Leica Noctilux Prom Night

Leica Noctilux Event Photography

Prom Night for King Henry VIII School, Coventry leavers at Arderncote Manor Hotel & Spa, Warwickshire

I covered the event with my Leica M9 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens set at f1 for the entire night, group shots and all.  (I did take one all pupil photo with my Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8 as the 50mm was not wide enough.  All the photos except the last few are daylight only.

It was the first prom night I have been invited to photography and I must admin I was a little nervous at the thought of being ripped to pieces by 100+ 18yr olds.  I could not have been more wrong.  The King Henry VIII school pupils were some of the most polite young adults I have had the pleasure of meeting.  The whole evening was great fun and the photos seemed to be well received.  I also took along my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II shooting Polaroid film (Fuji FP100C) and again everyone really took to it.

Here are a few sample images to show that the Leica Noctilux 50f1 lens really can do almost anything you throw at it.

Gallery – samples (The James Bond 007 car was borrowed for the event!)

http://www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

 

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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.

LeicaWeddingPhotographer

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 M 50mm Lenses Compared

Leica M Mount 50mm Lenses Compared
MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Photographer

Leica M 50mm Lenses Compared

As a Leica photographer I have now collected quite a few 50mm Leica M mount lenses. I am always interested how one lens performs against another and until I can decide my favourites I am not selling any. I thought it might be useful to do a quick comparison of 8 50mm lenses, 7 of which I own and 1 I was able to use for a day to try (Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95). I explain my thoughts, pros and cons of each lens based on my own experience and taste and using the lens copies I own. My findings may differ from your own or from comprehensive technical reviews that have been performed for each. I have included a sample photo from each lens to give you a real example but if you want to see more please visit my Flickr stream where I have an album set up for each lens I use –
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/sets

50mm Lemses – Pros and Cons of Each:

Zeiss ZM Planar 50f2:
Pros – Very sharp and contrasty. Focuses at 0.9m
Cons – Too sharp for some subjects! No built in hood.
Thoughts – Apparent clinical sharpness/ high contrast and unflattered for anything other than baby like skin
• Example Photo using a Leica M9
Leica M9 - B&W Film Look

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50f1.5:
Pros – Sharp in the centre and contrasty at f1.4. Nice rendering of OOF areas/ bokeh
Cons – Closest focus 1m. No built in hood.
Thoughts – Good apparent sharpness (high contrast) shot wide open with nice rendering. Fine for most portraits.
• Example Photo, Leica M9
Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50/1.5 Portrait

Leica Summilux ASPH 50f1.4 (Lux 50):
Pros – Edge to edge clinical sharpness at f1.4. Focus at 0.7m. Built in hood.
Cons – Bigger than the Cron and ZM lenses. Modern look.
Thoughts – Sharpest 50 but lower contrast vs Zeiss. Best 50mm up close.
• Example Photo, Leica M9
Leica Engagement Photography

Leica Summicron 50f2 v5 (Cron 50):
Pros – 39mm filter thread and built in hood. Focus at 0.7m. It does nothing badly
Cons – It has no one character to lift it above other 50s.
Thoughts – Great all rounder. It does nothing particularly well (vs. other 50s that each have a strong point) yet does nothing badly either. My least used 50 (excluding Jupiter 3 – has some focus shift to account for so not used much)
• Example Photo, Leica M9
Leica Summicron 50

Leica Summarit 50f1.5 (1950s):
Pros – Vintage look from the camera giving photos with that Leica glow. Cheap
Cons – Closest focus 1m. Soft, low contrast and prone to flare
Thoughts – Creates beautiful glowing portraits if used to its ‘strengths’ (Cons).
• Example Photo, Leica M9
Street Portrait

Leica Noctilux 50f0.95:
Pros – Edge to edge clinical sharpness at f0.95. Good subject background separation
Cons – Closest focus 1m. Very expensive. Heavy. 60mm filter thread. Modern look
Thoughts – very similar to Lux ASPH 50 in all respects but cannot focus at 0.7m.
• Example Photo, Leica M9
Leica Noctilux f0.95

Leica Noctilux 50f1 v2 (1981):
Pros – Unique look images created – can resemble medium format/ large format film
Cons – Closest focus 1m. Expensive. Heavy. 60mm filter thread, Soft, Low contrast
Thoughts – Softer and lower contrast than all lenses list except Summarit 50f1.5. Nicest bokeh and rendering IMO.
• Example Photo, Leica M9
Leica vs Mamiya RZ!

