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Four new Sigma lenses revealed CIPA+

It’s time for Japan’s big annual photographic industry event, CIPA+, which is held in late winter each year in Yokohama. So it’s no surprise that Japan’s largest independent lens maker, Sigma, has used the occasion this year to launch four new lenses. There are three new high-end Art lenses, inluding an f/!.8 14mm ultra wide angle, and a Comtemporary line 100-400mm tele zoom.

Here are all the details:

A | Art

SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM

Sigma Contemporary 100-400

Sigma Art 24-70
Sigma Art 24-70

Sigma Art 14mm f/1.8Top-level performance optimized for the era of ultra-high-megapixel cameras

Accessories: Case, Petal Hood(LH876-04)

AF Mounts: SIGMA, NIKON, CANON

Appearance and specifications are subject to change without notice.

The definitive large-diameter standard zoom lens for any shoot

What photographers demand from the 24-70mm F2.8 specification is much more than outstanding image quality. They want all the features that make this a go-to lens for a wide range of photographic opportunities, including optical design ideal for the latest ultra-high-megapixel digital cameras, HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) for high-speed autofocus, OS (Optical Stabilizer) with powerful stabilization effect, dust- and splash-proof mount with rubber sealing, and a metal barrel for a stable, rigid feel. This all-new 24-70mm F2.8 lens from SIGMA delivers the performance and functionality that help pros succeed in news, nature, and many other fields of photography.

【Key features】

  1. The large-diameter standard zoom ideal for today’s ultra-high-megapixel digital cameras
  • Outstanding optical performance

Three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass lens elements and four aspherical lens elements help minimize optical aberrations. To ensure outstanding image quality from the center to the edges of the photograph, the optical system minimizes coma, which causes points of light to streak, and transverse chromatic aberration, which cannot be corrected via aperture control, The optical system also minimizes distortion, which can be particularly evident in wide-angle shots, resulting in excellent optical performance throughout the zoom range.

  • 24-70mm F2.8 lens that meets the high standards of the Art line

SIGMA has continuously pioneered 24-70mm F2.8 lenses that are a step ahead of the times. The first model of this specification, SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG ASPHERICAL DF, launched in 2001. Representing the fourth generation of the family, the new SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art accomplishes a challenging feat in optical design: incorporating optical stabilizer functionality in a large-diameter standard zoom. By leveraging all of its design and manufacturing expertise, SIGMA has ensured that this new lens fulfills the uncompromising requirements of the Art line for image and build quality.

  • Bokeh that is a cut above

At wide-open aperture, this lens offers outstanding photographic expression. The area in focus is extremely sharp, while the background exhibits a beautiful bokeh effect with only slight spherical aberration. Since large-diameter zoom lenses are often used at wide-open aperture, SIGMA has paid close attention to the shape of the bokeh, aiming for perfect circularity.

  • Incorporating advanced aspherical lens processing technology

Aspherical lenses necessitate refined expertise in the design and manufacturing of advanced, high-performance lenses. SIGMA’s representative products to feature this technology were the SIGMA 12-24mm F4 DG HSM | Art and SIGMA 14mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art, which both incorporated a large ⌀80mm aspherical lens as their front lens element. Building on the success of these predecessors, the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art incorporates an aspherical lens element that helps achieve extremely high resolution. This element is much thicker at the center than the edges, and forming its unusual shape is a feat of manufacturing technology. Moreover, SIGMA processes the surface of this aspherical lens element with ultra-precise tolerances that are measured in hundredths of a micrometer. This extremely fine surface allows the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art to deliver a very natural and smooth bokeh effect, without the visible concentric rings that afflict typical aspherical lens elements.

  1. OS functionality and newly designed HSM for success on any shoot

Designed for advanced utility in a wide variety of situations, the optical stabilizer OS (Optical Stabilizer) offers a powerful stabilization effect. The newly designed large hypersonic motor HSM(Hyper-Sonic Motor) offers 1.3 times the torque of its predecessor and exceptionally stable performance even at lower speeds.

  1. Lens barrel designed for high rigidity

Since large-diameter standard zoom lenses tend to serve as a go-to lens and see frequent use, the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art is designed to stand up to the challenging shooting environments that pros encounter. To this end, the lens barrel contains a large amount of metal, while the external moving parts feature TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), which is resistant to thermal expansion and contraction. This structure contributes not only to the outstanding optical performance of the lens but also to its high rigidity and confidence-inspiring build quality.

