Teresa & Wojciech

Teresa & Wojciech couple shoot in Poland with the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 lens on the Leica M9

Leica Wedding Photographer (MrLeica.com)

Teresa & Wojciech – Romantic Evening with the Leica Noctilux

Matt Osborne Photography (Coventry UK)

Leica M9 location shoot in Sopot, Poland.  On my last evening in Poland I organised a couple photoshoot shot in a similar style to an engagement photo session but perhaps with a more romantic look to it.  Engagement shoots can be very  relaxed such as a countryside walk or something more stylised if the couple are happy in front of the camera.  There really is no limit and I tailor each engagement session to the couples requirements and taste.

Teresa and Wojciech arrived later than planned so the entire shoot was shot using my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 (v2) at f1 and a high ISO between ISO 640 and ISO 1000 approximately.  Teresa is an agency represented catwalk model so was used to being in front of the camera however for boyfriend Wojciech it was…

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2014 Wedding: Sian & Mat

Leica Noctilux Wedding – Sian & Mat

Leica Wedding Photographer (MrLeica.com)

Wedding: Sian & Mat (Leica Noctilux Wedding)
Coventry Wedding Photographer

http://www.MatthewOsbornephotography.co.uk / http://www.MrLeica.com

August 1st, 2014
Wedding Venue – Eaton Hotel, Birmingham UK

Leica M9 Wedding

Leica Noctilux Wedding

Leica Wedding

Leica Summicron 75 f2 Wedding

I started the day with Mat and his guests at The Bell pub in Harborne next door to the church.  Sian met us at the church then after the wedding ceremony we did the group photos then moved on to Eaton Hotel on the Hagley Road for the wedding breakfast and evening guests arriving.

Here is a selection of photos from the wedding day. The couple opted for digital wedding photography and I had planned to do some additional medium format film photography but we didn’t get chance due to time constraints.

Digital Photos – Leica M9 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 at f1 for most of the day (including all group photos at 50f1)(excluding some 21mm f2.8 + 28mm f2 wide angle photos…

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Engagement: Sukhi & Raechelle

Noctilux Engagement (1)
Sample images from Sukhi & Raechelles Engagement session at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry using a Leica M9 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 at f1 throughout.

Leica Wedding Photographer (MrLeica.com)

Engagement: Sukhi & Raechelle at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry

www. MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk / http://www.MrLeica.com

Coventry Wedding Photographer

Pre-wedding engagement photography a using a Leica M9 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens

Leica Engagement Photography

Leica Noctilux Engagement Shoot

Coventry Pre Wedding Engagement Shoot

Pre Wedding - Noctilux

Engagement Photography

Engagement Photography

Leica Noctliux Bokeh

Happy Sunday

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Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 vs f1.0

Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 vs f1.0
MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Photographer

Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 vs f1.0

I recently treated myself to a 1981 Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2. After now having the Nocti f1 a few weeks I have used it to shoot an entire wedding (Alexa & Rich in Warwickshire) and for a recent model photography / fashion shoot. It quickly became my favourite lens and the enjoyment it gives is in proportion to the high price tag. I use it at it widest aperture for everything and use ND filters if conditions are too bright to do so. I love how the older Noctilux draws and the low contrast soft looking images it produces. They are soft but still more than usuable for female portraiture.

Here are a few recent example images using the Leica M9 + 50mm f1.0
(All are Leica M9 in camera basic black and white JPEGs)
Leica vs Mamiya RZ!
Leica M9 B&W JPEG
Leica High Key Portrait
Noctilux Portrait

Leica B&W JPEG
Leica Fashion Photography

Leica M9 DNG B&W Conversions (as comparison – added after)

Leica M9 + Noctilux

Leica M9 B&W

On my last London Portrait Photography Workshop I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a copy of the latest Noctilux 50mm f0.95. The lens is sharp at f0.95 and has a look similar to the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 that I own. Here are example using the Nocti 50mm f0.95 on my M9 (M9 DNG files converted to B&W)
Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 Test Shot
Leica Noctilux f0.95
Portrait Photography Workshop
Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 Portrait
Leica Noctilux f0.95

So. Which lens do you prefer? Most ‘normal’ photographers that are striving for the highest possible sharpness and resolution, call it ‘perfection’ will probably chose the new Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95. I am not the norm and without doubt chose the older Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 but for its ‘imperfection’.

Before I discovered photography (at the end of 2009) I used to channel my creativity into painting (watercolours on paper and acrylics on model figures). I think this partly is the reason why I enjoy arty less perfect photography such as soft focus images from the Nocti f1 and the imperfections captured when shooting film.

Here is some colourful bokeh from the Noctilux 50mm f1 at last weekends wedding. Wedding post to follow.

