We’re pretty shocked at how cheap this Leica Noctilux is right now on eBay!
Most folks know that the Leica Noctilux is an incredibly expensive lineup of lenses. There have been a ton of various iterations of the 50mm option. They always deliver a signature look that makes jaws drop. So we were pretty shocked when tipped off about this one that’s starting for only $3,500. Better yet, it can be yours for only $4,650. You don’t really need to be rich to own one. You just need to want a signature look that’s almost impossible to get otherwise. The Leica 50mm f1 Noctilux has always had a specific look to it. It’s more low contrast and lacks the micro-pop that newer Leica lenses and Zeiss ZM lenses boast. Yet somehow, the images have a sense of romance.
EDITOR’S NOTE: OF COURSE IT’S GONE ALREADY.
The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1
Leica lenses have a special mystique to them. I’ll admit that they’re not all homeruns, but they’ve all got something special to them. In the case of the 50mm f1, you’ve got a beautiful look and an overall size that isn’t too large. When I played with the 75mm f1.25 last year, it felt heavy. But the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 is smaller and lighter than that. It’s also much more affordable than their f0.95 version. It’s challenging to focus at f1 on full-frame cameras. When you carefully nail the focus wide open, you’ll stare at the photos for hours. If you adapt it to APS-C, you’ll be in better business. Even if you adapt it to your full-frame Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, or Canon camera, you’ll get a unique render. Instead of high contrast, you’ll achieve high sharpness with low contrast. There will be gorgeous bokeh and image quality that will stand out.
This particular unit also seems to be in solid condition. There’s no fungus or haze. And better yet, it’s recently had a CLA. Personally, I like a bit of wear and tear on my Leica products. It means that they’ve actually been used and battle-tested. Cameras, even the expensive Leicas, are meant to do work. If it took a bump at a concert in low light, then I’ll wear that chipped paint with pride.
According to the listing:
This is the last production version of the Leica 50mm Noctilux designed by Dr. Walter Mandler in 1975, this version (v4) was made in 1996 and has the built in hood and more modern coatings than the earlier production models. This lens is known for its truely stunning bokeh and wide aperture, but also for its more natural transition between the in and out of focus area, the softer more dream like design and “Leica Glow” that is known to come from a Mandler Lens, especially when compared to the modern 0.95.
This particular copy is in very good-excellent condition, with a CLA done only a few years ago, the Focus is slightly heavy but smooth as it should be, and the aperture blades click effortlessly. There are some scuffs and signs of use on the barrel, as this lens has been used by photographers and not simply placed on a shelf, But the optics are clean and stunning. The lens comes with Caps, and a set of B+W Filters.
Vs. the 7Artians 50mm f1.1
So is it really worth the money? Personally, I think so. Lots of folks might say something like, “Oh, but I can get the 7Artisans for this price.” That’s cool, but you’re not going to get this quality. These photos and the lead image are from the listing.
Below are images shot with the 7Artisans 50mm f1.1 on a Sony a7r III and with film. We reviewed that lens a while back.
The more vivid colors from the Leica say a lot. The Leica is also much sharper and probably has a real focusing tab. The 7Artisans version uses a rubber tab that you paste on like a sticker. Plus, you get a lifetime of support from Leica. I’d personally reach for the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 if I weren’t married to the idea of owning a 35mm f1.4 FLE instead. The Leica 50mm f1 Noctilux is going for $4,650 if you buy now. That is a MUCH BETTER price than the other options. But otherwise, go watch it and put a bid in.
All images from the listing by seller beysler