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Noctilux is the name given to a series of ultra-fast (i.e. wide-aperture) 50mm lenses made by Leica for their M cameras, from 1966.

Noctilux 1:1.2/50mm

The first Noctilux was made in 1966. The relative aperture of f/1.2 was achieved by including an aspherical lens element, the first time this had been done in a series-production lens.[1] A computer was used in the lens design, perhaps also a first.

Noctilux-M 1:1/50mm

Now named Noctilux-M, the f/1.0 lens was made from 1975. It includes new types of glass with high refractive index, and so did not require aspherical elements. Because of this, it was cheaper to make than the f/1.2 lens. Early examples of this lens have a 58mm filter-thread; later ones a 60mm thread.[2]

Noctilux-M 1:0.95/50mm ASPH

The f/0.95 lens was made in 2008. It features a floating-lens element for accuracy in the close-up range. Like the first Noctilux, it once again has an aspherical element. Leica claims that "Even the light from one candle can be sufficient for handheld photography." It is one of the fastest lenses commercially available, and the fastest for the Leica M mount.[3]


  1. Examples offered for sale at the 41st Leitz Photographica Auction, in November 2022:
    *Chrome finish f/1.2 prototype
    *Black-finish f/1.2 lens
    *f/1.2 lens brochure
  2. Also at the 41st Leitz Auction:
    *Black-finish f/1 lens with E58 front
    *Black-finish f/1 lens with E60 front
  3. Chrome-finish f/0.95 lens (special edition made in 2016 for an anniversary), also at the 41st Leica Auction.