Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/01/16

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Subject: [Leica] was: Noctilux reason for the lens
From: (Ted Grant)
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 08:04:01 -0800

Mark Rabiner wrote:

>I'm with you as for being up to here with Noctilux frenzy. An extra stop
>to turn my elegant Leica into a brontosaurus. It's easy enough for me
>skip through those messages as they come up.>>>>>>


Skip them, it'll save you time to shoot. However there are two kinds of
photographer on the LUG. Those who earn their keep as professionals and
those who enjoy photography via the Leica camera for fun.

1/ those of us who work at photography and buy equipment to serve as tools
and not jewels, buy and use them to give us the edge over the competition,
pictures completely different looking and in the case of some assignments
to be, quiet, no flash with completely successful pictures so we can put
food on the table.

2/ those who have the good fortune to "amass the mega bucks" to buy a
Noctilux so they can have "FUN" taking hand held pictures where they never
thought they could. If you haven't used a Noctilux for a reasonable amount
of time I suggest you might rent or borrow one and have some fun.

There isn't any reason to knock the overly enthusiastic about the lens,
it's a great piece of glass. If you can't afford one, may I wish you good
fortune along the way that you may find funds allowing you to do so. I've
used mine in work related assignments since 1967 and I still use it today.
And on some occasions if I didn't have that lens I'd not have pictures.

A point on exposure: light levels so low with 3200 film pushed one stop
6400 and an exposure of f1 - 1/15th the images were as successful as
required for the assignment. No there wasn't room for a tripod or other
supporting method other than breathing at the right time and a cool relaxed
body coordination. Also a few Hail Mary's thrown in for extra luck. :)

>On a parallel thought people are saying a Noctilux is cool for being able
>to shoot slow films in dimmer conditions.>>>>>>

That certainly hasn't been my criteria at anytime, as I have in some cases
required higher speed films just to gain more benefit of the lens. And no I
can't show you the images. Lets just say they're not in the "need to know
and show" category.

>According to my impression of Erwin and others the Noctilux is for
>shooting at night. Show us night shots, not the Gobi desert at high noon
>with tech pan.>>>>>>>

Here we are on the same wave length. Although, if I owned one 50mm lens I'd
prefer the Noctilux simply because it's a more versatile tool if one is
into shooting available light/darkness situations.  But if I were inclined
to be a bright light on the Gobi desert shooter,  I'd be using a cheaper
and better lens for that purpose.

>Thirdly, if you had a Noctilux and were out at night shooting with it
>and you ran into some situations where you were able to stop down and
>get some depth of field, you wouldn't get any problem from me.>>>>>>

One point I always make when asked for advice on the Noctilux: If you are
not going to use it wide open or nearly so as the main purpose of buying
it, save your money and buy a slower aperture lens. It would seem common
sense might prevail whether one has buckets of money or not, that if you
buy the fastest lens available for a Leica, why wouldn't you use it as
often as possible at the widest aperture, no matter what speed film you

I think no matter what Leica lens one buys, there's always a euphoria when
it's  into your hands out of the box and if some folks become really
excited and bubbly about it, let them be happy with it. If not just do what
you've been doing delete when you see Noctilux! Even this one if
you wish. :)

Ted Grant
This is Our Work. The Legacy of Sir William Osler.