy next.

The Leica M mount lenses I own so far are:

> Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4

> Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4

Leica M mount lenses on my to buy list:

I understand many Leica purists would never put a non-Leica lenses on a Leica body but until I have a fatter wallet I am more than happy with the results some of the Voigtlander lenses give.  I have my eye on the following 2 lenses in no particular order:

> Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 Asph II (Steve Huff review here – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/12/02/voigtlander-nokton-35-1-2-aspherical-ii-lens-review-on-the-leica-m9/

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 asph

> Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron (Ken Rockwell review – http://www.kenrockwell.com/voigtlander/28mm-f2.htm)

Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron

>UPDATED* Carl Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 (Steve Huff review – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2009/12/14/zeiss-zm-50-planar-lens-review/#comment-254065)

Zeiss Planar 50 f2 ZM

Why these lenses you may ask?  The Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 is said to be sharper than my Voigtlander 40mm wide open and I would buy it for it’s shallow DOF low light abilities. I love my Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s on my Nikon D800 so a f1.2 lens on the Leica M9 just seems to make sense to me.

UPDATE* I recently read Steve’s review (above) on the Zeiss Planar 50mm f2. Oh my!!! That ticks all my boxes and more! Added to list and now quite possibly at the top! I already own an M42 Zeiss Planar that I have used on my D800 and it i crazy sharp at f1.8, plus the colours are far nicer than the Nikon glass.

I will be using the Leica M9 for wedding photography aswell my model photography. In the UK wedding photography will normally include some low light photography even during the daytime due to our changeable weather. As a Leica M9 wedding photographer I am well aware that the M9 cannot compete with my Nikon D800 at high ISO. By using fast lenses (ie. wide aperture like f1.2, f1.4, f2) I can try to shoot at or below ISO 800 on the Leica body to avoid excessive noise on the images.

It terms of focal length 35mm on my Nikon D800 can be too tight in small spaces such as a cramped room full of people at a wedding reception. I think my 21mm f4 will be a little wide but more so will too slow for the dim indoor lighting faced at many wedding venues. The Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron provides the perfect focal length and speed to accompany my current 40mm f1.4 lens. As the Voigtlander 28mm f2 is also cheaper than it’s 35mm cousin I may buy this lens quite soon ready for the next wedding.

I am not really interested in focal lengths greater than 50mm on the Leica M9 as I can use the Nikon D800 for longer distances. The Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s is a beast of a lens so lets me get my discrete wedding photography photos from a safe distance. Up close most people would run a mile due to it’s size but that is where the Leica M9 comes in, for discrete documentary style wedding photography up close.

For info on all Voigtlander lenses see here – http://www.voigtlander.com/cms/voigtlaender/voigtlaender_cms.nsf/id/pa_fdih7j7h5j.html

Leica M9 wedding photography samples coming soon! See here for my wedding photography style – http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html

UPDATE – September 2013* I now have all the above lenses.  By far my favourite is the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii. Sharp with a shallow DOF and easy to nail focus at f1.2

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

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