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.