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Giving up on my Noctilux

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I've decided to part ways with my Noctilux.

I purchased it just before the last price increase, and was extremely excited

at learning to use it wide open. But now, almost 9 months later I find it to be too unreliable, difficult to focus (especially beyond 5m) and I'm just disenchanted with the lens.

The last straw for me was this past New Years eve, we were at a small local jazz club watching Mulgrew Miller and his wonderful quartet play, and I'd brought the M8 and Noct.

Of 150 shots taken not one was sharp, though 10 had great depth and movement.

So here's my question, is it a mistake to sell it?

I purchased a mint 75/1.4 from a friend a few months back and feel that it covers the low light situations capably.

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Guest guy_mancuso

It's a mistake to have a 5k lens that is not working for you. A lens that was not working for my benefit would last a day around here. It's a great lens but very tough to work and if you can't get images you want than why own it. Sell it and get some other glass that maybe more of a benefit. Nothing is sacred in my book on lenses, if they don't do the job i get rid of them. That's my view Jeff but you have to decide if it is worth keeping. I'm sure there are lenses out there you may want more or need.

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what was the setting that you used in the jazz club? have you tried the lense in daylight?

i just got mine yesterday and i personally like it very much for it produces quite nice images even at aperture 5.6 and above and shutter speed still remains reasonably high. test more and see if this lens really doesn't give what you need, then sell it.

true noctilux is tough to use, but there's something about it that could mean slightly different to each person.

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My suggestions: 1) Send the lens to Don Goldberg at DAG Repair and tell him you want to have it optimized for shooting with the M8 at an aperture of f/1.2. This should cost less than $100. 2) When using the lens, don't shoot at f/1.0 unless you absolutely have to. You'll get the same fingerprint at f/1.2 and f/1.4 with considerably better image quality. 3) When using the lens at these apertures, remember how shallow your DOF is going to be. Try to position everything you want to be sharp along the same plane and as parallel as possible to the sensor surface (film plane with analog cameras).

 

It can take a while to get used to the idiosyncracies of the lens, but when you get it working for you it is a wonderful tool. I realize there are some people who detest the Noctilux, but there are a lot more of us who absolutely love it.

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Personally, I find that I regret selling any of my glass, be it Leica or Nikon.

 

The Noctilux is a tool that requires acquired skill to get the most out of. I am assuming the lens is in good order, which it sound like it is or you would have 0% good shots.

 

The respectful counterpoint to Guy's post is that if you have the patience to learn the tool, and accept it for it's benefits and liens, then keep the lens. The price will be doing nothing but going up in the future, and if you ever want to work with the Noct, a paid-for lens in the bag will be much cheaper than finding an example at some unknown future date. I bought mine new for less than $2K many years ago, and could turn a profit, but rather see it as a paid-for tool that continues to bring be reward and challenge.

 

Other lenses will undoubtedly bring enjoyment, but patience is key there too. If I look at the line of modern Leica lenses, only the Tri-Elmars and the Aspherical 35 have risen as fast as the Noct, so you will take a hit in the rate of appreciation, and the gap between the Noct and an equivalent number of other lenses will only grow, making the decision ever more expensive to reverse.

 

Have fun and enjoy the hobby.

 

Eric

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I was rather surgical on my approach, backfocus issues with apertures 2.8 to 4 at 3 meters and less made up my mind very quickly. I replaced it with a 50 Summilux Asph and believe me I'm not one bit sorry. Low light, variable apertures ,different distances, this lens just shines.

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Mine is working well after returning from its third trip to Solms though I definitely agree it's a difficult lens to use. While it was away, I strayed and bought a Nikon 50mm f1.2 for my D3 which is great, thanks to the focus confirmation for manual focus lenses and I find it much easier to use and "nail" a shot even if it does not have that "something" which makes us keep going with the Noctilux.

 

I'm pleased to have the Nocti back though, aside from the fact it's confirmed my suspicions my 50mm Summilux ASPH is back-focussing...

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The fact that you took 150 shots that night, and not one was correctly in focus, suggests to me that the lens is not properly calibrated to your M8 body. It's simply hard for me to believe that you – or anyone – would fail to hit a few just right out of a sample of 150 unless the lens is off. Did you notice any particular pattern (e.g. slight backfocus on many of the shots?).

 

I second the suggestion to send it to be calibrated, though I personally would have it done to f/1. I am biased, as I love the Noctilux, but as tough a lens as it is to work with, your experience sounds extreme.

 

Regards,

 

Tony C.

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I was rather surgical on my approach, backfocus issues with apertures 2.8 to 4 at 3 meters and less made up my mind very quickly. I replaced it with a 50 Summilux Asph and believe me I'm not one bit sorry. Low light, variable apertures ,different distances, this lens just shines.

