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Thread: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

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    Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    I know the Lux is no slouch. Pardon my lack of knowledge, but I think the 50mm is the only noctilux, is that a fact? Obviously, there are quite a few focal length summiluxes, that I do know...

    For purposes of comparison, please discuss which l50mm ens you prefer, and why, and on which camera? Examples welcome! If there are specific situations where you prefer one over the other, expand? Do you use a magnifying viewfinder of some sort with noct or lux?

    For a while, I will live vicariously through your shots and learn. My 35mm Cron and 90mm cron, will be my collection for a while.

    Thanks.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    The modern 0.95 noct is nearly identical in performance and image quality to the modern summilux from f/1.4 to f/22. The noct of course offers f/1 and f/0.95 and both are just a bit softer but only a tiny bit. The older f/1 noct is quite "dreamy" at f/1 and then sharpens up as you close down. If you have the budget for the noct, it's fantastic - like shooting with a nigh vision scope in color. It offers shooting situations that no other lens can offer. It's also great to use with an ND filter in the daytime to get super shallow depth of field. I carry 3X and 6X NDs.

    The 50 lux ASPH is perhaps the sharpest 50 ever made, so you can't go wrong there either. You just get nearly 2 stops more light with the 0.95 noct.

    I am sure others will chime in and there's lots of good write-ups on the web, including Erwin Puts.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Thanks for the info Brad. I am very new to Leica at the rangefinder level, other than messing around at low end levels with Vlux cams and such. So, just trying to gather perspectives of those here, and personal experiences. I'll investigate some searches as well when time comes, that's not now other than learning...

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    I have an 1998 Noctilux, the f:1.0. Dont have the 50 Lux but I think we can believe Erwin Puts, saying it is "the best standard Leica Lens" for him, probably one of the best lenses ever made.

    http://www.imx.nl/photo/leica/lenses/lenses/page57.html

    I prefer the Noctilux 1.0 nevertheless, and just love the simultaneous sharp and dreamy look wide open.

    Some of my shots with the Noct 1.0:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3806817...tags/noctilux/

    It really shines when it comes to portrait photography, IMO.







    http://www.carstenranke.com

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Well--I am not qualified to discuss between Noct vs Lux. But I can tell you that my 50 Rigid Cron is sharper than my 50 Lux E46 at f/2.

    Rigid Cron f/2 (100% crop)


    Lux f/2 (100% crop)


    Lux f/1.4 (100% crop)

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    CR - Masterful photos.
    Rich

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Wonderful images Carsten. Thanks for sharing those.

    You know, I should not have eliminated the Cron from this discussion as well, to me a 2.0 lens is a pretty fast lens, and with Leica quality. Well...
    Last edited by Photojazz; 4th March 2011 at 05:25.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    .....The 50 lux ASPH...... You just get nearly 2 stops more light with the 0.95 noct.....
    HMMMM. I thought it was one stop plus a sixth. [I recall; f0.7, f1.0, f1.4]

    ....... Chris

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    I have seen many photos from the Noct and you have many creative possibilities with it.

    However I did have the opportunity to demo it and for my tastes the balance of the system is way off. The M bodies were not designed for that much weight hanging out front. Consequently it is harder to work with IMHO. So I would tend towards the Lux and use software to create the dreamy looks. It seems that once you get to f 1.4 and beyond the images are super sharp from both lenses.

    Woody

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Nice shots Carsten. Were they at 1.0? Mine is not that sharp at fully open.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Thank you :-) All wide open - in this small web size you can only evaluate the quality of resampling, not the original ! I dont downsize with CS3 and bicubic, I use a program with the Lanczos algorithm, and resharpen the result in LAB color (smart sharpen for the L channel)

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    This was f:1, and focus excactly on the eyelashes



    100 percent crop


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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by C_R View Post
    This was f:1, and focus excactly on the eyelashes

    100 percent crop

    Excellent CR - sheesh - really excellent!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Beautiful photos Carsten. I really didn't appreciate my Noctilux until after I sold it. I made the mistake of pixel peeping at 100% on screen and couldn't appreciate the drawing of the lens. It wasn't until after I sold the lens when I made some large prints of Noctilux photos that my heart sank because thats when I knew I screwed up by selling it. Lesson learned - don't judge a photo solely on 100% screen images.

    If I all my money wasn't tied up in the S system, then it would have a M9 and f0.95 Noctilux and some other summiluxes.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Jono and Mark, thank you :-)

    Because this thread is about Nocti versus Lux: I find it sometimes very hard to focus when the main subject is not centered. The Noctilux has severe field curvature, and what you focus in the center is not sharp in the periphery.
    The Lux is almost free of optical aberrations, so to say. A clear advantage for this lens. But when you have learnt to live with the Nocti´s shortcomings it is a wonderful lens

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Carsten, this is a serious concern I have for use of the extremely thin depth of field with the noctilux on rangefinder. Nailing focus of anything centered would be hard enough but off center frame, I am worried it could be a crap shoot. You obviously are doing very well with it.

