Crazy Comparison: Leica 50 Summilux ASPH 1.4 vs Noktor Hyperprime 50 f/0.95 (On Sony NEX-5n)

Crazy Comparison: Leica 50 Summilux ASPH 1.4 vs Noktor Hyperprime 50 f/0.95

On the Sony NEX-5n

NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE SLR MAGIC LM T0.95 LENS – This is the $1000 Sony E Mount which is not the same quality or in the same league as the $4288 LM Mount lens. 

It’s the weekend and I was going to take it easy today but I was out in my years shooting the NEX-5n with the EVF and was so blown away at how easy it is to now use manual focus lenses I decided to do a crazy comparison! My full NEX-5n review will be up on Monday September 5th but for now here are a few FULL SIZE out of camera JPEGS from the NEX-5n using the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH and the Noktor Hyperprime 50 f/0.95 – Both set to f/1.4.

What is interesting here is that the Leica lens is considered the best 50mm in the world and has been sold out for years with long waiting lists and even though this lens now has a retail of $4000 it has been selling for $4500 and up on the USED market. Leica can only make so many of these a year and it is in super high demand, even at its high price due to its amazing reputation, which I can vouch for. On the Leica M9 this is THE lens to own.

So how did the NOW $4000 Leica compare to the $1000 Noktor? I already knew the Noktor was soft wide open at 0.95 but stopped down would it be a match to the Leica? Below are a few full size out of camera JPEGS. You must click on them to download the full size files. They were taken from the camera and saved as a level 10 JPEG in Photoshop. They are untouched and exactly as they came out of the camera. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Leave your comments below!

First shot is from the NEX-5n and the Leica Summilux ASPH at 1.4 – CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL SIZE FILE

The next shot is from the NEX-5n and the Noktor Hyperprime 50 f/0.95 at 1.4

and the crops that show  the Leica is indeed sharper wide open than the Noktor stopped down to 1.4 BUT the Noktor did pretty good for a $1000 f/0.95 lens. 

Ok, here is another shot. This 1st one is from the Leica, again at 1.4

and now the Noktor at 1.4

and the crops

and one more shot…same thing, 1st shot is the Leica at 1.4

and now the Noktor at 1.4

For the last two shots I focused on different points so I did not put up a crop. The one thing we can say for certain is that the Leica is sharper not only on the focus point but at the edges as well. I guess we are paying for something huh? The Noktor is built VERY well, almost Leica like but it is a bit bigger. Then again, it is a f/0.95 lens. With the EVF and focus peaking, these lenses are a breeze and joy to manual focus.

Here are a few more shots from the Noktor for those who have interest in it.

1st shot is wide open at f/0.95 on the 5n. Notice the slight vignetting but this is 0.95!

and stopped down to f/2 it sharpens up quite nicely…

I’ll have more on this subject in my full review of the NEX-5n on Monday so check back!

Steve

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36 Comments

  1. All of my f/1.4-lenses are much cheaper even as the Noctor and for sure, they don’t meet the results of the Summilux – but the quality of that Noctor most of them easily!

  2. I am impressed with the Nex7 camera, but want to use some zeiss lenses I have with a yashica/contax mount, as I don’t have the money to buy them again with the correct mount – can anyone tell me of a mount adaptor which will allow this, please?

  3. Great work! The review is amazing! I’m very glad that I’m subscribed to your blog. In my photographer’s career you play a very important role, cuz I try to follow all the reviews here)

  4. Great review, very honest and stright forward. I throught $4,500.00 was the price for the new Summ.. I have the old shift one, I know it is a sharp lens. It is also the silver finish. More-more reason to keep my beauty. Use what have or can afford. The photograph is the bottom line.

  5. Great feature Steve. Did you try the Noktor with any of the video modes . Would be very interested in the results.

  6. The 50 lux is a legend, the big deference between leica lenses and other brands is the back ground, if you watch closely the back ground is bigger and closer to foreground, plus much more things makes the 50 lux pictures special, but still I am interesting in the NOKTOR

  7. Steve

    This is a very good crazy comparison. Though in the 1st and 3rd image series I think I noticed a small amount of focus shift between the two lenses; the Nokkton seems to be focused slightly behind the Summilux. Overall the difference is probably not enough to change your conclusions. But at f1.4 the difference will be noticeable.

