Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M Lens Review

Compared with Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH Lens


The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens is a “Legend” among the Leica world and is renowned for its “Magical” qualities. It is not as clinical sharp as the latest Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux Asph lens but it’s unique rendering is what separate this lens from all other Leica lenses and remains special in today.


Image Quality

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens has the most unique rendering out of all the Noctilux. It produces “magical” glow with its smooth bokeh and unique out of focus background. The lens is not too clinically sharp like the newer aspherical version but its sufficient sharpness combined with smooth rendering making it the preferable lens for Portraits.

It’s colour rendition is towards natural and classical side with just enough amount of contrast and saturation. The lens does produce purple fringing and vignetting when wide open. Although It is not perfect lens but certainly one of the lenses with the most character.


Build Quality

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens is produced to very high Leica standards. It is a very solidly built lens but not as solid as latest Noctilux aspherical version. However, it weights less than the newer version and feels more compact size in the hands when mounted onto Leica M Cameras.



Specifications (Lens Reviewed)

Lens Code: 11 822


Production Year: 1993 - 2008


Construction: 7 Elements / 6 Groups


Diaphragm:  10 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Filter Size: 60mm


Weight: 630g


Practical Use

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens shines at night with its ultra low light capturing ability when wide open aperture at F1. In comparison, the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH is even more capable at low-light situations with its ability to capturing 11% more light at F0.95 than F1.

The lens is “magical” at shooting stationary subjects especially people portraits or objects. However, it does have a Long Focus throw which can undermine its street capturing abilities especially of moving subjects.



The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M is the only F1 lens for 35mm photography manufactured by Leica. It’s almost “magical” rendering and amazing low-light capability is due to its extraordinary optical performance.

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M produces smooth out-of-focus area with outstanding colour rendition. This ultra-fast lens is capable of absorbing all surrounding light and output the most amazing bokeh you will ever see. All those things together is what making this legendary lens so unique and special.



Noctilux Versions

Leica 50mm F1.2 Noctilux 

The world's first production aspherical camera lens, with two hand-ground aspherical surfaces.


Lens Code  11 820

Production Year  1966 - 1975

Filter Size   Series VIII Filters

Weight   515g


Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M

There are 3 cosmetic versions of this lens. They all have the same optics with minimum focusing distance of one metre.


First version

Lens Code  11 821

Production Year   1976 - 1983

Filter Size   58mm

Weight   580g


Second version

Lens Code  11 821

Production Year   1983 - 1993

Filter Size   60mm

Weight   580g


Third version (Lens Reviewed)

Lens Code  11 822

Production Year   1993 - 2008

Filter Size   60mm

Weight   630g


Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH M Lens 

Lens Code  11 602

Production Year   2008 - Present

Filter Size   60mm

Weight   700g