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


Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar T* Lens Review


I would like to share my recent experiences with a legendary Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens. I am a big fan of super shallow depth of field and bokehlicious images, I believe with the correct use of aperture that one can enhance the subject of the photo. The Hasselblad medium format film camera has been my companion for quite some time now, it is the "perfect" MF camera for me and part of this is due to the superb qualities of those Carl Zeiss lenses. After owning and shooting with a variety of these lenses, there is always a lens in back of my mind. 


The Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens is indeed a "dream" lens, just like the noctilux of Leica which outputs incredible bokeh and unique characteristics. I have been searching lens on the internet for quite awhile since there are not too many of them available at once. There are basically two versions of the lens: the F and FE models of the lens. The F lens can only be used on focal plane Hasselblad bodies with builtin camera shutter and the FE version has some electronic parts specially designed for FE series Hasselblad bodies such as the 203FE, which demands a higher price tag for its more modern electronics. My lovely 2000 FC/M camera that I did my street photography work with has broken down due to focal plane failure so I upgraded to a more recent model, the 201F with a cloth focal plane shutter rather than fragile titanium ones in the 2000FC/M. It is the perfect match with the Hasselblad 110mm F2 lens and this combination works like a charm. 


The first thing you notice when you are holding the lens is quite heavy, coming at 750 grams, which is significantly heavier than my Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 C lens. The F version of this lens were produced between 1991&1998 and the construction consists of 7 elements/5 groups with the aperture ranges from an insane F2 to F16 in 1/2 stop increments. Keep in mind that F2 in the Medium Format world is approximately similar to F1 in the 35mm format, which produces incredibly shallow paperthin DOF. In practical use, the lens at the start was very challenging to use, especially for living subjects on the streets that I like to photograph but once you get used to it then everything becomes easier. Just as a side note, I would recommend for Hasselblad users to change their focusing screen to either Matte or Matte D with increased brightness/clarity when working with this lens, which helps significantly in practical use. The filter size for this particular lens is in bayonet mount (Bay 70) and I would recommend the 77mm UV size adapter since this is a much affordable option. 

The performance of the Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens is truly remarkable, it deserves to wear the crown of superfast lenses in the Medium Format world. The rendering is typical Zeiss with tendency to the warm side with vivid colours and the out of focus areas are pleasing to the eye with smooth bokeh. The images coming out of this lens are very sharp, probably not as sharp as the Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 lens since that one is the sharpest but the 110mm lens possesses very unique and special characteristics. If you like superfast lenses and looking for an unique lens in the medium format world then the Hasselblad 110mm lens cannot be missed.


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