    PaulB

  8. I would love to see a comparison between the Minolta Rokkor 58 1,2 ( a lens that u can get for $100 and and noktor 0,95…

  9. Can someone answer this question, does the Peaking Autofocus work with these adapter lenses? That would be extremely easy. I would love if someone could go through the focusing process with these adapters and this camera before I go buy them. Thanks.

    • Paul

      Yes, the focus peaking feature does work with manual focus lenses with an adapter. Also, Steve is correct the focus peaking does make manual focusing much easier. The only exceptions I have found is with round and very smooth objects, since the peaking feature is placed at edges.

      PaulB

  10. Nothing I didn’t expected. There’s a lot of proprieties on a lens to consider besides sharpness such flare, color, contrast… That’s where Leica kicks ass, in details…
    I think a 100$ Jupiter 3 lens could perform better than noktor lens at 1.4/1.5.
    Thank you Steve for the comparison.
    Cheers.

  11. The Noktor 50mm f/0.95 might compare well against some of the older fast primes that sell for much more. The Canon 50mm f/0.95 sells for over $3000 on ebay and it is not sharp. The KONICA 50mm F/1.2 M-HEXANON is selling for close to $3000. It has a better reputation than the Canon for sharpness but is not considered as sharp as the Leica Summilux ASPH.

    Too bad about the neon ring at the front of the lens. I don’t want the lens attracting attention.

  12. Answers a lot of questions for me … Not ready to put almost 4k$ in a lens, I guess I’m gonna have a lot of fun already with the Noktor ! Thanks a lot for this and for all the rest on this blog 😉

  13. Interesting, I wonder what the results would be with a “vintage” lens like the Canon 50mm f1.2 or the Contax-Zeiss.

  14. Great review, shows again how superior Leica lenses are. The sharpness and colour balance are the best you can get. Looking forward for the whole story monday.

    For me the Noctilux 0.95 is the ideal and only lens. But in terms of budget: noktor and nokton 0.95 are the best alternative.

  15. noktor looks alot softer at 1.4 and less contrasty in comparison to summilux….but at 2 it does really look good.

    i wonder if we get to a point where the camera will be the same size as the lens base so it will look like all we are taking pictures with is a lens?

  16. Thanks Steve for the review and especially the sample images. Would be interesting to see how the Noktor compares with the Nokton.

    I keep trying to somehow get my mind around how wonderful Leica glass is and still find it amazing that no one has seem to find a way to create a lens to go up against Leica. I love Leica glass. Leica price just hurts and my bank account is paying the price.

    • I’d say Zeiss and Voigtlander *have* found a way to go up against Leica. Zeiss in particular makes some superb lenses, in fact I believe the 35mm Contax/Zeiss lens for the G1/G2 remains the sharpest lens in the 135 format, not a Leica lens.

      Perhaps Leica lenses have a “glow” or something you like, and that’s fair enough, but I don’t think there is a photographer in the world who’s work would improved by using a Leica lens rather than a Voigtlander, Zeiss, or indeed Canon or Nikon. It’s all just pixel peeping really, and any differences are so incredibly small, especially when you stop down.

      But I guess the heart wants what it wants, and I love my Leica as much as the next man…

      • Hi Garry,
        I guess when you mention the sharpest lens for 35mm photography it is the Zeiss/Contax 45mm F/2 you are talking about, not the 35mm.

        Mohan

      • To some extent I agree with you. My Zeiss collection has grown steadily. My experience with Voitlander was less than expected. Not that it was bad…. Just not as good. Zeiss has that “Zeiss” quality of contrast and color rendering. When it comes to cost…. is Leica better at several times the cost? That’s a decision an individual has to make. My wish is that one lens manufacturer comes out with a lens that becomes a standard that others follow.

        Nokton f/1.1 vs Noctilux f/1.0 is an example.
        I’ve shot both and there’s no comparison. However, a $1000 vs about $5000 (used) is a big difference.

        Can you imagine if Voigtlander has an f/1.0 that equals or surpass the Leica at about $2000? That would be a game changer.

  17. interesting comparison steeve! nice one but it feels that the noktor is a bit too soft wide open..in your opinion can it make a 3d like image as the background blurs everything out? Do you have any image particularly portrait that open at 0.95?

    • I agree with you Coen. Incredible job! First set of picts show something like broomstick? cuestick? Second one, some twigs. I that you use your legendary Summilux for? Gee, where`s halfshot portrait and dusk time townscape. Really Steve, this comparison is a joke!

      • He used the Summilux to make a point, so you can come here and type whatever that make you feel better about yourself.

        I think, in a way, that’s a very good use of the Summilux.

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