  1. Other features
  • Mount with dust- and splash-proof design

Since the area of the lens most vulnerable to dust and other foreign bodies is the mount, rubber sealing * helps provide peace of mind. In addition, the front lens element features a water- and oil-repellent coating that helps the lens perform well in the rain, near water, and in other challenging conditions.

*Except for the SIGMA mount.

  • Nikon electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism included

The Nikon mount version of this lens includes an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism that allows it to receive the appropriate signals from the camera body. This feature ensures precision diaphragm control and stable Auto Exposure (AE) performance during continuous shooting.

Note: Functionality may be limited on some camera bodies.

  • Fast AF with full-time manual focus
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
  • Rounded diaphragm
  • Evaluation with SIGMA’s own MTF measuring system “A1”
  • Made in Japan

With outstanding craftsmanship

  • The lens barrel is engraved with the year of release
  • Compatible with Mount Converter MC-11
  • Available SIGMA USB DOCK

Makes customization and flexible adjustment possible

  • Available Mount Conversion Service

Allows use with another camera body

For more information about the SIGMA GLOBAL VISION lineup of fine products, please visit the official SIGMA global website:

SIGMA GLOBAL VISION: http://www.sigma-global.com

Lens Construction: 19 elements in 14 groups | Angle of view (35mm): 84.1-34.3° | Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm) | Minimum aperture: F22 | Minimum focusing distance: 37cm./15in. | Maximum magnification ratio: 1:4.8 | Dimensions (diameter x length): φ88mm×107.6mm /3.5in. x 4.2in. | Weight: TBD

4.5:1 Super Macro Lens from Mitakon

Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2 4.5X Super Macro Lens

ZY Optics releases the Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2 4.5X Super Macro Lens for high magnification shots

Shenyang China, Dec 19, 2016 – Zhongyi Optics (ZY Optics) has released a new compact Super Macro Lens for full frame cameras, the Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Macro Lens and it features a high reproduction ratio up to 4.5:1.

Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2 4.5X Super Macro Lens is very compact in its class which allows photographers to capture extremely fine details or patterns with ease. The lens is capable of creating unbelievable macro images ranging from 4x to 4.5x magnification. Users no longer need to DIY or use any extension tubes to reach high magnification shooting. It incorporates a 6pcs of elements in 4 groups structure which delivers impressive resolution from corners to corners. Weighing merely 0.5 lbs (230g) and 6cm long, it is a perfect companion for wildlife and outdoor shooting. The wide angle of view and close focusing distance allows you to compose creative images with more information included into the frame. Greater magnification (up to 13:1) can also be achieved by stacking extension tubes or bellows. The high magnification is also extremely useful for scientific purposes.

The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE, Sony Alpha, Pentax K, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Fuji X mounts are available.

Pricing & Availability

Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2 4.5X Super Macro Lens is now available to ship and purchase at ZY Optics authorized resellers and at our official website (http://www.zyoptics.net/). The Recommended Retail price is USD 199.

Leica SL firmware 2.2 and Summilux SL ships

Press release issued by Leica UK:

Firmware update 2.2 for Leica SL with improved support for Leica Image Shuttle software and Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens – available today

Leica Camera has released Firmware Update 2.2 for the Leica SL mirrorless system camera, improving support for the Mac versions of Leica Image Shuttle 3.5 and Tethered Plug-in 1.1.0., as well as supporting the new Microsoft Windows version of Leica Image Shuttle 3.5.

Registered Leica SL owners can download the new software and firmware updates from the Leica Owners’ Area (https://owners.leica-camera.com) or take their camera to their local Leica Store or Leica Customer Care in the UK for a complimentary installation.

Leica Image Shuttle 3.5 improves workflow efficiency for tethered shooting with the Leica SL and allows the camera to be controlled from a computer via a USB 3.0 cable connection. All relevant exposure parameters such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO value and autofocus can be set and controlled from the computer, and exposures can be displayed directly on a large monitor screen for assessment.

The Leica Tethered Plug-in 1.1.0 (for Mac) – also available as a download from the Leica Owners’ Area – establishes a direct connection between the Leica SL and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 / CC for Mac via USB cable. The camera’s shutter release can be activated from the plug-in and the images captured can be displayed directly in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 / CC (for Mac), making the workflow even faster and more reliable. The corresponding firmware update is required for the use of Leica Image Shuttle and the Leica Tethered Plug-in.