Russian Jupiter 3 50f1.5 (Zeiss Sonnar Clone):
Pros – Cheapest and great value for money. Contrasty giving apparent sharpness
Cons – Closest focus 1m, soft focus and prone to some flare
Thoughts – Similar to Leica Summarit in all respects but more contrasty
• Example Photo, Leica M9
M9 + Jupiter 3

Conclusion

What is my favourite Leica 50?

It depends on the task –

Lux ASPH 50 if I want tight crop headshots or edge to edge sharpness.
Noctilux 50 f1 if I want to create ‘better’ than reality photos and bokeh
Summarit f1.5 if I want a more vintage look from camera with lots of flare
ZM Sonnar for sharp environmental portraits
ZM Zeiss for the sharpest possible image

But if I could only own one 50mm lens?

• Noctilux 50 f1 – It can produce images like no other.

I hope you found it useful even if you do not agree with some of my findings. (I know the Leica Cron 50 is a very popular lens).

Matt – MrLeica.com

 

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 f1.0

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 (1981)
MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Photographer

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0

After getting the chance to try a new Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 lens during a London Photography Workshop a few weeks back I was excited for the arrival of my older Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0. I purchased the mint condition vintage Leica lens on eBay from ‘longmilan84’ (Long) who it based in Milan, Italy. Despite the worry of the high value purchase the transaction all went very smoothly and the lens arrived as described. Many thanks Long!

Leica Noctilux 50f1.0 for wedding photography?

I ordered the Nocti lens to arrive in time for a wedding booking last weekend. I used the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 for wedding photography and was really pleased with the results. It is well documented that the f1.0 lens is much softer wide open the compared to the newer 50mm f0.95 but I was hoping to use this effect to my advantage. I relied on Leica m mount lenses I knew for the most part of the day (CV 35/1.2 ASPH + Leica Lux ASPH 50/1.4) but did use the Nocti at the end of the day and for arty ‘B roll’ style detail shots. Once I was confident with the results from the Noctilux for wedding photos I asked my next wedding couple in advance if I can use this lens for their wedding and they said yes! Great news! I now hope to use the Nocti as much as possible on the wedding day shot wide open throughout.

Here are some Noctilux wedding photo examples, all shot wide open at f1.0 on a Leica M9
Leica Noctilux Wedding
Noctilux Bokeh
Leica Nocitlux Bokeh
Leica Food Photography
Noctilux DOF
Leica Noctilux Bokeh
Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 Sharpness
Leica Look
Leica Nocti Wedding
Leica Noctilux Low Light

(I will share a separate blog post for the full wedding highlights including more Nocti photos)

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 for Leica Studio Photography?
Yesterday I was teaching a photography and lighting workshop again in my Coventry studio giving photography tuition on how to use available light for portrait photography. Holly kindly modelled for me and here are a few samples of me using the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 in the studio shot wide open on a Leica M9 camera body.
Leica Noctilux f1
Leica Noctilux Portrait

Did I like using the Nocti 50f1 in the studio?
I found I kept wanting to get closer than 1m to my model to give a tighter crop. The 50f1 will not focus closer than 1m so at times changed lenses to my Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 that will focus as close as 0.7m. Here is a sample image using the Lux ASPH 50 as a comparison (on the M9) –
Leica Portrait

Initial thoughts.
I am very happy with the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 purchase and I do not have the desire to upgrade to the newer f0.95. The Noctilux f0.95 gives a similar look to that from the Summilux ASPH 50 f1.4 but has the same drawback as the f1.0 in that you can only focus as close as 1m. If Leica released a new Noctilux with 0.7m focus distance I would be there in an instant! ..after robbing a bank en route! (joke – as I imagine it would be very expensive!)

I have not yet had chance to do a dedicated model / fashion photography shoot with the Leica Nocti as I have been teaching photography much more in recent weeks. That said, as soon as I do I will share the results. I am also really looking forward to all the Leica weddings booked for the year as I hope to sell them the Leica Noctilux look as I have for the next wedding. Wedding photography is no different to any of my other photography genre. If I can’t get excited when taking the photos I will not enjoy it and then I would stop doing it. The Leica Noctilux photos make the ordinary look extraordinary and that is what I want others to benefit from too.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer, Coventry

Related Links

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

> Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 (model photography workshop examples)
https://matthewosbornephotography.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/leica-noctilux-50mm-f0-95/

> Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 (as a comparison)
https://matthewosbornephotography.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/leica-summilux-asph-50mm-f1-4/

> Coventry Wedding Photographer /Leica Wedding Photography http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html

> Photography and Lighting Workshop / Portrait Photography Courses
http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Photography-Courses.html