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Why The Noctilux?

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So...they're hard to focus, hard to find and hard to justify. Not to mention a tad bit pricey these days...but I'm surprised by the newfound lust for this optic amongst the M8 crowd. Before the M8 it was considered a heavy, cumbersome lens with limited use - of course not all of us held this belief (especially those who own one..hehe) It seems to have had many detractors during its existence, and those who deride the "need" for such an optic.

 

I personally love the lens, and its trademark fingerprint - yet some of this is lost with the crop factor on the M8. And since the 50/1.4 asph is considered to be THE benchmark 50 in the Leica lineup - what makes the Noctilux so desireable?

 

So M8 guys - what's the draw here? Not trolling...I'm genuinely curious as to the responses and thoughts on the lens from the digital standpoint.

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Guest guy_mancuso

Dan actually a great question. i have been sort of on the fence about it for awhile until i got to use one in Germany for 10 days and really started to like it. Okay i come from DSLR's so the thing about about heavy and big and hard to focus is a very mute point for me . I handheld the 180 F2 Leica and 200 1.8 canon for years so that stuff is meaningless to me and the Nocti i can focus as well as my 75 lux so that is not the issue. I guess at the f1 setting it has that special look and stopped down a touch very very nice and i really like the look of it. but the 50 lux is the best 50mm in the industry and really hard to touch but to me the Nocti is a add on to it and not the replacement i thought it could be. i like the 66mm on the M8 and use that more than a 35mm on a M8. guess i like that little extra reach and i adore the 75mm lux lens. So i have one coming with my voucher , i think i will keep it for a while but if i need a sharp 50 than the lux gets mounted.

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Dan, you are bound to be dissapointed by ALL the answers you get, mine included. You may as well ask, "why the Cron.... or Lux... or .... whatever!" Everyones reason for using any lens is individual, or should be.

 

In my case, the Noctilux is a tool that does what no other lens can and that should be true for all the lenses in your bag. Otherwise, you are duplicating. I also have the 50mm Cron. It is not duplication. The Cron is used for fast reaction stuff if there is enough light. The Noct is used when I want really shallow DOF &/or light levels are too low for other lenses. Don't say "just crank up the ISO"! it's not the same thing.

 

The Noctilux just paints differently from other lenses. If you haven't tried it, you won't understand. Forget how hard it is to use. So is a camera for that matter, but you still do it.

 

Any examples of Noct pics you may see here, or anywhere, will always have the bias and skill. (or lack thereof) of the individual photographer, so it is a bit hard to evaluate the lens unless you use it yourself.

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Guest Olof

Interesting question, i think the Noctilux is a "no need to have lens". Most pictures you see here dont use the full possible aperture, its heavy and bulky. A Summilux is better but a Noctilux is something you can show others (if your C and N user friends show you their high speed autofocus, you can show them your Noctilux).

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The Noct continues to amaze me daily...

 

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Interesting question, i think the Noctilux is a "no need to have lens". Most pictures you see here dont use the full possible aperture, its heavy and bulky. A Summilux is better but a Noctilux is something you can show others (if your C and N user friends show you their high speed autofocus, you can show them your Noctilux).

 

I accidentally forgot my 35 cron to a friend's baby's first birthday and I had to shoot the entire event with the Noct. Over 95% were keepers. I find that it is on my M8 most of the time and the fingerprint of the lens is unlike any other. My Noct is not for show. It's for taking pictures.

 

"you think..." Have you actually owned a Noct?

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The Noct continues to amaze me daily...

Yes, thats the point! Nocti turns a "every day picture" into a special one! Your shot is a proof for that. Sorry for not having a Noct ....

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Noctilux is a big lens.... for people who have used an M camera with a cron on it all their life, for the rest of us coming from SLR and Bridges, it still look small for what it does.

 

Eric

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Yes, thats the point! Nocti turns a "every day picture" into a special one

 

But in the end it is content and form that counts .... and without that the 1.0 look becomes a gimmick.

The "f1.0 look" gets boring after a while ... especially with so many noctiluxes around.

That is why I lost intrest in the Noctilux ..... ..sold my noctilux after my fascination with the f1.0 was over ..... for 6 months i loved the lens imensley though!

Beyond f1.0 .. there was no valid reason for me keeping the noctilux... size/ weight/ long focus throw.

Another reason i got rid from my Noctilux is because i think it looses lots of it's character on the M8 .......... and it turns into mainly a portraitlens due to the cropfactor .... but for portraits it is a bit short and the 1m closest focussing distance a serious limitation.

 

 

Just my decision ...... but everybody should try a noctilux once in his life....

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Hi Dan,

 

To buttress some of what others have said, the Noctliux provides both unique opportunities to capture hand-held images in low-light, and to some (myself included) has a unique and beautiful signature.

 

Is it bigger, heavier, and more difficult to focus than most other M lenses? Yes, and I couldn't care less!

 

Regards,

 

Tony C.

 

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I love mine, but look forward to using it on an M9 or whatever will come in a few years with less of a crop. It's a little tight for my taste.

 

An interesting alternative - easier to use, a LOT more affordable, but equally bulky is the Voigtlaender Nokton 35mm f/1.2. My photography is very much about low-light wide-open exposures, and I really have come to like this lens a lot.

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The Noctilux and the Summilux asph are 'painting' too differently to be compared usefully IMHO. A better comparison would be with the pre-Lux 50 i feel. The latest version looks sharper than the 'cron at f/2 and remains reasonably sharp at f/1.4. Its bokeh is smoother than the asph's and does not look as 'strange' as the Nocti's. Unless one need the extra stop or the special fingerprint of the latter, the pre-Lux 50 is worth a try IMHO.

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For the record, I've owned one for several years....picked up a nice used one some time back. I like shooting wide open when conditions allow, and I love the fingerprint.

 

But what I've found interesting is the level of interest and sales since the introduction of the M8 - and I know more than a few are first time M owners. And perhaps this is part of what's going on - DSLR owners used to using larger cameras and good glass see no problem with the size of the Noctilux compared to a 50/2 Summicron. When I shoot digital - it's with a fairly heavy kit so the size has never been an issue for me. But I know a few other diehard M guys that think it's simply too much lens, along with the likes of the 75/1.4.

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And perhaps this is part of what's going on - DSLR owners used to using larger cameras and good glass see no problem with the size of the Noctilux compared to a 50/2 Summicron.

 

I doubt it. I think the attraction of the Noctilux is quite often the bling factor. The M8 has brought a lot of brand-aware dilettantes to the M system who were previously put off by the 'film-only' nature of the system. The kind of people who once bought Montblanc pens and claimed that they couldn't write with anything else.

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I doubt it. I think the attraction of the Noctilux is quite often the bling factor. The M8 has brought a lot of brand-aware dilettantes to the M system who were previously put off by the 'film-only' nature of the system. The kind of people who once bought Montblanc pens and claimed that they couldn't write with anything else.

 

Bling:

 

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Guest Olof
The Noct continues to amaze me daily...

 

Nice pictures sure, but no picture need the Noctliux 1.0 each of them could have been done with a Lux or Cron.

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Nice pictures sure, but no picture need the Noctliux 1.0 each of them could have been done with a Lux or Cron.

 

I have both a Lux and a Cron and I use the Noctilux (I have the f/1.2 rather than the f/1.0) because it draws differently from both. The Lux ASPH is a little problematic on the M8 in my experience as it is susceptible to flare caused by reflections off the back element onto the sensor when shot into bright diffuse light (as from a frosted window, for example). The original Noctilux hardly ever flares for any reason under any circumstances.

 

The Cron will not give the same look, as its depth of field is too wide for my taste.

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