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Why The Noctilux?

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My experience of the Nocti has been pretty poor - I much prefer the 75/1.4 from a usability point of view - and my Nocti is on its way back to Solms for a second visit to see if they can fix the focussing mount - not back-focussing, just the ability to adjust the focussing ring critcally and repeatably which is so important for this lens.

 

I love the look, it's a brilliant portrait lens but the mechanics leave much to be desired.

 

For other Nocti owners. this is how mine currently is:

 

- Hold the front of the lens in one hand and use the other to turn the focussing ring. Result: smooth operation, perfect.

 

- Hold the back of the lens in one hand (or mount on a camera) and use the other to turn the focussing ring. Result: stiff focussing ring, jerky operation, impossible to set the focussing critcally.

 

Hopefully, they will be able to fix it.

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From the previous discussion I understand the distinguishing factor of the Noctilux is the special look it creates.

 

Just out of interest from an amateur - how often are they actually used at 1/1.0? The fastest lens I own is a Nikkor 50/1.4 which provides a very thin depth of focus at 1/1.4. I bought it for portraits as a '75/1.4' since my concern was to get too much DOF when I bought the D70 in 2004. I had no experience with the 'smaller than 35mm' sensors. I would prefer the 50/1.8, nowadays, also for the look it creates.

 

Taking portraits these days I stop down my elderly Summicron to 1/2.8 typically.

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Mark, it sounds as though your particular Noct has a mechanical problem, which should be easy to rectify. Good luck with the wait.

 

Currently, mine is on its second trip to Solms for backfocus problems. This time it is attached to my M8. I hope they get the hint on how I want it to work.

 

It is such a fine lens to work with I am prepared for the predicted 10 week or so delay. It is one of my signature lenses. In the ensuing weeks I will (of necessity) bring my new 75/2.0 into the forefront of my style, which of course will be different from the Noct. I might learn something from the experience, hopefully.

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Mark, that jerkiness sounds like my 50 Lux Asph exactly, before I returned it, and they were able to fix it. I hope that is the same for the Noctilux. The copy I borrowed also had a little of this, which is a bit frustrating, I agree.

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Shockingly narrow depth of field at that distance...

 

I think that's part of the reason some people have trouble with it. There isn't any room for error.

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Guest guy_mancuso

Like i said in another thread it should come with a yellow label on it handle with care becuase it CAN get ugly sometimes. Nice shot Brent but the OOF is just to weird for me on than one.

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Brent - I love the artistic imagery the Nocti produces. The Bokeh may be unique to the Nocti but it certainly does produce literally a dreamy image.

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Brent, I am impressed, nice image and very good craftmanship.

 

I'm also impressed by the fact you were able to sneak up to this bird, bearing in mind you had a 50mm.

 

I need to do some training now with the 1.4

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I love the Noct. I treat it like a special effect lens. Shoot it at f1 only. Haha. But seriously, I really try shooting it at f1 when possible. Even in daylight. Just wonderful. It helps to have a M7 or M8 for AE when inspiration strikes in daylight.

 

Greetings,

Al.

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The Noctilux will ALWAYS be a contraversial lens, so love it or hate it. Personally, I love it!

 

Brent, I also love your garden, maybe made better by the Noct.

 

The Noct is a special tool, not easy to use, but sooo rewarding when it does. Below is a pic I recently made in Krakow whilst competing in the "One Challenge" last month. I did use the Noct extensively because I love shooting at night although the this pic was during the day but inside. I think it characterizes some of the Noct's virtues.

 

 

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From the previous discussion I understand the distinguishing factor of the Noctilux is the special look it creates. Just out of interest from an amateur - how often are they actually used at 1/1.0?

 

There's no point in using the Noctilux if you don't use it wide open. With film, it was my favorite lens. With the M8, I'm having a hard time getting it to focus even after sending it in to be matched with my M8. Most of these were made with the Noctilux, at 1.0, and film, usually Tri-X or TMax pushed:

 

Portfolio Photo Gallery by Tina Manley at pbase.com

 

Tina

 

Tina Manley- powered by SmugMug

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It's all about the negative space: Having access to such shallow DOF helps me to de-clutterize my photos as effectively as a foggy day.

