Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH – Original vs Reissue Comparison

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH - Original vs Reissue Comparison

Lens Review

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH – Original vs Reissue Comparison

My first impression of the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH Original is that the price tag is too hard to reach, I knew from Leica history that the original version has two hand grind aspherical glass and the fail rate is so high led to its rarity. I have briefly tried this lens once only many years ago and couldn’t afford to own one. Recently I purchased the reproduction version of this Noctilux and wonder what’s the difference between the original and reissue version? Thanks to Fotopia for letting me try this original Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH for a side by side test. This test is not scientific I just want to give you all a brief idea what’s the difference between these lenses. I have used Leica M10-P and Kodak Ektachrome E100 with my Leica MP to do the testing. All slide images are scanned by Colorluxe in Wan Chai.

Lens Coating Colour

The original Noctilux 50mm f/1.2 shows an amber-gold purple coating while the new version has a layer of green-purple coating.

Noctilux 50/1.2 Reissue (LEFT), Original (RIGHT)
Noctilux 50/1.2 Reissue (LEFT), Original (RIGHT)

Appearance Difference

The feeling of the aperture click is different, the old version is like Summicron Rigid, Summilux 50/1.4 V2. But this new version is much smoother when you change the aperture. The barrel is also smaller compared with the original one. Focusing curl in the original version is much bigger and comfortable to use. Overall size is very compact just like an enlarged version of the Silver Summilux 50mm f1.2 V2.

Noctilux 50/1.2 Reissue (LEFT), Original (RIGHT)
Noctilux 50/1.2 Reissue (LEFT), Original (RIGHT)
Noctilux 50/1.2 Original (LEFT), Reissue (RIGHT)

Filter Size

Original Noctilux 50/1.2 ASPH takes Series 8 filter, the reproduction version takes 49mm filter size.

Picture Quality Difference

Most obvious to me is the colour cast. The original one has more green tint whereas the newer version is more towards magenta. Another noticeable difference is the contrast, the new reissue version has higher contrast, while the original one has better shadow details.

(Reissue) Noctilux 50/1.2 ASPH (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
(Reissue) Noctilux 50/1.2 ASPH with M10-P

Leica M10-P image comparison

(Original) Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH (M10-P)
(Reissue) Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH (M10-P)

Kodak Ektachrome E100 Slide comparison

Original Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
Reissue Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
Original Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
Reissue Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
Original Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
Reissue Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)


Original Noctilux 50mm f/1.2 ASPH is softer than the new one may be due to its coating. The new version image is much more solid and pops out from the background.

Original Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)
Reissue Noctilux 50/1.2 (Kodak Ektachrome E100)

Overall Impression

I am quite surprised with the result because when I was using it on Leica M10-P, I thought the new version is going to be super modern but after trying the old one I think the new one is kind of like the improved version plus the colour cast is not right for my own taste. I think I will keep this lens and make more images with it! I will soon share more images taken with the reissue Noctilux with black and white negative film. Stay tuned!

Bokeh (Kodak Ektachrome E100)

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  1. Nice review Interestingly when I did the comparison the original was sharper than the remake. I think this was down to hand grinding the aspherical elements creating lens sample variations.

    • Thanks David. Think so too, I recently saw some image with my friend’s original Noctilux 50/1.2 is sharper than the remake. But both are truly amazing lens, I am trying to use it more often maybe later will make a post about it.


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