Best Leica Noctilux alternatives graphic

Got the itch for 0.95? Did the price tag of the Noctilux make you balk? Worry not here are 5 best Leica Noctilux alternatives you can actually afford for that silky smooth Bokeh.

The Noctilux is Leica’s most infamous lens because it is the fastest it offers, and it is expensive. Yes even for Leica its expensive. For the same price you can get yourself a nice used car. Let’s face it is not everyone who can dunk 15k on a lens, professionals included. So what is the mere mortal to do? Enter The wonderful world of Leica Noctilux alternatives, and surprisingly there are a few. Here they are:

Leica Noctilux alternatives

NameFocal LengthMax ApertureMin Focus Distance feetSizeWeightGet it here:
1. Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.250mmf/1.22.3 63.3 x 49 mm344g Check Price
2. 7artisans Photoelectric 50mm f/1.150mmf/1.12.3 60 x 49 mm400g Check Price
3. 7artisans Photoelectric 75mm f/1.2575mmf/1.252.669.5 x 72.6608 Check Price
4. TTArtisan 50mm f/0.9550mmf/0.952.372 x 89 mm687g Check Price
5. Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.9550mmf/0.953.375 x 88 mm700g Check Price

Other comparisons: 21mm28mm35mm50mm90mm or compare all Leica lenses

The truth about lens speed

In this article about the best Leica Noctilux alternatives there are a few that hit f0.95 but there are a few that are slower. Don’t be taken aback by this fact. The slowest lens on this list if f/1.2 and the speed difference isn’t even one full spot of light. See below:

lens speed 0

There is a full stop difference between f1 and f1.4. There is only 2/3 of a stop difference between f0.95 and f/1.2. In short: You ain’t missing much even if the lens is not hitting 0.95.

A quick note about pixel peeping

There are two camps when it comes to lenses. The first camp si the camp that goes for MTF charts, looks at all of the data, nitpicks every little fault of the lens so that they know everything about it from chromatic aberration to light falloff.

So yeah, if you take some of these lenses and open in Lightroom, zoom in completely and you will probably find that is is not that sharp at the center, there is some aberration, etc. That is why most people talk bad about some of the Leica Noctilus alternatives below.

leica bokeh sample image
Bokeh can be beautiful

But once you zoom out of the images and stop nitpicking you realize that nobody will ever see those details because nobody will zoom in and explore all that is wrong. They will see the big picture and so should you. It is much less about the technical aspect of lenses and more about the lens character that you should focus on.

I will touch upon some technical stuff in the Leica Noctilux alternatives below but always remind you that it is the big picture that count, both literally and figuratively. Let’s dig in

1. Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.2

The best Leica Noctilux alternative, period

voigtlander nokton 50mm f12 lens
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Fast aperture
✔️ Great build quality
✔️ Smallest lens on this list
✔️ Lightest lens of this list
✔️ 1/15 th price of the Noctilux
🛑 Most expensive lens on this list
🛑 Also the slowest a 1.2

Let’ start this list with the best Leica Noctilux alternative: The Voigtlander 50mm f1.2. Lenses, like life is all about tradeoffs, so while this lens is about 2/3rd slower then the 0.95 you gain in terms of size, weight and price.

Speaking of price, Voigtlander is the one company that can give Leica a run for their money, and this excellent lens is 1/15th of the price of the Noctilux. It is also one of the most expensive lenses on this list but also the one that is able to satisfy the photographer that is looking for Beautiful Bokeh AND the pixel peeper. It is one of the lenses on this list that has the sharpest mid frame even when shooting wide open. There’s great sharpness and contrast wide open and that Bokeh is of course dreamy.

The lens itself is made out of metal and feels high quality. There is the signature Voigtlander lens protrusion that you want to be careful with as this can scratch your other lenses or cameras in your bag. The focus ring is a lot to love as you can use your fingers as noraml but also has grooves for you to put the corner of your index finger and focus without a finger tab.

The lens is also light and only weights about 400 grams and at 49mm not that big compared to some other lenses on this list. If you are looking for THE Leica Noctilux alternative that has the best build, image quality and simply works, there is no better.

voigtlander 35mm f12 sample image 1
All samples are from 35mm version[1]
voigtlander 35mm f12 sample image 2
voigtlander 35mm f12 sample image 3
voigtlander 35mm f12 sample image 4
voigtlander 35mm f12 sample image 5

2. 7artisans Photoelectric 50mm f/1.1

The Leica Noctilux alternative if you are on a budget

7artisans photoelectric 50mm f11 lens
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Fast aperture
✔️ Smaller and lighter then following lenses
✔️ Good IQ
✔️ Stunning price point
🛑 Vignetting when wide open
🛑 No focus tab
🛑 Better at 1.4

If you want a Leica Noctilux alternative on the cheap, this is it! It is actually cheaper then many non Leica lenses so it is pretty much a steal. The lens itself looks and feels a bit cheap and omits a focusing tab. But what about the image quality?

