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Digital Leica M8 / M8.2 / M9 / M-E /Mono / M10 aka "M" Discussions about the Leica M8 /M 8.2 / M9 / M9-P/ M-E / M Monochrom / M10 aka "M": Leica digital M mount rangefinder cameras. Naming the new digital M the "Leica M" is VERY unfortunate as it will only confuse newbies with other Leica M cameras of the the past. Happily there is room for confusion with only the past 59 years of Leica M production ... since Leica introduced the Leica M system in 1953. All Hail for the Leica Marketing Department learning Leica M history!

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Old 01-08-2013   #26
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thanks for the link!

Some years ago I had the possibility to place some of them side by side, but sorry, no comparison pics available.

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Old 01-08-2013   #27
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A kind friend lent me an f/1 Noctilux for a year, and I greatly enjoyed it. And I had a 50/1.2 Canon, fully overhauled by Balham Optical, but I gave it away (the same friend, as a 60th birthday present).

From my review of the f/1, http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...ps%20king.html (the 'we' is my wife Frances and me)

The Noctilux is a wonderful lens, and as we have already said, if we could afford one without thinking about it, we would buy one like a shot. If we did a lot of the kind of photography for which the Noctilux is ideal -- the performing arts, in particular -- we would grit our teeth and find the money: it's expensive, but as a tool of that particular trade, it's extremely useful. But as neither of these conditions applies, we really don't think we're missing all that much by not having one -- which is not the same as saying we wouldn't like one.

As it is, I find my 1,5/50 C-Sonnar an all but universal lens, and it's seldom I miss the extra stop or half stop. 'Seldom' is nothing like the same as 'never', but equally, I have tried all three (and I also have a 35 Summilux) so at least I've some idea of what I' talking about. Put it this way: I had a choice of a Thambar and the Noctilux, and bought the Thambar (they were about the same money at the time, and I could only afford one). I do not regret the choice, not least because I buy lenses to use, not as investments.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-08-2013   #28
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The DOF is too narrow for me with these lenses. Wide open the focusing has to be perfect. I am not perfect.
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Old 01-08-2013   #29
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Pretty much true for all of these super high-speed lenses. But if you need the speed, you need it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lss View Post
It's a good lens where speed may be needed, but there are much better lenses for general use.
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Old 01-08-2013   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furcafe View Post
Pretty much true for all of these super high-speed lenses. But if you need the speed, you need it.
+1

as it is i've hit walls shooting f/1 @2500 on the M9, even under-exposing, when shooting in dark bars here. i would have been sunk with an f/1.4 or f/1.5.

when you need it, you really do need it.
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Old 01-08-2013   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cam View Post
+1

as it is i've hit walls shooting f/1 @2500 on the M9, even under-exposing, when shooting in dark bars here. i would have been sunk with an f/1.4 or f/1.5.

when you need it, you really do need it.
Dear Cam,

What shutter speed do you regard as 'hitting a wall'? 1/30? 1/15? 1/8...?

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Old 01-08-2013   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Cam,

What shutter speed do you regard as 'hitting a wall'? 1/30? 1/15? 1/8...?

Cheers,

R.
just discussing one night as an example: the lowest i saw in a quick gander was 1/6 (which is beyond my hand-holding capabilities, especially in crowds)... the lighting varies, depending if i'm doing "stage" shots of whoever was performing (no extra lighting -- just chairs on a higher level) or if i'm trying to capture the crown and/or the dancers.

obviously, especially with the dancers, i never got sharp sharp sharp because, even handheld, it was impossible to freeze the moments. (even the quieter moments i captured were difficult because of the noise @2500) instead, i went more for the feeling and got some nice shots indeed. but clearly, this was a situation where the camera was at its limit.

the others i was shooting with had cameras that went up to much higher ISOs and they took advantage of it... on the M9, there isn't that choice. without an f/1, i would have been very unhappy indeed.

