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Thread: Another (stupid) lens question

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    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Another (stupid) lens question

    This time relating to the 50mm focal length. I have the 50 cron (not the new but the latest version), the current 50 lux ASPH, and the 1.0 Noctilux. Most of the time I used the lux, but recently, I also rediscovered the cron, which is such a nice, small, sweet lens and very sharp indeed. The Noctilux comes out only for special occasions, when I go shooting Noctilux.

    So basically, all is fine, except that I am thinking whether I should sell the lux and the 1.0 Noctilux and get the 0.95 instead. I know, this is a luxury problem (and actually not really a problem), but something I am turning around in my head for quite a while. The money I would get for the lux and the Nocti would not quite cover the cost of the 0.95, but it would get me a long way (and I purchased both at the right moment). Any thoughts?
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Logic on: Why would you sell your most used lens and buy one similar to one that you do not use very often?

    Logic Off: Sell the Noctilux and Buy an M9 Monochrome. Two 50s for two bodies. Although I am not buying 28 more Leica Bodies, hence the "Logic Off".

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    More information about what you enjoy shooting and how you use the 3 lenses you have would yield more relevant responses . I view the 50 s as having very distinctive renderings and there are differences even between versions of for example the summiluxes .

    I have each of the mentioned lenses and select the most appropriate for a given assignment . I find the 50 summilux asph to have the greatest utility ....its a superb lens and is small enough to make handling on an M9 exceptional. I prefer the summicron for strong light e.g. the tropics when managing contrast and holding detail in bold colors is important . The Noctilux 0.95 is IMHO produces the best IQ of any of the M lenses . It has a clarity of transmission that can be easily seen in images taken at any aperture . But its large heavily and slow to focus . So each alternative has strengths and weaknesses.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    I would say sell them all except for the 50/1.4 ASPH -- it is barely larger than the summicron, performs on par, is a stop faster and more flare resistant. The Noctilux is a beast...if you are dead set on shallow depth of field and pleasing bokeh, I would take the 75mm summilux over either Noctilux any day. Plus, it is a different focal length (and very useful...to me at least).

    BUT, it seems my logic does not seem to mesh so well with most folks here, so I am guessing most people here will tell you to get the .95 or to keep all three (and buy the .95!).
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    I would say sell them all except for the 50/1.4 ASPH -- it is barely larger than the summicron, performs on par, is a stop faster and more flare resistant. The Noctilux is a beast...if you are dead set on shallow depth of field and pleasing bokeh, I would take the 75mm summilux over either Noctilux any day. Plus, it is a different focal length (and very useful...to me at least).

    BUT, it seems my logic does not seem to mesh so well with most folks here, so I am guessing most people here will tell you to get the .95 or to keep all three (and buy the .95!).
    I must agree...I had the Noct and sold in fdavor of the 50/1.4 which was my "go to" lens (when I wasnt 'walking around" with the 28/2!)

    Also there are some who like the look of the 1.0 vs .95 Noct (see some comments in the Posts and some sales)

    Of course, the weight is a factor and the 1.4 is a stop better but not much heavier than the cron.

    All great lenses, but if I left one on, it wouldnt be the Noct.

    Regards
    Victor

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    I'm sure my view will differ from most others. I had a Cron 50, sold it to get a Lux 50 asph, and--surprise--sold it to get a Cron 50. Ahem. Why? I like the rendering of the Cron much more than the Lux, which is too perfect and Karbeian for me. I have not had a Nocti, but, if I did, (as you'd expect) I would want the f/1 and not the f/.95, which, again, is too perfect and Karbeian for me. So, if I were you, I would sell your Lux 50 and keep your other two 50s. That would give you two lenses with a rendering that is part classic, part modern--with one of the lenses small and usable in most settings and the other lens, while large, a marvel for low-light, shallow DoF use. However, while I have played with Noctis a few times, I have never owned one.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    I would say sell them all except for the 50/1.4 ASPH -- it is barely larger than the summicron, performs on par, is a stop faster and more flare resistant. The Noctilux is a beast...if you are dead set on shallow depth of field and pleasing bokeh, I would take the 75mm summilux over either Noctilux any day. Plus, it is a different focal length (and very useful...to me at least).

    BUT, it seems my logic does not seem to mesh so well with most folks here, so I am guessing most people here will tell you to get the .95 or to keep all three (and buy the .95!).
    Stuart, I would have to agree completely with your assesment of the 75mm Lux. It's an astonishing versitile lens with a wide open rendering that looks similar to the 50mm Lux pre asph but with a bokeh that resembles the f1 Noct but more controlled and neutral as opposed to swirly. Upon stopping down, the lens has a more modern look but not clinical in nature. One other advanatge of the 75mm Lux is the relative lack of focus shift.

