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Personal experiences with the Noctilux f/0.95?


jayvernl
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I tested my Nocti at F2 vs my Summilux at f2, slightly disappointed in the Nocti to be honest..

 

Here's the full image at F2

 

 

 

 

 

and here is the RHS at F2 enlarged

 

 

and here is the summilux RHS same aperture

 

 

 

I use the Nocti a lot at 0.95 for corporate work or wedding receptions etc, but I think I will stick to the Summilux for say group photos..

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The Noctilux is an art lens. Its renderings are quite unique. I've traveled with mine a lot with it hanging around my neck and it's heavy. It's not as heavy as some of my Canon L lenses which might not feel as heavy on a 5D series Canon. Something about my Leica M240 makes the Noctilux feel heavy. Maybe it's the way it's balanced...I don't know.

 

The photos you'll get can be out of this world if you're one of the people who likes that look. I'm one of them, and I will say that my Noctilux photos have generated more oohs and ahhs than those with my other lenses.

The 50 Summilux is certainly a more practical choice. It's a fabulous lens that does 98% of what the Noctiulx can do. That last 2% will cost you dearly, weight you down, but can deliver some remarkable photos when you learn to use it.

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In my mind, balance is about when you feel the camera in your hand (subjective) and when you place it on a flat surface (objective).

 

On a flat surface the 240 with an f/2.0 APO 50 Summicron sits on its base.

 

On a flat surface the 240 with a 50 f/0.95 Noctilux falls on its nose ... the end of the lens.

It is too heavy, too cumbersome, and a waste of money, probably best used in a studio with an EVF.

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To my mind, the Noctilux is fundamentally the same as the Summilux, with the ability to go down to f/0.95; but, it just has that little bit of extra character.  I can't tell you what it is, but I like it a lot.  I would happily use it as my only 50mm.

 

As for focussing, I also have the 75 Summilux and AA 90 Summicron - their depths of field are far shallower wide open than the Noctilux.  Like Ian (above), I've never had a problem focussing these lenses; whereas, I could never focus the 75 Summicron reliably.  When focus is critical, I do use a 1.4x magnifier - works a treat.

 

I started with a 35mm Summicron - for some reason, 35mm has never been my thing.  If I were buying again, I'd get the Noctilux and the 28 Summilux (another fantastic lens), then add a 21mm and perhaps then get either the 75 Summilux or the 90 Summicron.  the 75 Summilux is very close in focal length to the Noctilux, but it is a magical lens - soft and dreamy wide open, tack sharp stopped down.

 

That said, my Noctilux now lives on my SL - a great combination and one of those rare events (like the 28 Summilux) where an M lens seems to perform better on the SL than on the M.  The 50 Summilux tends to stay on my Monochrom.  Before you take the plunge on the M(240), I would recommend that you wait to see what Thursday brings - if the M10 has the improved EVF from the TL camera and the sensor from the SL, it will be a significant improvement over the M(240).

 

Good luck, and have fun

John

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I tested my Nocti at F2 vs my Summilux at f2, slightly disappointed in the Nocti to be honest..

 

Here's the full image at F2

 

 

 

 

 

and here is the RHS at F2 enlarged

 

 

and here is the summilux RHS same aperture

 

 

 

I use the Nocti a lot at 0.95 for corporate work or wedding receptions etc, but I think I will stick to the Summilux for say group photos..

 

I see, I'd imagine that's expected though with the larger barrel distortion of the Nocti? For the bulk of images that will be taken with this lens the corners *should* be OOF anyway, so center sharpness would be a bigger deciding factor personally.

 

That said, my Noctilux now lives on my SL - a great combination and one of those rare events (like the 28 Summilux) where an M lens seems to perform better on the SL than on the M.  The 50 Summilux tends to stay on my Monochrom.  Before you take the plunge on the M(240), I would recommend that you wait to see what Thursday brings - if the M10 has the improved EVF from the TL camera and the sensor from the SL, it will be a significant improvement over the M(240).

 

I'm waiting on the EVF and sensor as well, I've always wondered why the EVF for the M would be any inferior to that of the T, especially since both are optional extras anyway. More wishful thinking would be releasing one similar to the SL; if you are going to add the same sensor you'd might as well do the same with the EVF no?

