Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2008/04/20

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Subject: [Leica] Noctilux DOF Film vs M8
From: len-1 at (Leonard Taupier)
Date: Sun Apr 20 06:46:49 2008

This is a very interesting issue. I don't know if anybody has  
mentioned what happens to the depth of field of the Noctilux, or any  
other lens, in a Leica film camera versus the M8 digital camera. It  
seems that nobody complains about the focus on a film body but all  
kinds of complaints on the M8, especially the Noctilux, Summilux Asph  
and the 75mm Summilux. Is there a difference? Yup, there sure is. I  
tested 16 leica lenses for depth of field at a distance of 8 feet. I  
tested 13 of the lenses with film using a .85 MP and compared the  
results to those taken with an M8 and a 1.25 Leica magnifier.

In every case the DOF shifts away from the camera with the M8. In  
other words the lens appears to back focus. The worse lens for this  
shift is the Noctilux. But even on a film camera it is barely in  
focus. The typical back focus shift of any 50mm Leica lens is about 4  
to 5 inches at 8 feet with the M8. The backward shift of the Noctilux  
is between 8 and 9 inches. This puts the focused point of the  
rangefinder outside the depth of field of the lens. The other thing I  
noticed is the DOF is better centered on the older LTM lenses then on  
the newer lenses. I don't know if this is a quality control problem  
now or if the focus point test has changed. I tested 7 LTM lenses,  
the Xenon, Summarit, Summitar, Summicron Coll, 50 Elmar RS, 90 Elmar  
and 135 Hektor. The focus point nicely stayed within the DOF on both  
cameras. Of the M lenses the best is the 1st 50mm Summicron rigid  
version followed by the current 50mm Summicron.

I verified my results with a second M8. The MP body is one year old  
and purchased new. I also sent my Noctilux and 75mm Summilux to DAG  
for focus adjustment even though the lens is still in warranty. I'm  
also shooting more with film these days.


Replies: Reply from hoppyman at (Geoff Hopkinson) ([Leica] Noctilux DOF Film vs M8)
Reply from kididdoc at (Steve Barbour) ([Leica] Noctilux DOF Film vs M8)
Reply from images at (Tina Manley) ([Leica] Noctilux DOF Film vs M8)