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Leica launching a $10,000 nifty fifty?

Leica launching a $10,000 nifty fifty?
(Image credit: KEH.com)

Remember when a nifty fifty was a cheap lens? Well, not any more: Leica is rumored to be resurrecting the highly sought after Leica Noctilux M 50mm f/1.2 vintage lens – and it will carry a price tag of $10,000. 

While you could buy every single lens on our list of best 50mm lenses (opens in new tab) for that price,  believe it or not $10,000 is actually cheap for this lens (and probably won't make you bat an eyelid if you have enough cash for one of the best Leica cameras (opens in new tab)). 

A Leica Noctilux M 50mm f/1.2 famously went on sale for $19,990 at B&H a few years ago, and copies are currently selling for as much as $39,500 on eBay (opens in new tab). So in that context, the price tag doesn't seem that ridiculous (okay, it's still ridiculous, just less ridiculous than those other price tags).

According to the new report (opens in new tab) by Leica Rumors, the Leica Noctilux M 50mm f/1.2 Heritage lens will be a very limited edition release, with only 100 pieces being produced worldwide. In addition, they will only be available in silver chrome (perhaps to differentiate them from the original black lens) with shipping expected to begin in early 2021. 

Of course, the big question is just why is this lens so darned expensive? Certainly it has a lot to do with it being a Leica optic, but it goes a bit beyond the standard Red Dot Effect™. 

The Leica Noctilux M 50mm f/1.2 has achieved near mythical status among Leica shooters. First released in 1966, it was discontinued less than a decade later in large part due to its tricky design featuring two aspherical surfaces. 

According to Camera Quest (opens in new tab), only 1,800 or so lenses were produced – and to this day it is the only f/1.2 M lens made by the manufacturer – resulting in it being highly soughtafter among Leica shooters. 

Of course, if 10 grand and f/1.2 aren't enough for you, there's always the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH… or you could buy the Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 (opens in new tab) for less than 800 bucks! 

Read more: 

The best 50mm lens in 2020: which 'standard prime' is the right one for you? (opens in new tab)
Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 review (opens in new tab)
Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.