    I am not sure I can ever justify the cost of the new noctilux. 10 grand, well, that's not small change. I did see a used one priced less. Probably very difficult to find though. When I see what I can get with a 1K 90mm Cron, it makes justification that much harder. yes, two completely different animals, I know.

    Let me ask you this, if you are shooting a portrait off center, can you for purposes of framing center frame focal point, then shift camera back to original framing, how close are you at that point to correct focus? I've tried this approach a little bit.

    Bluebook, thanks for the comparison, if I'd thought, I'd added Cron to original comparison, but I cannot edit it now of course. (bummer)

    Consider your Cron comparison quite welcome here... I can immediately see that the Cron's sharpness center frame is a pretty fair tradeoff for the less creamy bokeh for many subjects. that's not saying the lux isn't great either, for some subjects, it's characteristics would be very nice indeed. Tough quandry for sure if one wants 1 lens only at focal range. But I am beginning to see, that may not be ideal.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    The best thing to do is find someone nearby with a Noct and give it a try. It has a nearly legendary status and that's not due entirely to its astronomical price. That said, the 50 lux asph is a legendary lens itself and is about 1/3 the price of the Noct.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Thanks Brad, unfortunately, I don't know any Leica fans in my area, it's a less than stellar photographic community on high end and shops. Mark is pretty close, a couple of hours away, but he has an S, not an M cough...

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    The best thing to do is find someone nearby with a Noct and give it a try. It has a nearly legendary status and that's not due entirely to its astronomical price. That said, the 50 lux asph is a legendary lens itself and is about 1/3 the price of the Noct.
    Brad has probably summed it up better than I could in his post above.

    You don't mention whether your current lenses are the current generation or not, or if you are referring to the current 50mm ASPH. If you have the current 35mm ASPH and 90mm APO, you would probably be happy with a 50mm Summilux ASPH. An older Noctilux would probably be disappointing if you are into pixel peeping or if you rangefinder is not spot on.

    As Carsten has shown above, with accurate focus and the benefits of digital processing, the older Noctilux can produce some stunning images.

    Over the years when asked the question about Noctilux or Summilux, I have replied I always preferred to have two 50mm lenses, the 50mm Summicron and then the Noctilux when I need the speed. If you can have only one, you probably want to just get the 50mm Summilux ASPH, which on it own gives stunning image quality. The better higher ISO performance of the M9 almost negates the higher speed of the Noctilux. Unless you really need the speed or the artistic drawing of the Noctilux, the Summilux ASPH is the way to go.

    Here are a couple of my M8 Noctilux shots. The first two are a demonstration of how sharp it can be at F1 when focused properly and shot a low ISO (160). This are also near the close focus limit, where the lens is its least sharp. Sharpening courtesy of Jack Flesher's sharpening actions. I found that Noctilux images are best processed with a lower contrast and then using Jacks's Local Contrast sharpening action to create the sharpness and contrast. Very little if any of the Detail sharpening action is used.






    If you click on this link it will bring up a gallery image that you then click on to get a very large image to show that at further distances the Noctilux is quite sharp and holds its contrast when shot into stadium lights.



    Robert

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    And some folks like the look of the Noct.
    Me, I strongly prefer the look of the Lux.
    -bob

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Photojazz View Post
    ....Let me ask you this, if you are shooting a portrait off center, can you for purposes of framing center frame focal point, then shift camera back to original framing, how close are you at that point to correct focus? I've tried this approach a little bit..
    Sometimes I switch to continuous, and go back slowly while bracketing, kind of "focus bracketing", for a better chance to get the focus right.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Photojazz View Post

    Let me ask you this, if you are shooting a portrait off center, can you for purposes of framing center frame focal point, then shift camera back to original framing, how close are you at that point to correct focus? I've tried this approach a little bit.

    .
    The simple answer is no and it is not just because of the curvature of filed. Fast lenses such as the Noctilux, and 75mm Summilux, have such shallow DOF when shot wide open that just the movement of you or your subject between framing and focusing will cause focus errors. The only successful way I have found to shoot a Noctilux and nail the focus is to fire the shutter when the two images align. In the case of the two portraits of my sons posted above, I focused with the rangefinder then stopped moving the focus ring and just swayed my body in or out and fired when their iris came together as a single image on the focus patch. At further distances you can just use the focus ring and focus and recompose, but up close, you need to get the focus with the ring and then move your body to keep it and fire when you think you have it.

