1. Hi, There I started these comments and have read everyone of those who followed me. I have looked again and again at Rai’s picture and I still just don’t get it. I confess I once went on an art appreciation course and didn’t get that. I’m not jealous I don’t own the lens and I confess I have yet to submit a picture for you all to be inspired by. But I have really enjoyed the camaraderie and keep looking at the pictures and enjoying them even if I don’t get them. Cheers. Tony

  2. The people that do not like this photo either are jealous of not owning the lens, or are the ones that shoot the world around them in F8 boring and find bland, long exposure seascapes ” a great photo”.
    Not everyone wants to count the strands of hair on the kid in the image or the grass blades! Why buy an F0.95 lens to shoot it at F5.6???

    That is why I personally love Steve Huff’s site, when he writes reviews of lenses, he does NOT take boring shots.

  3. I love the feel the photo gives. People gets to technical at times and forget to just appreciate whats in front of them.

    Great job!

  4. Overall, i like the shot. But..

    I agree with you here, a slight tilt to straighten out the image a bit would make a slight improvement.. Although heavily blurred, I agree the signs and garbage bins are distracting.. kind of takes away from the moody tranquil-ness of the image. Some photoshopping would make this image even better.

    I’m not too bothered by the CA in the trees.. they are far enough out towards the edge of the shot that they don’t pull my eyes from the main subject and overall image… the Noct isn’t perfect anyways and I think if CA left alone, it kind of adds a bit of rawness to the image like it wasn’t totally made picture perfect (which is near impossible for any image) and taken more or less exactly the way it was that day.

    other than the tiny technical and detail knit picking, I’m on the boat that enjoys this shot as well.

  5. There are some nice elements in this shot, and with a few changes it could be a great shot. Don’t lean on the 2 crutches that so many of us amateur photographers use because we are lazy which is 1. the faster the aperture the better, and 2. heavy vignetting. Subject, composition, and lighting are much more important to the final product.

  6. At 5.6 it would have been a different photo, not better, just different. I really like the photo and judging by a lot of the negative comments most of these folks have not shot at f0.95. I have a Canon 50mm 0.95 LTM and its completely different than shooting with anything else. I love it. A good photo doesnt need to be sharp and completely in focus.

  7. I like the shot but I’m struggling to understand the plane of focus if I’m using the right term. The sign and grass on the left side of the shot seems to be farther from the camera than the road just at the far edge of the pond, yet the sign and grass look sharper than the road at the far edge of the pond. why would that be?

    (The reason the shot is interesting to me is the very shallow DOF; I don’t think I’d pay a bit of attention if the lens was stopped down.)

  8. It’s a bit odd how some can be so accepting of the “heavy handedness” look of something with such extreme mechanical manipulation but cry foul if something is “overdone” in post.

    Not sure I understand the difference between using which tool to distort an image.

  9. I like this, I looked through your Flickr too, nice consistent visual style. I see you had the Canon 0.95 LTM too, do you still use it? I’d interested to hear how it compares to the Noctilux for size, weight and results. I had the 50 1.2 LTM before and regrettably sold it 🙁

    • Thanks for the comments Jeremy, I also ended up selling the Canon 0.95. From what I remember it was a bit more comfortable to carry than the Nocti. As for rendering comparison, closed down it was sharp and could hold its own even by today standard. Shot open, the bokeh was too crazy even for my taste and should come with a warning! Great fun to use though.

  10. I actually like the melancholic mood here and it is a good shot. That said there are few things that would further improve this image – it needs a 2 to 3 degrees rotation CW to level it up optically; that might be no go for purists, but as for me image is everything and I don’t care about awful signs and garbage bins, I would clone the sign on girls left and bright and black objects on her right, as they are distracting. I also see plenty of CA’s/Fringing in the trees, just one click and they are gone in LR, making image more pleasing. Just my two cents.

  11. I’ve had a Noctilux, and the Summilux, and I have to say… This shot looks like it could have been made with anything, with a filter effect applied to it. Too much vignetting, too processed. Looks like a Instagram filter.

    • Thanks for your feedback, no filters used I can assure you. Also I feel the vignetting adds to the image. But again what may look good to one, can look rubbish to another. Cheers.

