Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/07/08

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Noctilux?
From: Leopold Green <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 12:22:10 +0100

Hi Simon,

I don't know if this helps, but I faced a similar dilemma a few months back
and eventually bought the Noctilux [new!!!, madness I know but I got a good
pay rise and found a reasonable deal, for the UK anyway]. It confounded my
expectations in a number of ways:
1)I thought it would seem really heavy, it doesn't, sure it is heavier than
the 35 F2 ASPH, but anyone used to SLR prime lenses isn't going to whinge,
also the weight and shape seem to compliment the density of the M6.
2)I worried about blocking the viewfinder, it does, but nothing like I
imagined and I can honestly say it has not bothered me.
3)I thought it would be easy to focus [hubris!] because I have used a 90 F2
[loaned while waiting for the new APO] for a year and have honestly never
had any problems with the 90, at full aperture and close range. As I said,
hubris, the Noctilux is harder to use, especially in the 1 to 2.5 meter
range. Maybe I need my M6HM adjusting, most likely I need practice because
my failure rate [failure in terms of focus] is way higher than I have
experienced. It is probably good not to take little things like this for
When in focus I haven't been staggered by the results but then I have been
taking 'gloom' pictures just to test the Noctilux and not because there is a
great picture there. I guess when I find the appropriate social setting and
lack of light I'll be thrilled with the results, if I can focus it.
4)I had thought I wouldn't use the Noctilux outside of available gloom,
after all I have the 50 Summicron, but...I have found that with the Noct I
can use Tech Pan, in late twilight light, to capture my sort of urban
landscape shoots [churches, iron railings, sleeping tramps, etc.] in a way I
hadn't imagined. Aperture around 1.4/1.8, distances over 5 meters. Some of
these pictures I have been my favourites of this summer.
I hope this is of some use...



Sorry to bother you again. I would be interested to know how many of the
birthday party pictures on your site are shot wide open. If they are all at
f1 then it would seem that contrary to the opinions of some others on the
LUG you do not have too much of a problem with focus and placing the DOF.

I still haven't convinced myself about the Noctilux - partly because I
wonder whether most of the situations that I imagine that I would use it -
social occassions - are better served by a 35, which at a 3 to 5 foot
shooting range allows for the interaction between a couple of people to be
taken in. I think at those sort of distances the 5O, and especially the
limited 50/1 depth of field, restricts you to one person portraits - which
is fine, but maybe not what I am after when the aim is to capture that
social atmosphere.

All the best,