    Robert

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    And some folks like the look of the Noct.
    Me, I strongly prefer the look of the Lux.
    -bob
    Hi Bob
    Depends on the Noctilux . . . and it depends on the Lux too.

    If you're talking of a new 50 lux Asph, and a new 0.95 nocti, the look is pretty much the same at equivalent apertures (at least that's how it seems to me).

    The f1 Noct is quite different from the new 'lux - but then, you know all of this.

    I have the 0.95 and the latest 'lux - I use the Nocti when I want that look, and when I don't want to focus so close, and when I don't mind the weight . . . and the 'lux under other situations.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Rob, I have a 35 ASPH, but not current generation of it. I bought what I could get started with, and I felt that a 35 ASPH Cron was a excellent first choice. It has not disappointed me at all. My Nifty Ninety is a Version 3, last version before ASPH APO with pull out hood. Please document that in the great lens book someone.

    My dialogue is open on any lens. Obviously, I have so far sought the biggest bang for the buck with my lens purchases, and I don't think I have done to badly with a grand total of 3250 invested in lenses. :-) Doing the math, considering I bought my M9 this year too, that's over 10K, not pocket change. My first goal is to finish getting my M9 paid off. I hope to get there within 2 months. That's why looking only now. But if I decide to sell some more nikon gear, whole process could be moved into hyperdrive...

    I am probably more of a summilux prospect likely,but anything is possible.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Jono,
    I guess it comes down to this for me.
    I am not all that impressed with the look of either the new or the old nocti wide open.
    Now remember that this is coming from someone who almost always has his aperture ring stuck at f/8 LOL But I do like the new Lux a lot, even at f/1.4.
    -bob

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Bob
    Depends on the Noctilux . . . and it depends on the Lux too.

    If you're talking of a new 50 lux Asph, and a new 0.95 nocti, the look is pretty much the same at equivalent apertures (at least that's how it seems to me).

    The f1 Noct is quite different from the new 'lux - but then, you know all of this.

    I have the 0.95 and the latest 'lux - I use the Nocti when I want that look, and when I don't want to focus so close, and when I don't mind the weight . . . and the 'lux under other situations.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    HI Bob
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Jono,
    I guess it comes down to this for me.
    I am not all that impressed with the look of either the new or the old nocti wide open.
    Then there's no hope for you . . . it's not the answer to the question of 'life the universe and everything' - but it's one of the few really distinctive photographic thrills (at least, I think so).
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Now remember that this is coming from someone who almost always has his aperture ring stuck at f/8 LOL But I do like the new Lux a lot, even at f/1.4.
    -bob
    And this is coming from someone who spent the day shooting his 24 'lux at f5.6 . . . . lovely.
    Actually, I'm trying to think of anyone who has had anything nasty to say about the new 50 'lux.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Jono,
    I guess it comes down to this for me.
    I am not all that impressed with the look of either the new or the old nocti wide open.
    Now remember that this is coming from someone who almost always has his aperture ring stuck at f/8 LOL But I do like the new Lux a lot, even at f/1.4.
    -bob
    +1!
    Bill

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Photojazz View Post
    Rob, I have a 35 ASPH, but not current generation of it. I bought what I could get started with, and I felt that a 35 ASPH Cron was a excellent first choice. It has not disappointed me at all. My Nifty Ninety is a Version 3, last version before ASPH APO with pull out hood. Please document that in the great lens book someone.
    Well, I think that these are the most sensible lenses to start with - the slim 90 elmarit is a darling (I use mine a lot). I don't have the 35 asph cron anymore, because I bought one of the new luxes, but this is angels dancing on the heads of pins. the 35 'cron asph is splendid. The summarit lenses are also sensibly priced and lovely to use.

    ****** addition

    oops - looking again I see that you have the 90 'cron, which I only want! IMHO all the lenses have their own joys and pitfalls . . . but maybe you should complete your set and get a 50 'cron - a lovely lens, small and crisp and even?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Yes, it is a Cron 90 pre-asph verson 3. Your suggestion has merit, I am sure it's more affordable than the lux, by a lot. But it's only 15mm difference than my 35 Cron, and for this reason alone I rather much think the lux 50 would add not only a slightly different focal range, but also that speed as close to the middle as possible and yet still maintaining quite a nice open frame of view for versatility. But giving the bonus of the creamier bokeh, and the 1.4 speed. Well, just a thought, it would also be easier to get there than the noct... .4 speed is not a tremendous difference, assuming with good reason I looked at an older 1.0 noct, not a .95, that is makes the difference more substantial of course.
    Last edited by Photojazz; 5th March 2011 at 15:26.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Doug:

    The 35mm Summicron ASPH is my favorite lens. Unless your really need the speed, the 35mm at F2 is a stunning performer. I have shot some events using both the Noctilux and the 35mm ASPH and at F2, the 35mm Summicron ASPH images are miles ahead in image quality if you can hold it steady enough in low light.

