Leica M9 + Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by DScience, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Man, I would do almost anything for this set up. It would be heaven for me. Bokeh everywhere all day long...

    Leica Camera AG - Photography - NEW: LEICA NOCTILUX-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH.

    Leica Camera AG - Photography - M9


    Full framed camera, with that lens... :drool:

    I am just curious, is the reason why this is just not talked about here simply because of the price? I see some people on flickr who have these set ups, with other lenses, the M8...And just the camera and lens alone cost more than a whole pro set up, top of the line for either Nikon or Canon.
     
  2. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So... Expensive... but my gosh, looks like fun.
     
  3. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    The Leica M9 is a $7000 camera. It is expensive but I don't think worth it. It has manual focus only so don't plan on using it for any action shots. It is a range finder camera so what the sensor sees is not what you see in the finder. Basically that means you simply cannot use it for telephoto shots or macro shots. I doubt Leica sells any telephoto lenses anyhow. The functionalities of this camera is highly limited. Yes Leica lenses are supposed to be super sharp but only if you can focus fast enough manually. They are also expensive. I mean this is simply a rich man's camera. It is almost like a status symbol. I think it is over rated and it under performs. If I were to buy a $7000 camera I would rather have a Nikon D3x. Now that's a real camera. That said, I do like they way Leica places the controls - very simple and direct.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Chip pretty much sums up the general consensus side..... to understand the other side you could ask questions at l-camera-forum.com or rangefinderforum.com.

    << Shoots with an M8 w/ Earlier version of the noctilux. Slowly saving up for an M9. Not rich just have very specific "vices" and very few "other" expenses.

    btw... Besides the aperture ring and shutter dial which have been in the same place since the 50s, the "other" controls are my least favorite part of the M8 design. If you want to see a sample of a "simple and direct" design, you should look up photos of the long discontinued Epson R-D1.

    Even among the Leica community, the Noctilux f/0.95 isn't well received because of the price. Most are happier putting the $$ towards summicrons or summilux lenses. The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 is a reasonably priced alternative.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    DScience,
    Since you like selective focus shots so,so much, what you need to do is move to an FX format camera. The shallow depth of field effects you like are much easier to achieve with a larger sensor, especially at longer distances. Depth of field increases and decreases are not strictly linear; at closer ranges, FX will have a DOF around 2.5 times shallower than DX; at longer ranges, the FX DOF will be only 1.6x shallower. It's hard to qualitatively describe or categorize the differences between FX and DX; it is very easy to go to an online depth of field calculator and quantify the depth of field differences, but he "numbers" in feet and inches in an online DOF calculator do not tell the story as well as actual pictures. But suffice it to say, in the real world, the selective focus you like, the shallow depth of field you like--that is EASY to achieve simply by moving up to an FX format camera.

    The issue is pretty simple. You already own a 50mm f/1.4 lens. If you make your camera's sensor 2.5 times larger by buying a D700, you'll be able to render the same types of shallow depth of field images you can now create only at close ranges--those same effects could be created at longer distances with your curent 50mm f/1.4.

    And if you were to buy an 85mm 1.8 lens this month: your D90 would crop off the edges of the 85/1.8's field of view AND it would force you to stand back farther to compensate for the 1.5x narrowed angle of view of DX versus FX, and you would LOSE very much of the shallow depth of field effect an 85mm lens can create on an FX sensored camera.

