Searching for a Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens in Osaka
Before a recent journey to Osaka, I spent some time researching used camera shops that I might be able to visit. Osaka is not Tokyo when it comes to used cameras, however, it does have a thriving business that will not disappoint you should you find yourself in Osaka. And as luck would have it, I was staying within three blocks of most of the used camera shops in downtown Osaka.
I had contact with Kazuki Matsumoto of Matsumoto Camera several months ago when I was looking for a Leica 21mm lens. At the time I was in Tokyo and hadn’t realized that he was located in Osaka until I spoke with him. By the way, for those of you who are not Japanese speaking, Matsumoto-san speaks fluent English. (However his website is strictly Japanese.)
After I arrived in Osaka, I called Matsumoto-san and found out that he had sold his Noctilux. He did have a 75mm f/1.4 Summilux in stock which was my second choice.
I ended up visiting and calling ten shops in the immediate area and ended up at Ohbayashi Camera, which by coincidence, is in the same building as Matsumoto Camera. (Note that Ohbayashi’s website is also in Japanese. Additonal information in English can be found here.) Ohbayahsi is a larger store that also sells new cameras and photographic equipment. However, their selection of used Leica, as well as, other gear is huge. You will find it hard to leave the store without buying something.
Well, I ended up buying the Noctilux at Ohbayashi. They even had the Leica IR/UV cut filter in the 60mm size for the Noctilux. As that particular size filter has limited duty with Leica lenses, the fact that they had one in stock speaks volumes about their inventory.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening shooting everything in sight. Although the Noctilux is known for its bokeh, where it really shines is nighttime shots what with its f/1 lens.
The only difficulty in using the lens is its narrow depth of field wide open so that it can be a bit hard to focus. It came into its element at night when almost every shot, no matter how dark could be made handheld. Check out the photos and their specs below.
Ohbayashi Camera is easy to find as it’s on a prominent ground-level corner of the Osakaekimae Dae 2 Building. Matsumoto Camera is located on the second floor at the back of the same building.
Also in the area are many shops selling less expensive used equipment. Just prowling the area may lead you to a bargain or two. Just on the ground level of the Osakaekimae Dae 2 building are three additional shops selling vintage gear. There is also shops in Dae 1 across the street.
(Note that this area of Osaka is within walking distance from the Ritz Carlton, Hilton and Crowne Plaza Hotels.)