    As for the 90mm you have, except for the really dreamy backgrounds of the Noctilux at f1, your Summicron would have similar picture quality to the Noctilux from f2 and smaller apertures.

    If you are on a budget, rule out the Noctilux for a few years, but try a version 4, 50mm Summicron for experimenting with the focal length. These are the ones with the latest optical formula, but with clip on hoods and either made in Canada or Germany. I think the version 3-4 transition was in the 2.8 million serial number range, so anything in the 3 mil or larger range is likely a version 4. I don't know how the pricing is on them lately, but you used to see them in the $500-700 range.

    Robert

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Most excellent information Robert, my thanks.:-) I got quite a bit tied up in Nikon gear, so I got to balance the books somewhere. I will keep my eye out. I rather like getting good buys in Leica, because it's so big budget. I'm getting the Leica processing of the M9, and 90-95% of the ASPH image quality probably with great Leica glass. Stopped down, sometimes I think it would be difficult to tell. Yeah, on a budget somewhat. :-)

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    You asked in your Title of this thread for ad nauseam, so here is my contribution

    I've shot practically every M lens ever made at one point or time since I started shooting my first M6. Some of them were spectacular, some of the older ones just so - so by modern standards. Each of them had their strengths and their weaknesses. Each their distinctive signature, and each made the way only a Leica lens is made. Precise, positive, complete control of the possibilities in the hands of someone capable of pushing them to their design limits... and beyond. A very tough place to reach, as many of history's greats have used a Leica - and in doing so set a very high bar.

    Almost all of the recent vintage Leica M lenses made in the past twenty years are excellent in my opinion, each with some differences but all with superb drawing and signature. They all hold up to the Leica standard of not changing a lens design in a particular focal length or speed until it will be a substantial improvement to the present production model. So at the time of their manufacture, each Leica lens was the State-Of-The-Art in the science of lens design and construction at the time it was made.

    I owned a 50mm Pre-ASPH 'Lux and still own a 50mm 'Cron I had at the same time. My 'Cron had better contrast and was sharper at f/2 than my 'Lux at every aperture up to f/8 at half the size and weight, so I sold the 'Lux. I never missed it. Historically I've shot mostly wider lenses, with 50mm being long for me. I love the wide open look of a 21mm. Others may disagree, as the choice of a lens "look" is as personal to a photographer as the make and model of a guitar is to a musician. Both have their own unique "tone." Their "signature." Their "color." As each of the 50mm choices from Leica do, in my opinion.

    A couple of months back, I had the opportunity for a new Noct f/.95 so I decided to take it. I liked the old f/1, but found it a bit too soft for me wide open. The 'Cron, while not having the soft narrow depth of field, had far superior contrast. I heard the new Noct was much better in that regard so decided to see for myself. The new Noct is a very different beast than the one it replaces, improved in many somewhat subtle ways or appears so until you get to know it.

    Any wide aperture lens is tough to use, let's face it. Sure it looks sexy as heck shooting away in candlelight, but be frank with yourselves and admit that even professionals like myself who shoot with one almost daily rarely land more than 10% "hits" even at f/2. Open 'er up to f/1.4 and not only does your positioning come into question, the very shallowness of the depth of field itself can make it impossible to get a good shot. Unless your back aways, or going for one sharp eyelash kind of thing, for a portrait your going to be at least at f/2 anyway. Open to f/.95 at the closest focus distance, you're shooting for an effect pure and simple and little more, since the falloff is pretty severe and area of focus very shallow indeed.

    At greater distance, when you just have to have as fast as possible, repeatedly, then it may be worth considering investing $10,500 in a new Noct. I shoot in these kind of conditions constantly, so for myself it makes sense. And I really am loving this lens the more I learn about it. It is an extremely tough mistress out the gate, demanding your full time and attention at first if you are looking to get anything usable at all. I'm only a couple of months into it myself, and it has taken me a lot of work learning to use it, but I do find it lets me use options not available to me with any other tool in my bag.

