Leica gear has never been for the masses, but this takes exclusivity to a new level. For the price of a year-long backpacking trip around the world, you can now own the fastest-ever 75mm aspherical lens. The Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 is a US$13,000 piece of glass with a monster aperture and a razor-thin depth of field to deliver dreamy out-of-focus bokeh.
Leica's new portrait lens uses nine elements in six groups, including a floating element, and can focus as close as 85 cm (33.5 in) away while offering impressive low-light performance and extreme sharpness on a super-thin focal plane.
"We pulled out all the stops we had at our disposal in the creation of this lens," Leica's head of optics development, Peter Karbe, said in a blog post on Wednesday. "Our predominant purpose in designing fast lenses is to give photographers the ability to achieve distinctive compositional effects with the aid of a shallow depth of field. The 75mm focal length makes it possible to fill out the frame when shooting from a sufficient distance, while emphasizing parts of the image through a conscious application of the depth of field, depending on the subject and creative intention.
"This is what the aperture is for – its purpose should not, by contrast, be to control the exposure. Also, there is no need to stop down in order to increase the imaging quality: our lenses are essentially designed to offer maximum performance at fully open aperture."
As an M-series lens, it will fit to the Leica M10 digital rangefinder body, but it's also well-matched to the US$7,450 Leica SL mirrorless for those who wish to preview the look they're getting out of that super wide aperture. The lens weighs 1,055 g (2.3 lb), is 91 mm (3.6 in) long and is 74 mm (2.9 in) at its widest point.
The US$12,795 price tag will put it well out of reach for most shooters, but it's going to be responsible for some stunning images in the hands of the pros.
Check out our gallery for some examples of what the lens is capable of.
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