  12. This shot is Just Perfect and All the Nitty gritty Discussed Here is Only show OFF.

  13. I actually like the dream (nightmare?) like quality and slightly ominous atmosphere of this shot. The composition, centered on the subject as it is, is very good. The dark wood, the sparse light reflected in the puddle, the child staring into it seeing… what?

  14. Rai this is absolutely beautiful, no wonder that Noctilux is the one you’re drawn back to! The scene reminds me of a precious photo I have, taken by my dad around 1948 of my mum on a back country forest trail in Wales. He used a roll-film folding Kodak camera with an English 105mm lens, and the dreamy out-of-focus rendering is remarkably similar to yours, albeit in B&W. This is the kind of photography that really does it for me.. thank you very much for sharing it.

  15. Lovely shot.
    I tried the nocti and liked it, but, it is soooo HEAVY !!!!, on the other hand i get the same results with the 50 LUX and 50 APO ( which i own and love). The APO is fantastic and LIGHT
    So as much as i love the Nocti. It ain’t for me

  16. Wonderful picture. It has cinematic quality, and it’s just a photograph.

  17. This image appeared a bit ho-hum until I clicked to enlarge it… At that point it came alive, and it has a beautiful 3D/diarama effect which is magical. Very nice isolation, great use of shape and leading lines… It just glows. I’d be interested in seeing a B&W conversion.

    • Thanks for the feedback Andy, unfortunately in my experience of 50mm lenses, no other lens could achieve this look. I have tried everything that fits my M240 and seem to sell (..and buy again) most at some point, but the Noctilux remains.

  18. At first I was not impressed but having studied the image properly I can see the magic.

  19. Art opens discussions. If it creates opinions, generates discussion and debate, and makes one think about the piece then it has merit, even if some don’t care for it themselves. Clearly this image does just that, judging by the comments. Personally, I like it. While I may have framed it a bit differently myself, I feel the photo captures a wonderful mood and atmosphere that a smaller aperture would not have achieved.

    • Agreed. This post is why I love coming to this website. For this particular shot, I appreciate the shallow depth of field. In terms of framing, I believe crouching lower might’ve added to the magic of isolating the subject. My two cents. Great photograph nontheless.

    • You know what also opens discussion? Politics. Religion. Sports. Traffic accidents. I dont know that the fact that some folks like it and some folks do not nec·es·sar·i·ly make it art. Posting a photo here also opens discussion. By the way, I liked it.

  20. The comments regarding f5.6 would kill the mood, it really depends on what you’re after. It’s a matter of taste I guess.

    • F/5.6 would look like any P&S or even a Phone took the shot. The only aperture lenses show their character with are when wide open, especially LEICA lenses which are optimized to shoot wide open. Take a 50 Lux at $k and a 50 1.8 from sony at $249 and shoot at 5.6, both will look similar. Shoot at 1.4 and 1.8 and the differences would be huge. Those who shot stopped down, I would never ever recommend any Leica lens or expensive lens as any lens is sharp and detailed at f5.6, even the cheap ones.

  21. i followed the link to Flickr, and Flickr says ƒ/6.8, which is obviously wrong. How come?

  22. Such a coooool photo. Congratulations on a great shot. It’s perfect just the way it is.

  23. i have to agree with Tony, Paul and Shaun sorry Rai and Steve stopping down a little would help this time. IMO

  24. Steve said it better than I could. Of course the light, and the way the lens takes it in helps, too.

  25. This is a great picture, it’s not worth a thousand words, it’s worth a whole book. Great subject isolation. The blur here makes it dreamy, just like a little girl would see the world, focusing on the puddle she is crossing.

  26. I agree with Steve. This shot is about the girl and the puddle. The surrounding area is meant to give some context but not to distract from the main subject. The blurred background in this shot gives it a dream like quality or something that would suggest a memory.

  27. This is a great picture, it’s not worth a thousand words, it’s worth a whole book. Great subject isolation. I agree that taking it at 5.6 would have given a very ordinary rendering. The blur here makes it dreamy, just like a little girl would see the world, focusing on the puddle she is crossing. Thumbs up, hands up, arms up! You made my day.

    • Agree – not much, but a little. There has to be a reasonable amount of “nature” for it to work. I’ve tried it and it brings out all the positive qualities even more strongly.

