Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/07/06

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Subject: [Leica] Noctilux?
From: "TSL" <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 04:04:17 -0400

- - ----- Original Message -----
From: Simon Pulman-Jones <>
To: Leica-Users@Mejac. Palo-Alto. Ca. Us <>
Sent: Monday, July 05, 1999 10:22 AM
Subject: [Leica] Available darkness - a Northern affliction?

> For the past few days I have been driving myself slowly mad wondering
> whether to buy a Noctilux that I have seen at a (relatively speaking!)
> reasonable price, knowing that if I didn't make up my mind it would be
> to be gone soon. In spite of it's technical shortcomings I love the
> I get with my very early (1960) 35 Summilux wide open - as well rehearsed
> this list it has a wonderful glow which appears to be both clear and soft
> the same time. But it's also the content of the pictures that I like - the
> 35 Summilux is what I use most often for pictures of relaxed people in
> softly lit social contexts - and so I suppose I'm definitely an available
> darkness kind of person.
>And yet... the same questions that go round and round on this list are
> round and round in my head. Grain size... slowest hand-holdable speeds...
> portability of the lens... shorter or longer focus travel on the lens
> for speed and/or accuracy of focus...
> The moment I pick up the phone to order the Noctilux a voice sounds in my
> ear telling me to use a Summicron carefully and develop well to minimise
> grain size...
> And so I have been going slowly mad, and out of the madness an idea
> Thinking about my lens use over and over again I realised that when I was
> recently on holiday in the south of France it was definitely a Summicron
> Elmarit time. Even in the shadows there was enough light, and even in the
> evening too. And being from further north I noticed that the sun went down
> so much more quickly that there wasn't much of an available darkness
> anyway. So I wondered whether Leica-available-darkness wasn't in fact an
> affliction of those of us from Northern parts, where days are often gloomy
> and evenings are long drawn out. And I remembered that one of the most
> eloquent advocates of the Noctilux on this list, Ted Grant, is from
> and that another Northerner's consolation, single malt has seemed as much
> LUG topic as the Noctilux.
> So is this available darkness madness that I have fallen into because of a
> 'cheap' Noctilux in fact just another sickness of angst ridden, gloomy
> Northerners? An Anglo-Saxon, Celtic kind of a thing? Did those German, and
> Canadian, lens-meisters invent super-fast lenses just to give us an
> especially difficult photographic dilemma to gnaw away at with a bottle of
> the finest at our side?
> Do I just need a blast of the bright southern light of common sense to
> banish this Noctilux fever? Or should I pick up the phone and tell the
> dealer to send me that northern gloom-buster? :-)
I was obsessing about another lens altogether and now you have gotten me
thinking Nocti no Nocti yes?
Available Darkness!  Northern Gloomy Madness!
The noctibeast!
Available light - well it's only good with 'natural' light - (maybe a
preference thing) - as chromes will have that even more gloomy yellow-haze
or whatever.
I now use almost exclusively E100VS and the summicron is perfect.  When I'm
shooting inside (I don't use light accessories accept once or twice...) it's
B+W because you know, it's black and white and not yellow or orange....  But
that's besides the point.  The nocti I think is just one of those things
that if you can afford it (i.e. you still have cookies or something) you
will like the decision immediately, or until you are given funny looks for
shooting in the dark with no light (??)  There's this and that but maybe its
better to just get the Nocti out of the way - you'll be glad you have it.
If not, others will be glad.  Its also nice to see a big chunk of Leica
M-glass and the nocti - well it's got some glass there.  Too bad you can't
split a nocti with someone...