It was bound to happen, and now it has. The Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux is coming in a titanium version. Coined the Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux Titan variant, it’s a lens that takes the beautiful optical formula of the 50mm Noct and then replaces the outer shell with titanium. For so many of us, this is the lens that we’ll dream of. But regardless, I think that this is a tempting lens if you simply just look at it for what it is. And across the camera world, there’s a lot of reason to admire this product.
First off, it’s the Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux. When we reviewed the standard commercial lens, we summed up our review by saying the following:
Leica’s 50mm Noctilux f0.95 is one of the best 50mm manual lenses on the market that many photographers cannot afford. At $12,795.00, it is a status symbol. If you can afford it, you will enjoy the images you can create. Make sure to book a hand massage afterward because it is much heftier than Leica’s other lenses.
This is a lens and a tool that you’re supposed to work with pretty carefully. We’ve written many times about how manual focus lenses can make you create better photos. They force you to slow down, compose more carefully, and put more emphasis on every single aspect of the image. The more you have to think about, the more often you obviously put more thought into the photo within reason. I saw just this not long ago when a friend, who didn’t even realize that their camera had a joystick, started to use it. It was a game-changer for him as he then started to shoot photos a whole lot more carefully. Otherwise, he just used whatever focusing point the camera gave him.
Could you do this with a different lens? Sure. Will you get the same reliability, build quality, and prestige? No. I could equate buying a Leica camera or lens to buying a Rolex, but I think that would be disrespectful because of how basic a Rolex is. Leica instead gives you a bunch of stuff that’s pretty unique overall. The M-series of lenses and cameras aren’t weather resistant, but Leica often says that they were designed with those things in mind in the first place. The image quality is also pretty unique as well as the handling. As it is, there are no other full-frame rangefinder cameras on the market. All the others are just rangefinder-style. To that end, using the Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux Titan is a pretty unique experience overall.
Better yet, there isn’t some sort of odd firmware update or something like that that will make this lens obsolete. Instead, it’s just going to get better with time. As more megapixels get crammed onto imaging sensors, you’ll get more unique individual layers of character that come out with each lens you own. That’s the thing that we’ve seen with various pieces of vintage glass that we’ve used. Some manufacturers say that the lenses can’t resolve the sensors, but that’s untrue. The lenses resolve the sensors, but they’re just not as sharp and don’t resolve as many lines.
Combined with the titanium build quality, the Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux Titan is a lens that you’d probably want to bring with you everywhere. Titanium cameras and lenses tend to be much more lightweight. Oh, and there’s also the silver design which is very enticing!
Of course, there’s a nearly $17,000 price tag attached to this lens. If you’ve got enough money, you’ll probably buy one. At least you can know that many Titan edition products really hold their value over time. As it is, it’s only a bit more pricey than the standard variant.