  28. I like the light and shadow of this image.

    if you look at the original image in flickr there is nothing sharp, it looks blurred, but with 50mm and 1/250 sec.??
    you did not tell us the f-stop, if it is f/0.95, it could be the lens? (the Leica EXIF is often wrong for the aperture, here it says f/6.8)
    and there is very much CA in the bokeh
    and I don’t like, that we see the person from the back.

  29. I have to agree with Steve and Paul, wonderful dreamy isolation here. The noctilux wide open was the right choice 😉

  30. All too often people seem to use this lens badly, I agree with Tony and Shaun but having said that I have seen far worse examples of the use of this lens.

  31. Ah, this old nutmeg.

    If you venture over to any of the Leica user forums, (http://www.l-camera-forum.com will have you scratching your heads over most of the work being posted) you’ll see a vast amount of salivation over this lens but when you look closely and carefully at any published images, oh dear, there is virtually no photographer who can use this lens accurately wide open.

    In this example we see the young lady in puddle and it works just fine, vast amounts of vignetting, something this lens can’t help, which here highlights the very narrow depth of focus, I believe the child is in focus, it’s just that we have a low resolution at 72dpi making it look soft, which is something this lens does anyhow.

    Because the lens produces images which are quite soft this actually looks really quite good with the Leica monochrome.

    Honestly, check out the Flickr groups for f1.0 or f0.95 lenses and you’ll see how this lens and others simply fail to live up to any sort of quality reputation, worse still, have you seen this lens attached to a Leica body – just hilarious! The point of these cameras, and I include the Fuji and Sony a7 series too, is their small, unobtrusive nature. Add a leviathan of this caliber and you lose 50% of the point of these small, discrete tools.

    The simple truth is this, I can take a similar image shot at f4 or so and in two or three mouse clicks have the same or similar DOF with free software suck as Nik’s Analogue Efex2. Sorry, as a Leica owners and user of some years I know this to be it’s a dreadful lens in anything but the most skilled operator.

    • Not true, unless you show it and prove it your stemming means zilch. You simply CAN NOT replicate a Noct with software. Can you replicate a Cann 85 1.2 or Nikon 85 1.4 with software? You can get close but you can not to the Noct as it has a 100% unique way that it renders the image, especially the center, when at 0.95. No one has ever been able to replicate a noct shot at 0.95 with software, ever. If you think you can, show us. You may think it looks like a Noctilux shot but I have studied this lens for years, every aspect of the way it renders and nothing can recreate it wide open, which is why people pay $10k for it.

      • For $100 dollars worth of software and a standard lens at f1.4, you can pretty much replicate this lens’s look.

        Axiomatically, this lens is a Marmite lens (Mammon might be a more appropriate word?) and the two opposing camps either love it or loathe it. Those who either have owned it or have no wish to ever own it, shall never agree on this lens.

        What you do get with this Leica-set-up is the whole camera being completely unbalanced, looking like a DSLR with an 85mm f1.4 lens attached (at least the Canon / Nikon is counterbalanced by the body). Buy a DSLR if you want a beast around your neck?

        As to wether it’s exactly the same, well, as I pointed out, you have to be at your very, very best to make this lens sing properly shot wide open.

        Besides, it really isn’t that great, it has a look, agreed – big deal, a look which can be replicated with some smart PP and the f1.4, it may not be 100%, but then again, it doesn’t ever need to be in order to achieve >90% of the effect of such a narrow DoF. Your hit rate would be so much better too.

        Over the years I have been amazed by peoples’ fixation on this leviathan, furthermore, 98% of everything I have ever seen shot with this lens belongs in the computers’ trash can since OoF is so VERY OoF with this lens.

        One option is stand well back and shoot from across the pond, as in this case.

        Too specialised, too physically clumsy, too high-a-fail-rate to have a genuine use unless you’re tripod mounted, you’re very good and you have it absolutely 100% correctly calibrated, the cupidity exhibited over this item, to my mind, is inversely proportional to its usefulness.

        As you know, so may Leica lenses have annoying back-focussing issues, by the very nature of it being a rangefinder – the Mamiya 6 / 7 cameras suffer too but as the lenses are typically f4, it’s less critical.

