When cinematographer Douglas Koch, CSC was approached to shoot a recent series of commercials for Walmart he envisioned compositions with a fairly wide frame and an ultra-shallow depth of field. He remembered seeing the Leitz M 0.8 lenses a few months earlier, particularly the 50mm f/0.95 lens, and began calling around to the rental houses to find them. Eventually he found the lenses at Keslow Camera and paired them with the Sony Venice camera using the M mount produced by Leitz to be able to utilize the full frame sensor. Doing so would allow the shallowest possible depth of field in medium and wider shots.
About the shoot, Douglas said, “We were doing a fair number of wide shots with a person standing in the frame beside a car. The goal was to hold just a bit more than the width of the car but to give the background a lovely softness with the shallowest depth of field possible. The only way to achieve the shot was to use a wide sensor like the Venice and the f/0.95 aperture of the Leitz M 0.8 50mm Noctilux. We tested stopping down to T1.4 or T2.0 on a Super 35 sized sensor and it can’t be matched. Even with the Noctilux, the difference between f/0.95 and f/1.4 is quite noticeable with the texture of the out of focus areas.
“Each spot was a mixture of focal lengths, with the superb 50mm Noctilux handling the wides and medium shots and the 24mm and a 75mm Summicron-C being used where necessary, such as inside of vehicles. With the Venice sensor the lenses worked out great.”
Since the time of this production Leitz have introduced a 75mm f/2.0 and a 90mm f/2.0 lens to the M 0.8 family now offering a set of 8 lenses from 21mm to 90mm.