Firmware update 2.2 also removes the shutter speed limitation when shooting with 6-bit coded Leica M-Lenses, while further optimising the performance of the Leica SL system.

Available from today, the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. is the first prime lens for the Leica SL-System and sets a new standard in its class. Its large maximum aperture makes this high-performance lens ideal for photography in challenging lighting conditions, and enables the use of shallow depth of focus as a creative tool. Furthermore, the fast, precise and reliable autofocusing ensures that photographers can concentrate fully on composition and creativity. The lens’ combination of resolving power and soft bokeh in unsharp areas clearly isolates subjects from their background, particularly when shooting at maximum aperture.

Lens Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Field angle

(diagonal, horizontal, vertical) 47.9°/40.5°/27.7°

Optical design

Number of lenses/groups 11/9

Number of aspherical lenses 2

Entrance pupil position 76.8 mm

Working range 0.6 m to infinity

Distance setting

Smallest object field 241 × 362 mm

Largest reproduction ratio 1:10

Aperture

Setting/function Electronically controlled aperture, set using turn/push wheel on camera, including half values Aperture setting range 1.4 -22

Lowest value 22

Bayonet/sensor format Leica L bayonet, full-frame 35 mm format

Filter mount E82

Dimensions and weight

Length to bayonet mount 124 mm

Largest diameter 88 mm

Weight 1.065 g

For additional product specifications, please visit: Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Fotodiox announces Nikon to Sony FUSION Adapter

Fotodiox Pro, creator and distributor of several lines of specialty solutions for videography, cinematography and photography, has announced their new Nikon to Sony FUSION Lens Adapter. Available now on Fotodioxpro.com, the Nikon to Sony FUSION Adapter allows photographers to mount Nikon lenses onto Sony cameras and maintain electronic communication between the two, delivering decades of legendary Nikon imaging expertise to the hands of full frame or APS-C Sony E-Mount camera users.

Read more

Get ready for control with the new PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED tilt-shift lens

Press release issued by Nikon Europe:

PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED tilt-shift lens
PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED tilt-shift lens

RRP:  £3,299.99 / €3,999

Sales start date: 27th October 2016

London, UK, 19th October 2016: Nikon takes compositional flexibility to a new level with the first FX-format perspective control (PC) lens to employ two PC rotation mechanisms. Ideal for architectural, fine art, and landscape photography, the PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED is made for photographers who have a keen sense of space.

Thanks to its picture angle and unique tilt, shift, and double-layer rotation capabilities, this manual focus lens enables photographers to shoot from the perfect starting point. Both tilt and shift can be engaged individually, and in combination, essentially replicating the movements of a large-format view camera. Photographers can exercise extensive control over the lens’ focal plane, and easily shift to create images unaffected by convergence. Or tilt to create landscapes that are sharp from the foreground to the background, without the need to close the aperture as you would with standard lenses. The 19 mm angle of view is ideal for large structures and spaces, and the unique optical construction ensures the distortion common in wide-angle lenses is minimised, even at the edges of the frame.

Simon Iddon, Head of Product Management, Nikon UK, says: “This FX-format lens is a long-awaited addition to Nikon’s line-up of NIKKOR lenses with perspective control. Having been developed in response to the demands of professionals who work with PC lenses, it offers a powerful combination of picture angle and uncompromised edge to edge image quality”.

Summary of key features

19 mm ultra-wide angle of view

The 19 mm angle of view means photographers can capture the true proportions of a scene, or take in more of the structure and less of the foreground.

High precision: legendary NIKKOR quality

Two aspherical lens elements greatly reduce coma and other types of aberration. Three extra-low-dispersion glass elements minimise axial chromatic aberration. Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat virtually eliminates ghosting and flare throughout the frame, even in backlit situations.

Double-layer PC rotation: shoot from the perfect starting point

Both tilt and shift can be engaged individually, or in combination. Tilt can be rotated independently up to 90° in either direction, and the whole lens can also be rotated up to 90°.

Smooth operator: superb build, exceptional ergonomics

The sturdy shift mechanism allows for smooth operation. The lens is compact and weighs approximately 885 g. And it boasts Nikon’s fluorine coating, which actively repels water, dust and dirt without compromising image quality.