    These are from a recent job using it. If you don't absolutely need the speed or the falloff, or if you don't have the time to invest in learning how to best employ this type of a specialty lens, you would be much better off just buying yourself a 50mm f/2. The 'Cron will do most everything you will ever need, and costs a fraction of what the investment is in any of the faster versions.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Well, not sure how much I can contribute. I have owned both the f/1 Noct and f/0.95 Noctiliux, and sold the prior in favor of the latter. I also own the 50 lux asph for convenience and size (The f/0.95 doesn't travel quite as well )

    Anyways, let me share some with the new f/0.95...the combo of macro/microcontrast and f/0.95 renders a near diorama like effect, almost like using tilt shift, but in-plane...it's crazy, and there's nothing like it other than MF, with its narrower DOF. I have enjoyed my experience with the f/0.95 more than I did with the f/1, as I felt that the f/1's signature was so strong that every shot that I took with it loked like f/1 more than my own photography:

    Here are some examples:

    f/0.95:




















    And the entire f/0.95 set, here (about 500 images posted)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashwinr...th/5045817548/

    Please pardon the wide range of processing that I used...
    Ashwin Rao
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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Now some f/1 Noctilux images, omn the M8:













    Ashwin Rao
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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Photojazz View Post
    Most excellent information Robert, my thanks.:-) I got quite a bit tied up in Nikon gear, so I got to balance the books somewhere. I will keep my eye out. I rather like getting good buys in Leica, because it's so big budget. I'm getting the Leica processing of the M9, and 90-95% of the ASPH image quality probably with great Leica glass. Stopped down, sometimes I think it would be difficult to tell. Yeah, on a budget somewhat. :-)
    I agree that stopped down it's tough to tell.
    As for the budget, of course that's really important, but the one nice thing about Leica lenses is that you aren't likely to lose money by experimenting - buy well and you'll make a profit. Buy new and keep for a couple of years and you'll still probably break even.

    I think all the modern leica lenses have lots going for them - including the humble summarits; the 35 especially is a lovely lens, and so tiny.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    I think it comes down to what you like your results to look like. Personally, I like my main subject thoroughly in focus, with the background slightly softer. Easily recognizable, even detailed, just slightly softer for separation. Because of this, most of the time with a 35mm lens this means shooting at f/5.6 give or take, with a subject at 20 ft or so. For a more impressionistic image, f/2.8-f/4. Wider than that I find very limited use for, and f/2 is pretty much limited to everything-at-or-near-infinity and without enough light to let me stop down to f/5.6 (where the 35 cron ASPH looks its best IMO). And I do mean subtle focus separation, because what looks good on a computer screen often looks a bit overdone when printed. For this to work it's very important that a lens render sharp edges in the background not as wider sharp features (double imaging), but by diffusing them. The 50 noct clearly does this. The 35 cron ASPH does as well, unless overdone. Processing also matters; it may look soft and diffuse, but then when you increase contrast because the light was flat it looks double imaged. Getting it just right requires familiarity with the lens, light, and post to print. Because of this, I personally only see a 50 faster than f/2.8, a 75 or 90 faster than f/4, or a 35 faster than f/2 as pure PJ tools. Because of this, lens choice to me comes down to how the lenses render, as well as their overall look, and size of course. Just about ANY lens is fast enough IMO, although sometimes I wish the WATE were faster - so that's a pretty big tradeoff. I like the look of the CV 35/1.2 even stopped down but rarely use it because of its size. The .95 nocti has a unique look - not something I'd use myself, but definitely one of a kind if that's what you're looking for. The 50/1.4 ASPH is more mundane, though excellent of course - but it's not a clear must-have only because the crons are so good. (Plus, to me, I never shoot 50mm; I've owned many and the only time they got used were on crop cameras.) I like the 75/2 because of how it looks, but very rarely if ever prefer to open it up past f/5.6, simply because I can't get enough in focus. It, too, has a very nice background rendition, color, and tone. At f/2 it's a PJ tool IMO. The exception to fast lenses, I think might be a 21/1.4 - I could definitely see one of those in my bag one day!

    Oh well, just my handful of pennies worth of opinion. It comes down to what you shoot and how you like it to look. And this probably could be discussed ad nauseam. My opinion on your particular quandary though would be: if you want the look of the nocti, that's the lens you want because nothing else will look like it. Otherwise, unless you do PJ work the extra stop of the lux just adds bulk to carry around because it has no practical use over a cron since even f/2 is pretty darn shallow focus.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Ashwin:
    Tremendous .95 images. The first one is pure magic. I've tried the Noct 1.0 and didn't really care for it. Not a whole lot different from my CV Nokton 1.1 and although a stop faster than my 50mm Lux ASPH, not as sharp wide open and a bit of a beast to lug about.
    Rich

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    The Beauty of the Noctilux (and its internet Myth) is that people think they know it but they don't.
    Just like the 50 Lux Asph, which is very far from being too "clinical". As a matter of fact, the 50 lux asph has a very pre-asph signature to it except that it's sharp.

    Out of these 10 pictures, 7 are from the Noctilux f1.0 and 3 are from the 50 lux asph. Can anyone tell them apart?



















    Last edited by NB23; 8th March 2011 at 19:30.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    I have bought and sold the old style Nocti three times over the last 5 years -I dont like the balance of the lens on camera I love the look wide open ...


