NOCTILUX 50MM F/1.2 ASPH

Apr 14, 2021  By Jonathan Slack
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An Appreciation

This is the third lens in Leica’s historical lens series where they revisit classics and remake them with modern glass and coatings, but with the original basic design. The two previous lenses are the tiny Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6, originally released in 1954 with a screw mount, and the Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2, a quirky soft focus portrait lens from the mid 1930’s.

The Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 is rather a different beast. Released in 1966, it was the state-of-the-art lens for shooting in low light, very expensive, and very difficult to make. Estimates of how many were produced vary between 500 and 2,500, but, I understand that the actual number was 1,757. As a result of this it has become a photographic legend and a serious collector’s item with production lenses selling for well over $20,000 and even lens hoods changing hands for around $4,000! Sadly, I do not have an original lens to compare with the new one, but I guess that will be true of most of the people who buy this lovely lens.

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