Review: Leica Noctilux M 50mm f0.95


ed9119

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#1
Just picked up this lens with the M9-P body yesterday from Leica Singapore.

Signing the Loan Agreement was like signing a mortgage on a small studio apartment ha ha :)

OK Clubsnap will be putting both lens and body through their paces over the next 2 weeks

This thread is dedicated to the review of the Noctilux 50mm f0.95 lens ..... a seperate thread will review the M9-P with other 'crons and 'lux's

Photos will come soon in a day or 3

First impressions..... the 50mm is not a small lens , and it looked (and weighed) like an R (Leica SLR) mount lens on an M body.

It has a built-in metal lens hood

Needless to say, the build quality is top-notch ..... almost everything's engraved

Nearest the front lens element is the all-metal retractable lens hood
Followed next by the f-stop aperture ring and
the focusing ring

The thread size of the lens is an E60 (60mm) .... so this baby is big (most old-school 50mm primes are between 45-50mm )

Other specs:
Number of lenses/groups : 8elements in 5groups
Actual focal length: 52.3mm
Minimum focusing distance: 1m
Minimum f-stop : f16
Weight: 700g

Leica literature lists this lens' 'sweet spot' at f5.6 " Stopping down brings a continuous significant improvement in performance, up to an exceptional level over the entire image field at 5.6"

Distortion is slightly slightly barrel-shaped and at MAXIMUM of 1% (in real-world... hardly visible)

Other highlights ... 5 (elements) are made of glass types with anomalous color dispersion to correct color defects, while 3 elements simultaneously have extremely high refractive power....... the rear most element is a floating element that moves independently of the rest of the group

Patience..... photos will follow in a day or 2
 

ed9119

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#2
One of the first 'problems' I faced when testing out the lens was getting hold of a DoF table that lists depth of field at f0.95

Not easy to find and I did not relish the thought of doing the calculations manually through the DoF formula

Thankfully Leica lists a DoF chart which I will share below, the f0.95 part.....

f0.95

1m - 99 to 101cm --- 2cm
1.2m - 118 to 121.5cm --- 3.5cm
1.5m - 147.6 to 152.5cm --- 4.9cm
2m - 195.7 to 204.5cm --- 8.8cm
3m - 290.2 to 310.5cm --- 20.3cm
5m - 473 to 530.3cm --- 57.3cm
10m - 897 to 1131cm --- 234cm
infinity - 8564cm to infinity

Choosing a point of focus is usually an easy enough task ..... just aim and press and presto! Your AF takes care of it and you're locked in focus and DoF will clean up any loose ends

But when one works with a f0.95 lens Up Close ..... we're talking about a DoF that is as thin as 2 slices of of bread ...... 2cm
The rewards are 3-D like
BUT sway a little and you're out of focus
Likewise, traditional focus-and-recompose is tough when shooting at f0.95 because re-composing the subject will likely send the subject OUT of the 2cm DoF

Which I like ........ it made me think ..... alot ...... that creamy bokeh is not going to be haded over to you on a silver platter .... you got to work for it ..... and once achieved , I felt like I'd really earned the image ...... tha I really made the effort.

It made me appreciate ALOT MORE an image I had made ...... this sense of creation is something which I have not felt since the last time I used film years ago.

The feeling is good.
 

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Dfive

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#3
It's a more than amazing Lens.... it sees better than your eyes can.... very sharp...... but I'll settle with my new M9-P with the Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH ( Yes it's the second best 50 in the world !!! ).

Cant wait for your info :) :)

Thx.
 

ed9119

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#4
Its given a WHOLE new meaning to focusing ....... on a few occassions I find it faster to focus by just LEANING slightly forward or backward than even using the focusing ring :)
 

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ed9119

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#5
At a focusing distance of 1m ....... the Dof is thin ALL THE WAY THROUGH to f16 (of course not as thin as f0.95)

At 1m focusing distance
f0.95 - 99 to 101cm 2cm
f1.4 - 98.6 to 101.5cm 2.9cm
f2.0 - 98 to 102.1cm 4.1cm
f2.8 - 97.2 to 103cm 5.8cm
f4.0 - 96 to 104.4cm 8.8cm
f5.6 - 94.5 to 106.3cm 11.8cm
f8.0 - 92.3 to 109.2cm 16.9cm
f11 - 89.7 to 113.1cm 23.4cm
f16 - 85.8 to 120.4cm 34.6cm
 

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larrytok

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#7
15k++ a piece , not very wallet friendly haa. but i m sure every leica owner would want to own one of the noctilux, or at least test it.

awaiting ur pics hah
 

ed9119

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#8
The noctilux is a big lens even for a 50mm.... and heavy too....


Attached to an M9-P ..... its big...... coupled with an M9 (which itself is already larger than the traditional film-based M's ) it has gained some girth and heft


The build quality is beyond reproach ..... it is beautifully put together ..... no light alloys but all-brass barrels




 

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ed9119

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#9
Wong_se letting his kopi go cold while fondling the M9-P and Noctilux

 

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ed9119

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#10
DoF at f0.95 is as thin as a slice of bread when you're shooting near its minimum focusing distance limits . You CANNOT just point, recompose and shoot .... merely pivoting the camera to recompose will throw the point of focus off ..... OK I admit it, maybe I'm not skilled enough to manage the thin DoF

ha ha the cheek is in focus .... while I was focusing on her eye


its better when I just recomposed without pivoting the camera but just shifted parallel to the plane of focus :)
Notice apart from the bokeh'ed background.... the part of the chair nearer to the camera is also OOF


other office colleagues happily played test subjects



 

ed9119

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#12
CS'er Soulfly's image .... I'll be putting it through its paces this Saturday morning and perhaps hand it off to another respected CS'er for other feedback and opinions
 

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Dfive

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#13
Seems like lots of purple fringing to me ?

Hmmm........... its too big for the M9 after seeing it..... none the less I'm sure it handles well. ;)
 

Dfive

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#15
:)

for 15k I want it to drive me to work..... hahaha.... keep up your review - I might get one ;)
 

ed9119

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#16
if it can it would be cheap ........$15k cant even buy half a Cat A COE today.... ha ha :)
 

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Dfive

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#17
if it can it would be cheap ........$15k cant even buy a Cat A COE today.... ha ha :)
Heh good info on the purple fringe...... seems also a Issue with CCD's.... Like the M9 / S2 / and most medium format cameras I think ?

Looks like Kodak will need to grab the .95 and do some work on the sensor for the "hypothetical M10" ;)
 

ed9119

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#18
CS'er Offspring who works in the same office building as me has been shooting with the Noctilux for a few days now and will be sharing some images and comments ..... he is pairing the lens with his own M9

I told him to be forthright with his comments

A couple of other CS'ers will be getting the opportunity to use and comment on this lens over the coming week ahead
 

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ed9119

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#20
she's a keen weekend photographer ..... no off-topic otherwise I will use aunties as subjects please thanks :)

ed
 

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