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Thread: Noctilux Help

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    Noctilux Help

    Just got a noct from photovillage and am getting used to it's idiosyncrasies. well...

    I am pretty sure it needs calibration but before I send it off to DAG for however long it is going to be (he's had my M6 6 weeks now) I wanted to ask if what I am looking for is reasonable.

    I have used the canon 85 1.2 so I know I can get sharp focus reliably at all distances, the noct I have is behaving erratically. Hard to tell but I think it is backfocused close up and at distances over 10ft it is obviously front focused!

    What I want to do with this lens is be able to shoot portraits both close and full length with minimal depth of field. I can do this on the canon so I know it is difficult but possible. Will the noct do this or are the focus issues too convoluted?

    I know of the focus shift at 2.8 and 4 and I can live with that.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Robert My Noctilux made 4 trips to Solms to get this right and it still needs work on the focus mount. After calibration it focuses very accurately at close and intermediate distances (think head shots focusing on the eye). I see only a small amount of focus shift and find that 2.8 and 4 are quite useable....this is not the case with my 35 Lux where I try to shoot either at 1.4 or 5.6 . Every once in a while a get a big miss forward but I have always assumed that this was my error. What is important to me is that I can use this lens both wide open and stopped down to 5.6 and get a great rendering (lower contrast , smooth bokeh and beautiful color) . Personally I wouldn t accept a lens from a dealer that needed to be calibrated ..but if it has to go in I believe DAG is the place . Roger

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    thats an interesting response, I had not exactly thought about the dealer end.

    My experience with used equipment is that it is buyer beware but at the same time there is a return period or a very limited warranty. To be honest we did not discuss it.

    The noct is a special case in that it is most likely to not work out of the box so my expectation was low.

    I guess I have the option of returning the lens also, but they are rarer than hens teeth so it might be the case of love the one you are with?

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    My new Noctilux focuses spot on near and far wide open. Of course at 2.8 -4.0 it shifts a bit. I have heard that the new Noctiluxes are adjusted ok versus older ones that need adjustment.

    JWW

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Robert,

    Once you have calibrated your Noctilux to your M8 body, you should be able to focus accurately at different distances. You may, of course, experience focus shift when changing aperture settings, but given the same setting, there should not be an issue (other than your eyesight) relating to your distance from the subject.

    I tend to use mine mainly to focus at less than 10ft., but have certainly captured some images at longer distances without any issues. My Noctilux is calibrated to focus accurately wide-open, as that is my strong preference.

    Finally, do make sure that your M8 is properly adjusted before sending the lens off, and, ideally, you should send the body in as well.

    Regards,

    Tony C.

    Last edited by Tony C.; 20th May 2008 at 21:28.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    thanks for the replies.

    this lens may turn in to an investment property...

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JWW View Post
    My new Noctilux focuses spot on near and far wide open. Of course at 2.8 -4.0 it shifts a bit. I have heard that the new Noctiluxes are adjusted ok versus older ones that need adjustment.

    JWW
    Having suffered through 4 trips to Solms and 13 months out of service(must be the record ), I picked up a few things and believe that I understand the issue. Probably most important is that the Noctilux is a 30 year old design and specified for film. The design tolerances (what is viewed as aceptable within specification ) are not tight enough for the M8. Lets assume you have a perfectly calibrated M8 and its near perfect(verse on the acceptable edge of the tolerances) ....you can have an in tolerance Noctilux and it will backfocus. It seems that to really nail the focus point on a Noctilux is quite difficult and somewhat of a trial and error process...so the technician gets it within spec and send sit back to you. A much easier and sure method is to adjust the camera and the lens together. Thus a slight back focusing can be handled by bringing the camera focus point forward. This of course will potentially throw off your other lenses. I believe the first step in getting this right is to be sure your M8 is calibrated (tightly). Its easy to test ....I just carried the test chart into a dealer and we tested it together or find another M8 owner . Use the same lens on both cameras. Unfortunately cameras vary and lenses vary ..how much is acceptable is a personal decision. The only positive comments on this have come from DAG s customers or kinderman s in Canada.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    thanks for the replies.

    this lens may turn in to an investment property...
    Probably the reason I never bought one. Much rather have the 50 1.4 pre lux to me it just has a better look but some folks love the Nocti and it is unique for sure.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    ...i have the pre-lux.

    mighta been an impulse decision...

