Quick Comparison - Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux and Mitakon Speedmaster II "Dark Knight" 50mm f/0.95

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Amin Sabet, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I borrowed my brother's Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux today to do a quick comparison with my Mitakon Speedmaster II "Dark Knight" 50mm f/0.95 lens.

    I shot both lenses on my Sony A7, the Mitakon natively, and the Leica using an adapter. The lenses are similar in weight and size:



    It was freezing and overcast here in Boston, MA. I only had about 30 minutes to shoot, so I looked for still test subjects, not artistic compositions. Processing was done using default settings from Capture One Pro 8.1. I'll make the RAW files available in the second post.

    Each image presented below is resized with a 100% crop showing the area of focus. I'll leave the conclusions to the viewer without further commentary.

    Update: Full-resolution JPEGs and RAW files for download can be found in the second post in this thread.













    Full-resolution JPEGs - Control-click (Command-click on a Mac) on these in a tabbed browser to compare full screen by switching tabs:
    Leica @ f/0.95: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7513/16258449362_4fe2f82315_o.jpg
    Mitakon @ f/0.95: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7517/15639375503_b9afb1ddb9_o.jpg
    Leica @ f/0.95: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8632/16259274255_6eb2f03b3a_o.jpg
    Mitakon @ f/0.95: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8609/16257450981_cf88fae037_o.jpg
    Leica @ f/0.95: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7503/16257450861_9258763dff_o.jpg
    Mitakon @ f/0.95: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8666/16073422017_73bd5ff897_o.jpg
    Leica @ f/0.95: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8587/16073421957_6066430dfe_o.jpg
    Mitakon @ f/0.95: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7525/16073136159_bec8158604_o.jpg
    Leica @ f/0.95: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8663/15636866524_23fd600737_o.jpg
    Mitakon @ f/0.95: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7512/16259273265_0a167acda9_o.jpg
    Leica @ f/4: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8661/16259273545_7f8f5a8121_o.jpg
    Mitakon @ f/4: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7517/15639374143_1718362388_o.jpg

    RAW files for download: Mitakon-Noctilux.zip

    The A7 meters the Noctilux as being about 1/3 stop faster (eg, 1/400s for Leica vs 1/320s for Mitakon with both lenses wide open) though the Mitakon seems to have less light falloff wide open.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
    • Like Like x 8
  2. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Nice. Thanks for the work you have put in to this. In my opinion, the Noctilux name is not worth 10,000 more than the mitakon. I would say results are 96% the same.
  3. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Thanks for the tests and the comparison. It looks like Mitakon is a great bargain:) 
  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Wow. Looks like the Mitakon is a winner! Bet being designed for the Sony sensor stack helps alot.
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Super effort Amin, thanks! There are differences, bit I'm not sure there's $10K worth of difference.
  6. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    As I said before in another post, I have probably close to 20, 50-55 mm lenses. The mitakon is for sure the sharpest at f2 compared to all of them. Except the 55 zeiss. I would still take the speedmaster over the zeiss. I miss more shots with the zeiss and autofocus than the speedmaster manual.
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Thanks, all!

    My quick takeaways:
    • Size and weight are comparable
    • Mitakon has better center sharpness both wide open and stopped down.
    • Leica has better edge sharpness wide open.
    • Mitakon has overall smoother bokeh, and more even across the frame. With near bokeh, Leica has less blur on the foreground on the sides of the frame (due to field curvature).
    • Field curvature is very different for the two lenses - see the f/4 shots with the same mid-distance focus target - Leica much more in focus in the foreground on the edges, Mitakon much more in focus in the background on the edges.
    • Longitudinal CA is a wash. Both have a fair amount.
    • Leica meters 1/3 stop faster but has more light falloff, so less than 1/3 stop faster when you include the edges.

    Overall I prefer the Mitakon rendering. Would prefer clicks for apertures and Leica build.
    • Like Like x 4
  8. DigitalD

    DigitalD TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 2, 2014
    David K Fonseca
    Wow, very intriguing Amin, thanks for this. Did you use a tripod? The composition between the two lenses look identical.

    I would disagree about the CA being a wash. To me the Mitakon has better control over it. Probably because they designed it for the Sony sensor. CA is a tricky thing however. It can account for a picture to look blurred and unsharp, but on the other hand it adds to the character of the lens. Also the center sharpness of the Mitakon is astounding at f4.

    Its funny because the Noc can certainly be classified as one of those holy grail lenses in theory, mostly because of the character it has and its sharpness wide open. I wonder if it performs any differently on a M240. But in real world usage, at least to me, I couldn't pick out the lenses in these photos with any kind of complete certainty. Thats' impressive. Makes me happy I still have $10K in my pocket. (Yea right)

    If I was buying a 0.95 50mm lens and only planning to use it on the Sony, the Mitakon is the clear choice. :) 

    P.S. what about the focus and aperture rings? Any differences in feel? You didn't mention.
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Thanks, Dave. Yes, tripod and self timer. One of the reasons I didn't use the Leica on my Leica M and Mitakon on my Sony was that it's tough to change bodies without changing composition, even on a tripod with quick release plates. This way I could just swap out the lenses.

    The focus rings are smooth with a long throw on both lenses. The aperture ring is clickless on the Mitakon and clicking on the Leica. I prefer clicks but no big deal really. The aperture ring is tough to turn on the Mitakon, but I like it that way since I don't plan to stop this lens down much. I guess it's to give smooth aperture control for video.

    The Noctilux doesn't change much on the M240. It has bit better color fidelity and sharpness on the edges, but overall rendition is no different, center sharpness is no different. All in all, not much different.
    • Like Like x 4
  10. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    May 5, 2014
    Just noticed this got a SAR post today

    • Like Like x 2
  11. Lisandra

    Lisandra TalkEmount Veteran

    Jan 28, 2015
    doesnt this warm the heart?
    "hey I can make a lens slightly better than yours (centrally at least), all in metal, for less than 10% of what yours cost"
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Stephen

    Stephen New to TalkEmount

    Apr 2, 2015
    Thats amazing! thanks for the test - ur first person who's done a proper test comparing to the leica 0.95

    Was the Mitakon you used the newer Pro Version?
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  13. greywater

    greywater TalkEmount Regular

    Sep 28, 2014
    I always get a chuckle when Leica gets taken down a peg or two.

  14. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Mar 1, 2015
    I was starting to say ho-hum, and then I found the price of the Noctilux (>$10K and >10X the price of the Mitakon).
  15. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Amin might be busy. Yes, it is the newer version. Originally lens had 58mm filter size, then they updated to 67mm filter size and called it pro version. There is also now a re-branded version under Meyer for 1999 € with May release date:

    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
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