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Posted (edited)

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Here's a marginally interesting read about the Noctilux.  I can't agree with much of what he has to say about the Noctilux being hard to work with, but he did hit one nail on the head when he observes that "...the best things in life are rarely rational."

Noctilux lenses are maligned by some, as is the bokeh they produce.  I suspect it is not out of a distaste for bokeh or a misunderstanding of how to effectively use it as a composition tool.  I suspect that it is based on a hatred of the Noctilux lenses based on the price, as is the case for some who hate all M cameras and lenses because of their price tags, which is an utterly childish and self-centered outlook IMHO. 

The author is using the 0.95 Noctilux, which may be harder to work ith than the older f/1.0 Noctilux, which I have.  I'm wondering if those who have used both the 0.95 and the 1.0 if the newer f/0.95 version is harder to work with than its older sibling? 

A link to the article:

https://www.35mmc.com/18/08/2019/bokeh-worship-the-leica-noctilux-m-50mm-f-0-95-asph-by-steven-bleistein/

Thoughts?

Edited by Herr Barnack

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Posted (edited)
Quote

While bokeh often fascinates the photography enthusiast, it is only lesser photographers who worship bokeh, venerating it to such a degree as to displace the art of photography with engineering prowess.

That is the opening line from the article and a certain way to destroy it immediately. It is artificially polarizing, just plain stupid, leaving no opportunity for historical renderings, intended or not.

Edited by pico

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I found most of what he wrote about working with a Noctilux to be subjective, gratuitous hyperbole.  I've used a Noctilux for many years and never felt the need for a grip or to use the EVF, and having being used to carrying the behemoth Pentax 67, lenses, and tripod up and down mountains regularly, I wouldn't consider the Noctilux's 700 g to make it "a beast of a lens".  YMMV.

To answer your question, I was fortunate to have both the f/1.0 and f/0.95 Noctiluxes for about 6 months but eventually kept the f/1.0 because of it's wonderful pastel colours and its signature vignette and returned the f/0.95 to the wild.  I found no difference in using either one other than the focussing action on the f/0.95 which was slightly lighter and smoother.  I put this down to the difference in 'mileage' between the lenses, the different lubricant used today, and that my f/1.0 had beed CLA'd and collimated by Malcolm Taylor who replaced the lubricant with a heavier one that is impervious to temperature changes and much longer-lasting than the original; (Malcolm is widely regarded even by Leica as an expert on lubricants for Leica cameras and lenses and mixes his own 'secret' formulas).

Pete.

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IMHO there is no need for grips, magnified viewfinders or an EVF on a M.

A Mark de Paola workshop is educational ( I deliberately posted many images from it to show hits and misses from the 1m fixed focus f/1 street challenge  https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/263043-noctilux-workshop-mark-de-paola-leica-store-san-francisco/ )

In the past, I found the f/1 had a lot of focus shift from f/1 .. f/4, so the f/0.95 should be more forgiving, but it’s size makes it less suitable for a walk about lens.  I sold the f/1 for a 1.4 ASPH , and had a ten year gap  before wanting and  affording the f/0.95. 

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26 minutes ago, FrozenInTime said:

IMHO there is no need for grips, magnified viewfinders or an EVF on a M.

A Mark de Paola workshop is educational ( I deliberately posted many images from it to show hits and misses from the 1m fixed focus f/1 street challenge  https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/263043-noctilux-workshop-mark-de-paola-leica-store-san-francisco/ )

That has good presentations of user focus errors and the consequence of slow shutter speeds. Disappointing.

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1 hour ago, pico said:

That is the opening line from the article and a certain way to destroy it immediately. It is artificially polarizing, just plain stupid, leaving no opportunity for historical renderings, intended or not.

I think ‘marginally interesting’ is an overstatement of what the man has to say in this article.  

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1 hour ago, pico said:

That has good presentations of user focus errors and the consequence of slow shutter speeds. Disappointing.

You were expecting something else  from the documentation of a training exercise ? 

The thought was normally it is expected that a Noctilux is used slowly and  deliberately., but this was a fast paced street shoot with focus  fixed at 1m , not allowed to refocus only  to move  - a rather challenging dynamic situation, to contrast normal use , so it resulted in some grabs where there was no chance of focus only abstraction.

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2 hours ago, FrozenInTime said:

IMHO there is no need for grips, magnified viewfinders or an EVF on a M.

A Mark de Paola workshop is educational ( I deliberately posted many images from it to show hits and misses from the 1m fixed focus f/1 street challenge  https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/263043-noctilux-workshop-mark-de-paola-leica-store-san-francisco/ )

In the past, I found the f/1 had a lot of focus shift from f/1 .. f/4, so the f/0.95 should be more forgiving, but it’s size makes it less suitable for a walk about lens.  I sold the f/1 for a 1.4 ASPH , and had a ten year gap  before wanting and  affording the f/0.95. 

I'm fairly sure either your Noctilux, camera, or focusing technique needed adjustment. Even the "in focus" pictures don't appear to be in focus. Not mean't in a negative manner. Check out the recent Noctilux thread and I think you will see what I mean. 

