Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M Lens Review

Compared with Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH Lens

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

Conclusion

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.

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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

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Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens Review (compared with Canon 50mm F0.95 lens)

Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens Review

Click Here to See the Latest Review on Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream Lens”


I am a big fan of large aperture lens and bokehliciousness images. Since I already have possession of the Schneider Xenon 50mm F0.95 lens that I could not justify spending another 3k on the Canon 50mm F0.95 lens. Alternatively, I had my eye on a similar Canon offering: the Canon 50 F1.2 lens. This is was introduced by Canon in 1956 and it was the fastest mass market lens available in Leica Thread Mount at that time.  This lens is less than a stop slower than the Canon's famous big brother and the prices is only about a quarter of the F0.95 lens.

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Size and Build Quality


There are two chrome versions of this lens and also a limited completely black version made specifically for Black rangefinders. The lens in this review is the version one of this lens imprinted "CANON CAMERA CO. Japan" on the front of filter thread.
The Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens  is much smaller and lighter than the Canon 50mm F0.95 lens, it weights at 323grams compared to 605grams of the F0.95 lens. The Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM has similar build quality to the F0.95 lens and built with Canon's signature black and satin chrome finish. Overall, the lens feels well built and feels solid  in the hands.

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Image Quality and Rendering


The Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens is comprised of 7 elements in 5 groups and with aperture range from f/1.2 to f/22. There are 11 aperture blades with a minimum focusing distance of 1 meter. The filter size thread on this lens is 55mm and filters may be applied accordingly.
The rendering of images is very similar to the Canon 50mm F0.95 lens. Certain photographers buy that  lens because they love the bokeh produced by it. In this case, the Canon 50mm F1.2 lens does not disappoint in this regard and offers that typical Canon bokeh.  The Canon 50mm F0.95 is also well-known for its "softness" when shot wide open, which has the reputation for been a "perfect" portrait lens. In terms of wide open performance, the F1.2 lens surpasses its bigger brother and offers higher resolution and sharper images when shot at F1.2. When stopped down, the sharpness of image progressively increases and peaks at F8. The best resolution is provided at F4 and in terms of sharpness this Canon lens can compete with other lens brands  in Leica LTM mount to produce very detailed images when stopped down.

LTM mount

The Canon 50mm F1.2 lens is in Leica Thread Mount (LTM) and can be mounted on
any traditional Leica Screw Mount camera. To use this lens on the Leica M mount then an adapter is required to convert from LTM to Leica M mount. It is a simple type of adapter and there are many offerings  but to allow the lens work flawlessly with great calibration then a well-machined adapter is necessary. I highly recommend buying the genuine Voigtlander or Novoflex LTM to M adapter as they are extremely well-built and will not incur any "loose play" like the cheaper eBay adapters.

 

Conclusion 

It is an amazing lens that can be had for a relatively cheap price that works like a charm on any Leica rangefinder camera. Most importantly, it is a fun lens to shoot withand offers a very unique rendering.