 

I'm with Eoin. The Noctilux was marginal in terms of its usability with film in an M6. The M8 simply rendered it obsolete. It deserves an honourable place in Leica history but is was from and belongs in the film era. I replaced mine with the 50mm Summilux ASPH and have never regretted it for a moment. In fact for my use and if I were limited to two lenses with an M8 they would be the 28mm Summicron ASPH and the 50mm Summilux ASPH

 

Just to supply fuel to the flames with which I am about to be subjected I find it very irritating when the “Noctilux on an M8” fan club post pictures on this forum claiming they have been taken at f/1 when they clearly were not. We have had thread after thread containing such “evidence”. Less experienced people may be deceived and may even be tempted to acquire a Noctilux on the basis of these claims, they should beware false prophets.

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Jeff, you should keep trying. It is a long way and efforts to get good pictures from this lens, but that's why it can procure a lot of surprises. Noctilux is one of, not to say 'the' most difficult to use lens in Leica M range. For concerts, use it at minimum 1.4 and be carefull of speed because as it is an heavy lens it is subject to be a little bit more uncomfortable to use.

 

Here are 2 examples :

1st shot of Baobab Orchestra in concert (f1.4, 1/45s, ISO 640) C1 v4 BW profile dev

2nd shot portrait (f1, 1/60, ISO 640) C1 v4 BW profile dev

 

 

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Eoin and Guy are right. if it backfocuses that much right out of the box, just replace with something that works. For me it is the 75, 1.4 DR

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FYI I tested my new Nocti for backfocus (I didn't test it, it was tested using testing equipment I am not sure I even understand) and it was right on.

 

I used it for a while in very low light concert situations and it did not work because the performers were moving in and out. At f1, it is the wrong tool to use with people moving.

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Am I missing something? A Noct is for using at f/1. If one must use it at f/1.4, what is the point? Just get a Summilux, right?

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Am I missing something? A Noct is for using at f/1. If one must use it at f/1.4, what is the point? Just get a Summilux, right?

 

Yes, you are missing something. The lenses have entirely different fingerprints. People keep talking about the Summilux ASPH as an alternative to the Noctilux. It isn't. I have both the Noctilux and Summilux and use them for different looks in different situations. I'm not arguing that everyone with an M should have one, but clearly many of us who do can appreciate what the lens is capable of doing.

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Just to supply fuel to the flames with which I am about to be subjected I find it very irritating when the “Noctilux on an M8” fan club post pictures on this forum claiming they have been taken at f/1 when they clearly were not. We have had thread after thread containing such “evidence”. Less experienced people may be deceived and may even be tempted to acquire a Noctilux on the basis of these claims, they should beware false prophets.

 

I'd love to see some evidence to back up your statement. I have personally posted quite a number of f/1.0 Noctilux images here and wouldn't much appreciate false accusations about them or insinuations of dishonesty. And by the way, the image I posted above was shot at, yes, f/1.0.

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One point you may have overlooked is the difficulty in focusing the Nocti at F1 in less than good light.It is worth checking if your eyesight is spot on / do you need /would an eyesight correction lens on the camera help.The depth of field at F1 is almost non existant so focus has to be spot on.

Just a thought.

Brian

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I can see how two lenses have entirely different renderings. That certainly is a luxury to own both! Nice to have such an array of paint brushes.

 

I can only imagine how difficult it is focusing at f/1; f/1.4 requires precision as it is.

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My suggestions: 1) Send the lens to Don Goldberg at DAG Repair and tell him you want to have it optimized for shooting with the M8 at an aperture of f/1.2. This should cost less than $100. 2) When using the lens, don't shoot at f/1.0 unless you absolutely have to. You'll get the same fingerprint at f/1.2 and f/1.4 with considerably better image quality. 3) When using the lens at these apertures, remember how shallow your DOF is going to be. Try to position everything you want to be sharp along the same plane and as parallel as possible to the sensor surface (film plane with analog cameras).

 

It can take a while to get used to the idiosyncracies of the lens, but when you get it working for you it is a wonderful tool. I realize there are some people who detest the Noctilux, but there are a lot more of us who absolutely love it.

 

Wonderful... 3D. (the image)

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The M8 simply rendered it obsolete.

 

Peter –

 

Frankly, your pomposity is breathtaking, and your assertion that the Noctilux is rendered "obsolete" when used on an M8 is preposterous. It has a unique signature which many people (both photographers and viewers) love. How could an artist's tool which draws in a uniquely beautiful manner ever become obsolete?

 

Incidentally, I have no problem with those who prefer the Summilux, as it is a terrific lens, and does not suffer from some of the well-known weaknesses of the Noctilux.

 

Regards,

 

Tony C.

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://mtanga.com/joe600.jpg&key=c75b0eedb00506b19a69b7ff0fd37dff438b1fc9a90b84fd75f5c6955edffe81">

 

Taken at f/1, by the way, no matter what Peter happens to believe.

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I would suggest to have the Nocti fine adjusted to your M8. I did the same for mine and also am using correction lenses for the finder now, but since then I am getting razor sharp images.

 

I also must admit that I am getting more keepers with the 1,4/50ASPH, because I simply can focus it much faster - this might be my individual thing - but if the results are right with the Nocti, I prefer this look no doubt to the 1,4/50ASPH.

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