ENDS

PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED tilt-shift lens
PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED tilt-shift lens

Specifications

  • Focal length: 9 mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4
  • Minimum aperture: f/32
  • Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups (including 3 ED glass, 2 aspherical lens elements, and lens elements with Nano Crystal Coat or fluorine coat)
  • Angle of view: 97° (73° with a DX-format camera)
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.25 m / 0.9 ft. from focal plane
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.18x
  • No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Perspective control: Horizontal and vertical tilt and shift. Shift of ±12 mm, tilt of ±7.5°
  • Rotation: 90° left and right with stops every 30°
  • Filter attachment size: No filter attachment possible
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): Approx. 89 mm maximum diameter × 124 mm (distance from camera lens mount flange, based upon CIPA guidelines)
  • Weight: Approx. 885 g (based upon CIPA guidelines)
  • Supplied accessories: LF-4 rear lens cap, Slip-on front lens cap LC-K101, lens case CL-1120

Nikon reserves the right to change the appearance, specifications, and performance of this product at any time and without prior notice.

Raise your game with the new AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Press release issued by Nikon Europe:

AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

RRP:  £2,649.99 / €3,229

Sales start date: 10th November 2016

London, UK, 19th October 2016: Nikon makes the FX-format telephoto zoom of choice for professional photographers faster, lighter, and more agile than ever. Engineered to excel, the new AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR will keep photographers working with Nikon’s fast-shooting DSLRs one step ahead.

Whether shooting sports, action, news, or reportage, the latest incarnation of this renowned lens boasts a range of enhancements that make a real difference in the field. Improved AF tracking and exposure control, as well as VR SPORT mode, combine to deliver exceptional burst shooting. Compared to its predecessor, edge-to-edge performance is improved, and light fall off has been reduced. The closest focus distance is now an impressive 1.1 m, and the maximum reproduction ratio has increased from 0.11x to 0.21x. Configurable buttons on the barrel make operation smoother, and the zoom and focus ring positions are reversed for more balanced handling. Thanks to a new magnesium alloy lens barrel, and HRI and fluorite elements, this lens has never been so light, yet the build is as tough as ever.

Simon Iddon, Head of Product Management, Nikon UK, says: “The new NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E offers an astounding jump in image quality and a faster, smoother shooting experience all round. SPORT VR, and ergonomics inherited from Nikon’s recent 400 mm, 500 mm, and 600 mm telephoto lenses will make a unmistakable difference to photographers shooting fast, unpredictable action with a professional DSLR like the D5.”

Summary of key features

Improved Vibration Reduction (VR) and lens-to-camera precision

The latest generation of Nikon’s VR enables shooting at shutter speeds up to 4 stops slower than without VR¹, and activates the instant the shutter is pressed halfway. SPORT VR mode delivers a more stable viewfinder image when shooting exceptionally fast action. Improved AF tracking enables photographers to respond swiftly and precisely to autofocus changes. An electromagnetic aperture mechanism enables exceptionally stable AE control—even during a high-speed burst.

Exceptional integrity: optical precision to the edge of the frame

A brand new optical construction ensures superior edge-to-edge performance. The new optical design includes six ED glass elements, a fluorite lens element, and a High Refractive Index (HRI) element. Nano Crystal Coat reduces ghosting and flare for greater image clarity, whilst colour fringing, chromatic aberration and distortion are controlled throughout the zoom range.

¹ In Normal mode based on CIPA standard.

ENDS

AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 70–200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Specifications:

  • Focal length: 70 – 200 mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8, automatic electro-magnetic aperture control
  • Minimum aperture: f/22, automatic electro-magnetic aperture control
  • Vibration reduction: 4.0 stops (in NORMAL mode, based on CIPA standards). Modes available: VR OFF, NORMAL, SPORT. Can be used in combination with tripods (automatic detection)
  • Lens construction: 22 elements in 18 groups (including 6 ED glass, 1 fluorite lens and 1 HRI lens elements and lens elements with Nano Crystal coat or fluorine coat )
  • Angle of view: 34°20′ – 12°20′ (22°50′ – 8°00′ with a DX-format camera)
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.1 m / 3.6 ft. from focal plane. Focus limit switch available (5 m – ∞ or 1.1 m – ∞): Maximum reproduction ratio 0.21x
  • No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Filter attachment size: 77 mm
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): pprox. 88.5 mm maximum diameter × 202.5 mm (distance from camera lens mount flange, based upon CIPA guidelines)
  • Weight: Approx. 1430 g (based upon CIPA guidelines)
  • Supplied accessories: LC-77 77mm snap-on front lens cap, LF-4 rear lens cap, HB-78 Bayonet Hood, CL-M2 semi-soft lens case

 

    Nikon reserves the right to change the appearance, specifications, and performance of this product at any time and without prior notice.

