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Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH Aberrations

This study shows the kind of aberrations that can be expected with the Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH. The subject was chosen to clearly reveal lens behavior: specular highlights are extremely challenging for a fast lens.

Even with two ground and polished aspheric elements (think $$$), and five of eight elements using special types of optical glass for color defects, and a “floating” optical group, the Noctilux has clear quality limits wide open.

All fast lenses have similar challenges, but making an f/0.95 lens is considerably more challenging than an f/1.4 lens: some aberrations such as spherical aberration worsen as a cubic factor with each stop— that’s eight (8) times more troublesome! That’s setting aside the extremely high demands on precision of assembly, even if the optical design is capable.

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Diglloyd Making Sharp Images articulates years of best practices and how-to, painstakingly learned over a decade of camera and lens evaluation.

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  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Magenta/green color fringing @ f/2
Leica M9 + Leica 75mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M

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