        • Thanks for the feedback Tom, I notice you and a few others on various forums seem fixated with the size of the lens, thankfully I am fit enough and healthy enough to carry this all day no problem, so not sure what the issue is? I think some guys should hit the gym a bit more. Cheers

  32. The girl is isolated from the background which is blurred but not out of focus to such an extent that it is unrecognizable. The setting is extremely obvious.
    By using his chosen aperture Rai shows us the girl lost deep in her little world, in the context of the bigger picture around her. It is perfect.

    Shooting at 5.6 would give a very boring but sharp image.

    Very nice Rai.

    Best regards

    • I think that’s exactly right.

      And many of the comments show a bit of chip-on-the-shoulder driven criticism around the cost of the lens. No, I dont have one either, but Rai has produced a nice image here in my view, and has managed to draw more than 70 comments. So it’s thought provoking at the very least.

  33. Thank you for the comments but agree with Steve. I think there will always be a group who prefer sharper, even clinical images, and some ( probably in the minority- like myself) look for that special feel in a photo. I simply refuse to take any shots that is not at the widest aperture. Again the beauty of photography is you can tell many stories from a single image – depending on what lens you use. Cheers

  34. My oipinion, At F/5.6, may as well use your phone. F/5.6 would KILL this shot from mood, to depth to the magic and fantasy that some see in it. F/5.6 would destroy this and make it look like a basic snap. The way the girl and puddle is isolated tells a great story. Without that, there would be no story at all.

    • “The way the girl and puddle is isolated tells a great story. Without that, there would be no story at all.”

      Come on, Steve. I’m a huge fan, but especially given your “camera is just a tool, all cameras area amazing now, shoot any of them!” attitude, I’m surprised at the pretentiousness of that statement. Fetishizing expensive gear and superficial shallow DoF instead of focusing on actually good photography is a backwards step.

      This shot looks “better” with shallow DoF than without. But it is not conveying any more sense of story and doesn’t make the photo good. With a great image, proper use of DoF can create story and build upon and enhance a great photo. A mediocre snapshot however, even taken with a $10,000 lens, will never be saved by any kind of bokeh.

      • A $10k lens like the Noct that one keeps for life will give you much more than one “snapshot” as you say, it will give thousands of memories and unique images that nothing else can replicate. If this shot was taken with large DOF, it would be a standard snapshot. The way it was taken transformed it to what it is, and it is much more than a snapshot to anyone who knows a good photo. 😉 Ive been a he Noct fan since day one, and have pushed its benefits many times. It’s an amazing lens, and if I were rich Id have one to keep for life. Yet I am not, so I can never justify keeping one while using it a few times per year. Its a special lens that creates unique images, that can not be recreated by anything else. Lots of people say they can but never show or prove this theory 🙂 I wonder why? Anyway, this taken with a 50 1.8 would not even begin to look like it does here.

        • I didn’t mean to say there’s nothing unique about the noctilux. I merely meant that making an entire new post based around this photo seemed out of character for you. You often have thousand word posts with 50 images all better than this one, all which don’t rely on shallow DoF. That’s not to say you don’t USE shallow DoF, but it’s not a tool to go “hey this shot sucks. But if i use shallow DoF it’ll be ok right?” which is what’s going on here.

  35. I love this. I couldn’t disagree more with Tony and Shaun. A narrower aperture would change this shot to a mundane snapshot. Here you have magic.

    • Agree, Paul.

      Tony & Shaun are so blind, they have no idea. I actually feel sorry they can’t see the “can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it” of f/0.95 in this photo. It’s so obvious. Very medium format-like. Love it.

  36. I have to agree with Tony there doesn’t seem to be anything in focus at least not on the child..

    • Tony and Shaun, the only guys with sharp eye-side?
      The isolation only works when the girl would be sharp
      and the environment not.
      Now it’s more a lensbaby shot, but not sharp

  37. I have to say I don’t really like blurred countryside, I can see some use for the narrow depth of field of this lens, but this is not my idea of where to use it. The child is not isolated, this was an occasion for f5.6 or smaller for me. Cheers. Tony

    • How sad you see the world in 2d and you feel everything needs to be pin sharp boring in order to appreciate.

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