    Is it my eyes - or is it a strange concidence that the great majority of shots posted - are not in focus - anywhere on the frame...

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I have bought and sold the old style Nocti three times over the last 5 years -I dont like the balance of the lens on camera I love the look wide open ...


    Is it my eyes - or is it a strange concidence that the great majority of shots posted - are not in focus - anywhere on the frame...
    Depends on where one chooses to set their focus....

    Sorry, I had to...this is a very selective focus lens, to state the utterly obvious...
    Ashwin Rao
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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by C_R View Post
    This and several of your horse photos- WOW!!!!! Beautiful stuff!

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    NB23 brings up a very good point -- that outside the situations where you are shooting .95 or f/1 in broad daylight, it is very hard to tell these lenses apart. For every photographer who uses that f/1 and f/.95 in a creative way, I would say there are ten who would be happier and better-served with the 1.4 or f/2 lens. The Noctiluxes are big, heavy, focus only to 1m and are spectacularly expensive. They are not a "sensible" buy in any way, so if you are looking for the better overall lens, there is no question that it is a summilux or summicron. And before anyone freaks out, let me add that the Noctiluxes ARE good lenses, they perform very well compared to basically anyone else's 50mm lenses. AND, the creative possibilities of the Noctiluxes are real and unique compared to the other 50mm lenses Leica offers. I just think too often people get seduced by these lenses only to realize that they actually don't work for them at all.
    I recently had a visitor to my studio who was interested in an M9 and a full stable of M lenses, including the .95 Noctilux. When he got a chance to try the M9, almost every photo he took was out of focus, even with normal lenses -- he was getting on in years and his eyes just could not use the rangefinder. Had he not tried it, he would have spent thousands of dollars on a system that he couldn't use! This is often the case with Noctilux buyers as well -- they are very hard to find and try, and people see some nice photos and imagine it is just like any other lens, only with f/0.95-1, this isn't the case!

    P.S. The low-light issue is a bit of a gotcha as well -- if you are really serious about photographing at night, the 35/1.4 ASPH or 35/1.2 Voigtlander are better options -- they are easier to handhold because of lighter size and they have more depth of field so that you get more in focus...which is usually what you want if you are just concerned about photographing in low light, rather than trying to make razor-thin DOF. Also, the wider angle view minimizes the apparent camera movement. And of course, with the M9 going up to ISO 2500, f/1 is not quite as critical as it was when the Noctilux was introduced way back in the day. But if you are really really really serious about low-light, why are you looking at a Leica? The D3s and 24/1.4, 35/1.4 and 50/1.4 are really in a different league.

    Ok, I hope I have not stepped on too many toes, believe me, I love Leica as much (more?) than the next guy, I just think the Noctiluxes are nearly as specialized as 800mm telephotos -- indispensable for some people, but an unwise choice for most anyone else!
    Girls in funny hats agree, the 50/1.4 ASPH is a better bet for all around use:
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Nenad, excellent use of the Nocti and Lux. That image of the kids (#6) just blows my mind. From the color palette of some of these captures, I'm guessing K64?

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    NB23 I am not sure you could tell them apart, at current apertures, I think to tell them apart, it would take a very trained eye, someone with complete experience with lenses, even then, unless shot near wide open, would be tough.

    Footnote, as a courtesy, if you don't use your name in your forum ID some way, sign your name in your signature or put it in your location like I did, Doug from East TN... It's helpful.

    Doug

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by JPlomley View Post
    Nenad, excellent use of the Nocti and Lux. That image of the kids (#6) just blows my mind. From the color palette of some of these captures, I'm guessing K64?
    Hi. Thanks!

    They're all Kodachrome except the BW which is APX400 and the last shot which is Velvia.
    As a matter of fact, I'm in the middle of scanning all my Kodachrome shots from these past 2 years. My very own kodachrome project involving four places in relative depth: Montreal, NYC, Paris and Serbia. To be continued...

    People in general say that Kodachromes did Reds and Yellows well (and they are right), but the real Kodachrome secret is in the shades of white. At least that's my experience. There's that indescribable tonality...

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    well... the OP said ad nauseam, so here goes my take on this subject : I faced the dillema thankfully a few years ago ( 4 I believe ), way before the M9 sees the light and the M8 was just the new thing in town.

    I've had the 50 1.4 lux pre asph, known by having a delicate and exquiste bokeh, vs the more sharp and clynical 50 1.4 asph, known as one if the not the best 50mm in the world.

    why I choose the pre asph vs the asph version ? tested both extensively and just found the asph version a bit too "cool" , as in cold not as in groovyness.

