3 days with Leica M10 & Noctilux 50/0.95 (featuring Sony A7II with Mitakon 50/0.95)


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I had the chance to try the new Leica M10 with a silver Noctilux 50mm f0.95, thanks to a dear friend of mine who knows himself very well. I do own today a Leica M9, M240, a Sony A7II, a Fujifilm X-Pro2 and recently added an Olympus Pen-F. I spent 3 great days shooting with this combo. The shooting experience with this combo is wonderful, magical, dreamy, and tactile.

I was curious to see if the M10 is worth the upgrade from an M240 or not. I will not go into the technicalities and the scientific talk about the M10 … The web is full of those articles if you want to read about it … I will not also go into pixel-peeping and cropping to 100% to show if the image looks good at 100% or not … actually I believe shooting at f0.95 is mainly for the Bokeh and the general effect such lenses can give. Pixel-peeping at f0.95 is not a main criteria here. I will just talk about my 3 days experience with the M10/Noctilux Combo, and show some sample photos.

What I like about the M10: 

Size and weight: The M10 feels better in my hands than the M240. the slimmer profile and the 20 grams less make u feel you are holding a lighter and more ergonomic camera.

The ISO dial is a great addition on the M10: Now changing ISO is as easy as changing it on a Fujifilm X-Pro2 or X-T2 🙂

ISO Performance :  Yes now we can shoot ‘clean’ images up to 10,000 ISO, and this is very welcomed. I don’t see this as a big deal knowing that we were able to shoot at those values and maybe more with 3 years older cams like a Nikon Df or a Sony A7sII for example.

Wi-Fi: that’s a nice feature to add today … although I didn’t have the chance to try it

What I don’t like about the M10: 

Button Layout: After using it for 3 days only, I still prefer the M240 button layout. I didn’t get use to the 3 button layout on the back … but i think it’s a matter of time. Leica decided to offer a larger buffer and a 5fps continuous shooting instead of M240’s 3fps, and actually i like that … on the other hand, they decided to remove the C (and Timer) options from the shutter button switch; I find this very annoying when you want to switch from single to continuous frame, cos now in order to switch you should go into the menu to do so.

Smaller Battery: The slimmer profile of the M10 resulted in a slimmer thus smaller battery. The M240 battery life was really great. the M10 battery life is not as good.

No more Video:  I know that a Leica M is mainly a photographic tool, but I know also that with CMOS sensors, having the option to shoot video is not costly, especially for the premium we are paying for an M. I do shoot some videos sometimes with the M240, and it’s really nice with fast lenses like the 35 Summilux or 50 Summilux. I wished Leica improved the video instead of removing it. Those who don’t want to use the video feature they just can skip using it, and let those who want enjoying shooting videos with the best lenses on the globe.

To Sum it up, The M10 is a very nice camera… but I don’t find a reason to upgrade my M240. If you are new to Leica, I would say go for an M10. If you already have the M240, You can skip. I know I will, waiting for a more meaningful upgrade on an M11 maybe. You can read my previous article : What the Leica M10 should have been

Here are some sample images taken with this combo , most of them shot wide open. For more photos you can check my Flickr album HERE

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$17,500 vs $2,500

Comparing Leica M10 with Noctilux 50/0.95 ($17,500) to Sony A7II with Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50/0.95  ($2500)

A friend of mine lately asked me to compare the M10 and Noctilux with my Sony A7II and the underrated Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50/0.95 ? I liked the idea and did shoot couple of pictures with both combos just for fun. I just wanted to see how the pictures from each combo feel. I am not interested in pixel-peeping here. I’m mainly concerned about the Bokeh and general rendering of both lenses. For Your Info, both lenses deliver noticeable  Chromatic Aberation wide open. I find  Focusing with the Noctilux more fun btw. I posted these 3 sets on my GAG group and on several M10 and A7 groups on Facebook and very few were able to guess which is which.

SET #1

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M10, Noctilux 50/0.95

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A7II, Mitakon 50/0.95

SET #2

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Leica M10, Noctilux 50/0.95

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Sony A7I,I Mitakon 50/0.95

SET #3

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Leica M10, Noctilux 50/0.95

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Sony A7II, Mitakon 50/0.95

As you can see in these 3 sets , the Bokeh of the Noctilux is more harsh than that of the Mitakon. Color rendering and sharpness are somehow close or slightly different. Everybody knows how great the $10,500 Noctilux is. I was positively surprised with the $850 Mitakon result. Sometimes (maybe most of the times) a 12 times more expensive lens is not 12 times better !  But maybe, just maybe a range finder experience is priceless. Actually it’s my favorite shooting experience ever : I still enjoy shooting with my M9, maybe more than the M240 and M10 : M9 simplicity and CCD output are still unrivaled in my opinion.

In this comparison the shooting experience between the Leica and Sony combos is a $15,000 difference , whether it is worth it or not, is up to each and every one of you to decide.

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