Rarely seen and often talked about in Leica circles, a Leitz 50mm f1.2 Noctilux lens recently surfaced from the depths of ebay. To make the already coveted lens even more enticing, a rare 12503 lens hood was also thrown in the sale. The listing has already ended, with the lens sold for a whopping US $20,750. Looks like an awesome find for one lucky buyer!
What makes this lens worthy of that much cash? Aside from the already luxurious Leica brand name, CameraQuest tells us that the 50mm f1.2 Noctilux is also a technological marvel in itself. It was designed by Walter Mandler, who is considered to be Leica’s best lens designer of all time. Introduced in 1966, the 50mm f1.2 was Leica’s very first Noctilux lens, not the f/1. It had two aspherical lens surfaces, which was reportedly very difficult to make. Mainly because of this difficulty, the lens was later replaced by the faster f/1 non-aspherical version beginning in 1976. Because it was only manufactured for nine years with around 200 units per year, we don’t see many 50mm 1.2 Noctilux lenses going around. Also, it remains the only 1.2 lens made for the Leica M mount.
The 12503 lens hood, which has a reversible clip that can be unscrewed to take a Series 8 filter, is in itself also rare. In fact, it’s rare enough to have made it to a June 2008 WestLicht Photographica Auction on its own with a starting bid of €250.00 (around $393 at the time).
With many Leica fans and collectors keeping a tight hold on these beauties, it seems like we won’t be seeing one being listed again anytime soon. Still, if you’re curious about how this vintage beauty performs when paired with a digital M mount body, you can go check out the awesome snaps (and detailed insights) on this street silhouettes post.