    Regarding choice of the various 50's...I as others have pointed out, could make a case for each and it mostly depends on the type of look one is hoping to achieve for their images. This more than anything else I believe should dictate their (your) decision.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 17th July 2012 at 05:58.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    I was thinking along similar lines. I use my 50mm Summicron and Noctilux .95 the most since if I want compact I use the cron and for low light or for narrow DOF I use the Noctilux. In addition, the ASPH Noctilux is as good as the ASPH Summilux stopped down. This leaves the 50 Summilux ASPH, excellent as it is, in the middle ground and not used as much.

    So I agree that the 50 cron and the 50 Noctilux .95 may make a good combo.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    The 50 asph has been my main 50mm for a long time.
    Some years ago I had a Noctilux 1.0 for some yearys, and while I liked the drawing I didnt like the slight focus shift the lens showed and sold the lens (the buyer didnt mind).

    Then I had a phase of small equipment and added a 50 Summarit for its small size - and find this to be a great lens as well.
    I allways liked the shots I saw from the 0.95 in the internet, and some months ago had the chance to buy one. Since then this has been my favortie M lens.
    1) this lens seems to focus erfect on my M9 and I get quite many keepers even at f.95 and f1.4.
    2) The bokeh is just the right balance for me between smooth but not boaring; It does look special; shallow DOF is not allways the way to go but in many case I do like shallow DOF which focuses the look on the subject and creates a dream-like concentration and look.
    3) I also really do like the colors. I find that blues do very slightly look a little more cyan, while the 50/1.0asph in comparison is tweaked a little more towards red.
    4) However the Noctilux is the only M-lens where I would say it is to big and too heavy for my taset

    Now I had kind of the same problem of you:
    - Should I sell the Summilux? -> So far I didnt because I think it is the perfect compromise; I am also not shure if I wanted to bring a Noctilux on a vacation trip where it gets eventually some abuse
    - Should I sell the Noctilux...yes, it is unique and I love it but is that little difference worth 8k Euro??? - As long as I dont need the money or as long as my stomach feeling doesnt change I try to forget the price and value and enjoy that lens a lot.

    My plan is to wait for 1-2 years, see how often I use which lens and then decide. Now if price do degrade/start loosing faster their value then I might react and try to come to a decision earlier.

    No matter what you do with the Summilux asph I am sure you will love the Noctilux. By the way I think the look you create with the Summicron is not far from type of look from the S2 (besides the S2 being even sharper and more detailed).
    But the Noctilux look is something you can not get with the S2.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    George, do what you do, I suggest you wait until Photokina, to see what Leica has in store.

    The f/0.95 is unique but it presupposes quite a few challenges and certainly isn't for everybody.

    The Summicron 50 is fantastic for what it is.

    The current Summilux is about as good as it gets in terms of size, speed and performance. It seems peerless, for now.

    Wait until September and see what they do in terms of possible bodies and all that that entails.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    well, not so stupid lens question.

    I have my Noctilux f1.0 for years, as my only 50mm lens.

    Had 1.4 ASPH, Cron and the likes.

    Sold them off, because in the end of the day, I want the noctilux. Mine is tack sharp, no focus deviation at all - and I'm trading it now for a 0.95.

    It has the nocti character but the sharpness from a ASPH from 0.95 and up - something a 1.0 doesn't have.

    When people say "sell the nocti and buy a 75mm summilux for the bokeh " is because :

    - most likely never owned one or both
    - most likely shot with either

    I've owned both and they are different beasts - the higher magnification of the 75 doesn't help get sharp shots, dof is similar but bokeh is worse on the summilux - to my eyes at least and quite noticeable.

    Waiting for Photokina seems a good advice if you ... are looking for a new camera.

    If you are considering a 0.95, no noctilux is coming out at Kina, so buying now actually is better - if M10 actually comes out with LiveView et all, people might find that noctis are easy to focus and so on. I payed 3000usd for my nocti years ago ( M8 times ) and I sold it now for 6 grand almost - M9 did inflate its prices. Suspect that M10 will help that a bit as well, if it comes out with Live View - which I think it will ( educated guess only, do not have friends / contacts / inside information )

    Lens stay. Bodies go.

    If I were in your shoes, I would either sell them and buy the new nocti ( thats what I'm doing today to be honest ) or get a second good priced body.

    Keep the Noctilux - if you are used to the size / weight, you are past 95% of the grief of owning one : they trade hands frequently because its a magical, mythical lens that everyone wants to try, but not everyone can keep up with the size & weight - and they sell them off again.

    If you are OK with size and weight, keep it. There is no substitute for a Noctilux - rather than a better Noctilux

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Whats missing is a photographic context ..what will you be shooting and under what conditions? How important is the aesthetic you can produce with the lens? Are you using two bodies ?

    I learned to shoot with two M bodies almost from the beginning . How else can you have the best FOV available when an opportunity occurs . Rendering differences are important but a distant 2nd to having the right FOV available . So I start with the 28/2 on one body and normally the 50/2 or 50/1.4 on the other . This allows you to explore the subject from different views .

