Leica rumored to introduce an entirely new line of Noctilux lenses


In the past few months I have been receiving tips about various new Noctilux lenses (see this and this post). I finally realized that we are not talking about a single lens here - Leica is rumored to start a whole new separate lens line under the Noctilux name. The upcoming Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 ASPH could be the first in a series of new Noctilux lenses with different focal lengths that will be introduced in the next few years.

Over the past two years, Leica introduced several new products under the 0.95 name.

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  • Will any of them come in under $10K? Doubtful.

    • I don’t think so 🙂

      • It’s hard to stay in the Leica system… They’re doing a really good job of making the new MF systems from Hassy and Fuji look like a bargain.

        • ZMWT

          Hassy in their new system is also doing their best to look like an unfinished piece of equipment made by a startup in someone’s garage.

          • Yeah, it’s almost as bad as the M8 was when launched…
            Hasselblad is a very small company, much smaller than Leica even. Also, try the new Phase One XF system, it’s also very buggy/unfinished and they start at $40k.

        • Bo Dez

          You really have to have a need and a want for Leica, that is for sure. It’s very hard to look past the GFX right now.

          • I’m leaning towards the X1D myself. Even though the Fuji will ultimately be more versatile, I find the form factor and ergonomics of the Hassy more to my liking.

          • I recently played with the X1D at B&H – very nice ergonomics and finish but the EVF and AF were really bad/slow. The Fuji GFX is a far superior camera but is bulkier and not as comfortable to use as the X1D.

          • The GFX starts to fall apart earlier at high ISO as well, which was surprising. I generally manual focus MF cameras, but I did notice the AF on the X1D to be sluggish. The bokeh balls didn’t bother me.

          • Bo Dez

            I think the Hasselblad is a great camera, I prefer its form, but it’s hard to see where it is going. The Leaf shutter is going to limit lenses to f4(ish) until such time they develop an electronic shutter, if ever.. f4 is OK on a 645 sized sensor to larger film but on the crop sensor it’s a bit too slow for my liking to spend that sort of money, and what bokeh there is is marred by those disfigured bokeh ball shapes that I just struggle to look past.

            The Fuji is a bit ugly but a more of a developed system, I like what I am seeing and am excited to see how it develops I think the finder and possibility of what else may arise is really very Interesting. The Hasselblad seems a bit half baked at this point and I can’t say I feel that confident buying one. From what I have seen of the Fuji lenses, they are really very good. I have to say I am quite tempted by the Fuji and the price is very tempting too!

            I’m not sure I will be buying either in the short term though but I can say I would buy the Fuji over the M10 any day.

            It will be very interesting to see how and if Phase One reacts. Imagine if they drop a Mamiya 7 on us.

          • Well I think they can get wider apertures than f/3.5 even with the leaf shutter. They already sell an 80mm f/2.8 and 100mm f/2.2 for the H series and those lenses cover 645, which is much larger than the X1D’s sensor.

  • Ric Ricard

    Hoping the new lenses have closer focusing than the current Noctilux. The standard Leica focusing distance is bad enough, extending it even more the way a Noctilux does is a big problem.

    • ZMWT

      Practice, practice. And also, there are more apertures in a lens than f/0.95 or f/2.

    • Bo Dez

      The closest focusing distance doesn’t really bother me but I admit closer would be useful at times. Certainly not a deal breaker for me. I actually like 1m on the 50mm because I don’t really like the distortion on faces any closer than that. I think the 75 is better for a lot of things closer in.

    • A shorter minimum focus means either compromised image quality when focussed closely, or a larger/more complicated lens. Pick your poison.

  • John-F

    In its March 2017 issue (no. 391), the French magazine Chasseur d’Images printed a lenghty and detailed test report of the Leica M10, used with a Summicron-M 35mm f2 Asph.

    While CI welcomed the smaller (closer to film Leica M) dimensions, they concluded that the price could not be justified when compared to the competition, especially given the fact that, based on their test with the 35mm Cron, the degree of focusing accuracy at f2 and f2.8 was not sufficiently high to reach optimal image quality – and this was true whether they attemped to focus with the RF or with the Live View!

    Therefore, if Leica intends to introduce a new line of Noctilux lenses, IMHO it would be best to either market those lenses within the SL line (i.e. with AF) or introduce a new M11 with hybrid viewfinder like the Fuji X100) and use a new sensor which would allow for focusing aid (contrast or phase detection) and send focus feedback info to the EVF. With 24 Megapixels, I’m afraid the Leica M’s rangefinder simply cannot keep up anymore. Leica will have to reinvent the focusing system in their M camera.

    P.S. CI gave the M10 a (technical) grade of 3 out of 5, and 10 pages later, they gave the Fuji XF 23mm f2 a (technical) grade of 5 on 5 … Leica, watch out for Fuji !

    • ZMWT

      You wish to imply that because the kids that run the magazine have totally lost their sense and sensibility of the rangefinder focusing will influence a proven company to release a new level of performance lenses? There are more apertures in a lens than f/2, but what would a magazine or an online blog know about it?

    • Bo Dez

      I just can’t agree with this. I have no trouble focusing 0.95 Noctilux, 75mm Summilux or 90mm Cron, all lenses that are wrongfully notorious to focus. It just takes a little practice.

