A Day at the Beach with the 50mm f/1.1 Nokton

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 Post subject: A Day at the Beach with the 50mm f/1.1 Nokton
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:28 am 
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After It finally got a little spring-like 'round these parts earlier this year - with the cabin fever killin' me... I took a nice walk down on the boardwalk during my lunch hour, determined to test the Nokton - and to do so as wide open as possible. To that end, I used a Hoya 8x ND filter and basically kept 'er on f/1.7. Silly me, I forgot to dial in a +1 or so EC as I was a bit rushed. But the latitude of the M9 files should not be underestimated - they took quite well to a little DNG conversion tweaking. Minimal post other than slight curves, resize and sharpen. The vignetting is actually straight from the file! The lens is coded as a Noctilux; I can only imagine it's a combination of the len' character, slight underexposure and the ND filter. You want a poor man's Noctilux - heh, this comes pretty close! ;)

Some observations. At f/1.1, which I didn't even bother with - the bokeh gets a little weird sometimes, and sharpness isn't fantastic - which is why I chose f/1.7 (I usually go for f/1.4 but it was really bright). Sharpness is pretty good at this point, obviously some vignetting still. Distortion seems quite low with this lens, and flare resistance decent. Honestly, I can't complain - for the money, this lens does a good job. Of course, I plan to test further, fully wide open at f/1.1 in darker situations... Not much point in testing stopped down, any lens will do well at f/8.

The whole gallery is here

Some of my favorite shots (most, but not all at f/1.7 - notice background):

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Some previous shots in the dark are here.

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 Post subject: Re: A Day at the Beach with the 50mm f/1.1 Nokton
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:07 am 
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Wow, that thing is sharp.


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 Post subject: Re: A Day at the Beach with the 50mm f/1.1 Nokton
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:22 am 
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dave_gt wrote:
Wow, that thing is sharp.

It really is! I find it to be a darn good lens, actually... Especially from f/1.4 or so onwards.

I think too many people compare this lens directly to the Noctilux; though it's obvious and natural to do so. Honestly, from a technical viewpoint the Noctilux isn't a great lens and the Nokton beats it in that regard (though not by much - mostly center sharpness). Artistically speaking, of course - there's no touching that "Noctilux magic." Though I find the bokeh to be entirely dependent on background complexity and camera-to-subject distance (it's a bit variable that way). It can be very nice indeed most of the time!

For a super fast lens that costs less than the current $6-7k going rate for a used f/1 Noctilux I'd say it's a good deal.

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