Leica Noctilux Bokeh

..it’s funny. I now own quite a few Leica mount lenses and I used to struggle to decide for each shoot what lens to use and if going out for a day which lenses to pack to take with me. Now I would be happy to go out for the day with one lens and never feel like I am missing out. I have the opposite problem of not wanting to take the Nocti 50mm f1 off the camera! 🙂

Leica Noctilux Wedding

Leica Noctilux Wedding
Rich & Alexa – Hatton Village Hall, Warwickshire

MatthewOsbornePhotography – Coventry & Warwickshire Wedding Photographer

Leica Noctilux Wedding

Yesterday I was invited to photograph Alexa and Rich’s wedding at Hatton Village Hall in Warkwickshire. It was set to be the hottest day of 2014 so far and I was really looking forward to getting started. I had asked the couple in advance if they liked the style of my wedding photos achieved using my Leica M9 camera and the 1981 Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens shot at f1. To my delight they said yes so I arrived with my 3 stop ND filter attached to the lens ready for the bright conditions. I took my Leica M8 as a second Leica body to use the 1.5x crop sensor together with my Leica Summicron 90mm f2 lens to give me an equivalent 137mm reach if needed. I shot almost the entire day with the Nocti 50mm f1.0 and loved every minute of it. I had to work for my images as inside the village hall was quite dark and outside was very bright so the ND filter was on and off constantly. For some of the wedding portraits I used speedlights and the lens aperture at f1 so had to use 2x ND filters to darken the ambient light to the correct level while having a slow enough shutter speed for flash sync. The Noctilux f1 lens also has a long focus throw so it involved much turning of the heavy manual lens focus ring to focus throughout the day.

The two new upgrades to the Leica M9, the Leica 1.4x viewfinder magnifier and Leica Thumbie thumb grip both worked a treat and I was able to easily nail focus at f1 and also shoot the whole day without hand ache (even when using one of the heaviest Leica M mount lenses).

Here are a few sample wedding photos exported so far –

Leica Noctilux Wedding
Leica Noctilux Wedding (2)
Leica Wedding

I also shot a roll of colour 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film in my 1950s Leica M2 + Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 so have those to follow too once developed and scanned.

A full wedding highlights post will follow on my new wedding page – http://www.LeicaWeddingPhotographer.co.uk

Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95

Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95

Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95

The legendary Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 is perhaps at the pinnacle of camera lens engineering and was released in 2008 to replace the already legendary Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0. The f0.95 Nocti is the fastest brightest most expensive Leica lens in current production (that I am aware of) and is also surrounded by the most hype.

I own some nice lenses but I buy mostly second hand. My most expensive lens purchase to date was my Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s. A new Noctilux f0.95 costs almost 4x more than what I spent on the 200f2 so it was safe to say I would not be buying one any time soon. That said I longed to try this Noctilux magic so I ordered myself the older cheaper Leica Noctilux 50f1.0

The 50f1 had not yet arrived and I was teaching a photography and lighting workshop in London last weekend with model Katie. Phil who joined us for the day kindly offered me the use of his Leica Noct 50 f0.95 and I jumped at the chance! I lent him my Leica Summicron 90mm f2 and we were all set.

Here are some sample images that I took during the workshop with my Leica M9. Photos are with available light only using the 50mm f0.95 at f0.95. We fitted a 3 stop ND filter (ND0.9) as the conditions were bright yet I was only interested in using it at f0.95 (wide open).
Leica Noctilux f0.95
Portrait Photography Workshop

Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 Test Shot
London Photography & Lighting Workshop
Leica Noctilux f0.95
Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95
Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 Portrait

As a comparison photo here is headshot taken with the Leica Cron 90mm f2 (1973) on the M9
Leica Summicron 90mm Portrait

And a comparison photo headshot taken with the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 on the M9 (different day, French model Valentine)

Leica Summilux ASPH Bokeh

First impressions of the Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95, in no order,

  • Heavy!
  • Long focus through (takes a long time to focus from 1m to infinity)
  • Sharp wide open at f0.95 (edge to edge without pixel peeping)
  • Little or no noticeable flare
  • Clip highlights (overexposed highlights) easily as what you get in the photo is often brighter than you visualise with your eyes
  • 1m minimum focus distance is not near enough (vs the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 at 0.7m) for my taste and is the biggest drawback for me
  • Good for half body photos but not as good as the 90mm f2 Cron for headshots
  • Better results in low contrast light (out of direct sun) (nicer images for my taste)
  • Requires a 3 stop ND filter to use in bright conditions if using wide open
  • f0.95 DOF at 1m was not noticeable more shallow than then Lux ASPH 50 at 0.7m (by eye)
  • f0.95 DOF at 1m appeared less shallow than the Cron 90 f2 at 1m (by eye)
  • Easy enough to nail focus at f0.95 if the subject is static

Is the Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 better than the Leica Summilux ASPH 50 1.4?

I think for the additional expense of the Nocti I rather have a Lux ASPH 50f1.4
+ a Cron 90mm f2.

Is the Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 better than the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0?

We will have to wait to see. As soon as my 50 f1 arrives I will be testing it straight away and I can then post some comparisons.

If money was no object would I chose to shoot with the Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 over any of my other Leica lenses? Probably yes! ..unless travelling with weight restrictions. The shallow DOF at f0.95 can make any scene appear more beautiful that what would be seen with the naked eye.

Do I prefer the Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 or the Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s?

