Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Noctilux Questions
From: Chris Bitmead <>
Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 01:07:41 +0000

Robert G. Stevens wrote:
> Chris:
> I may have mislead some people in my previous post by saying it is the
> rendering, not the sharpness, implying it is not a sharp lens at f1.  The
> lens is very sharp at f1.  The baby's eyes have detail in even the iris of
> the eye.  What other F1 and F1.2 lenses have is a fast speed, but poor
> properties wide open.  Your photo is a good argument for that.  In my
> picture you can even see the texture of the paint on the chair, while yours
> has an overall softness to it.

In my original print, the areas that are in focus are pretty
sharp actually, but the depth of field isn't enough to have him
all in focus. The camera is angled down a bit I think, and only
his head is actually in focus. I don't think the Noctilux can
work miracles as far as DOF.

There is another photo here, the original is 8x10", also taken
with the 50/1 at f1.
In the original print his hairs are very clearly discerned. You
can also see subtle fibre pattern in the cuff of his sleave. His
eyes are black because of the lighting. These photos aren't
printed particularly well. I only borrowed the lens for a day to
make some test shots. Overall, I feel the Canon is reasonably
sharp at f1. It's not as sharp as a 200mm prime stopped down to
f11, but then I kind of doubt the Noctilux is either (correct me
if I'm wrong). Other softness seems to be caused by lack of DOF.
DOF is about 2cm so it wouldn't seem surprising if there is an
"overall softness". I would have thought "You cannot change the
laws of physics" would apply here.

I don't think we will solve which is the sharper lens until
someone can see some real prints side by side. At f1, subject
angle and focusing are so critical.