    Leica lenses are some of the most carefully designed, carefully built,and highest-precision lenses ever made. Lenses are tested individually for centering after assembly; Japanese,Chinese, and Vietnamese-made lenses for Nikon are not tested. Many Leica lenses that are 40 to 50 years old are still in fine form,and in great shape,and still shooting good. A $3,500 50mm lens with aspherical design and hand-assembly is a better-made lens than a $109 Canon 50mm EF-II cheapie plastic-barrel, pop-riveted, plastic mount lens. Leica lenses have been built for lifetime use since the 1920's. Most Japanese designed lenses are price-point built. It's hard to understand just how well-made Leica equipment is until you've actually held it in your hands.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Also... Leica has long been a company creating little mechanical wonders... just like those amazing hand built timepieces. This shows in their lenses. Unfortunately, electronic giants now rule the camera industry and it isn't easy for a small company to reinvent itself. The market is completely opposite of what Leica is used to:

    * Mechanical wonders built to be heirlooms versus obsolete disposable electronics
    * Hand built versus price pointed manufacturing
    * Long production cycles in terms of years (plural) versus Annual release of new models (M3 and M2 had 10+ year production runs)
    * Niche market versus Large market

    They are making up for these via a laundry list of partners; kodak and panasonic being the obvious two. I will also state that it is my opinion that the company has made some awful business decisions that they are paying for (pushing third party lens manufacturing, M8 upgrade program, migration path for R system users, previous CEO, micro 4/3rds presence.. etc..) But I digress...

    the reason why I post this is that all of these translate to a more expensive product. But why do I and thousands others buy into the system... simply because their outstanding quality, history and dedication to a classic design. Yes.. because of their price we get clumped into the rich man's category. If you spend some time perusing through the forums above and a hand full of others that do attract Leica shooters, you'll discover that no one is more critical of Leica than Leica shooters.... and those shooters are some extremely talented ones.
     
  7. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You guys both have very valid points, but that doesn't change the fact that electronics have always been treated as disposable. I have no doubt that the Leica M9 or M8 will last for many years, but compared to a film body, they will be close to obsolete in much less time. Granted, the M9 is at a point in the technology where it won't be obsolete so fast, but if you spend $7000 on a camera body, you better hope you can get a decade or more of use out of it (assuming your not a professional).

    There are likely still quite a few people using the M3 but I doubt there will be people using the M9, 60 years in the future. The lens on the other hand will probably last a lifetime or six.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This was exactly why I was hoping that the next iteration of Leica wouldn't be so focused on the M-mount body as opposed to the M-mount lenses.... In my opinion, a full frame Pany GF-1'ish type product in an M-mount flavor should have been part of their line by now...
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well Antithesis, the point you bring up and add further emphasis to is,and has been for some time now, the crux of the profitability problem for the makers of Leica camera gear; electronics HAVE indeed been treated as disposable, and to a very significant extent, so were 35mm SLR bodies made over the last few years. At one time a "Nikon" meant a professionally specified tank like an F or F2, and the lower cost bodies were called Nikkomat or Nikkormat (depending), to differentiate from a Nikon. Rolleiflex made the high-end f/2.8 and f/3.5 models, but also had the knob-wind Rolleicord models. By the mid-1980's 35mm SLR bodies were, in large part, "affordable" and I think it was 1984 that the most 35mm SLR cameras were sold, in huge part due to popular models like the anon AE-1 Program, Pentax Super Program, and Nikon FG,and other "consumer" models.

