Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/10

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Subject: RE: [Leica] 35/1.2 Nokton re: 35/1.4 Summilux
From: "Jeffery Smith" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 09:56:30 -0500

I think he was saying that it is lighter than the Nocilux, not the Summilux.

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Leica] 35/1.2 Nokton re: 35/1.4 Summilux

Last time I checked, 490 Grams is heavier than 310 Grams, so the Nokton is
heavier than the Summilux not lighter.


                      Henning Wulff

                      <>           To:                                       
                      Sent by:                            cc:

                      owner-leica-users@mejac.palo        Subject:  [Leica]
35/1.2 Nokton re: 35/1.4 Summilux                               



                      06/10/2003 01:36 AM

                      Please respond to




I recently had a chance to use Tom Abrahamsson's Nokton 35 for a week, and
did some comparisons with my 35/1.4 Summilux ASPH, and, to a lesser degree,
my fourth generation Summicron 35.

The Nokton is huge; closer to the Noctilux in size than the Summilux. The
Nokton isn't quite as dense as the Summilux, so it only weighs 490gms
(compared to the Summilux at 310gms). The Nokton's front glass sits further
away from the camera than the Noctilux's, but isn't recessed as far, so you
have to use the Nokton's hood. The lens seems to intrude more into the
viewfinder than my v.2 Noctilux; mostly due to the wider angle of view, but
also due to the greater extension from the camera of the lens plus hood.

The build quality is very good; definitely the best of any C-V product to
date. It focusses to 0.7m in a reasonably short throw, and the movement is
as smooth as you could want. The buld quality still seems a little shy of
that of the Summilux, but not as much as the price difference.

I shot a number of B&W Delta 100 films and a number of Kodak 100 Elite; also
one of Fuji Velvia, which I respect for it's high resolution but generally
dislike for its lack of shadow detail and harsh tones.

The one thing that amazed me about the Nokton's performance is that the lens
is exactly the same at f/1.2 as at f/8. Same resolution, same contrast. Only
the light falloff is less at f/8. And the light falloff at f/1.2 isn't bad.
At f/1.4 the light falloff seems identical to that of the Summilux.

At f/1.2 the resolution and contrast of the Nokton seemed identical to that
of the Summilux at f/1.4. I truly could not tell the images apart. The only
thing is that in certain conditions the level of flare produced by the
Nokton seemed to be very slightly less.

For wide open shooting, in the very worst lighting conditions, the Nokton
excels, and seems to be at least as good as the Summilux.

When the lenses were stopped down, the story differs. When the Nokton is
stopped down, the images look identical to those at f/1.2, except the last
vestiges of light falloff disappear. Resolution and contrast remain the
same, and are only slightly different identical center to edge. The Summilux
images, however, improve so that at f/2.8 and above they are significantly
crisper due to both resolution and contrast improvements. I alway thought
that the Summilux was one of those lenses that improved hardly at all, and
that you could shoot them at any aperture with essentially equal results.
Now I have used a lens that seems to be truly equal at all apertures.
Another facet of performance is that at f/1.2 the Nokton seems to have even
less astigmatism than the Summilux, even though it it virtually unnoticeable
in the latter.

Bokeh seems to be virtually identical; probably due to the high correction
of both of the lenses. Lack of spherical aberration produces a bit of
harshness in both lenses, with the Nokton possibly suffering a bit more of
this than the Summilux.

What this means is that the Nokton is not a universal lens; even less than
the Noctilux. When there is sufficient light, you do want a lens that will
image a superbly resolved, high contrast picture, that is better than what
the Nokton can achieve at f/1.2. The solution, it seems to me, is to get the
Nokton for f/1.2 to f/2, and get the Summicron (4th gen) for all those times
that f/2.8 and above and a miniscule lens are just the ticket.

I'm not getting a Nokton (at least right now) because the extra 1/2 stop
(works out to 1/3 in practice) isn't enough reason to carry such a huge lens
and spend such a lot of money. However, if you don't have a Summilux right
now, it (and an old Summicron) might be just the ticket.

- --
    *            Henning J. Wulff
   /|\      Wulff Photography & Design
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