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Perhaps Photovillage will work with you to send the lens off to DAG. No harm asking.
    Also, they aren't that rare a number have been sold on this site in the past few months.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    I got to use a Nocti at the Leica Day South Beach 2008 event. Idiosyncrasies is an understatement. When you get it right, it's amazing. Get it wrong and your scratching your head wondering if you are defective or the lens is. That little excursion was enough to cure me of any desire for one, although I will admit it can take some great shots.



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    Re: Noctilux Help

    these samples you are showing are better resolved than what I am getting....sigh.

    now i have to determine what to do. thanks all.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    these samples you are showing are better resolved than what I am getting....sigh.

    now i have to determine what to do. thanks all.
    HI Robert
    I have a noctilux (which I love/hate/love) I think that there is a 'mass hysteria' issue as well as the problems, I've decided that it's an exotic beast, a quixotic lover, and I don't use it for critical shooting, but I do love it for what it is, the focusing seems to be good sometimes (and it's nearly always okay up to about 10 feet).

    Why not talk to the dealer and say that you think there's something wrong - but you're going to give it some serious work over the next week to get to the bottom of it. Then just shoot with it - there surely is a big learning curve!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    these samples you are showing are better resolved than what I am getting....sigh.

    now i have to determine what to do. thanks all.
    Robert I felt the same way when testing my Noctilux on the M8. My Noctilux was soft...I got the Leica rep to test it himself and something was wrong. It had to go to Solms to be CLA ..this was more than the focus point calibration. After the repairs it compares favorably to a new one. However when I tested it I often cranked up the ISO to 640 and this of course added enough noise to make the test invalid. It is soft close up and at 1.0 and ISO 160 but using 640 you can not find the focus point. Try taking some window light portraits (at ISO 160) at say 1.0 thru 2.0 .

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    blogs have been going on about Stanley Kubrick's zeiss 50mm 0.7,

    http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/sk/ac/len/page1.htm

    I have not had the time to actually do some controlled shooting with it.

    I do find that if I apply a large amount of sharpening it starts to look better, but I suspect that only means it is not hitting the point reliably.

    thanks for the replies, I will try to post some examples this weekend.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    There's a saying in the boating world that the two best days of you have with a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. I think this applies to the Noct as well. I tried it and found it backfocused, and that's a new copy bought directly from Solms. If I thought Leica could adjust it properly I would have sent it in but after hearing Roger's saga I just sold it to a collector in China. I miss it not one bit.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Update: took the lens back to photovillage and exchanged it for another one they had just received, in better shape actually.

    so far so good, perhaps a touch of backfocus up close but this is where the rubber is meetin the road so they say, at distance it is absolutely on wide open. I may have a keeper here...

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    at middle distances it looks pretty good too. completely different bag than the last one...

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    That is great news. Looks like you are already getting to enjoy the lens.

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    ...seems to be consistently backfocused under 2m, looks like something that could be easily adjusted since it is very consistent. I guess the technician shaves the focus cam a hair between these distances?

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    ...seems to be consistently backfocused under 2m, looks like something that could be easily adjusted since it is very consistent. I guess the technician shaves the focus cam a hair between these distances?
    It could be your M8 rangefinder setup. There is a near focus and far focus adjustment that they make and by going through a few iterations, they come to a balance where the rangefinder works throughout the range.

    Robert

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    Re: Noctilux Help

    well since my 50 prelux, 35 asph cron and 28 cron all focus correctly wide open I think the rangefinder is ok. But I know i have read all this before...on another forum in another land

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