    When I walk out with my two M9 s ..I expect to have to walk at least a few miles . When I encounter interesting opportunities ....I expect to work fast . I shoot at a rate of 50-100 captures per hour . In this context ..either Noctilux is too heavy,too slow and too obvious .

    Thats the purely analytical view ...but photography has a big emotional component ...are you excited about the type of images you can produce ? Walk across a bridge in Paris at dawn ..which lens do you want ? For me its the Noct 0.95 .

    Don t wait .....buy the Noct 0.95 while you can and don t look back .

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    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Thanks to all for the very helpful thoughts. I probably get the 0.95. As Roger pointed out, there is this emotional element that is very important, in particular, for someone like me who has little time to shoot and who does not do it for a living. If I get it, I will sell the 1.0 (I can still use the 75 lux, which I bought a long time ago) to get the creamy look (although it does render differently than the nocti 1.0).

    Anyway, decisions, decisions -- but these are fun decisions and debates
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    proence wrote---->>>>"When people say "sell the nocti and buy a 75mm summilux for the bokeh " is because :

    - most likely never owned one or both
    - most likely shot with either"<<<<

    Regarding my comments (above), I've had the opportunity to shoot with all the lenses being discussed in this thread and while neither the 75mm Lux and Noct (especially the f1) are not near identical substitutes for one another (especially in the Bokeh department) there are some who like the shallow depth of field of the f1 Noct but neither the swirley bokeh nor quite noticable focus shift. In this case, the 75mm Lux with it's own unique rendering and set of optical characteristics, offers an interesting and alternative choice for some. I personally believe the 75mm Lux pairs extremely well with a fast 35mm focal length lens (as opposed to a 50mm). Simply some comments on what is sometimes an often overlooked lens (the 75mm Lux) that still is relatively affordable when compared to the prices of the other lenses mentioned. The 75mm Lux is most like a 50mm Lux pre asph but with a neutral, well controlled and much shallower depth of field than any 50mm f1.4 lens. It takes a exceptional copy of this lens to appreciate what it offers.

    As for the pairing of a 50mm cron and 0.95 Noct, it's close to ideal. I think it's a luxury to have both he 0.95 Noct and a 50mm Lux asph and although there will always be a case for their slight differences in rendering, they are more closely related optically than any of the other lenses being discussed. Another nice pairing is a 50mm f1 Noct and 50mm Lux asph, each lending to a completely different look.

    So many wonderful lenses and as Roger and others have elaborated on...it depends on the look, FOV, type of shooting being employed and expectations of how the lens will render an image, that will more often than not steer you in the direction of which lens would be most applicable for the task at hand. Just some personal thoughts.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 17th July 2012 at 06:41.

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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Not sure I wish I had these problems. :-) The Nocti is great, so are the 'Lux and 'Cron. Sounds like you really want that f/0.95 Nocti. Go for it!

    G

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    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Update. Got the 0.95 today and have not yet sold any of the other. Reason is twofold: I tested the 0.95 and really liked it. Before I could get it, I went on a wedding of a cousin of my wife with the 1.0 and really liked the results. The 50 lux is simply too good to let go; and the 50 cron is sharp and compact. Plus, I currently don't have a cash flow problem. If I would sell any of the other lenses (or not buy the 0.95) I would either leave the money in the bank or put it on the stock market. I figure these Leica lenses are likely a better investment (and more fun to use).

    The bad thing is that my M9 is currently in Solms. It was supposed to be back today but so far hasn't arrived. So I am sitting here with a superb lens and no camera to put it on
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    It's a good problem to have

    I just recently scored a mint 28'Cron off ebay for almost half the retail price... mounted on the M9, but I just don't have time to go out to shoot something.
    David Young
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    Re: Another (stupid) lens question

    Actually "Which 50mm" is never a stupid question. The 50mm vein in Leica M land is very rich indeed. (I actually own or have owned every lens mentioned in this thread!) My current lineup is the .95 Nocti, the current Lux and a dual range summicron. I love them all. I prefer the .95 Nocti's bokeh to the 1.0 - it's less quirky and more predicable. The Nocti, remarkably, outperforms the Lux at every f-stop. It's just amazing, but weights a ton and cuts off a quarter of the the viewfinder.

    The dual range summicron is my most used lens. In terms of corner to corner sharpness and contrast it's comparable to modern lenses by f4.0 or so. It has lovely rendering - many iconic images from the late 50s and the 60s were shot with it. The rigid summicron is optically the same without the need have the close focus cam machine off. These lenses were produced in large quantities and are available used at reasonable prices.

    Before deciding on our 50mm line ups we should all wait until we've had a chance to consider to new 50 chron Asph, which based on it's mtf charts may set a new standard. I've got one on order (I am going to sell something!) - delivery is expected in November.

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