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 F0.95 “Dream lens” Review

Japancamerahunter  

Japancamerahunter 

I have done a review on the more accessible and affordable Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens. The Canon 50mm F0.95 also known as the “Dream Lens” was designed to replace the Canon 50mm F1.2 to become the fastest lens and offers superior optics.

The Canon 50mm F0.95 lens was made back in 1960s and 1970s for the Canon 7/7s Rangefinder and it held the crown for the fastest production lens in the world at the time.

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Rendering

The “Dream Lens” is famous for its out-of-focus rendering that offers smooth bokeh and extremely shallow depth of field, which combines to produce the “Dreamy” effects.

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Image Quality

The Lens offers great sharpness that is not clinical. It produces “magical” soft glow with smooth out-of-focus areas and extremely shallow depth of field at its maximum aperture of f0.95.

The lens has classic rendering with natural colours and great contrasts. It is excellent for portraits with its glowing effect and becomes very sharp when stepping down the aperture like every other Leica lenses.

This lens has minimum flare and chromatic aberration but it does have some vignetting. 

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Build Quality

The lens is very solidly built with full metal construction. The weight of the lens is towards the heavy side with similar weight to the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux. However, the lens feels more compact in the hands due to the build construction consists of shorter length and larger diameter.

The focus ring feels very smooth when turning and the aperture ring clicks in place very nicely. It is a well-made lens overall.

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Lens Specifications

 

Construction: 7 Elements / 5 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 10 Blades

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F0.95 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 72mm

 

Weight: 605g

 

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Production Versions

 

  •  Standard Canon 50mm F0.95 Lens: Approximately 20000 units were produced. However, significantly less number of units remained today.

 

  • Cinematic Canon 50mm F0.95 “TV” Lens: Around 7000 units of “TV” version were made hence making this the even rarer lens. This version offers a different coating to create slightly cinematic renderings.

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Lens Conversion

The Lens was originally designed for the Canon Rangefinders. However, if you find a clean copy of the lens without any optical issues then it is worthwhile to convert into M mount.

It is recommended this conversion process to be done through an experienced and highly skilled technician. This way the converted lens is likely to offer perfect rangefinder coupling and enjoyable experience on Leica M cameras.

For Conversion and Customisation, Please read my article on Camera Customisation.

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Conclusion

The Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream Lens” offers great userability and extremely shallow depth of field. If you are looking for a lens that has unique rendering with “dreamy and glowing” bokeh effects and don’t mind the size or weight then this will be the perfect lens for you.

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Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95   Street Shot @F2 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95

Street Shot @F2 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95     Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95  

Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95     Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95  

Street Shot @F2