We are using a scientific camera which has c mount. We are dealing with very low light conditions so we are going to need to use a fast lens with large aperture. The Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 seems like a good lens for this purpose however this lens is Leica M-mount.

Is it acceptable to use multiple adapters in series to reach the desired mount? Does anyone have a better idea for how to convert this to c mount?

Does anyone have any other suggestions for lenses that would be ideal for low light applications?

  • Um... that's a $10k lens. Is there a reason you're not going with, say, a $400 C-mount lens like a Senko 25mm f/0.95? – inkista Oct 22 '15 at 21:24
  • I should have mentioned some other constraints - We cannot get the lens any closer than about 90cm from a 30x30cm square device which we will photograph. We might be able to get away with a 35mm lens, but I think 25mm focal length might waste too much image space – Adam Oct 22 '15 at 21:34
  • Well, Senko makes a 50/0.95, too and they're far from the only 1" video lens manufacturer making f/0.95 lenses. Just saying, if the format you're shooting is 4/3 or smaller, then does it really make sense to adapt a super-expensive exotic full frame rangefinder lens? – inkista Oct 22 '15 at 21:46
  • Thats an interesting lens, thank you for suggesting it - ill look into it more. To be honest I am not a photography expert and that's why I came here to look for help. What is it then that separates the Leica lens and the Senko lens if they have similar specs? Will there somehow be a different image resolution or anything like that? – Adam Oct 22 '15 at 21:54
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    Possible duplicate of Can I use lens brand X on interchangeable lens camera brand Y? – xiota Dec 8 '18 at 17:00

It might make more sense to look at a native C-mount lens with a fast maximum aperture. There are a variety of 1"-video and super-16 lenses that have fast maximum apertures of f/1.2 or wider.

The M-mount Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 is a super-exotic lens at a super-high pricetag. It's designed to project an image circle that will cover a full frame (i.e., 36 mm x 24 mm sensor = 864 mm2, or 35mm (135 format) frame of film). That's going to be overkill for a low-resolution (1 megapixel) sensor.

The C-mount is used for formats of 4/3" and smaller, most typically for 1"-format or super-16. The actual format can vary very widely. But if it's the largest format (4/3": 17.3mm x 13 mm = 225 mm2) that's still a lot less area than a "full frame", so a lot less glass and engineering for chromatic aberration is required, and the cost of the lens will be lower. The image quality won't be the same as for the Noctilux, but if you're doing lower-resolution photography, that might not matter very much.

  • thanks for your reply, it is very helpful. Perhaps you can address another subject of my possible confusion. How much does lens diameter matter? Say I have two lenses, both 50mm f/0.95. However, one has a 70mm diameter aperture and the other has an 80mm diameter aperture. Will the lens with the larger diameter aperture collect more light and provide a brighter image? – Adam Oct 23 '15 at 15:39
  • Also, how would the Handevision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 compare to a 50mm f/0.95 lens in terms of light collection? Is lens speed the best measure of light collection or is it a combination of focal length and speed? – Adam Oct 23 '15 at 15:55
  • @Adam, This isn't a discussion board, it's a Q&A database. If you have new questions, post them as separate questions. We also don't do specific product recommendations, because they're usually highly individual or go out of date. However, maybe this question: What does f-stop mean?, can help you understand the difference between f/0.95 and f/0.85. I've never seen aperture diameter as a spec on a lens, but I only use still lenses, not video. You may want to try video.SE. – inkista Oct 23 '15 at 18:40
  • @Adam, the f-stop question answer should also indicate why two lenses with the same focal length and same max. aperture should (at least theoretically) never have different aperture diameters. :) f-number = focal_length / aperture_diameter. See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number – inkista Oct 23 '15 at 18:50

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