Holidays through 50 APO Summicron and Noctilux ASPH By Miguel

Holidays through 50 APO Summicron and Noctilux ASPH

By Miguel

Hi Steve,

I am an avid follower of your blog – thanks for constant fresh comments, ideas and reviews. Pls keep it up!

I’ve seen recently quite a few questions on the new APO Summicron 50 ASPH and wanted to share my thoughts after using it for a couple of months during holiday time. I’m lucky enough to also have at hand a Noctilux ASPH, so, i’m posting also a few shots taken with it w a M240.

I’m not neither pretend to be a pro photographer, but still hope my opinion will help others. Pictures are just a random selections of shots i took over the last months while on holidays. Objective to let you judge the difference between the lenses, so there is no specific thread or link among them.

Very simply put and at risk of repeating what has been said before across the web, i’m overall impressed with the APO summicron. The images really pop, specially when seen in a retina macbook or even an ipad retina. Sharp, alive, with rich colours that require little processing in lightroom. If you couple this with a small size, i believe it is frankly one of the best lens i’ve ever used, if not the best. Including the summilux 50 asph that i used a couple of years back.

The noctilux is outstanding as well, although in a different way. Shots are magical, with a real strong wow factor that your family and friends will be impressed on. I almost exclusively shot it at 0.95, definitely below f2.0, as the lens is to me made for that, and obviously at these apertures it is less sharp and contrasty than the summicron.

So there it is, both are absolutely jewels, each in its own way. I’m using the cron for overall day-to-day, mostly shots of friends, kids and family, portraits. And i’m using the noctilux when i want to wow the audience with shots they aren’t used to see or i am in a more creative mode day.

Pros for cron: realism of the shots (as if you would be there), sharpness, colours, size, min focus at 0.7 m. Cons: it is ‘only’ f2
Pros for noctilux: truly wow factor, narrow DOF/low light. Cons: size, chromatic aberration (it is significant), min focus at 1.0 m

Some would ask which one would you keep. Frankly the answer is i don’t know.

miguelec (you can find a few of my pictures there; unfortunately with 2 little little kids i didn’t have the time to update it, now for quite a while…)

Cron 1

Cron 2

Cron 3

Cron 4

Cron 5

Cron 6

Cron 7

Noct 1

Noct 2

Noct 3

Noct 4

Noct 5

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  1. Holy smokes !!! I have been shooting for 10 years now and after a long time I am seeing WOW factor quality in the photos, of course these photos are artistic irrespective of the lens, but my god these lenses are in a different league…

  2. hi there steve!! i really want to hear your advice regarding the leica noctilux or the new sum micron api 50mm? thanks

  3. OK, these photos just upped my leica lust which I have been suppressing or been in denial about for so long!!! Good thing your kit is all out of my price range then eh?! Wonderfu photos. Every onel!!

  4. Excellent post, just a question does anybody know the difference between the 75mm APO Cron vs the 50mm as where I come from its half the price.

  5. Thanks .. I appreciate your experience of both the M9 and M …. i will give it some thought and maybe hire an M for a week or so before taking the plunge …. which images are the APO … I am sorely tempted to sell my Canon 5Dii and lenses and buy one 🙂

    • 🙂 apo cron are the first 7 shots. Some time ago i sold my nikon d800 and all lenses and dont regret it, but it all depends on the situations you would use the camera for and your style, preferences…

  6. thanks for account of two lenses … which images are the APO and which the Noctilux …? also was the upgrade from M9 to M240 significant ? I have an M9 I am delighted with and not sure it is worth spending the upgrade … Jon

    • Jon, I switched from an M9 to a M240 and its a big leap in image quality and usability. In particular the build quality of the M240 is on another level (feel the solidity of the shutter and buttons), the rangefinder is much more accurate and live view is fantastic for framing landscape shots.

      However, not everyone likes the default colour profiles of the M and theres a lot of commentary on the net about it. It’s fair to say the CCD in the M9 has a very definite “look” at default settings that’s different to the M. However, this is really about colour profiles. The M has just as exceptional a response to colour tonality as the M9, if not more so, and marries that with the increased (and also exceptional) dynamic range of its results. However, to get results on people that match those from the M9 you need to tone down the reds and magentas just a touch. It isn’t a big deal (to be frank, its no worse than managing indoor WB on the M9), despite the internet hoohah…

      • To me, i would go for the M. And mostly for a a couple of practical reason: i) my m9 was ocasionally blocking and lost some pictures several times and ii) iso sensitivity. On image quality i believe they are equivalent, even though the m9 files required almost no retouching in LR to pop.

  7. Great lenses indeed. I like the nocti better. even with some imperfections it is still plenty sharp and has that special character. I am not so shure about the 50 apo. Definetly a more modern look captured on a modern sensor. maybe as close to perfection as it gets for today. If you like it, Sony has some nice stuff to offer, too.

    • Thanks. I use ND filters, either the variable heliopan Steve reviewed some time ago or a fixed 3 stop bw for the cron apo. I also use ocassionaly VSCO

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