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Thread: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

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    Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Just wanted to share the news with y'all -

    Added today is the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH review.

    The Leica Noctilux - a lens that immediately conjures up a variety of responses from photographers, even those that don't shoot a Leica. The lens enjoys an almost mythical status as it belongs to a very select club of ultra-fast lenses. Few commercially available lenses can boast a speed of f/1 (let alone f/0.95). It is also much sought after due to a distinctive character that combines a razor-thin depth of field and relatively strong vignetting when shot wide open. How does the latest incarnation stack up?

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Geez ... do I really want to go read the review that will only cause me heartaches?

    Ok ... off to read it!!
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    LOL! Exercise all due caution - I'm not responsible for any consequences.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Too late ... may have to call off the wedding and use the funds to buy a Noct!
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Armanius View Post
    Too late ... may have to call off the wedding and use the funds to buy a Noct!
    Ha! Well, in a matter of which I have some experience... I'd recommend going with the Noctilux as well.
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    This is a nice review!
    Just after talking myself into slower lenses for its portability (and I still like the small lenses for many occasions for sure) I also got a Noctilux and shooting it over the weekend I am very happy with it.
    In difference to many I would not say that the Noctilux is as good as the Summilux when stopped down a little. My feeling is that I prefer the images from the Noctilux even when both are stopped down.
    I find the color rendition slightly different (I like the blues and greens from the Noctilux; the Summilux seems to have a little more red in those tones), I like the transition between sharp and unsharp areas in images form the Noctilux.
    The bokeh of the Noctilux is a little more "alive"/ or nervous than that of the Summilux, but for my taste its just right.

    When I first put the Noctilux on the M9 I found it quite heavy, so heavy that it is the first lens which makes me using the handgrip (I have owned it put didnt use it much before).

    I do however admit that I would not spend that much money for a lens if they wouldnt hold their value as good as they do.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Ha! Well, in a matter of which I have some experience... I'd recommend going with the Noctilux as well.
    I won't write anything else just in case you know who ever decides to venture into these forums!!
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    This is a nice review!
    Just after talking myself into slower lenses for its portability (and I still like the small lenses for many occasions for sure) I also got a Noctilux and shooting it over the weekend I am very happy with it.
    Congrats on the Noct! I just got the Lux a couple of days ago with its slow 1.4 aperture. But I have portability!!
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    This is a nice review!
    Just after talking myself into slower lenses for its portability (and I still like the small lenses for many occasions for sure) I also got a Noctilux and shooting it over the weekend I am very happy with it.
    In difference to many I would not say that the Noctilux is as good as the Summilux when stopped down a little. My feeling is that I prefer the images from the Noctilux even when both are stopped down.
    I find the color rendition slightly different (I like the blues and greens from the Noctilux; the Summilux seems to have a little more red in those tones), I like the transition between sharp and unsharp areas in images form the Noctilux.
    The bokeh of the Noctilux is a little more "alive"/ or nervous than that of the Summilux, but for my taste its just right.

    When I first put the Noctilux on the M9 I found it quite heavy, so heavy that it is the first lens which makes me using the handgrip (I have owned it put didnt use it much before).

    I do however admit that I would not spend that much money for a lens if they wouldnt hold their value as good as they do.
    Thank you very much!

    I would agree; the Noctilux does lag behind the Summilux a little in sharpness, especially into the corners. At least until stopped down a fair ways. Even at f/2 it's not quite there yet. The Summilux is just THAT good!

    The bokeh is a little different too. They each have their own charm and you can't go wrong with either. They're just different - yet similar...

    As for weight, yeah. That's a biggie and there's no escaping that. Like I said in the review - it's remarkably dense. Even more so than a Canon EF 50/85L because they're bigger, so you kind of expect the weight... But the Noctilux is something else. I haven't tried using the grip with it yet (I've thus far shunned it with other lenses, including the 50mm f/1.1 Nokton). I might give it another go... I tend to prefer the Thumbs Up though generally and if you're going to wield a Nocti with any regularity I'd almost consider it a necessity. Though as I mention, you're not so much cradling the body so much as the lens now - so if you pay attention to that it's actually not bad. Still, the extra grip is comforting...