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I general, if there's no story being relayed by the use of the Nocti, one might as well use a 35mm @ f/2.8 or an 21mm f/3.4: Those captures it all in a clear and easy to understand and easy to 'read' manner. The Nocti is a way of telling, pointing the focus and create an artistic atmosphere.

 

As the great Danish painter P S Krøyer said, "with pictures you can say what you're unable to tell in words."

 

One could translate that into, "with a Nocti you can tell stories you're unable to tell with other lenses"

 

When I look at Tina's pictures, this is so clear why and when to use Nocti.

 

I understand the fascination of the lens in general, but (damn) there's many pointless pictures taken with it. It's a storyteller instrument, not a technical instrument.

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I understand the fascination of the lens in general, but (damn) there's many pointless pictures taken with it. It's a storyteller instrument, not a technical instrument.

 

True statement, which applies to ALL lenses.

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Just an opinion:

 

IMO some distinctions about using the Noctilux matter: (1) as a low-light lens, (2) as a carefully-employed artist's tool, & (3) as the favored instrument of the 'cult of bokeh.'

 

Larry Clark would be a clear example of (1) - an artist--documentarian who used a Noctilux extensively & effectively for its low-light capability.

 

Tina Manley's work, above, is a nice example of (2), using selective focus to guide the viewer's eye & especially to make the narrative aspect of her pictures strong.

 

The problem-area is where (2) - effective selective focus - fades off into (3).

 

Broadly speaking, it fades off more rapidly in color than in BW. In color work, the background hues can be an advantage to the image, but are often a liability. Guy Mancuso's picture-posts indicate the advantage; but IMO the 2 color examples posted immediately above show how irritating bright-colored OOF areas can be.

 

I was impressed by Tommy Oshima's BW work - noting however that some of his shots with the best selective focus aren't Nocti, but were made instead with a 6x6 TLR at large apertures.

 

The danger is that very shallow DOF can be a crutch, not unlike the Nocti's exact opposite - the plastic camera. It introduces a fuzzy romanticism that lets one be lazy about the rest of the frame. I saw this in a number of the images by Moaan.

 

Some 'classic' uses of selective focus appear in Cartier-Bresson's portraits, which are f2 at the widest: he often focused on a de-centered portrait subject & was acutely aware of how recognizable forms in the OOF areas contributed to both composition & narrative.

 

From this standpoint I wonder about 4seasons' statement that "It's all about the negative space: Having access to such shallow DOF helps me to de-clutterize my photos as effectively as a foggy day." Reducing OOF areas to negative space might be less a virtue than an oversimplification? And careful selective focus might be even better than uncluttered fog?

 

Kirk

 

PS, I just went back & re-read Peter Branch's elegant little essay on Noctilux history, & he reminded me of another point re: "Why the Noctilux" - or why not. The main reason I haven't felt any serious temptation is the focal length.

 

As Peter points out, the original Nocti was well-conceived as a 50 for a film camera. But this is the M8 forum, where the crop factor makes it into a 66.5. In film days, I most often used a 35, & about evenly a 28 or 50. Now I rarely use the 50. While I might go nuts financially for a 28 or 35 f0.95 (= 37 or 46.5), I just wouldn't make enough use of a 50 (= 66.5). That's too narrow a FOV for the viewer to feel that he or she is 'standing there with me' while I shot the picture - which happens to be my style.

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what might a mint nocti cost these days? there was an m-user or collector selling his nocti in one of my camera shops yesterday and the owner offered it to me right in front of him for HKD65,000 which i think was a figure just off the top of his head. It was the boxed "one of the last f1's" and very pretty indeed but I literally ran out of the shop.

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If it was one of the last 100 in a nice wooden box then it sounds like that was a good deal. If it is a regular Noctilux but in a box in NIB condition then you can get that for $7k here in the US from a dealer. In fact this Noctilux is probably mine that I traded towards my M8.2.

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