Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/08/19

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Noctilux?
From: jon honeyball <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:38:18 +0100

Sorry for not spotting this and replying earlier.

The DOF is very shallow on the Nocti when running at F1.

Take a look at

which was shot with Nocti/M6HM on Neopan1600 film -- it was at F1.0, I think
(might have been 1.4 -- I cant remember) -- you can see that her ear is in
focus but the tip of her nose isnt.


- -----Original Message-----
From: Simon Pulman-Jones []
Sent: 08 July 1999 10:49
Subject: RE: [Leica] Noctilux?


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,


- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of jon
Sent: 07 July 1999 12:01
To: '';
Subject: RE: [Leica] Noctilux?

You *need* a noctilux. Lets just be clear about that. You *need* it.

Of the 5 lenses I have for the M6, its my favourite by far -- a magical

Check out  for what you
can do with 400asa Fuji print file, 15th second, handheld and drunk... (it
was my birthday party dinner, ok? <smile>)


- -----Original Message-----
From: TSL []
Sent: 06 July 1999 09:04
Subject: [Leica] Noctilux?

- - ----- 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...