NEW YORK NEW YORK – As you may have noted I’ve been working a lot recently with my new Leica Noctilux lens. It’s large and expensive but shooting at f.95 it has a unique look and character. I use a three stop neutral density filter (.9) in daylight, which permits wide open shooting. Without the filter it can effectively see in the dark – very cool for events and street at night handheld with no flash. Stopped down past f2.8 or so it has a character very similar to the Leica 50mm Summilux, which is very good character indeed. I’m looking at this lens as an experiment, but with no economic downside – Noctis are back-ordered by a year or more, are highly in demand, and I could sell it for substantially more than I paid for it (which was several times the cost of my first car). It’s the third version of the Nocti made by Leica – I’ve owned all three. I sold version 2 several years ago because of difficulty focusing it.
I’ve been shooting it on my Sony Nex-7 but have found that the Sony contrast detection focusing system isn’t up to the task of dealing with the skinny depth of field of an f.95 lens. In actual use roughly half of my images with the Nex-7 and Nocti have focus issues. Disappointing. So I’m now using it on my Leica M9. I’m astigmatic in my shooting eye, which makes the Leica rangefinder difficult to use in poor light. The solution is to switch shooting eyes. Not ideal but it works – shooting wrong-eyed with my M9 roughly 90% of my images are keepers from a focus standpoint. I’s also a relief to use it on a camera with a “full frame” sensor, with no focal length multiplier, so the lens can fill the focal length niche that it was designed for. Anyway a couple of images with the Nocti.
Here’s a picture of my M9 with the Nocti, taken with my iPhone.
On this day last year: Spring sucks