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Reader Comment: Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH vs Noctilux-M ASPH

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH
(not to scale)

See my Leica gear page for near real-time pricing and availability on Leica gear.

In Guide to Leica there is already substantial coverage of the 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH and the Leica M Typ 240.

Peter W writes about imminent delivery of the 50/2 AA:

Great news, Lloyd! I really look forward to your evaluation, as the 50/2 AA remains my favorite lens by far.

Please throw in some Noctilux images with your setup, if you can. I know 50 AA and Noctilux are yin/yang, but I am curious. I have corresponded with Thorsten O a bit about his lovely Noctilux work (and lack of enthusiasm for 50 AA), and I have now rented a Noctilux to test out.

My point really is that your style and Thorsten's style strike me as being very different, but I could learn from the contrast because a) you are both very good, b) you both have pronounced preferences, and c) you both like the Noctilux.

DIGLLOYD: I intend to compare not just the Noctilux, but the Summilux and perhaps also the Zeiss ZM 50mm f/2 Planar (razor sharp by f/4, and a bargain). I expect substantial differences in character at f/1.4 through f/2.8, as well as clear peak performance consistency for stopped down behavior (e.g. sharp mid zones or corners, field curvature, etc).

To be clear, my 'style' is generally driven by time pressure; pictures I make have to be as good as I can manage while being instructive. That is more of a challenge than it might seem! And then for every hour I actually shoot, there are many hours of selecting, analyzing and preparing for presentation. I would like to have trips and shooting be entirely creative, but that generally does not lead to “hard” results that can be used to discriminate among lenses.

Peter W continues:

For whatever it is worth, I cannot tell the difference between my 50 AA images on M240 vs. M9 (which is sold). But of course you evaluate finer nuances… I think you M9 will do just fine.

DIGLLOYD: from what I have seen from some comparisons sent to me by a reader, my impression was that the 18-megapixel CCD M9 was sharper to the eye than the 24-megapixel CMOS M240, or at least that its visual impact was more pleasing. It’s a pity that Leica does not see fit to offer a high res CCD sensor with a high-res rear LCD and pseudo-Live View (a sort of preview function one can zoom in on). I am far from persuaded that the CMOS sensor in the M Typ 240 is superior in its delivery of imagery for our senses.

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