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Agent M10

50mm Summilux-SL or Noctilux

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I recently purchased an SL, and have the 90mm Summicron-SL as my only SL lens. I plan to buy the 50 Summicron-SL when it comes out, but who knows when that will be. So, I am on the fence between the 50mm Summilux-SL and the 0.95 Noctilux in the meantime. Does anyone have experience with both on the SL? and what opinions do you have to either? Looking at the specs, it appears that the Summilux weighs much more than the Noctilux does. On the other hand, the Summilux benefits from Leica's recent innovations. Difficult choice. 

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They are both great.. the SL is very well corrected and precise, but still "warm". The Nocti has a special unique look

I would decide based on what you need - if you need AF, weather sealing etc get the SL50

if you use Ms the Nocti would give you more usage probably

 

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16 minutes ago, FlashGordonPhotography said:

I have both. SL 50 every time for me. I am going to sell my Noctilux because I always use the SL50.

 

Gordon

Hi Gordon, 

Would you mind fleshing out your thoughts for me? I am considering the Noctilux for its low-light capabilities, and it appears to be lighter and smaller than the SL 50. The SL 50, on the other hand, has better IQ and doesn't have the swirly bokeh that the Noctilux produces here and there. I plan to buy the 50 Summicron for size, etc., so the SL 50 seems that it might be a bit redundant once that comes out.

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I use the Noctilux on the SL and it is fantastic if you like what the Noctilux brings. Since you are going to buy the 50mm summicron, I would definitely say buy the noctilux so that you have one lens from each system.

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Noctilux is a pretty special-use lens: to get its character, you wed yourself to a very difficult focusing challenge in perpetuity. It has fantastic image quality, but it's a challenging lens to use (depending, of course, on what you shoot).

The 50SL is even bigger, obviously, but I find its character lovely, IQ fantastic, with incredible sharpness, plus AF and weather-sealing. So I'm happy with the 50SL.

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For a start I’m not a big fan of any 50mm lens. I own and use the M50/0.95 as my portrait lens as I’m drawn to the characterful bokeh and attractive color rendering. I’ve used it in the past 5 years since my M240 and later on my SL but almost never on my M10 because of the focusing challenges.

Now since acquiring the SL75, I start feeling let down by the softness of the Noctilux even the focusing is spot on. I also see a more pleasing 3D differentiation from my SL75. I guess the only draw back of the SL75 would be the bokeh formed based on the relative distances between the subject to sensor vs the distance of subject to background, so long as the user is actively aware and in control of matter, the SL75 gives very pleasing results when shot at F2 and leaves me no desire of picking up my Noctilux.

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I use to own the 0.95 Noctilux and although it's a beast in low light, the 1.0m MFD makes it limiting as an everyday lens. I didn't think the rendering was much different from my 50 Summilux-M ASPH.

Unless you're constantly shooting in low light, I'd get the 50 SL. If you're after character, I'd get one of the older F1 Noctilux's.

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HI

I started working with the SL with SL and M lenses. Both works fine from an optical point of wiew (rendering etc.) BUT the SL is designed to work with SL lenses. Means Autofocus and image quality. Both together are optimised for each other. So, if you have the choice take an SL lens. BUT if you like the very special Noctilux rendering,... the anwser is different.  

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I appreciate all the helpful comments. I decided to change my order to a Summilux-SL. As sillbeers15 points out and I've read elsewhere, the older Leicas appear soft when compared to the new SL lenses. I remember reading an interview of Peter Karbe where he said that Leica began instituting new manufacturing and optical innovations with the Q. While I'm not a fan of big lenses, the Noctilux seems like it would be a step back at this point (I have the 90mm Summicron-SL and it is a stunner.). 

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11 hours ago, Agent M10 said:

I appreciate all the helpful comments. I decided to change my order to a Summilux-SL. As sillbeers15 points out and I've read elsewhere, the older Leicas appear soft when compared to the new SL lenses. I remember reading an interview of Peter Karbe where he said that Leica began instituting new manufacturing and optical innovations with the Q. While I'm not a fan of big lenses, the Noctilux seems like it would be a step back at this point (I have the 90mm Summicron-SL and it is a stunner.). 

Step back?  No way!  (I have both lenses).

The Noctilux is so unique and has great character.  The summilux -SL is a fabulous lens, too.  Either choice is terrific, but saying a noctilux is a "step back" is hardly an apt description!

A few noctilux shots . . .

 

Edited by ropo54

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My Noctilux 0.95 does not see much use since I got the Summicron-SL 75, but each time I shoot with the Nocti, I know why I could never let her go; she is the bold rebel that resides in the gap between reality and fantasy.  Sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy, but always sexy.

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11 hours ago, relms said:

My Noctilux 0.95 does not see much use since I got the Summicron-SL 75, but each time I shoot with the Nocti, I know why I could never let her go; she is the bold rebel that resides in the gap between reality and fantasy.  Sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy, but always sexy.

I understand what you're saying, I had a 0.95 when it was first released. Today it's a question of going with the new technology fitted to the SL (and saving about $3,500) or going the more exotic route. Frankly, I hope the Summilux is as great as they say. That'd make life much simpler. 

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I use all of Noctilux( for the wide open 'look') the M Summilux ( for weight) , the Otus 55 ( because I had it) and the SL 50 lux  - because of autofocus. The SL 50 is the most used 50mm  lens on my SL now - I find that I miss nothing in comparison to any of the lenses listed and gain a lot because of its autofocus capability - especially when shooting people shots. If your shooting is mainly stationary objects - and you don't need the convenience of autofocus - all the lenses are excellent choices - the Noctilux balances extremely well on the SL body and you wont need neutral density filters like you do when trying to use the Noctilux on an M body in daylight conditions - nor the inconvenience of using the EVF on the M and its relatively grainy view in order to actually nail focus wide open.

The only thing to consider is the weight and size factor - pretty much the same size/weight as the 24-90 zoom - this is a personal consideration which everyone must make for themselves - i'm comfortable to use the SL 50 for shooting which doesn't require me to carry the camera and lens via strap for extended walks.

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The SL 50 Summilux did encourage me to change my deep commitment to using the 50 Noctilux: I traded that lens in, and then some, in order to get the 75 Noctilux.  The SL 50 is a wonderful lens, the only SL prime I think I'll ever own.  But a Noctilux is a Noctilux is a Noctilux, a unique species, worth keeping if you can.  

Here's a post that shows the 75 Nocti in use, under difficult conditions at night and on the street, with the SL.

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