There is heavy vignette at f1.1 and the bokeh rendering makes everything look a bit too busy and chaotic. That is why this lens is even better when you use it at f1.4 as the Bokeh is dreamy and pleasing plus it resists flare and light spills better. Under the right conditions however and wide open, the heavy vignette (4 stop difference at the corners) gives your subject a swirly effect making this lens have character.

The center wide open isn’t that sharp (but better at 1.4) but again, this is what gives the lens character. But for $370, there is no better deal, nor will you ever find a lens that fast for that cheap (that is also pretty good)

3. 7artisans Photoelectric 75mm f/1.25

Great if you like Telephotos

7artisans photoelectric 75mm f125 lens
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Very fast telephoto
✔️ Amazing Bokeh
✔️ Character
🛑 Longer Focal length
🛑 No focus tabs
🛑 Lacks contrast at 1.25
🛑 Slightly more expensive then 50mm

If what you really want from a Noctilux alternative is Bokeh, besides the maximum aperture and lens to subject distance, the other factor that plays a role is the focal length. This is the longest lens on this list and on the heavy side (about 600g) but has tremendous Bokeh.

It offers very pleasing Bokeh circles and very little distortion. It is however prone to flares so the hood is a must here. The best way to maximize this is to shoot wide open and keep your distance below about 3 meters for maximum image quality. It is soft in the center wide open and prone to fringing, so for maximum sharpness you’ll want to shoot at 1.4. Nothing that can’t be quickly fixed with Lightroom on import with a preset.

However when you shoot wide open, and as close as possible this lens has really great character with strong vignette at the edge of the corners (about 3 stops). This is what will make pixel peepers dislike this lens but photographers love it for it’s specific look. And the sub $500 price point is unbeatable for such speed and focal length.

leica noctilux 50mm f095 portrait 1
Noctilux has it;s disadvantages too [1]
leica noctilux 50mm f095 portrait 2

4. TTArtisan 50mm f/0.95

If you need that 0.95 this is it

TTArtisan 50mm f095 lens
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Full frame
✔️ Amazing Sensor
✔️ Portable
✔️ Great dials for control
🛑 Is only Black and White

If you absolutely need that f/0.95 lens speed then this is the most direct Leica Noctilux alternative on this list. It is a large lens at about 90mm and hefty at 687 grams.

The lens is soft in the center wide open but surprisingly at f1.1 things are pretty sharp. This lens is very prone to flares and rainbow artifacts.

Yu can either see this as flaws or you can see it as character. For example, technically flares should be avoided in film, but that is exactly what JJAbrahams did in his movies like Star Trek (the new ones).

You can find equal IQ for cheaper from 7Artisans or you can get even better IQ with the Voigltander. Only get this is what you mainly want ids the Bokeh as this is this len’s main strength. The strong vignette of about 4 stops at the corner and swirls make for a pretty unique lens that can blur things to oblivion. If you are dead set on f0.95 then this is the Leica Noctilux alternative for you.

5. Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95

The cheapest f0.95 lens with peculiar Bokeh

Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 lens
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Great Bokeh
✔️ Soft when close
✔️ Made of metal
🛑 Heaviest lens on this list
🛑 No focus tab

The Mitakon is the final recommendation as a Leica Noctilux alternative. Compared to the 7 artisan there is less light falloff and vignetting at the corners wide open (3 Stops vs about 4). When shooting at f0.95 the center is pretty sharp for far away subjects but for those at close focus, on the soft side. For far away subjects the lens comes alive at 1.4 and for the close focus, f2.8.

This lens is very prone to lens flare and this is one of those thing where it is either a flaw or character. Shoot directly at the sun and it will create a pretty gorgeous effect for portraits and such. But you are probably wondering about the Bokeh, right? it is excellent. Extremely smooth and will make for pleasing portraits.

It is on the soft side when very close and wide open but this is again, part of the lens’s character and is very good if you are looking for a cinematic type lens. It is slightly cheaper then the TTArtisan so if you are looking for the cheapest 0.95 lens for your camera, this is it.

Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 1
The Mitakon can shoot very close
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 2
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 3
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 4
At adequate distances the Bokeh is stunning
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 5
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 6
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 7
The light imperfections make the Zhongi have character
Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f095 sample image 8
Make the flares owrk for yuo


I hope you enjoyed this article about Leica Noctilux alternatives. If you want THE best one overall that balances price, size, speed, image quality and Bokeh, it is the Voigtlander 50mm f1.2. It hits all of the right notes by being fast but also smaller then most of the other lenses and is one of the shapest too.

If you are looking for a bargain, look no further then the 7Artisan 50mm f1.1 with a surprisingly low price tag. While most of the lenses here are only a fraction away from 0.95, if you are looking for the best Leica M lens that hits f/0.95 then that is the TTArtisan 50mm f/0.95 and the even cheaper Mitakon Zhongi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95. Most of these lenses have their imperfections in terms of aberration and flare, but unlike what pixel peepers will tell you, this is what makes the images special. Happy shooting.

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