    Leica lens are not cheap and myself when I buy them, I like to keep them for years to come. for me they have two categories that they fall into : lens with character, distinctive signatures that tell them apart - even if they are a bit flawed in the flare, sharpness or other "techical" department, and other lens that are techincal milestones.

    that is for me, the huge difference from a 50 1.4 asph and a 50 1.4 pre asph : pre asph has bags of character and the asph is a more cynical , objective focused , sharper lens.

    my OWN problem with lens like this is that they rely much on technical stuff ( sharpness, flare resistance, etc etc ) that can easily be comparable and surpassed by the next lens.

    Lens with character , on the other hand, are timeless - again, even if a bit flawed on the sharpness department - they do not rely entirely on objective measurement of their qualities.

    So... with these forewords ( well text actually ) in mind, I happily owned a 50mm 1.4 pre asph until the day that a few ba&*$! went to my home and took my photographic stufff and the tv.

    After insurance payout, I was doing the best thing related to Leica besides taking pictures : buying Leica stuff.

    I always heard about the "unicorn lens" ,as I call it : the noctilux and those who didnt had one, lets face it, its because the thing its bloody expensive.

    At the time, my decision was much easier, because there was several iterations of the 1.0 lens ( no 0.95 was born or even thought about ) to choose from, which have the same image quality and differs on the hood design.

    Was also my birthday and I saw a used but mint noctiliux at my prefered dealer for a spanking good price so I thought - what the heck, its my bday, going to use it and if I dont like it, I can resell it and do not loose money.

    This was 4-5 years ago.

    Still have her today and you cannot take it away from me AT ALL.

    Its used everyday ? No
    It is heavy ? for a M lens, you nuts ? its like handholding a Canon 600 F4 every day - hell yes
    Has a quirky throw for focus ? yup
    Hard to focus ? at 1.0 ? oh yes

    but when everything comes down together, when everything is right, it produces THOSE kinda images that only a Leica and a Noctilux can. and that is priceless.

    Can the 50 1.4 asph produce the same images? no. very close ? yes. for hell lot less money ? yes.

    I used the 0.95 lens for a while ( my new local dealer lend me one ) and its a gorgeous lens - the flaws are corrected, its sharper, flare is controlled. they improve the technical side of it - but at some expense - its soul.

    Being a silly imperfect lens its wake makes the fun out of use them. Because when you get everything right, you get a nice self tap on the back, knowing that it was hard but you did it.

    0.95 nocti the best of them all ? yes, but i wouldnt trade my 1.0 for it. well I dont.

    Noctiluxes are very specialized lens - problably one of the very few in the M lens.

    you can argue that you can replace it with a 50mm cron - and you can and you SHOULD if you shoot it F2 all the time. Noctiluxes are Noctiluxes when used wide open. At 1.4 any Summilux beats it down in sharpness.

    If you can afford a 1.0 lens, buy it and you wont regret it - plus specially now with this M9 hysteria, prices are soaring again.

    If money is really a concern, if you want the poor man noctilux - try to search for a 50mm 1.4 PRE ASPH - gorgeous lens as well

    But go for the Nocti if you can - fantastic lens and a joy to use ;


    Pai by Goncalo Proenca, on Flickr


    Raquel nas escadarias da Peneda by Goncalo Proenca, on Flickr


    L1003395 by Goncalo Proenca, on Flickr



    Raquel @ Funchal by Goncalo Proenca, on Flickr


    one word of warning though : Noctiluxes are the Porsche and the Ferraris of the Leica lens lineup. Like I usually say a Porsche is a fantastic car and does more than you average A-to-B car for a LOT more money. But when you start comparing them and justifying them, then you know - you dont need one and dont buy one, because a A-to-B car will suffice.

    you can only justify their prices ( Noctilux and Porsches ) with your need for that passion that they can provide.

    because reallistically you can find same things ( other lens and other cars ) that do almost as good for 1/5 or 1/10 of the price.

    thank God that sometimes we can have a splash of insanity in our rational lives that's how I justify my Noctilux and the Porsche.

    Thankfully, she thinks that the Noctilux was bought by Voigtlander prices....

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Finally had time to read this entire thread rather than just skimming it.

    When I shot film Ms the ISO's were restrictive for what and how I shoot ... more blurred images due to subject or camera movement than to focus issues. Leica M was chosen because of the fast max apertures to get the shutter speed up. I shoot in poor light more often than not, so for 35mm focal length and above f/2 didn't cut it. Simple as that.

    In good light, stopped down, all the lenses are great ... even lenses from other top-drawer makers like Zeiss. It is the Leica M faster aperture lens performance wide open that sets it apart IMHO.

    Digital Ms aren't a whole lot better with ISOs ... better, but not by much. So, for me the fastest aperture M lenses are all I am interested in. 21/1.4ASPH, 28/2ASPH, 35/1.4ASPH, 50/0.95ASPH, 75/1.4 (a select 6 bit dead-nuts focusing version that took me a year to find) ... and my much less used 90/2.8 (mostly for portraits outdoors). If Leica chooses to offer a 28/1.4 I will be first in line.