i have no regret that i kept my Noctilux instead of selling it to fund that lovely Thambar you found me. but i also respect your decision to chose the Thambar as you're not nearly as insane as i am to shoot in the dark

eta: to answer your question, though (sorry), below 1/30 is pushing it... for what i was shooting, i would much rather have been able to shoot 1/60 at the very least, with 1/125 or 1/250 when i was shooting the dancers.
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Old 01-08-2013   #33
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The photos in that article look mostly out of focus, and the photographer acknowledges that he didn't have time to try second shots. Besides the Konica f1.2 second version (which probably was optimised to focus wide open with the camera and that has the deepest DOF of them all), they all look like the shots I used to get from a Nokton f1.1, quite soft and swirly.
And as someone said, when you need the speed, you need it. Living in Norway, the dark season is about 6 months... my shutter speed is set on 1/15 most of the time, f1.4 (the Nokton 35mm f1.2).
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Old 01-08-2013   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cam View Post
just discussing one night as an example: the lowest i saw in a quick gander was 1/6 (which is beyond my hand-holding capabilities, especially in crowds)... the lighting varies, depending if i'm doing "stage" shots of whoever was performing (no extra lighting -- just chairs on a higher level) or if i'm trying to capture the crown and/or the dancers.

obviously, especially with the dancers, i never got sharp sharp sharp because, even handheld, it was impossible to freeze the moments. (even the quieter moments i captured were difficult because of the noise @2500) instead, i went more for the feeling and got some nice shots indeed. but clearly, this was a situation where the camera was at its limit.

the others i was shooting with had cameras that went up to much higher ISOs and they took advantage of it... on the M9, there isn't that choice. without an f/1, i would have been very unhappy indeed.

i have no regret that i kept my Noctilux instead of selling it to fund that lovely Thambar you found me. but i also respect your decision to chose the Thambar as you're not nearly as insane as i am to shoot in the dark

eta: to answer your question, though (sorry), below 1/30 is pushing it... for what i was shooting, i would much rather have been able to shoot 1/60 at the very least, with 1/125 or 1/250 when i was shooting the dancers.
Dear Cam,

Thanks very much. I'm intrigued, because I have quite a lot of books and magazines from the 1930s, and I've long wondered how they coped with slow lenses (f/1.5 was super-speed) and slow films (the equivalent of ISO 200 was super-fast). Thy seem to have achieved it in two ways: bracing their arms on tables and the like, and either choosing very static subjects (as in Hollywood portraits, though for different reasons) or putting up with some subject motion.

Of course we don't know for sure what their hit rate was but unless they were lying, it seems to have been quite high.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-08-2013   #35
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A while back, I had an f1.0 Noctilux. I LOVED that lens and used it a lot. Then a few years ago, I was offered $5500 for it when I only had paid $1750 originally. Well, as much as I loved that lens and used it a lot, I sold it and bought a few other lenses that have since rounded out my focal range. Do I miss it, hell yea, but I am now enjoying my 75mm Summilux, 135 f3.4 APO, 35mm Summilux (old), and 50 Planar. Oh, most of those lenses have also risen in value, but they are all keepers, save the 35mm.

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Old 01-08-2013   #36
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Indeed, & you can't make a slow lens any faster. This is why I'm more excited about seeing improved high ISO performance from the new digital M than anything else. 1 disappointment w/the digital bodies is that the meters aren't as sensitive as on the M6 TTL, M7, & MP.

I also shoot in many dark bars, clubs, & performance venues. My personal handholding "wall" without external support (leaning against a column, resting arms on chair or table, etc.) is between 1/4th & 1/8th.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cam View Post
+1

as it is i've hit walls shooting f/1 @2500 on the M9, even under-exposing, when shooting in dark bars here. i would have been sunk with an f/1.4 or f/1.5.

when you need it, you really do need it.
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Old 01-08-2013   #37
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Therefore in this article I will focus my attention to three main factors:
• Bokeh – the way the out of focus areas look and feel.
• Sharpness and contrast around the focus point.
• Signature/Character – the way the lens renders/draws.
• Color – shifting from warm to cold depending on the lens design, coatings used and age of lens.

