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HomeCamera TechIs the Leica Noctilux f/1.0 One of the Best Lenses Ever Made?

Is the Leica Noctilux f/1.0 One of the Best Lenses Ever Made?

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Leica is polarizing by virtue of — and this is almost the entire reason — their prices. Nevertheless, the quality of their products is not in question. One of Leica’s most famous creations is the Noctillux f/1.0, but how is it to use?

I have written from time to time about Leica lenses and the brand has always interested me. I spent a time being heavily critical of the price point for what you got for your money, but after being invited to their London studio and experimenting with a few Leica cameras, I started to understand. Similar to why I still enjoy shooting on film cameras, it was an experience that’s a little tricky to quantify.

Although I still find it difficult to justify the price, I will own a Leica at some point in the future. The iconic brand has achieved its status through a rich history — a history populated with unicorn lenses such as the Noctilux 50mm f/1.0 that began life in the 1970s. Although there are modern remakes of this lens that cost substantially less than the first run (and are likely easier to produce great results with), the first iteration of the Noctilux is a collector’s item.

The results from this lens, when wide open, are undoubtedly beautiful and were — until fairly recently — a look that was unique. Now, however, Leica has modern versions and so do various other off-brand manufacturers. I can’t help but wonder if the influx of lenses producing similarly doughy bokeh and even the radial effect at the edge of the frame are devaluing the lens to photographers, even if collectors are undeterred.

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