    I'm pretty devoted to the M, have been for decades ... so I have two M9s ... one set up for 21mm to 35mm ... and the other devoted to the bigger, fast lenses ... this camera has a thumbs-Up and 1.4X mag always mounted. With a ThumbsUp the bigger lenses are wonderful to work with ... and provide the steading mass needed for the low light work they are designed for. The mag is a miracle of improvement in quick focus accuracy for my older eyes. Both cameras have the RRS Arca base plates for monopod work * (see below).

    I've owned and used all of the 50mms at one time or another, including the Nocti 50/1 at least 3 times, and two 50/1.4ASPHs ( one reg. black and the other a Chrome retro version) When it comes to getting the subject in focus in low light the 0.95 beats the f/1 by a light year. Lots of people never got on with the f/1 because of this (including the focus shift that needed to be mastered through highly disciplined attention to focusing technique that is not necessary with the 0.95).

    However, unless on a tripod/monopod, I don't necessarily see the 50/0.95 as a lens to be using at minimum focusing distance at max aperture ... which oddly many people seem to use as a measure but can't seem to hold still well enough to pull off. My 75/1.4 is better for filling a frame at f/1.4 anyway. It is when shooting more pictorial scenes that includes the minimal light sources that the Nocti 0.95 flexes it unique abilities and rendering qualities.

    At over $10 Grand, the Nocti 0.95 is the most expensive lens I have ever owned including MF lenses like the S2 sports, or the $7K Hasselblad 35-90. There is simply no practical or logical way to justify it ... except those times when f/1.4 simply falls short ... which is often for me and the subjects and places where I shoot available light. Then the reasoning is crystal clear, and the justification is in the pictures captured.

    -Marc

    *BTW, I just ordered a Kirk Strap Pod ... an adjustable strap you step on and pull taut ... that has an Arca QR for the camera. I got it for an upcoming wedding reception shoot on a boat at night where a tripod/monopod transfers to many vibrations. I'll report on it once I get a chance to work with it.

    Here are a few snaps ... both doggie shots done with the same lens ... one wide open which the 50/1.4 can't do, the other stopped down which is similar to 50/1/4 ASPH in feel. Same 0.95 for the girl on beach done at f/1.2 to get the shutter speed up for a shot with movement ... but renders like the 50/1.4 Lux

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    The 0.95 Noctilux has severe CA problems wide open. You easily get a lot of purple fringing, which I find kind of disappointing for such an expensive lens.

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    I can generally agree with the sentiment that the Noctilux ASPH is the same as the Lux ASPH, but with an added stop. Its bokeh at F.95 has a different character and in some ways, that seems to be the only aperture worth using because everything else could be shot with a Lux ASPH for alot less money. As a low-light lens, I'm not as impressed with the Noctilux ASPH. It's an extremely heavy lens (1 pound 11 ounces) and that introduces camera / lens shake, so it's best to shoot at higher shutter speed.

    I bought the Noctilux ASPH in hopes of shooting low-light at the ISO 800-1000 range, thus avoiding ISO 1250 and above. As it turns out, I'm not seeing an ISO benefit because the added aperture is being used for higher shutters to increase the keeper ratio. This is where I agree very much with Stuart - for low-light use I get further with the 35 Lux ASPH because it can be shot at lower shutter speeds. The added DOF mitigates focus errors as well. But what the 35 Lux won't produce is hyper bokeh. It can produce good bokeh, but nothing extreme.

    In terms of bokeh, I think it's a toss up between the Lux ASPH and Nocti ASPH. The Lux ASPH can be shot at closer distances, thus shortening the DOF and accentuating the bokeh. I've also owned the Noctilux version 4, and the ASPH version is better in terms of wide open performance. Bokeh is a toss up; the version 4 had more character, but the sharpness wasn't really there (at least with the copies I tried).

    Everyone has different needs, reasons, etc., so this question will never have a simple yes / no outcome. If considering or buying a Noctilux ASPH, have a specific purpose / rationale for doing so. If there isn't a specific need, then my recommendation would be the 50 Lux ASPH and with the money saved, get a 35 Lux ASPH --- and there is still cash left over!

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    Re: Please discuss ad nauseam, 50mm Noct vs Lux

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Spinnler View Post
    The 0.95 Noctilux has severe CA problems wide open. You easily get a lot of purple fringing, which I find kind of disappointing for such an expensive lens.
    It would interesting to know if film shooters get as much Purple Fringing.

    I think it may be more image blooming which CCDs are more prone to, combined with the slightly weaker IR filter of the M9. Fringe reduction in LR pretty much eliminates it.

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