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The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 ASPH | Drinking Light Like A Shot Of Tequila

By Kishore Sawh on November 29th 2017

What is ‘Noctilux’? Well, at a base level it’s a term derived from the latin words for ‘night’ (Noctis) and ‘light’(lux). Together the closest literal translation would be ‘night light’, and that’s fair to say because Noctilux lenses gather light better than the human eye.

Beyond the straight translation, however, Leica’s Noctilux lenses (and there are now 4), are considered the pinnacle of fast primes since induction over half a century ago, with their scarcity and price tag only adding height to their lofty perch. But even as they’re associated with lust, expense, and luxury, they are tools of utility, used by the owners instead of sitting in a hermetically sealed box.

Before today the only lenses bestowed with the Noctilux moniker were all Leica 50mm primes:

Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH
Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1
Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1.2

But now there’s a 4th that defies that tradition: The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 ASPH. Leica is suggesting it’s the first in a new series, suggesting it’s the ‘co-founder of a new family of lenses’.

At 75mm it’s 50% longer focal length and puts it closer to a proper portrait length. While it’s near-but-not-quite a full stop slower than the 50mm Nocti, the 75mm is sure to drink available light like it’s taking a shot of tequila.

The longer focal length paired with this aperture is only sure to accentuate that which Noctilux has always been known for, such as subject isolation unlike anything else. In fact, these figures suggest it should have a shallower depth of focus than the 50mm Noctilux f/0.95. That suggests it’ll have the depth of focus then, as fine as an eyelash.

“The upgraded features of the Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. open up entirely new opportunities in portrait and close-up photography, including a shallower depth of focus than that of the Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 APSH. and a close focusing distance of 0.85m, making for a reproduction ratio of 1:8.8 for even more precise isolation of subjects. Additionally, the eleven blades of its iris ensure a soft and harmonious bokeh in out-of-focus areas.

To guarantee this extraordinary imaging performance, the nine elements in six groups that make up its optical design are manufactured from glasses with high anomalous partial dispersion and low chromatic dispersion. Two of the elements are aspherical, and reduce other potential aberrations to a hardly detectable minimum. The use of a floating element within the complex focusing mechanism guarantees a constantly high level of imaging performance throughout the entire focusing range of the lens – from its minimum focus distance to infinity.”

[REWIND: Leica M10 Hands On | Age & Guile VS. Youth & Savvy In Leica’s New Signature Dish]

Leica Noctilux lenses, it warrants saying, are marked by their performance at all apertures, but they wouldn’t be quite so special if they failed to deliver the rather unmistakable Leica aesthetic, and if the sample photos by photographer Sean Hopkins are any indication, that’s not a concern here at all.

Hopefully we’ll get one it to test for a bit. But in the off chance you can’t wait, and you want to get one or get on the list, know they are going for $12,795 USD. You can Pre-Order it here.

See more From Sean Hopkins here.


 

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jerry Bei

    As the first lucky few to receive this amazing lens, here is my real world review with lots of photos:

    https://jerrybei.com/reviews/2018/3/24/leica-noctilux-m-75mm-f125-lens-review

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  3. adam sanford

    You mean ‘drinking light like a shot of thirteen thousand dollar manually-focusing tequila’.

    Or you can get f/1.2 glass with autofocus in the same sensor format for about 1/8 the price.  And the camera you put it on won’t make your right hand scream in pain because your hand isn’t shaped like the action figure hand a gripless camera like an M10 requires.

    Leica makes terrific stuff, don’t get me wrong, but I’d just leave a wide fast prime on it and be done with it.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Must you always rain on my happiness, Adam??? And yes, it’s expensive, but …. value is what you make of it. I mean, Bitcoin……..

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    • adam sanford

      When your happiness cannot be quantified, expressed or even described in relative terms to other options, I will call it out as gear snobbery or a cash sink for one-percenters.  If that’s rain to you, cool — no malice intended.

      But try to sell me on *why this is better* and not just gear lust.  Tell me how this is a huge hole for rangefinder users or that the lens really is engineered 6 times better than the various f/1.2 AF primes out there and I’m listening. 

      Personally, I think once someone has the stones to make a true digital rangefinder ILC in the FF space (Fuji, I am looking squarely at you), Leica simply will not be able to maintain these prices.  I’m sure it’s built like a Maybach, but folks might be just fine paying a fraction of the Maybach price for a solid BMW.

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