noct nikkor, why is it so expensive?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    why is the noct nikkor so ridiculously expensive, is it really THAT good or is it hype?

    Personally, I do not see much benefit for having a f1.2 lens over a f1.4 lens but people by them. The price for SLR 50mm f1.2 is somewhat reasonable, I guess, but those 58mm f1.2 Nikkors cost much much more than 50mm f1.2 lenses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2013
  2. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Better? That is a matter of opinion and can vary for a lot of reasons. It is faster, and that is a fact. I have one, like it. I usually use a slower lens, the F:1.4, for all around use.
     
  3. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    The Nikkor 50mm f1.2 is priced at $699 at B&H Photo. I think this is a very reasonable price for a speed lens which performs very well at f2 if you need to shoot in really low light levels. The Leitz 50mm f.95 is $11,000!
     
  4. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    supply and demand?
     
  6. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    i will stick with my f2.8 and f4 with a 6x6
     
  7. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I read somewhere that the 58mm f1.2 NOCT-Nikkor was supposedly designed primarily for wide open performance. That stopped down it became a very average or less performer. You only bought one because you were always in the dark (so to speak).

    I don't own and have never used one, so that was all heresay to me. But it sounded possible...

    Ken
     
  8. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    supply and demand plus the cost of making a short run -- which on a per unit basis would be high. That's why the leitz .95 is so expensive.

    why a short run? Very few people need or want a lens that fast -- it is a special purpose lens which, when wide open, has such narrow depth of field that it is difficult to use.
     
  9. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Nikon recently filed a patent on a new 58mm 1.2G lens so we may see one come back with autofocus which is critical at f1.2
     
  10. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I guess my question is what makes the noct nikkor so special? i can understand why it is more expensive than the 50mm f1.4, for sure, but what I did not understand is why is it so much more expensive than the 50mm f1.2. I haven't dug into this too much because I figured some Nikon aficionado would chime in.

    From ebay, the cheapest 58mm f1.2 lens sold for $2,500 compared to the $329 for the 50mm f1.2 version. The value is rising or has risen too, I think. It seems that the 58mm version is aspherical and the 50mm version is not. I thoguht aspherical designs is somewhat normal these days for fast glass.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2013
  11. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    When the Noct was designed and built the use of aspherical elements was not common, those elements at that time required special cutting and polishing techniques, as well the reject rate on those elements we very high so that added to the cost. Now the increased use of aspherical elements is due to improved manufacturing, they are molded into the aspherical shape rather than ground by hand. These lenses were actually fairly reasonable not too long ago. Years ago I missed my chance to get one for 750.00, they were going for about 1000-1200 at that point but I was able to burn thru a roll to see what it could do. I was very impressed with the bokeh and sharpness wide open, and if I had that cash right then I would have bought it. After seeing the film I really Really wish I got it!!
     
  12. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Aspherical lens elements may be more normal today, but the this lens was released in the late 70's. The aspherical element on the Noct was hand-ground as opposed to stamped by a machine. It was always a special-use lens and it was always expensive. The priority of the design was to control coma flare, making the lens more suitable for night photography.

    I have a 50mm f/1.2 that I have a love/hate relationship with. I don't know if I would prefer the Noct or not. Probably not.

    Edit: Mr. Waves beat me to it. Do reference the link below if you want to read more about the Noct:

    http://imaging.nikon.com/history/nikkor/16/index.htm
     
  13. EKDobbs

    EKDobbs Member

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    I have the 50 1.2, and it's a little beast. Stopped down it performs like any other nikon 50, sharp as hell and smooth OOF. At 1.2 or 1.4, the OOF gets a little obtrusive and bubbly, but it's a style, not perfection. It's a fun look when you want it. Great lens for fashion, if you have lights in the background.

    You pay a little for the 1.2, and a lot for the personality. I still prefer walking around with a 1.4, if only just because I baby the crap out of the 1.2.

    (note, this doesn't necessarily apply to the noct, which IIRC was mainly marketed for astrophotography and scientific optics, according to Mir.)
     
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  15. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    It uses a ground ashperical element which isn't cheap to make
    Not molded glass or plastic like today (even your $100 kit zoom has aspherical elements)
    The first Leitz Noctilux 50 1.2 had hand ground aspherical elements as well and, well, look up the price of that one (doesn't help/hurt that it has high collectors cachet)
     
  16. Cold

    Cold Member

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    (Really) Fast glass + limited supply (+ cult status) + optimized for night/low-light/wide open shooting = high prices

    It's a specialty lens, that, as others have said is outstanding wide open (where most others are at their weakest), but stopped down, is very average. For general purpose shooting, you're likely better served with a more conventional lens, but if you need sharpness wide open at night, there's few better, and for that distinction, you're going to pay for it.
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Post #4 has a link to KR's write up pretty much 'splain' the why's & wherefores.
     
  18. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Be interesting to know what few are better . . . :wink:
     
  19. Lukas_87

    Lukas_87 Member

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    Well, the Noct-Nikkor isn't constructed to be the sharpest wide-open BUT to be contrasty and to have no coma wide-open so the stars will render as circles rather than typical butterfly-wings-like blobs of other wide aperture lens...
     
  20. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    All 1.2 lenses are priced higher then 1.4, 1.4 then 1.8, etc. It has nothing to do with performance.
    It is the availability/stupidity_of_ the_buyer ratio. A seller is by definition either a liar or a miserable person being compelled to sell his property by the circumstances of his life.
     
  21. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    LaChou, why don't you tell us how you really feel . . . :blink:
     
  22. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, hey? :pouty:
     
  23. sehrgut

    sehrgut Member

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    Both sellers and buyers are purveyors of happiness and satisfaction: a seller is happier with my money than his property, and (if I am doing business with him in the first place) I am happier with his property than my money.
     
  24. sehrgut

    sehrgut Member

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    I'd guess that the Noctilux might be considered better. More coma, but more light too . . .
     
  25. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    I was once a lens maniac like many of you, guys. All this lasted till I had a chance to compare two (presently extinct) camera/lens systems. This comparison taught me a lot, and among other things it taught me not to "trust" the lens and work with hi-end lenses as if worked with poor ones. All lenses are "culs-de-bouteille" to me now. I think some of you will attain this level of skill someday. I do not care much which lens I use now, unless it is a Tamron, which I can not even get focused (br-r-r-r-r-r!).
    You just continue selling lies to each other. It is all about money, not the result. If we ran a test 99% of you would not tell a Zeiss from a Leica, a Canon from a Nikon. Not speaking about the poor public, who never cares. It is all about money. "You will either know it...,or you won't".*
    *From "Men in Black-III".
     
  26. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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