    As for resale, hmm. Yeah - they do hold their value if not gain. While I won't get into the details, suffice it to say that my investment is protected even today - let alone in the future. As tempting as the profit aspect might be, I find actually shooting it (as it was intended) to be more rewarding.
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Armanius View Post
    I won't write anything else just in case you know who ever decides to venture into these forums!!
    Ppppssshhh. As if.

    Quote Originally Posted by Armanius View Post
    Congrats on the Noct! I just got the Lux a couple of days ago with its slow 1.4 aperture. But I have portability!!
    Thank you very much! I had first made up my mind to get one late last year and was supposed to get it in December. Not wanting to take any chances on a trip to Germany, I picked up a Summilux (from a forum member here!) "just in case." Well damn, that Summilux has set the bar ridiculously high - and I fell in love with it from the first shot... Which as luck would have it, worked out as I didn't get the Noctilux in December after all.

    Then I get a surprise email a month ago from that same dealer, saying he's got one sitting there... Calling my name... What to do? What the heck, I went for it.
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Armanius View Post
    Congrats on the Noct! I just got the Lux a couple of days ago with its slow 1.4 aperture. But I have portability!!
    Meant to add - yeah... The Summilux would be my choice if I could only choose one lens for that deserted island getaway... It's stupid good, portable, "reasonably priced" and really, just over a stop slower. Its character is divine.

    Congratulations! An outstanding choice, rest assured.
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Meant to add - yeah... The Summilux would be my choice if I could only choose one lens for that deserted island getaway... It's stupid good, portable, "reasonably priced" and really, just over a stop slower. Its character is divine.

    Congratulations! An outstanding choice, rest assured.
    Thanks DN. But I'm still struggling with the "choice." I actually returned FOUR Zeiss lenses that I'd bought three weeks ago to get this one Lux. I jumped at the chance when I was told I could get a new one at "retail" price. The Lux has more contrast and creamier bokeh than my Nokton 50/1.5. But the Nokton is tiny bit sharper in my eyes. So still pondering if giving up four blue dots for one red dot is even remotely sane when the Nokton 50/1.5 is likely good enough for an amateur like me, at 10% of the price of the Lux. But just had to have it ... aargh.

    The Noct is something else though. But definitely beyond my reach. I put my name down for one of those Hyperprimes, if and when they actually start shipping those things to the masses.
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Armanius View Post
    Congrats on the Noct! I just got the Lux a couple of days ago with its slow 1.4 aperture. But I have portability!!
    I would definatly not want to own the Noctilux as the only 50mm lens because of it weight and also because you do not allways / in all conditions want to bring such an expensive lens.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Thank you very much!

    I would agree; the Noctilux does lag behind the Summilux a little in sharpness, especially into the corners. At least until stopped down a fair ways. Even at f/2 it's not quite there yet. The Summilux is just THAT good!

    The bokeh is a little different too. They each have their own charm and you can't go wrong with either. They're just different - yet similar...
    What I meant to say is that I might even very slightly prefer the Noctilux at f1.4 compared to the Summilux due to the color and - as you say- slightly different "chracter". I was surprized how much I like the new Noctilux.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    They must just made a fresh batch - as my new Noctilux also just arrived from Solms. I've been waiting a long time to replace the f/1 lens I sold in the late '90s.

    In comparing it with the summilux ASPH, one very nice improvement is the lack of sticktion - the summilux is very lumpy.
    The summilux is smooth when the lens is held perpendicular to gravity, but in normal operation, the weight of the front elements puts too much torque of the helicoid/FLE mechanism.

    I also think the focus throw on the new noctilux is shorter than the old version, which took a long time to get anywhere.

    The Noctilux , especially the new one, is however too large, heavy and expensive to carry all day on a wrist strap as one can do with a summilux or summicron - so a working system really requires two 50mm lenses.
    I guess a summicron or sonnar would be the ideal companion.

    I hate to imagine what it would be like to carry around the yet larger and heavier SLR magic T/0.95 lens.
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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
    They must just made a fresh batch - as my new Noctilux also just arrived from Solms. I've been waiting a long time to replace the f/1 lens I sold in the late '90s.
    My feeling is they overall pick up with delivering lenses. In the local store there are now at least some new Leica lenses available. Few months ago there was not one left.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    It's the popular stuff that's still a bit rare - for example the new 35 FLE. I do believe the rest are starting to catch up.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Good write up!