 

Leica Summaron lens revival

Press release issued by Leica UK:

Leica Summaron-M

The renaissance of a classic lens:

Ultra-compact LEICA SUMMARON-M 28mm f/5.6 wide-angle lens for unobtrusive reportage photography

Leica Camera has expanded the portfolio of its M rangefinder system with the modern renaissance of a classic Leica lens: the Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6.

First introduced as a screw mount lens in 1955, the predecessor of the Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 is still one of the most compact wide-angle lenses within the Leica M-System, and is famous for its characteristic signature. The new lens takes its lead from the classically compact construction of its ancestor and brings the unique, analogue look it lends to pictures into the age of digital photography.

The optical design and mechanical construction of the Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 are identical to those of its predecessor, which was manufactured at the Leitz factory in Wetzlar until 1963. Combining the latest optical developments, highest quality finishing and outstanding optical design, the new edition of this very special lens is much more than a simple reconstruction of an existing model.

With minimal contemporary design elements, the new version of the Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 has been reduced to the essentials, but loses none of the character of its legendary ancestor. Its exceptionally short length of less than two centimetres makes it particularly unobtrusive and, together with the incomparable discretion of the Leica M camera, an ideal lens for street photography. The combination of a clearly laid-out depth of field scale and long focus throw allows extremely precise pre-focusing.

The optical design of six elements in four groups arranged symmetrically around the iris of the new lens is identical to that of its precursor. Indeed, the historic optical design of the original lens has remained completely unchanged. For example, wide open, the new Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 renders subjects with rich contrast across almost the entire image field.

The combination of extreme depth of field, natural contrast rendition, excellent resolution of detail and visible vignetting create a unique visual signature, and lend pictures a special look reminiscent of the earlier days of analogue photography.

The exterior of the new Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 reflects the contemporary look of the current Leica M lens portfolio, including the Leica M bayonet mount with 6-bit coding, the shape of the focusing lock button, the diameter of the aperture ring and the style of the knurling on the barrel and rings. The design and construction of the lens hood also mirrors the original and evokes memories of the beginnings of rangefinder photography. The hood is machined from solid brass and finished in a meticulous manufacturing process, and is included with the lens.

As with all other Leica lenses, the Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 was designed and developed by Leica’s precision engineers and optical specialists in Wetzlar. As a particularly reliable product with enduring value, it is made in Germany from only the finest materials and assembled in an intricate process entirely by hand. The combination of cutting-edge technology and exceptionally thorough manufacturing procedures guarantees consistently excellent quality and durability.

Pricing and availability

The Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 has a suggested retail price of £1,900 including VAT.

Due to strong expected demand, the lens must be pre-ordered. Orders will be fulfilled in sequence according to order date.

Technical specifications LEICA SUMMARON-M 28mm f/5.6
   
Angle of view (diagonal, horizontal, vertical): 75°/65°/46°
Optical design

Number of lenses/groups:

Position of entrance pupil

(at infinity):

 

6/4

2.4 mm (behind the bayonet flange in the direction of impinging light )

Focusing

Working range:

Scales:

Smallest object field/

Largest reproduction ratio:

 

1m to infinity

Metric distance scale

801 x 1201 mm /

1:33.4

Aperture

Setting/function:

Smallest aperture value:

 

Preselection with click stops

22

Lens mount Leica M quick-change bayonet with 6-bit bar coding for Leica M digital cameras
Filter mount Inner thread for E34 screw-mount filters, non-rotating
Lens hood Detachable (supplied with the lens)
Viewfinder Camera viewfinder
Finish Silver chrome
Dimensions and weight

Length to bayonet flange:

Largest diameter:

Weight:

 

≈ 18 mm

≈ 51 mm

≈ 165 g

Leica Noctilux 50th anniversary

Press release issued by Leica UK:

Leica Noctilux

Leica Noctilux: the ‘Light Giant’ turns 50

Leica celebrates 50th anniversary of the legendary Noctilux lens

Fifty years ago, the first Leica Noctilux lens was unveiled at the 1966 Photokina exhibition in Germany, astonishing visitors and industry media with its revolutionary optical performance.

In the 1960s, photography enjoyed enormous popularity around the world and demand for high-performance lenses rose dramatically, particularly among professional and fine art photographers. As the use of flash was not yet widespread, or even frowned-upon, the extraordinary specifications of the Noctilux lens attracted unrivalled attention. This extraordinary lens offered a gigantic maximum aperture, and exceptional optical performance, even when used wide open. The signature characteristic of the Noctilux was its unique contrast rendition. Brilliant, sharp pictures without flare could be achieved with the lens wide open – even in candlelight, subtle colour nuances, the finest textures and minute details were distinguishable.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1.2 (1966)

The most outstanding feature of the 1966 Noctilux model was its two aspherical elements – the first time such elements had been included in a serial production lens manufactured by Leitz. One of these two asphericals was made from special glass with a high refractive index. The task of the aspherical elements was to reduce chromatic aberration at maximum aperture and increase quality in the image field. The Noctilux 50mm f/1.2 was designed by Prof. Dr. Helmut Marx and comprised six elements in four groups, with the asphericals as the first and last elements.

At that time, the production of asphericals was a particularly complex and costly process. Even the most innovative new machinery was no alternative to the highly experienced optical engineers, who finished each element individually, polishing it entirely by hand. At the same time, new testing methods were also being developed to ensure the quality of future lenses.

Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0 (1975)

At Leitz, enormous effort was made to achieve the ultimate aperture of f/1.0. At the same time, Leitz turned to the use of only spherical lens elements in an attempt avoid the almost prohibitive costs of producing asphericals. Both challenges were successfully mastered at Leitz Canada by lens designer Dr. Walter Mandler, resulting in the launch of the Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0 in 1975. The glass employed in the construction of this lens had an exceptionally high refractive index, contributing significantly to its impressive performance and the extremely natural look of images captured with the lens. Whereas photographers using other manufacturers’ large aperture lenses were forced to stop down to produce acceptable results, the Noctilux could be used wide open – not only in theoretical, but also in practical terms.

Even wide open, the Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0 impressed photographers with its consistent resolution, almost three-dimensional rendition of details, and the clear and finely nuanced colours it delivered – often in situations where other lenses would be incapable of gathering enough light to expose the film correctly. In effect, a truly outstanding masterpiece of optical engineering.

Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. (2008)

More than 30 years after the introduction of the Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0, which had become a firm favourite among photographers thanks to its unrivalled aesthetic qualities, Leica presented a new-generation Noctilux at Photokina 2008, with a previously unheard-of maximum aperture of f/0.95.

Furthermore, the lens had been considerably improved in other aspects of optical performance. To achieve this, Leica employed its many years of experience gathered in the design and construction of the two previous lenses, and took advantage of the benefits of the latest research and technologies. Although the production of asphericals remains an extremely elaborate process, today it is much more efficient and practical than the days of the first-generation Noctilux in 1966.

The optical design of the Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. comprises more than eight elements in a symmetrically arranged, Double-Gauss design with its two halves located back-to-back with the aperture between them. The two aspherical elements ensure the outstanding imaging performance of the lens. Three of the other elements are made from glass with an extremely high refractive index, and a further five from glass with anomalous partial dispersion. To ensure that the Noctilux also delivers outstanding results at closer focusing distances, the construction also features a floating element that shifts the position of the last group in relation to the rest of the system, depending on the focusing distance.

The original properties of the Noctilux are also applicable to the new lens: the maximum aperture is a usable aperture – it is not necessary to stop down to achieve better performance. The extremely shallow depth of field when shooting wide open is a feature of the Noctilux lens that can be deliberately used as a creative tool.

Peter Karbe, head of the optical development department at Leica, commented, “Even today, after 50 years, the Leica Noctilux still stands for extreme lens speed. The ‘Light Giant’ masters situations in which images can be captured only with great difficulty – or not at all – by other lenses, and achieves it with exceptional imaging performance. The combination of incomparable colour rendition, rich contrast, and shallow depth of field made possible by its outstanding speed, enables photographers to create images with a uniquely fascinating aesthetic.”