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Would You Spend $8,000 on a Manual Focus f/1.2 Lens?

Leica’s reissue of its renowned Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 lens carries a hefty price tag, and yet, despite being $7,895, it’s currently back-ordered or out of stock at most major retailers. What do you get when you drop eight grand on a manual focus lens with 16 aperture blades?

Almost half a century ago, Leica produced the first lens to contain aspherical elements as part of its optical design. As explained by Ted Forbes in this insightful video, an original version of this 50mm f/1.2 lens does not come cheap, and earlier this year, Leica released a reissue to offer customers a taste of photographic history that doesn’t involve trading in one of your children.

Leica claims that the resulting images from the reissue are “nearly identical.” Some will understand this to mean that photos are distinctive and full of character; others will take this to mean that contrast and sharpness suffer terribly when you shoot anything close to wide open. If you fancy dropping a little more cash, you can try and track down the limited edition silver chrome version, all 100 of which sold out after going on sale for $16,395.

The Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 ASPH joins two other lenses in Leica’s Classic Range: the Thambar-M 90 f/2.2, originally released in 1935, and the Summaron-M 28 f/5.6, from 1955, which will set you back $7,195 and $2,995, respectively.

Is the Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 in your collection? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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13 Comments

Stuart C's picture

I haven’t spent anywhere near that on my whole system, including tripod and bag.

Mohammed Alamin's picture

Nah.

Mike Ditz's picture

Somebody will. Then keep it in a temperature controlled case, in it's original box for 10 years and sell it to another guy...

jim hughes's picture

Key to the marketing campaign is making sure everyone hears that it's "backordered and out of stock".

Michael Krueger's picture

Bet most people buying this have no intention of taking photos with it, they just want to collect it.

jim hughes's picture

I think they're collecting debt. It won't even be a tax writeoff.

Tony Clark's picture

I don’t have an MD, PhD or IV after my name, isn’t that what the smart or trust fund babies go by?

Justin Sharp's picture

I do not consider myself extraordinarily smart, but I do have PhD after my name and I certainly will not be spending that much money on a single lens. I would possibly consider buying it if it came with an envelope with $7,000 cash.

Scott McDonald's picture

Same here...and my neighbor has the Noctilux f1 (a better version) that he offered to give me for $5K and I still turned it down. I have a couple of Summilux lenses which give me nicer renderings for less.

Alex Zenzaburro's picture

Doesn't mean that you are supposed to be a trustfund baby just because you can buy an expensive lens.
This level of envy is pathetic hehe

Wolfgang Post's picture

Nah, thanks. I'll pass. This amount of money can be put to far better (photographic) use than buying a lens.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

A very subpar lens for 8 grand.