Famed British lens re-housing company True Lens Service based out of Leicester, UK has adapted one of the must lust-worthy lenses from the photography world, to the realm of cinematography.
The Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M has been around for decades and has gone through several optical and mechanical revisions, but has consistently been a technical marvel and a lens that many photographers put on a pedestal. In it’s most recent form, the lens can be had in it’s native M mount as well as the M 0.8 version with focus and iris gears, also in Leica M mount. Alternative mounts, particularly those common in the motion picture world, we simply not possible due to the ultra shallow flange that the lens was originally designed for. Converting to something like PL mount would require a significant amount of re-engineering to accomodate the longer flange.
This is where TLS comes in. Well known around the world for their very high quality lens rehousings, TLS put their skills to use and created a completely new chassis that accommodated this beautiful bouquet of glass and metal along with a proper PL mount. Typical to the work that TLS does, the mechanical movements are a vast improvement over the original lens (in a motion picture context, of course) and everything feels like a proper cine lens. The only obvious down-side is that because of the original design of the lens, the rear element protrudes rather… intrusively. So you’ll need to be mindful of the camera you’re pairing the lens with. It simply can’t be used with a reflex camera and I would even still recommend exercising caution when mounting to mirrorless or digital cinema cameras.
Overall, the lens performs as one would expect for a 50mm f/0.95. There’s a notable amount of chromatic aberration when shooting wide open as well as a decent amount of spherical aberration which actually lends itself rather nicely to the overall aesthetic of this lens. It’s sort of implied that this lens isn’t perfect from an optical standpoint. It’s meant to provide a more glorious, heavenly look, especially wide open. Contrast and resolution do clean up significantly when stopped down. …But where’s the fun in that?!
Overall, this is a fabulous lens mated to an excellent housing from TLS. I highly recommend checking this out. No amount of test charts or sample footage does it justice. Check out www.ducloslenses.com for more info or to arrange a demo today!