    I've had an on-again off-again love affair with the M Noctas over the past 25 or so years. The latest with the 0.95 which I secured new in September of 2009 for $9,200 and just sold for $10,200 in mint condition (no usurious up-charge from me :-)

    I've now replaced it with a brand new 50/1.4 ASPH because the amount of times I could use 0.95 for the subject matter I shoot, and my relentlessly changing eyesight at my age, was making 0.95 less and less of a practical solution. I used the $6K difference to completely revamp my studio lighting set-up ... which has significantly eased the pain of a lost "love"

    I put up a few quick selections on my Smug Mug Nocta gallery ... which also include a few shots with the f/1 version, (check out the f/1 Nocta boring flower shots where one was done at f/1 and the other at f/1.7). Not everything in this gallery was done at f/1 or f/0.95 ... which shows what they can do when stopped down.

    Leica Noctilux - fotografz's Photos | SmugMug

    Marc

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    What I meant to say is that I might even very slightly prefer the Noctilux at f1.4 compared to the Summilux due to the color and - as you say- slightly different "chracter". I was surprized how much I like the new Noctilux.
    Ahh, gotcha.


    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
    They must just made a fresh batch - as my new Noctilux also just arrived from Solms. I've been waiting a long time to replace the f/1 lens I sold in the late '90s.

    In comparing it with the summilux ASPH, one very nice improvement is the lack of sticktion - the summilux is very lumpy.
    The summilux is smooth when the lens is held perpendicular to gravity, but in normal operation, the weight of the front elements puts too much torque of the helicoid/FLE mechanism.

    I also think the focus throw on the new noctilux is shorter than the old version, which took a long time to get anywhere.

    The Noctilux , especially the new one, is however too large, heavy and expensive to carry all day on a wrist strap as one can do with a summilux or summicron - so a working system really requires two 50mm lenses.
    I guess a summicron or sonnar would be the ideal companion.

    I hate to imagine what it would be like to carry around the yet larger and heavier SLR magic T/0.95 lens.
    I've seen mention of the Summilux' focus feel in only one review so far... I checked with my own and didn't notice any change in feel across the range.

    The focus throw on the new Noctilux is indeed shorter. But it's got a heavy/slow "drag" to it. Fast focusing with the Noctilux is sort of an oxymoron I'd say. The Summilux is much quicker to focus - especially with the focus tab.

    As for an "only 50mm" yeah, I'd totally agree. The Noctilux is a beast and I wouldn't choose it alone. Honestly, for all intents and purposes I prefer the Summilux unless I need/want f/0.95.

    I'm working on an SLR Magic review - just waiting on them right now...

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    That's a nice review! I also bought the .95 Noctilux when it was less expensive and before the wait lists. I rationalized the cost by taking into account the money received from selling the 1.0 Noctilux that I got thru the M8 lens coupon. As you all have mentioned, if it wasn't for the weight and size of the thing, it could be a single 50mm lens. I take it if I anticipate needing it's unique drawing capabilities and there have been a number of times where people have picked their pictures taken with this lens as their favorite, even though they know nothing about the lens itself. If I need a lighter weight lens, I'll take the 50mm ASPH Summilux (that I bought a few years ago from here - thanks Marc). Recently, since I have been reading here and there about how good the 50 Summicron was, I finally broke down and bought a chrome version 4 (with tab) and I have to say I'm impressed with it. That lens may be a good smaller companion to the big brother Noctilux.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    i need to become a lot wealthier so i can enjoy these choice bits of Leica gear...

    nice review. i'm delightedly happy with what i have so i'm not pillaging the bank account any time soon ..

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Thanks a lot, guys!

    A few updates - some minor corrections, additional information on focusing and a video that features primarily a Noctilux being assembled at Leica Camera.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Looks like there will be a Nokton-Noktor-Noctilux shoot-out.

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Great review.

    I would recommend the Noctilux as an only lens. I have it, plus a 35 Lux FLE and a 75 Lux and the Noct may as well be welded on I use it that much. Size is really of no concern to me. Once you've had a it a while the fear of using such an expensive lens disappears.

    Only wish is that it would focus as close as my Canon 50 1.2L

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    Re: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Review

    Thanks, Paul.

    I agree, the size/weight isn't a huge concern for me either - I'm used to a Canon 1D and L lenses after all. The RF crowd though? Generally smaller (and lighter) is more the norm.

    I too wish it focused closer. The 50L, indeed... Love that lens.

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