Buying a Leica is like buying a Ferrari. Of course, you’re paying extra for the badge, for the name and an extra tax to buy into the club. It’s a classic brand with an amazing track record and is famous for its pursuit of perfection. How can it not be expensive?
Often people get so frustrated with the price of these things, they discount the quality that is exemplified with the product.
As with Ferrari, Leica’s quality is virtually unmatched in the world of optics. With countless years of trial and error and minute adjustments, they’ve managed to create a lens that rivals any of those made, anywhere in the world. Indeed, some of the largest productions in the world reach for Summicrons to shoot their films. This isn’t because they’re expensive and people like buying expensive things. This is because the glass is immaculate.
This video gives you just a tiny glimpse into what it takes to make a $10,000 Leica Noctilux lens. Apart from the cool name, Leica imparts a certain personality with each red badge they put on their lenses, and the video shows just how personal a process it actually is to make a Leica lens.
How It's Made: The $10,000 Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95
Almost no one will deny that portion of that almost $5,000 for one of Leica's Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lenses (also available in silver) is a luxury tax, but when you put one in your hands and you start taking pictures, you know most of your hard-earned money has the finest engineering Germany has to offer to back it up. A few years ago the now-defunct website Humans Invent interviewed Stefan Daniel from Leica about the R&D and production of their lenses.
The entire interview has been archived by La Vida Leica! and is definitely worth the read for some insight on how the “Rolls-Royce of cameras” thinks when building optical perfection. Even though almost all of their lenses are prime, manual focus only, and have absolutely no frills like vibration reduction, they still have over 100 parts. If the interview and video haven't satisfied your lust for Leica “lens porn,” here's an extended video showing how Leica makes and assembles binoculars and rifle scopes:
Leica Manufacturing – long version
Read full article at Fstoppers “How It's Made: The $10,000 Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95”
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(cover photo credit: snap from video)