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Leica 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux-M Manual Focus Lens (11822)

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Technical Details


Product Description

The Noctilux transmits light more effectively than even the human eye, and as the world s first production f/1.0 lens for 35 mm photography, it represents a landmark in the history of photography. Its outstanding contrast sensitively differentiates subtle colors and its precise resolution displays the finest of textures, even in highly unfavorable light. Maximum correction for aberrations such as coma means that it delivers virtually bleed-free reproduction of point light sources. This lens opens up to photographers a unique and fascinating pictorial language. It is not only outstandingly well suited to shooting in dim light, but also for night shots without flash. The light from a candle is sufficient to produce outstanding results. Specific image areas can be highlighted by means of its very shallow depth of field at full aperture. In the soft-focus zones, this causes outlines to dissolve into an almost abstract aesthetic of shapes and colors.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 6.6 x 3.8 x 3.3 inches
Item Weight 1.7 pounds
Shipping Weight 1.7 pounds
ASIN B00009XW3A
Item model number 11822
Customer Reviews
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #7,728 in Camera & Photo > Lenses > Camera Lenses
Date first available at Amazon.com May 2, 2004

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I own three Leica 50mm lenses. The Noctilux is the one I use for weddings and commercial indoor work without flash or studio lights.

Pictures from this lens lack the sparkle of those from more recent Leica designs, but in a poorly-lit room with ISO 800 film, there's no other alternative if you have to get the picture without flash.

My lens is a first-version 50mm f/1, 11 821, but the optical formula hasn't changed since Walter Mandler designed it in 1976. Stopped down to f/1.2, the vignetting wide-open reduces a little.

The lens makes great images stopped down further, too, but it's a real boat anchor to carry. If you don't need the f/1 speed, the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux is much lighter and smaller. I use the second version - it's optically excellent. They're available used for less than $1000 if you hunt around a bit.

Another reviewer cites Canon's EF 50mm f/1, but this lens has been discontinued. Even used, it can fetch over $5000.

Canon will release the new EF 50mm f/1.2 in late 2006. For fast 50mm lenses, it and the Noctilux are your only choices.
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The Leica 50mm f1 Noctilux is not only one of the two fastest 35mm lenses currently in production (The other one is the 50mm f1 Canon EOS lens.), but it is truly one of the specialist Leica lenses which have earned much praise from diehard Leica fans, fine art photographers and photojournalists. This lens truly shines wide open at f1, where its relatively lower contrast will yield lovely, almost pastel-like, out-of-focus blurs. For those interested in doing available low-light photography at the slowest possible speed, this venerable lens will open some interesting artistic vistas for a photographer who has a M-mount rangefinder camera such as the Leica M series, Konica Hexar, Voigtlander Bessa series, and last, but not least, the relatively new Zeiss Ikon. I have not had the need to use the Noctilux, but have seen wonderful work done with this lens, which is used frequently to photograph musicians performing in dimly-lit, smoke-filled rooms. Unless you have the burning desire and need to do a lot of low-light available light photography with a 35mm M-mount rangefinder camera, then don't purchase this lens, but instead, think of acquiring Leica's venerable 50mm Summicron, its superb 50mm ASPH Summilux, or the Carl Zeiss ZM 50mm Planar lenses.
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There is no other lens that renders like the f/1.0 Noctilux - it is simply outstanding.

The out of focus areas are smooth with an almost pastel like fingerprint. The in focus subject matter is sharp and has an almost three dimensional appearance. From f/3.5 to f/1, there is exposure vignetting in the corners which becomes more pronounced with the wider apertures and is most pronounced at f/1. This is not really a drawback in my view as it lends a unique look to the images during daytime shooting and pretty much disappears into the shadows when shooting in low light environments. At f/4 to f/4.5, the vignetting is gone, depending on the lighting you are shooting in. At f/5.6 to f/8, the Noctilux approaches the legendary 50mm Summicron f/2 lens (non-APO version) in terms of sharpness and overall image quality.

The Noctilux has a long throw focusing helix for more precise focusing which is needed at f/1; this makes focusing slower than with Leica's other 50mm lenses but it is needed with the very thin depth of field that the Noctilux produces at maximum aperture. this lens can be used as an all around 50mm but it is not the optimum choice for all applications. Nonetheless, the f/1 Noctilux cannot be beat for artistic rendering and low light photography. The f/0.95 ASPH version that is currently in production is 10-11% faster than the f/1 Noctilux, but that increase in spped comes at a very high price.

In my view, the f/! Noctilux is the best all around choice of the super speed 50mm lenses that are currently available. If you want f/1 and image quality - particularly at middle apertures - look no further than this masterpiece.
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Very good and versatile lens. I have a couple of leica 50mm lenses, and this one is the only one I care about.
If you are going to fork out so much money, you might as well get the latest and greatest version .95mm.

Great for low light photography. No flash needed. Does Leica even make a flash? :)

Beautiful images, quality.

Why not a 5 star then? I reserved the 5 star for my beloved 21mm lens.
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For all the hype about this lens and the price tag you would THINK it would fit on most cameras? no. Didn't even line up correctly with my kodak disposable camera, nor my polaroid.
6 Comments 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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