These Leica Lenses Render a Medium Format-Like Look You’ll Adore

These lenses have a look that’s bigger than full frame!

In the past few years, super-fast aperture lenses have become a bit of a trend. Photographers love the look they can deliver: a medium format look on the full-frame format. That’s why lenses like those aren’t just for bokeh lovers. They’re also for those of us who want a completely different look. So, we dove into our Reviews Index to search for some of the best Leica lenses for just that occasion.

Leica 75mm f1.25 Noctilux ASPH

How it Works: The Leica 75mm f1.25 delivers the look of something like a 120mm f2 in 645 format. As some of us know, there really weren’t many lenses like that. The 75mm focal length is incredibly classic. It was popular for many years when film was the dominant format. A 50mm lens on an APS-C camera, like the Leica TL and CL series, shows a 75mm field of view. Arguably, this is an easier focal length than 85mm to use. 

The Leica 75mm f1.25 Noctilux will let you work close to your subject while rendering the scene with beautiful bokeh.

Try this: Set your portrait up with three primary colors: your portrait subject’s skin, their clothing, and the background. Make each of these distinct colors. Then add off-camera lighting to make your subject pop from the background.

In our review, we state:

“What’s to love about the Leica 75mm f1.25 Noctilux? The all-metal build. That fast aperture. The click of the aperture ring. The beautiful image quality that it can render. The smooth turn of the focusing knob. And most importantly, knowing that Leica is treating its employees pretty ethically.”

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Leica 50mm f1.2 Noctilux ASPH Reissue

How it Works: Like an 80mm f2 on the 645 format, the Leica 50mm f1.2 Noctilux will render scenes just like medium format. The 80mm f2 was a popular focal length for many photographers. It was used for weddings, portraits, and so much more. That’s part of what makes the new Leica 50mm f1.2 Noctilux Reissue so cool. This lens is a reissued vintage lens, so you’re already getting a classic look. But with Leica’s sensors, you’re getting that plus the beautiful Leica colors. It will boast character like vignetting and some really eye-catching bokeh too.

Try This: Want the look of medium format film? Try setting your white balance beforehand. Set it to 3200K for more of a Blade Runner look. Alternatively, shoot at 5500K for a look similar to Portra and other film emulsions.

In our review, we state:

“By keeping the design nearly identical, photographers will get a look similar to mounting the vintage Noctilux. Wide open, the lens creates a classic, film-era feel with dreamy bokeh, a strong vignette, and deep colors. Stepping down, you gain solid center sharpness, but maintain some of that bokeh and softness on the edges.”

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Leica 90mm f1.5 Summilux ASPH

How it Works: The Leica 90mm f1.5 Summilux ASPH renders a look around 150mm f2.5 in 645 medium format. 90mm is a bit longer than your standard 85mm and that’s one of the reasons why we love it. The industry is in desperate need of different perspectives. As it is, there aren’t many 90mm lenses with this fast an aperture. The super creamy bokeh and the beautiful lens flare will give you a look that’s otherwise very hard to get. Use this lens on a Leica M mount camera or use an adapter for the Leica SL2 or Leica SL2-s.

Try This: Of any of the lenses here, we really recommend you shoot with this one on a tripod. Manually focusing a lens this long will throw the focus plane off. That’s just how the laws of physics work. However, the Leica M system was designed to be handheld. Alternatively, know your breath! You can shoot a photo at the top of your breath by inhaling fully. If that doesn’t work, release all your breath, and shoot when you’ve fully exhaled.

In our review, we state:

“The Leica 90mm Summilux delivers plenty of bokeh at f1.5. The background just melts away. Grass becomes a blur so smooth, it almost looks like background paper. The longer focal length and full-frame sensor mean there’s still some bokeh to be had when stepping the lens down as well. Points of light are soft and circular. I didn’t spot onion ringing or soap bubble bokeh.”

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Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored blog post from the Leica camera store!

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.