Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/04

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Subject: Re: [Leica] It is all their fault ...
From: Jeff Moore <>
Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 16:21:10 -0300

At 3 May 1998 22:40:23 EDT, TEAShea <> wrote:

> Tina and Erwin... Tina's enthusiatic comments and Erwin's insighful
> analysis of the 50 1.0 did me in.  I gave in and got one.

Yeah, me too.  After some years of being intrigued by the beast, a
couple of weeks ago my eyes rolled back in my head and I went and bought
one.  Shot about six rolls that weekend, five of which had no exposures
at other than f/1.0.  Noctilux + TMZ = bar camera.  Noctilux + fast
color film = inconceivable ("I do not think he knows what that means")
available-light color pictures.  Noctilux + slow color film = not really
caring it's getting late in the day.

About that roll where I budged off the magic aperture...  I did
one of my fiddly, anal little test rolls, mostly to make sure the
camera's rangefinder and the Noctilux were seeing eye to eye.  Some
resolution-test targets at the minimum focusing distance (1m) and
different apertures, comparable stuff with a Summicron.  If those
pictures were all I knew about the Noctilux, I'd never buy one --
great grey blurs where the the Summicron was busily resolving sharp
little alternating lines, and an unmistakable yellow cast.  But the
*real* pictures -- pictures of people being people in the dim -- look
(optically) great.  A fascinating, weird lens, and yet another example
of how misleading it can be to read too much into arbitrary formal tests
of something whose normal usage involves a complex array of factors.
("Gee, Vern, this triode amp don't measure good at all!  Cain't be
no good fer music!")  Dunno if there *is* some focusing imprecision
(although even at f/5.6 the Noct looks worse at test-targets than the
Summicron), or it's a contrast issue, or the lens isn't at its best 'til
farther away than 1m, or...  Whatever, I'll just take pitchers and wait
for my questions about the technical quirks to be answered by Erwin's
upcoming article.  Wish the Noctilux article at his site

were available in English, though... looks like there's some meat there.
I swear, even if it were in English, I'd still buy the PHOTO Techniques
issue, too!

I find I don't find its weight and bulk nearly as annoying as the 1m
minimum focusing distance.  0.7m is limiting enough;  1m makes me keep 
scooting away from people.  And I'll *probably* get used to the long
focus-ring travel...

 -Jeff Moore <>