Does anyone else find that humorous?

(3 main factors yet he lists 4)
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Old 01-08-2013   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
I have made a good many images in restaurants and bars resting a Leica on a wine or water glass, even using a beer bottle for a rest can be helpful, if the table is essentially stable. I regularly go to 1/4 second with a Leica with the realization that the keeper rate is compromised and offset by making many, many more shots.

One of my oldest pieces of gear is a Leica table-top tripod with a Leica large ball and socket head. This compact rig is indispensable for work in tight confined areas and traveling somewhat light. I may be fooling myself, but I find it helpful even bracing the tripod on my chest and collar bones, particularly if I can get my back against a wall or chair back.

For performers and dancers, there is no substitute for shutter speed.
interesting. thank you!

i doubt it have helped me in that situation, but there are a lot of dark bars that i like to shoot in...

(and, by the way, i do envy you your Hexanon, especially for the close-focusing aspect... i also think if i would have thought longer and harder about it if i had been shooting FF at the time as 35/60 is such a lovely combo... now i just can't afford it.)
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Old 01-08-2013   #39
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despite some legitimate factual gripes, lenses not being calibrated, etc., i still appreciate Kristian's effort and the fact that he put it up.

he is an excellent photographer and the photos were much more interesting than looking at brick walls, bowls of fruit, etc. and it's very rare to get a chance to compare these lenses against each other.

it would have been more useful for many if he had compared less expensive and/or slightly slower alternatives, but he didn't have those at hand.

it actually reinforced what i think about the various lenses, having at one time or another a chance to shoot them all and compare them with my own gear and my own type of shooting... that said, my conclusions are not the same as his, nor may yours be -- but that's his prerogative, he wrote the review.
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Old 01-08-2013   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1joel1 View Post
Therefore in this article I will focus my attention to three main factors:
• Bokeh – the way the out of focus areas look and feel.
• Sharpness and contrast around the focus point.
• Signature/Character – the way the lens renders/draws.
• Color – shifting from warm to cold depending on the lens design, coatings used and age of lens.

Does anyone else find that humorous?

(3 main factors yet he lists 4)
Apart from the humor factor 3/4...
Color shift :
In digital times of manual white balance (you all do it, right !??) this should be a totally mute point.
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Old 01-08-2013   #41
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Quote:
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Apart from the humor factor 3/4...
Color shift :
In digital times of manual white balance (you all do it, right !??) this should be a totally moot point.
I also feel that when posting such a high caliber review/test you should at least get your "its" and "it's" sorted out.
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Old 01-08-2013   #42
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despite some legitimate factual gripes, lenses not being calibrated, etc., i still appreciate that Kristian's effort and the fact that he put it up.
Exactly. In the past he would have posted it here, but he's learned his lesson. You cannot make RFF happy when it comes to loosely constructed tests. Everybody expects perfection instead of just being happy that someone did something for fun.
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Old 01-08-2013   #43
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i wish i could just ban picky people...i can't believe some of the 'complaints' listed here...
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Old 01-08-2013   #44
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Exactly. In the past he would have posted it here, but he's learned his lesson. You cannot make RFF happy when it comes to loosely constructed tests. Everybody expects perfection instead of just being happy that someone did something for fun.
and for free, Its hard to understand the bashing on the net.
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Old 01-08-2013   #45
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There may be a certain amount of envy for anyone who can get their hands on that lot.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-08-2013   #46
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I used to have a Noctilux 1/50. Nice lens, but I sold it and switched to a Summilux for several reasons.

- It was too big and heavy for everyday use.