 

From what I've seen the relative sizes of the SL and Noctilux complement each other really well, and I'm sure optically also - I'm afraid that I will be sidetracked further if I do try that combination out in the future!

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks everyone, these are very helpful 

 

Right now I'm leaning towards the Summilux, but it's always a nagging feeling that I'm buying a very similar lens that I've already been using for many years (Canon EF 50mm f1.4), and that if I had to buy Leica glass I would want to go all the way. Does it perform exactly like the Noctilux at the same f-stop, or are there any optical aspects that are superior/not as good? That'll make the choice a lot easier. I've heard that the Lux is essentially an APO corrected lens without the name, haven't read the same for the Nocti though.

 

Another possibility is biting the bullet and getting a 2 lens setup with the Noctilux for 'those' kinds of photos, and a much smaller (and cheaper, relatively!) lens like the Elmarit 28 for the 'full' rangefinder experience. Then again there's always the danger of using one 90% of the time......

 

This is also very tempting.

 

 

Trust me it's not similar to any 50 1.4 you've ever used. The 50Lux asph is tiny (compared to others) and gathers light like no other lenses, except for Leica glass.

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Echo that. The Summilux 50 asph is a very special lens. More versatile than the Noctilux, it still has an unique character, exquisite image quality and is plenty fast for low light and subject separation.

 

To me the Noctilux is a specialist lens; handled properly and by a photographer with a very clear view of his photographic intention it is capable of results that no other lens can render.  I'm a bit envious of their talent

However, I see far too many photographs with a proud Noctilux caption that could just as well have been taken by any other fastish 50 mm.

i'm not going to add to that prestige portfolio, I will take the Summilux over the Noctilux any day.

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I see, I'd imagine that's expected though with the larger barrel distortion of the Nocti? For the bulk of images that will be taken with this lens the corners *should* be OOF anyway, so center sharpness would be a bigger deciding factor personally.

 

 

I'm waiting on the EVF and sensor as well, I've always wondered why the EVF for the M would be any inferior to that of the T, especially since both are optional extras anyway. More wishful thinking would be releasing one similar to the SL; if you are going to add the same sensor you'd might as well do the same with the EVF no?

 

From what I've seen the relative sizes of the SL and Noctilux complement each other really well, and I'm sure optically also - I'm afraid that I will be sidetracked further if I do try that combination out in the future!

The M10 will never have the same sensor as the SL; although both sensors have been designed with legacy wideangle lenses in mind, an M camera will always be biased to getting the utmost out of M lenses.

 

Nor is a state-of-the-art EVF high on the priority list. The essence of the M is the optical viewfinder, the EVF nothing more than an accessory. The size and design of the camera provoke heat management problems - the processing power is limited, restricting EVF performance.

Edited by jaapv
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You could get the 50 APO (f/2), which is a joy to use and an optical masterpiece, then if/when you yearn for more character or shallower DOF you could go for the 50/0.95.

 

The risk of getting the 50/1.4, while an excellent all-around lens, is that it does not perform as well as the APO at f/2 or smaller in my opinion, and of course does not have the character of the 50/0.95 larger than f/2. The lux might be the best overall “if you could only pick one” lens of the three, but the other two are world-class for what each does... and fortunately you are allowed to own more than one lens. Of course the cost of the 0.95 + APO is large, but from experience that combination is stellar for just about any 50 mm need.

Edited by onasj
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i just realized that this is an old thread resurrected 

Yeah, but I can’t read this info about the noctilux enough; my bank account is the better for it.

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That'll be a weight off your mind, you bank balance, and your camera. The 50mm Noctilux 0.95 is too great a weight unless in a studio ... on a tripod.

 

I bought one, hated it, and sold it within weeks in exchange plus cash for the 50mm APO Summicron f/2.0.

The Summicron is almost permanently on my 240-P. What an amazing lens! Light and small rather than heavy and huge ... the Noctilux was so huge that it blocked the viewfinder.

 

I can understand why anyone would desire the 0.95 abilities wide open. For indoor studio work it is great. Carry it for any distance and you will want to rid yourself of a heavy lens that is useless for landscape photography. The depth of field at f/0.95 is useless for landscape photos IMO. I'd rather have the possibility of f/22 and good tripod.

 

Each to their own.

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