£7348 +VAT!

I first read a review of the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH in 2009, and I’m not sure why the BJP has chosen to publish a review by Edmond Terakopian now. Obviously he liked it very much, and a Leica lens at that kind of money is bound to be a fine performer.  But it did come out in 2008, and is currently there is a waiting list for it even if you do have a spare small fortune.

I often idly wonder about going back to using rangefinders and am now looking hopefully at the latest breeed of mirrorless cameras, particularly the Panasonic G3. Certainly the strain on my shoulder and back would be considerably less with either a Leica based digital system or a micro 4/3 camera.

A lens like the Noctilux would help to compensate for the poorer performance of the Leicas at high ISO. But what a cost, and the Noctilux too is a relatively large and heavy lens by rangefinder standards – around 75 mm long, taking 60mm filters and weighing around 650g. Cosina’s 50mm f1.1 Nokton is a little slower, but quite a lot shorter and lighter, and over £6000 cheaper.  Leica’s own Summilux 50 f1.4 isn’t a great deal slower and very much smaller and, at least in Leica terms, affordable at less than 1/3 the price of the Noctilux, while Zeiss have a 50mm f1.5 that costs around half of that.

Several of my friends are using Panasonic G series cameras, and although I’ve not been entirely impressed with the image quality of the earlier modes, but from the reviews the G3 seems to be a considerable improvement on the earlier models.

But for the moment, for the next few days I’m trying out a combination of  cameras that I actually own, the Fuji X100 and the Leica M8. The 35mm f1.4 Summilux makes a good ‘standard’ lens on the M8, even though thevintage lens I own isn’t recommended for use with it.  What I really use as a standard is the 35mm equivalent on the Fuji X100, while for something a little wider I have both 15mm and 21 mm Voigtlander lenses on the M8, giving roughly 21 and 18mm equivalent, while the Leica 90 f2.8 gives me a moderate telephoto.

I’m not sure that the combination will do all I want; in particular I’ve got quite addicted to using very wide lenses. It might be better to move to the Leica M9 and with the the wide angle Tri-Elmar giving me 16, 18 and 21mm, and add to that some new fast glass. But weight would be a disadvantage and cost makes it an unlikely option unless I win a lottery.

But a couple of G3 bodies, the kit lens, a wideangles zoom and a telephoto wouln’t eigh a great deal and would cost less than a typical Leica lens, let alone  the Noctilux.

4 Responses to “£7348 +VAT!”

  1. ChrisL says:

    It’s not just the new prices ( and the waiting list for them) all Leica lens S/H prices have risen dramatically. The well heeled that can afford an M9 want lenses and will pay. The 21mm and 28mm I bought S/H for around £1,000 ( and I thought I was mad, now sell for £2,000 plus.
    Of course your Leica fit glass will adapt to the G3, with the associated crop factor, but is the noise at high iso any better than the M8 ?

  2. The M8 is really VERY noisy at high ISO. and I think the results I’ve seen from the G2 are better. The G3 is reported to be significantly better but I’ve yet to see results from it in practical use rather than reviews.

    The Fuji really is good at 1600, in a different league to the M8, and really a much more usable camera, though a bit slow when you want to take several pictures in fairly quick succession, and it still gets me confused at times.

    Today I was working mainly with the Fuji, and taking a few pictures on the M8 where I needed a slightly wider view – with the Voigtlander 21mm which is roughly a 28mm. I think I also took a single picture with the 15mm, having to guess and then check framing as I haven’t a suitable viewfinder with me. Yesterday I took a few with the 90mm Elmar, which somehow seems to work better eith the M8 than it ever did with film.

    A couple of my friends have adapters to use Leica lenses on thier G2 cameras, but I don’/t think the results are any better than using the Panasonic etc lenses and they most of the new Leica lenses are pretty large and add considerably to the bulk of a system while losing some of its functions. I ttink better to sell the Leica glass unless you want to keep using the Leica as well.

    One big problem I’m having at the moemnt with both Fuji and M8 is battery life. I have 2 batteries for the M8 and 3 for the FX100 and find I’m getting through all of them in a day’s work.

    Getting a few pictures I like, but can’t run Lightroom on my little notebook, so will have to wait until I get home to process and post some.

  3. ChrisL says:

    Given the prices being achieved for the glass now is perhaps a good time to liquidate the M fit holding. They are selling so well Leica aren’t going to drop prices for sales and on the page/screen it would be a brave person to call the lens used without an exif peek.
    Shutter lag is my other bugbear, I must look at the G3 for that as well. The Leica noise is a real issue that the M9 has only moved slightly if honestly appraised. The sudden death, falling off a cliff, at the end of the battery charge is also a Leica issue.
    It wasn’t a class leader on launch and is showing its age. What about the promised Leica mirrorless ? start saving now :-)
    X100- I promised myself never to spend that kind of money on a fixed lens camera.

  4. Unfortunately I think you are right.

    I’ve been working with the M8 pics I took in Berlin last week for a few days. They are ok, but a pain to process, having to run Cornerfix on all the wideangle (and that’s almost all my work.)

    The Fuji is nice to use, but a few times it locked me out for a while. And you get absolutely no warning of the battery going dead. I’d taken 3 with me and it wasn’t enough, should have taken all five I own. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I have a filter and lens hood on it now – made by JJC Phototography Equipment Co Ltd of China, still hugely overpriced at around a third the cost of the the Fuji original – and people are offering them on eBay at even higher prices.

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