    Leica has always been a maker of high-end precision cameras. True story; in the 1980's I was working at a camera store when an old German-American man from my home town made a roughly 50-mile drive to the "big city" camera store where I was working. He had with him an OLD black-painted Leica from the early 1930's with a 35mm and a 50mm. The body had almost no black paint left on it. The top plate and bottom plate were basically shiny, golden-hued bare brass. The lenses were uncoated. He had decided it was time to get a "modern camera". I asked him how long he had owned the outfit he wanted to trade in, and he said, "I got it before the war when I was a young man, must have been round '33 or 34 I guess." His last name was Gruse, and he was a proud German-American, and he was in his 70's at the time,and he asked if there were any good "German cameras" still available. I told him, no, not any more, just Leica was left. he asked me to check over the two lenses and cameras and I did. I picked up the ancient body and put it to my eye and focused and shot a frame. The shutter whispered. I wound the knob. The mechanism was smooth. I took of the 35mm and put on the 50mm. It focused like a dream.
    I told him we could only offer $200 in trade in value,and that it would be far,far better to pass the cameras along to somebody who could appreciate
    the fine craftsmanship. I ended up selling him a NEW, but somewhat old-stock Contax 35mm SLR with a Zeiss 50mm 1.4 on it, which he kind of grooved on because of his familiarity with the Contax name and the Zeiss lens, which actually was a kick-butt 50mm lens. What amazed me most as that this guy was a somewhat serious amateur snapper,and had owned ONE Leica and two lenses for something like 56 to 57 years,and when I checked the stuff out, it was in amazing working condition. Tight, yet smooth. Silky and precise focusing,film advance, and shutter release! One owner and over five decades of use! The two lenses he had were silver-barreled models with the old "European" f/stop sequence scales on the front of the lens.
    Here is what model it was, only with almost NO black paint left on it!
    File:Leica-II-p1030002.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Leica's I and II and III series and then the M3 and newer cameras were all made for LIFETIME use,and built,tested,and priced accordingly. Same with the lenses. I actually got to see one man's lifetime of wear on one pre-war II series,and it left me honored to have seen and experienced the still-fine condition of a Leica that was made 30 years before I was born, still in fine shape. I'll never forget the old man's dismay as I handed him a Nikon N8008s and 35-70 as a potential camera..."It sounds kinda tinny," he said as he shot a few demo frames, "and feels kind of cheep." I told him, "all the Japanese cameras feel that way now--they're not German made." And in the late 1980's, bodies and lenses had a VERY plasticky feeling to them.
    "Nee-cone...hmmmph...." he asked me again if I had anything 'German'.
    A light went off in my head....at the far end we had some Contax stuff! it was not autofocus, so it was hard to sell,and it was relegated to far-end display. I unpacked and set up the body and a 50mm Planar and handed it to him. He was sold! "Oh,goot,goot,goot, he said, it doesn't have that out-o-fogus,". I can still remember that he called autofocus "out-oh-fogus".
    Yeah, I'll never forget that experience, seeing an handling a one-owner, 55+ year old, two-lens Leica system. The 8008 Nikon I showed him is already probably in a junk heap, and the Leica II is probably still in working order.
     
  10. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I totally agree. Everything I have ever read about Leica's and everything I've ever heard has said that they are some of the best built and most reliable cameras you can get. They seem totally geared toward absolutely amazing build quality, at the cost of... expense.

    I almost inherited an old M3 that my grandfather used to shoot press photos on, but it sort of vanished after he passed away. I was more excited about that camera than any other camera I've purchased to date and was super bummed out when my grandma couldn't find it for me. I would have freakin' cherished that thing.
     
  11. Markw

    Markw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That is completely insane. $10,000 for a 50mm lens. I would find an aperture of anything as low as F/.95 almost completely useless.

    Mark
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yeah, it is "insane". As insane as $65 steaks in a fine restaurant. As insane as $500 bottles of champagne. As insane as $1,300 Italian dress shoes. As insane as $4,000 Armani suits. As insane as $19,000 Rolex watches. As insane as $140,000 Italian sports cars. As insane as $2.9 million dollar Florida houses. As insane as $12.8 million dollar yachts. The price goes along with a lot of other insanely priced products in the world.

    Considering the "value" and the investment of say a $4,000 Armani suit versus a a $10,000 Leica lens, my money would be on the Leica lens. Not saying the lens is worth as much as the price tag. A cheap Casio quartz timed watch keeps time better than a $5,000, mechanical Swiss watch.

    Flickr has a couple of real lens-aholics who manage to get a hold of and shoot a TON of odd, high-end glass. Here's a short set of on with the f/0.95 Noctilux. There is also an f/1.0 model as well if I am not mistaken.

    Noctilux 50mm f0.95 (E60, 4th) - a set on Flickr
     

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