      • John-F

        I too had problems believing the article in Chasseur d’Images. For the record, I have been using Leica M cameras and lenses since the mid 1970’s (M3, M4, & M5) and love them and never had issues with proper focusing. I have tried the competition (Nik & Can..) but always came back to Leica. Yes dear CI, it does cost more, but IMHO (that’s MY opinion, not CI’s), you do get your money’s worth (i.e. you get get what you pay for).

        Now, a short word about Chasseur d’Images magazine: in Europe, CI has been and continues to be seen as one of the best and most reliable photography magazine. When CI writes and article or a test about your geai, manufacturers read them and take notice. In fairness, I should add that the test of the M10 got them a lot of flak from Leica users and fans, to the point where the editor had to respond with a full page answer in th efollowing issue … The French LOVE their Leicas, and any criticism of the brand is always risku.

        Back to the specific test of the M10 in CI. The magazine had done a very comprehensive test of the M9 many years ago, along with almost every M lens – everything got 5 stars! But then the M240 came along, and CI started to notice strange things in lens performance: they noticed (in their DxO based testing) that some lenses could not reach the same maximum performance at full aperture. Why did this happen? Was it because, as CI claims, the M240 and M10’s RF was no longer accurate enough for some lenses? (but not all) Was it because of the new sensor, the mucrolenses? Who knows?

        There are only two things I am sure of: 1) I still love and use my Leica, and 2) Leica Camera has got their hands on those detailed tests and are most certainly talking with CI – and will very likely introduce an enhanced focusing system in their next M11.

        Tomorrow, July 10, Leica will introduce a new modern digital APS-C camera (with AF), the Leica TL2. Who knows, they might use this opportunity to respond to their critics about the future of the M …

      • The longer lenses can be difficult to focus wide open at longer distances, but who does that anyway?

        • yes, I agree – a 35mm Noctilux will be interesting

        • Bo Dez

          Using a 1.4 magnifier, I can honestly say I don’t have any problems focussing wide open. I use the magnifier even with the 50mm.

          • yes. that’s the way to go for fast 50mm or longer lenses

          • I use a 1.4 as well, but the focus throw on the 75 cron is a bit short to easily focus accurately at medium to long distances wide open. I find the 50 noctilux easier in this regard, but the quality from the noctilux wide open doesn’t hold up well when when enlarged, which is why I don’t own one.

          • Bo Dez

            I found the 75 Cron more difficult to focus too, shame it’s a very nice rendering lens. The focus throw is way too short to the point of it almost being a design fault. Have you tried the Summilux? It has a much longer throw and I think it is comparably much easier to focus. As for the Noctilux, it depends on what you are using it for, what kind of pictures you are after. It suits me perfectly and I am very happy with it. I shoot it at f2 a lot as well though, actually at all apertures. 0.95 needs judicious use. I won’t use it for all things or in all light.

          • I have tried the Summilux and I much prefer the focus throw on that one, though it’s much bigger and heavier than my Cron. Not as sharp either, though sharpness isn’t everything.

            I didn’t find the Noctilux useful for anything where there was strong light involved. I found it flared too much and the purple fringing was a pain, plus it just wasn’t as sharp as my 50 Lux, so I didn’t think it was worth the extra size, weight and $$$. I think of it more as a special effects lens. I totally get why people fall in love with it though, when everything’s right there’s nothing else that renders like it in the 35mm world.

    • no they should´t.
      Fuji is a fucking trap, the x pro-1 was a really waste on money in all ways. i should have saved this money and get me another great summilux / cron for that… and why always compare a really great instrument with a less good instrument?!
      never had an issue of focusing in a precise way and hundreds of lucky customers, agencies and magazines can agree with that. every test on a leica ended up the same way, every single time. “it´s too expensive, no automatic focusing system, it´s to this too that, … cry m a river.
      i´m so sick of this crap.
      grade them grading 0 on 5

    • eric

      I am always amused by people who seem to equate fuji as being the new Leica. not even close.

    • Marco Antonio Garcia

      The price of a Leica camera body can never be justified by making technical comparisons, you have to justify it yourself by the unique experience of having a digital system with a mechanical rangefinder (that nobody else makes), a beautiful and solid camera body, a great user experience with all the camera features at your hand… What they talk about focusing, on the other hand, is bullshit, as I can say for myself that I never had any problem with focusing a well calibrated Leica M, with any lenses. Perhaps the person that made the review was Myopic.

  • Bo Dez

    This is the news I have been waiting for. The Noctilux is the kind of pinnacle in performance, character and industrial design that I feel defines Leica and the M. I really want a 35mm Noctilux but I will likely get a 75 Noctilux too. The price makes it prohibitive but I consider it worth it.

    • I think a 35mm Noctilux would be worthwhile to me, depending on the size and weight, anything else I’m not really interested in.

  • WILLIAM ROYCE

    I think it is worth the wait, and test one out for myself. I have a 75 APO and it is razor sharp with a very nice shallow depth of field for portraits wide open, and a very nice compact size. My chief complaint about the Noctilux is the size and weight, albeit a truly unique lens from an image point of view. I would expect the Noctilux 75 to be even heavier and larger (diameter nearly 1 cm larger)

  • DouglasGottlieb

    A range of Noctilux lenses would be amazing as native SL glass with eye detection af.

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