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  1. #11

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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!!

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    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.
    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

  3. #13
    EKDobbs's Avatar
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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.)
    In other worlds he has
    darker days, blacker swells.
    Strokes that mix noir revenge
    on waves of grey.

  4. #14

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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)

  5. #15

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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.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    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.
    Post #4 has a link to KR's write up pretty much 'splain' the why's & wherefores.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold View Post
    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.
    Be interesting to know what few are better . . .

  8. #18
    Lukas_87's Avatar
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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...

  9. #19
    LaChou's Avatar
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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.
    I despise those, who create their own "reality", and especially those, who try to create wisdom of their own. This is "violation of concept". When one is unable to embrace what he perceives, he creates a smaller world for himself that he can embrace, and switches off the perception.

  10. #20

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    LaChou, why don't you tell us how you really feel . . .

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