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| p.1 #17 · Noct-NIKKOR 58/1.2 images |
You're undoubtedly right about the former. As for the latter, I too had a brief encounter with the NOCT and don't remember the bokeh to be that busy but my shots were in lower light and closer to the MFD.
That's why I never trust lens test on the net. People just don't seem to use lenses like I do. When I want narrow DOF, it's almost always at large distances. Close up, I even like it better if it's busy.
Not really sad at all; just like the Leica Noctilux, once stopped down to ƒ/4 or so, it's slower cousins are far better. Its merit in its day was that it could go into the darkness and deliver sharpness in a localized area of the frame where the others couldn't at all, and in the age of Kodachrome 64, that was a bigger deal than being razor sharp across the frame (which the NOCT seems to be centrally only, on account of significant field curvature). The NOCT is a niche lens within a niche category. Any modern plastic fifty will beat it by ƒ/5.6 and maybe at ƒ/4 too. The 50/1.2, on the other hand, provides an old-fashioned 'atmospheric' with its heavy spherical aberration that dramatically clear by ƒ/2 and that's why you'd bother with that venerable design at all, not because it sharpens up nicely by ƒ/2.8. Yet another very specialized optic of a different sort.
Exactly, and any pixel peeper getting their hands on the Noct will trow up when examining the borders! It's not only field curvature, even if it plays a roll.
I really like the 55/1.2 because of the "old school" look with a nice glow wide open and super sharpness at f/2. The 50/1.2 is even more extreme when it comes to clearing up at f/2 where it beats anything that I've seen. Still my all time favourite is the ZF 50/1.4.
I wonder about the usefulness of microprisms and split-prism. I have used both myself but prefer a matte screen. As much as we learn about the Golden Rule and such, the prism would be only useful for a center-only composition. I guess focus and recompose (just like the center point AF) would be in order, but I find the prism is quite distracting.
It can be distracting of course, but in my opinion a micro prism screen is much easier to focus than a split prism. It works without straight lines and if recomposing is out of the question you can always use the rest of the screen as usual. Most of the time you'll end up with more accurate focus when recomposing anyway.
Now, per request I managed to get off the tram on my way home and shoot some low light with the Noct just a couple of hours ago. All are at f/1.2 and this time none are cropped. I've also been quite gentle with PP to show what the lens does.
Here I must express my appreciation for the D700 sensor, which is very good still today. This was shot at ISO 4000 and pushed 2.5 stops to ISO 22600 (!) in PP:
As you can see, sharpness degrades very steeply just outside the center of the image. But the center is truly amazing with almost no fringing and no SA.