Q&A: Smooth [which lens?].

This image, Smooth, was taken with the Leica M9 and one of these lenses:

(a) Voigtländer Nokton 40/1.4.

(b) Leica 50 Summicron.

(c) Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2.

(d) Leica 50 Summilux ASPH.

(e) Leica 35 Summilux FLE.

Just for fun, can you guess which lens was used?

Now — knowing me — you may think I’m trying to make a point about the Voigtländer lenses being quite good (or at least “good enough”), but then again, I may be using reverse psychology ;).

Either way, I’d be grateful to have you play this guessing game.

(please click on the image for a LARGER view)


If you want to view images I’ve taken with the various lenses on the list, please click on these links:

Voigtländer Nokton 40/1.4.

Leica 50 Summicron.

Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2.

Leica 50 Summilux ASPH.

Leica 35 Summilux FLE.

I’ll reveal the answer tomorrow… feel free to share this.



36 thoughts on “Q&A: Smooth [which lens?].

  1. israelmbm says:

    Ummm… Let´s play, I guess is the Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2.

  2. hughf says:


    firstly, great foto !!! This against light works perfectly here and your treatment is top notch as well… Comme d’habitude devrais-je dire 😀
    Well now for your examen or test 😉 ? I think it is a 35 mm, but wich one ? Perhaps your good old Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2 ! Aaarghh and why not this one ? Voigtländer Nokton 40/1.4.
    Well You will have understood, I am a little bit in the Mist !!! Snif.
    BTW, interisting question mon Ami 😉

    Amicalement .


  3. steve verhoef says:

    It feels 35mm in focal length.
    Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2 is my first thought.

  4. Prosophos says:

    Hmmm…. no Leica takers yet? Interesting…

    Hugues, mon ami, no fair — you have to commit to a guess!

    israelmbm and steve, thank you so much for participating in the spirit of things and going out on a limb!

    Come on everybody else! Make a guess, I know you don’t have a full size image (but you do have a larger than usual one provided) and this is totally unscientific, but it’s closer to reality (i.e. most people view images on the web and not printed in large format) — so give it a try….

  5. raajs says:

    CV Nokton 40/1.4.

    Why? FL seems larger than 50mm and it doesn’t appear to be the 50 ‘lux signature. OOF rendering could be the 50 ‘cron but FL seems longer. Not the CV 35/1.2 – renders differently. It is possible that it’s the 35 ‘lux, but I’ll guess the 40/1.4. 🙂

    • Prosophos says:

      Yes, it is possible that it’s the 35 ‘lux ;). Thanks for your reasoning dear Raaj and, more importantly, for guessing!

      What about the bokeh? Is it helping here?… hmmm…. :).

  6. agplatt says:

    I too am going with the 35/1.2 although it is a wild guess and not influenced by the others above.

  7. gagemanning says:

    Nice shot, I think it is the 50mm summilux.

  8. hughf says:

    AHAHAHAHA !!!! Well, because ! And this is normal after all, my guess will be the CV 401,2.
    OK Peter, I putt my Camera on this choice ( but not my M9 ) of course…My LX2 that I still have 😉 … Oh mon Dieu what a test 😀
    Hope to have the answer very soon…



  9. jasonehowe says:

    Mmmm, tricky……The focal length appears (to me anyway..) to be neither 35 or 50mm. The sharpness is Leica impressive though….and the highlight rendering certainly has a Lux quality to it.

    I am going to commit to the VC 40/1.4 and cross my fingers. Good fun.

  10. Stephen B says:

    35 vc

  11. Mark says:

    I have no idea…but I think it’s a great pic!! Heh heh, I’m guessing 50, and I don’t think you have a cron, so I’m going lux…I’d sure be happy if it was the 40 though!

    Can’t wait for the answer! All the best,

    • Prosophos says:

      Hey Mark, I appreciate the compliment on the image!

      As a matter of fact, I do have a 50 ‘cron (check out the links to the various lenses below the posted image).