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10 minutes ago, FrozenInTime said:

You were expecting something else  from the documentation of a training exercise ? 

The thought was normally it is expected that a Noctilux is used slowly and  deliberately., but this was a fast paced street shoot with focus  fixed at 1m , not allowed to refocus only  to move  - a rather challenging dynamic situation, to contrast normal use , so it resulted in some grabs where there was no chance of focus only abstraction.

This clears things up (about focus). Seems like a strange exercise to use a fixed focus distance. 

 

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I would not translate common reaction on spending thousands of dollars to have some label and some bokeh as hate. 

The lenses in OP and its link are known to have special bokeh even at 5.6. Different from any other 50mm lenses.

But some of us knows how to get even more bokeh with something like 70-200 f4 lens and f8. Yep, more milky bokeh at f8 with 70-200 well under 1K$ lens. :)

Again, lets not use "hate" word. Many just don't want to deal with cameras and lenses which have very limited service location. Like not even in countries where some of us are. Like G7 countries.. 

It is not a hate for many but professional choice. Service location and AF.

 

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I have always assumed that then quest for “bokeh” and these very fast lenses came from a desire to emulate the large-format look on a small-format (miniature as it was referred to back in the day) camera. Also, the benefits to photojournalism and low light photography, something that large format cameras could never do, were appealing. 

This quest for the most blurry, buttery-est, smoothest blur for blur’s sake seems...weird to me. 

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Posted (edited)

Three months ago, I wasn't as diplomatic as our esteemed 35mmc author.

As I get older, I am starting to think that bokeh can become a compositional crutch that can look like a simulation of degenerative eye disease. I have my share of superspeed lenses, and shoot a 50/1.1 Sonnetar with my M246 almost nonstop, but that's because it's actually dark. I generally draw the line at putting NDs on a lens to suppress DOF.

Dante

Edited by dante

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Seems crazy to me, taking a photograph just to attain a certain Bokeh" - restrictive ~. L

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vor 8 Stunden schrieb oldwino:

I have always assumed that the quest for “bokeh” and these very fast lenses came from a desire to ... 

You—as well as basically everybody else—are confusing bokeh with narrow depth-of-field.

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3 hours ago, 01af said:

You—as well as basically everybody else—are confusing bokeh with narrow depth-of-field.

Hence my use of the word in quotation marks. 

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16 hours ago, Herr Barnack said:

Well the irony contained in this article is the appalling posterisation (possibly over processing a narrow range of tones in Lightroom) in the out of focus backgrounds to many of his photos which makes talking about bokeh farcical. 

As far as I can see there is no bokeh shown, only unpleasant out of focus areas caused by narrow depth of focus. He thinks it's nice, it gives me a headache. I can however see what he's trying to get at, isolating the important element in the photo by using narrow DOF. But that presumes the thing of interest is of some significance and relevance, and which couldn't be better given relevance by simply getting closer. And this is the point with the trend for narrow DOF and then all the consequent billing-and-cooing about bokeh, narrow DOF and it's sidekick bokeh are usually used as the thing of relevance itself, the thing that is supposed to be sharp is rarely interesting, it's just a hook to hang the bokeh on. Yes portraits can be 'nice', and some still life photos, but the narrative soon runs out and everybody should ask themselves if they really need to see another rose petal sitting in a sea of wonderful smooth bokeh, or just get more sophisticated and admit somebody did it once and that's about as many times as it needs doing.

 

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If you just want the least depth of field just use a longer focal length lens, close up. You could buy a hundred 135mm Hektor lenses for the price of one Noctilux. Or get into large format close up photography and find even less depth of field.

Though someone will point out that optically all lenses have the same results depending on the viewing distance of the picture and the circle of confusion accepted ?

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17 hours ago, dante said:

shoot a 50/1.1 Sonnetar

And I thought I was the only one!

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Posted (edited)

Here's an article titled "Bokeh Kings" that I wrote a few years back for the LHSA Viewfinder you might find interesting.

https://www.reddotforum.com/content/2014/10/bokeh-kings/

I thought the OP article was OK, but I tend to agree on the photographs being a bit "forced", and also boring. But to each their own.

I had the 50/1.0 Noctilux years ago, before digital mirrorless cameras and used it with my M6. It was a vry difficult lens to use on that camera. It would be much easier on the M10 with instant feedback and the option of an EVF if you really needed it to nail focus. I sold it along with my 75/1.4, and I must say I really don't miss either one of them. Lately, I have been using the CV 50/1.2 Nokton, which is a great lens, much easier to use on a regular basis. Here is my review of it that I wrote for Viewfinder.

https://lhsa.org/2018/12/voightlander-50-1-2-nokton-lens-review/

Have not tried out the new 50/0.95 as there is no way I could ever afford it!

Edited by derleicaman

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I'm no big fan of bokeh per se either. But sometimes (eg, close subject in low light) there's no choice, so I like to understand what a lens does in those pesky oof areas. Besides being fun, experimenting can be useful.

Anyway, to Pyrogallol's post above and :on a lighter note, here's some bokeh worship 😁 from last week from a "slow 'n cheap" lens - the Nikkor 135/3.5 LTM

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