Leica Noct


Top Veteran
After searching for a very long time, I finally got my hands on an AI-S Noct Nikkor. This is not an easy lens to tame. The focusing screen in the D810 is probably better than the D800/e but it is still quite tricky. I have a hard time finding shot that are right on.

Here are a few I took today on the D810.

by VINCE, on Flickr

by VINCE, on Flickr

by VINCE, on Flickr

Here is one where I used the Noct on a Leica M 240. Focus is via the EVF.

by VINCE, on Flickr
Last edited by a moderator:


Top Veteran
Very nice qualities to the lens, very shallow depth of field!

Carl, talk about shallow, I can hardly find any where my focus is dead on. I've shot with Noctilux both f1.0 and f0.95 and they are much easier to focus. Mainly because you have to turn it quite a bit. This one, the turn is so short that it can easily go out of focus. The paper thin DOF also contributes to this. I am determined to learn to use this lens however so will try to use it the next couple of months with both the D810 and the Leica :)


These old chunks of glass can sure make some beautiful images.

Maybe not the absolute sharpest, but who cares? :biggrin:

I have to break out the old Canon f1.4 50mm, one of my favorites for character.


Top Veteran
I think the Noct can be very sharp in the center. I think in this case, the defect is the photographer who was not able to focus properly and stand still while pressing the shutter release.


NY Mtns
i think its much less a 'defect' of any kind and much more a simple matter of physics. razor thin DOF is exactly that, razor thin. as such, its effectiveness in countless everyday situations is objectively limited. one should expect these results when shooting extraordinarily fast lenses wide open in uncontrolled environments. they simply were not made for use that way in what is all of our collective understanding of 'typical' photographic situations.
I remember this lens being announced for the 1976 Photokine- have the article in an old Pop Photo. It is hand-ground Aspheric optics, as is the original F1.2 Noctilux.

The Nikkor was optimized for 10LP/mm, and formulated to reduce Coma, hence the name for these lenses- shooting at night.

Absolute sharpness across the full-frame was not as important. Center sharp, but I expect the flatness of field varied with the "wiggle".

It is a hard lens to find, congratulations. I agree about an F1.2 lens being harder to focus on an SLR; I find it much easier to focus manual lenses on the rangefinder cameras. The Canon 50/0.95 is much easier to focus on the Canon 7 than my Nikkor Ai 55/1.2 on the F2as or Df.
I recently attended an exhibition opening night at Leica Store (City) in London where Lara Platman was telling us all how she gets her photos. Given that the event was called "Through the Night" and was about endurance motor racing (LeMans, etc) she waxed lyrical about the Leica Noctilux f1.0 which, apparently, she uses wide open almost always. Seldom does she narrow the aperture.

Close in, I suspect she'd have to take her time to get focus but, from a few yards and further, it seems that the laws of physics come into play nicely and allow acceptably sharp images without spending a lot of time focusing. I say acceptably because some of her photos aren't critically sharp - but, then, that's not the point of what she does. Too often, great shots are missed because we are slaves to the desire to cut ourselves on focus....


Top Veteran
PaulJ, most of the time, my subject are my 2 girls. They just don't like to stay still for more than a micro-second that is why I have given up on being too critical about an image. A little blur or out of focus might actually add character to the image. My phone might actually take sharper picture sometimes. But not as much character. If the blurry shot was taken by the like of Lenny Kravitz or Seal, it might even be considered as art .. :)

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom