If you’re a total bokeh maniac, two of the lenses you’ve probably looked at with yearning are the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 and the Nikon Noct 58mm f/0.95. But how do these actually very different lenses compare to one another when you shoot them side-by-side?
That’s what YouTuber mathphotographer set out to test, mounting the Noctilux on a Leica SL2 and the Noct on a Nikon Z7. In the detailed comparison video above, he starts by comparing build quality, size, and overall usability for both lenses, before diving into performance.
Both cameras were set to be as similar as possible, and then test shots were taken at f/0.95, f/1.4, f/2, and so on, so you can see how these two lenses really compare. Does the Nikon lens, which contains tons more glass and some nice custom features, put the Noctilux to shame? And is either lens worth its price tag—$12,500 for the Leica, and $8,000 for the Nikon?
You’ll want to watch the full video to see the results for yourself—skip to the 12:05 mark if you want to dive straight into the image comparisons—but here are a few key takeaways:
- Both lenses are very sharp at f/0.95 and produce very similar results in terms of bokeh.
- Once you stop down to f/1.4, you can see the shape of the aperture blades on the Leica, while the Noct remains circular and smooth.
- CA and fringing is better controlled on the Noct (thanks to all that glass…)
- The Noct looks slightly sharper across the board; even stopped down, it maintains its lead over the Noctilux.
The overall conclusion might simply be this: the Noctilux is showing its age. Especially at this price, mathphotographer believes (and we agree) that Leica needs to update this lens if it’s going to compete with the likes of the Noct in pixel peeping contests.
Check out the full comparison above to see the results for yourself and draw your own conclusions. It’s a great, deep-dive comparison of two of the most exciting and expensive lenses on the market… and while most of us will never buy either lens, at least now we know what we are (or are not) missing out on, right?