- The focus throw was very long, making it difficult to react quickly

- DOF at f1 and 1m was about 1cm. If you and your subject did not synchronize your breathing the highlight on their pupil would be out of focus. I also refuse to stop drinking coffee. I found f1 to be most usable with the talent being at least 2m away.

- The Noct basically does not flare, even under extreme circumstances, which can make the images it produces look somewhat sterile.

- The bokeh was unpredictable. It ranged from liquid to schizophrenic. Somehow it reminded be of the signature of a Sonnar, which can also be erratic. I prefer the bokeh of the .95 Noct, which appears to be more predictable

I found the 50 Lux to offer a perfect balance of sharpness, tonality, size and speed.

I sometimes miss the Noct. It was unique, but unless I hit the lottery it's too expensive a piece of gear to use on that rare occasion, where its qualities are called for.

I've considered a few more affordable alternatives, notably the Sonnar-C 1.5/50, the Nikkor 1.2/55 and 58mm and the new Nocton 1.1/50
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Old 01-08-2013   #47
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Quote:
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There may be a certain amount of envy for anyone who can get their hands on that lot.

Cheers,

R.
I agree with you Roger.
There is no doubt that these lenses are beautiful and impressive.
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Old 01-08-2013   #48
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Ah Raid, you have nice stuff... don't sweat it!
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Old 01-08-2013   #49
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Thanks to Kristian for sharing this. Some of the used gear probably will never end up in most people's hands, so it's fantastic to see, what these lenses look like (and who the f cares about laboratory approved rigging - seriously be grateful for what you got to see and stop moaning this and that).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
Does anyone here own the Nokton and uses it on an M9 or Monochrom? I've been sitting on the fence about buying one, as the Noctilux is out of reach at the moment (spent all my $$$ on the Monochrom!).

Regardless of its more affordable price, is it a good lens?
Vince, I can't help with the Nokton, as I didn't shoot one long enough to get a opinion on it's imaging but I do have a 50/1 v4 and an older v2 50 Summilux and can tell you, that they share a lot of similarities in rendering @ƒ1.4 and ƒ2.

If the budget isn't covering a Noctilux, a v2 Summilux (in any of it's many guises) is a fantastic lens, to use instead.

As I commented - similarities.
You won't get the shallow DOF, if that's what you're after, you won't get the 1 stop more light (with the Mono though I find, that ƒ1.4 lenses really allow to shoot in the deep night, where the Noctilux was my most used low light lens on the M8 and M9).

You won't get the look with strong vignetting, as any of the ƒ1 Noctilux lenses will give (and no, this specific look cannot be done in post processing, one can only ape it, if that's, what is wanted, but it will never look the same).

The files though have remarkable similarities in detail and rendering, especially around ƒ2.

You won't get the very smooth background rendering with the Summilux - it somehow seems more distracting @ ƒ1.4 (which is, where I don't like the v2 Summilux lens actually - the v2 Summilux really, really sings @ ƒ2, where I just adore it).
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Old 01-09-2013   #50
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"There is a persistant opinion, reproduced in almost all publications, that the Noctilux has only special qualities at full aperture and is not useable at smaller apertures. That is definitely not true. The original Noctilux 1,2/50mm (the one with the aspherical surfaces) recorded image outlines with medium to high contrast, but lost out in the recording of fine image details. When stopping down the image quality did not improve very much. It might be possible that these characteristics have been projected into the new Noctilux-M 1.0/50 because the name is the same. The latter lens however is a quantum leap better than its illustrious predecessor."

Erwin Puts on the Noct 1.0

The Noct 1.0 is underrated in Kristians comparison, IMO. It is large and heavy, but not a one-stop lens.

This one was f:2.8 (1/4000 ISO 320, MM), I had to stop down (no ND filter)


100% crop
coat.jpg

Stopped down to f:5.6 it is still really sharp (1/1000 sec, ISO 320)
L1001606.jpg

100% crop
hat.jpg

What drives me nuts sometimes is the field curvature, making it very hard to compose sometimes.

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