      However… nice guess, and more importantly, good on you for taking a chance!

  12. Brian Palmer says:

    Hmmm… so to me it seems like a 50 angle of view but the face doesn’t look all that sharp.
    The OOF area on the shade does look familiar like my Cron or Lux though.
    I am going to say it’s the Nokton 40mm.
    This is fun and I hope to see more of these.

    • Prosophos says:

      Excellent Brian, thanks for entering a guess!

      The face (at least the skin) was softened during post-processing, because it was originally “too sharp” for a portrait. If you click on the image and look at the near eye (which is the point of focus), you’ll see that it is quite sharp. Or is it? ;).

      I should add that — if the roles were reversed and I had to guess — I probably would not be able to guess correctly.

  13. […] Later today, I’m posting the answer to yesterday’s post. […]

  14. chammann says:

    I’d say Voigtländer Nokton 35 f/1.2 at close to open aperture, too. And it IS smooooth!

  15. yoshi360 says:

    I have the 35 1.2, too (bought it after your review). Though the quality of the circles of confusion seems to differ sometimes, generally I’d say they’re not that harsh. So I’d say it’s the 40 1.4 which would be in line with many photos I’ve seem of that lens. I’m pretty sure it’s a Voigtländer, the harsh “cup of coffee” circles of confusion are pretty characteristic IMO. I don’t know the Leicas that well, but the Summiluxes have much smoother and more evenly filled circles. Very interesting test, though!

    • Prosophos says:

      Ah, good yoshi, a detailed analysis… very good! Thank you for writing this, and for committing to a selection too.

      • yoshi360 says:

        I think it’s funny that most commenters here say this picture is “smooth”. I think there are two different characteristics in bokeh that can be described at smooth or harsh: the first one are the general out of focus areas, the other one are the circles of confusion.

        I think the general out of focus look in this image is rather smooth, but the circles of confusion are – I believe – classic Cosina Voigtländer (if you can call them classic yet). I’ve seen them with Minolta lenses, too (the form, but softer), but never with Leica. I’ve seen Leica photos that had distracting out of focus areas (unfortunately I don’t know which ones, they were slower, though – maybe Elmarit or something), but the circles were always relatively even and filled out. Especially the circles on the left of the image and between the lamp and your wife’s hair – I’d be really surprised if that was a Leica!

        Then again, I’m an amateur and I only own the Voigtländer 35 1.2 I. So maybe I’m completely off 🙂

        • Prosophos says:

          Thanks for the very thorough elaboration. If by “funny” you mean “interesting” that people have commented on the smoothness of the image, then I would agree. However, I have titled the image “Smooth”, so that may be a biasing factor :).

          Moreover, as you note, there are some very smooth elements to this image (and that’s why I was inspired to name it as I did).

          I honestly believe there are qualities to individual lenses that are not captured well with the conventional metrics (the usual 100% crop comparisons and such). That’s what can make a hypothetical “Lens A” more interesting than and hypothetical “Lens B”, even though on paper (and in 100% crops) they look to perform in a similar fashion. I won’t say anything more, for now, but I thank you again for the detailed commentary and analysis.

          • yoshi360 says:

            By funny I meant funny that these things are so subjective and people tend to focus on different things which is often surprising. For me the appearance of the circles is one of the most important aspects when judging whether I like a lens or not, and general out of focus areas are much more subtle. So it’s interesting to see these different reactions to lenses. I don’t really care much for “scientific” tests either because in the end I think photography is very subjective and personal!

  16. Dominic says:

    I’ll have to go with option:

    (e) Leica 35 Summilux FLE

  17. […] Yesterday, I posted this image, taken with my Leica M9… […]

  18. Amanda says:

    I’m going to say the 50 Cron because I’m selling mine (type 3, 1969, German) and was looking through some photos I took last year on a borrowed M9, and the bokeh and rendering remind me of what this underrated (?) Leica family member can do! 🙂

  19. […] Q&A: Smooth [which lens?] (prosophos.com) […]

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