Hands-on With the Leica 50mm and 75mm Noctilux Lenses

Leica is a polarizing brand by virtue of their prices and almost nothing else. But, if money was no object, would you shoot with them? Their Noctilux range is on many wishlists, but how good are they really and can they justify the price?

I have written about Leica many times at Fstoppers. I once wrote a fairly critical article about the brand and they did the classiest riposte they could have done: they invited me to their offices to learn more about the brand and to try some of their gear. I was convinced they would never justify their price to me, and while I don't believe everything they offer is priced fairly, they did win me over in many departments.

As I have said in a recent article, shooting with Leica equipment is an experience you need to try somehow. I'm not saying they're the greatest cameras ever made or that everybody should aspire to own one, but they have an uncommon handle on photography and it shows. Their Noctilux range of lenses play into that nicely, but they really do test the limits of price too. The Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. is currently $12,795 and the Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.2 ASPH. is $14,295, making them some of the most expensive lenses photography has to offer.

If you take the price out of the equation, however, how are they to shoot with? Are they enjoyable to use? Are the results pleasing? Do they offer the Leica signature look? It seems to me it's a resounding yes to all questions, but what do you think?

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4 Comments
dick ranez's picture

Robert, like you I can only aspire to the 75 Noctilux. I do love the 75 summicron and the images it produces. Before you buy any 75mm, be sure to check the summicron out.

Robert K Baggs's picture

I opted for a Fuji 50R and a MF 65mm f/1.4 for (very broadly) the same sort of aesthetic. I'd definitely love a Leica setup in the near future though.

Jim Hofman's picture

Instead of selling a kidney, I opted for a different solution. #voigtlander

Jacob H.'s picture

Last year I used a 75 Noctilux that our local Leica rep. loaned me (thank you, Horst). The Art Director of the fashion brand we were shooting for, was so enthusiastic about the looks of the images that we had to redo all the previous images. The best 2-day fun we had even though an M10-R is not your typical fashion camera...