I prefer the Leica 50 f0.95 mostly due to the size. I think the 200f2 is slightly sharper wide open but both give near edge to edge sharpness at their widest aperture. The 200f2 gives greater subject background separation but then it is a much much larger lens!

I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to both test this amazing lens and also to now be able ot compare it to the older cheaper Noctilux f1. Coming soon!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Post
Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 (pre-arrival hype) – https://matthewosbornephotography.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/leica-noctilux-50/

Leica Noctilux 50!

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 (1981-1982)
Leica Noctilux 50!

I just bought one!!! 🙂

As a Leica photographer and even before owning a Leica camera I always dreamed of owning a lens that was faster than f1.2. I love shallow depth of field (“DOF”) and my best lenses for this to date include Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 (medium format lens on the Contax 645 – equal to 50mm f1.1 approx on a 35mm camera), Nikon 200mm f2 AI-s, Nikon 50mm f1.2 AI-s, Carl Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8 (M42) and more recently on the Leica cameras; Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii, Leica Summicron 90mm f2, Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 (1954) and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 (to mention a few).

Despite owning all those mentioned lenses the dream lives on. Today I decided to make that dream come true and reinvest some savings that had matured into Leica glass rather than a low interest deposit account. No price can be placed on the enjoyment I get from my photography and as Leica lenses retain their value well I see it more as an investment than an expense.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 vs. Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 – Price
The fastest Leica lens and in current production is the latest Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95ASPH that was released in 2008. (Canon actually made the first 50mm f0.95 lens years earlier) Here in the UK the retail price to buy a new Noctilux 50/0.95 is in excess of £7.2k. Used Noctilux lenses hold their value well but this is more than double the cost of a used Noctilux 50mm f1.0. Most of the Leica shooters that I know use a f0.95 not the older f1.0 but I was not in a position to spend that kind of money on one lens.

Was I tempted by the newer sharper faster Noctilux f0.95?
Initially of course yes. I do like my apparent lens sharpness combined with a shallow DOF however my taste seems to be changing as my photography matures. I own the famous ‘Lux ASPH 50mm f1.4 and it does indeed have edge to edge clinical sharpness at f1.4. That said, it is not my first or even second choice when selecting a 50mm lens to use for my portraiture photography. Until recently I favoured the Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 for a combination of sharp, contrasty, punchy images with a nicely rendered OOF area/ bokeh. I then bought a 1954 Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5. That has changed everything. It is soft, low contrast and prone to flare yet I absolutely love its quirks and the vintage imperfect look it applies to images.

Sample image using the Summarit 50/1.5 @f1.5 on my Leica M9

Classic Black & White Photography

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 vs. Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 – Images
If I compare photos taken with the older Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 vs the current Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 I would say it is like comparing the 1954 Summarit 50/1.5 vs the current Leica Lux ASPH 50/1.4. Many people say photos taken with the Noct. f0.95 are not dissimilar from those taken with the Lux 50 ASPH. Both these lenses give clinical sharpness. The older Noct f1.0 however has real character and ‘proper’ imperfections that you just cannot make or add to an image after in Photoshop. A particular favourite characteristic is the misshaped bokeh balls of the f1.0 that are more akin to bokeh of the Summarit 50 lens. I think the f1.0 images capture many of the best bits seen in the Summarit 50 photos yet 10 fold.

Painting with my camera not etching with micro precision
The vintage Summarit really is a fantastic lens if used correctly but I feel I will be able to get even more out of the Leica Noctilux 50 f1 lens. I like to ‘paint’ things of beauty with the majority of my photography regardless of the subject. Having a lens that appears to paint on the detail with a big fat brush rather than etch in the finer details with micro precision is exactly why I chose the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 over the 50mm f0.95.

I have not even received my lens yet but this is my conclusion to date drawn from the research I did prior to my purchase. Most of the reviews I had read for the Summarit 50 were terrible but it turns out the lens is a real gem. I hope to prove that the older Nocti f1.0 is more than a match for its newer sibling for some types of photography.

More about the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2
I bought the v2 model that has an E60 thread and removable Leica hood. Many people praise the v4 as being the most sought after of all 5 models released. The v4 has built in slide out hood but the v2 is lighter and often cheaper than the v4. I like using flare in my photography so there is a very high chance that I will not fit the lens hood. I will just protect the end of the lens with a ND filter or UV filter. Lens hoods often make lenses much more imposing so I currently do not use any add on lens hoods on my LM mount lenses.

I bought my 1981-82s Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens from Italy via eBay so I must now wait patiently before I get to try the lens and share some sample images with you. The Noctilux lens is the now the most expensive item in my photography bag but I see it as a long term investment rather than a luxury expense. It may seem that I buy new camera gear almost every week and sometimes this is true but I buy almost all second hand and I spend little to nothing on anything other than photography! I get paid working as a Leica wedding photographer, fashion and beauty photographer and for running photography and lighting workshops from my Coventry studio and on location. Any money I receive from my photography is reinvested 100% back into my passion.

I am excited for the arrival of my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 and I will of course report back soon once it arrives.

Have a great weekend!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer