The SLR Magic/Noktor 12mm f/1.6 Premium Lens for Micro 4/3
More Micro 4/3! It seems like there has been a flood recently and instead of water it has been Micro 4/3 gear! 1st the E-P3, then the 12mm, then the 45mm, and now I have another lens that arrived from the Fed Ex guy today, the SLR Magic/Noktor 12mm f/1.6 lens (which will give us micro 4/3 shooters a 24mm equivalent). Next week I should have the Panasonic 25 1.4 as well. MAN oh MAN! It’s Micro 4/3 MANIA!!!!
This 12mm Premium Noktor lens is a 12mm much like the Olympus 12mm… but it is an even faster lens with a 1.6 aperture when wide open! Uh oh, is the little Oly in trouble? Not really. While this lens is $300 less expensive it is also MANUAL FOCUS so it will be for those guys and gals who do not mind manual focus. Many micro 4/3 shooters are not interested in manual focus, but many of the enthusiasts are. This 12mm is longer than the Olympus 12mm and heavier as well but again, it is also FASTER! It is also usable at 1.6 unlike cheap fast lenses that perform like garbage when wide open. This lens performs pretty damn amazingly actually from the short test snaps I took today. I was HIGHLY impressed and have not seen this good of quality from Noktor before.
- This is a 12mm wide angle lens (24 Equiv)
- Fast at F/1.6!
- 2% distortion – This has optical correction
- Close focus 0.15m – macro!
- 12 step-less aperture blades – great for video and cinema and pleasing bokeh
- Depth of field scale printed on the lens
- 499 smackers!
- December availability in the USA with BLACK ring on front of lens.
Now, I have only had this lens a few hours and have only taken a few test snaps around the house but I can see that at f/1.6 it is a little teeny bit soft at the edges but still looks VERY nice. By f/2 it sharpens up and is just about flawless. Also this lens has VERY LITTLE distortion. Oh, did I mention it also doubles as a macro lens? Yes, the crazy guys at SLR Magic decided to add Macro functionality to this lens even though it is a 12mm wide angle!
Also you will notice the GREEN RING on the front of the lens. When this lens goes on sale in the USA in December it will have a BLACK ring and will have the SLR Magic name. Price – $599. The Bokeh of this lens seems really smooth and nice and it almost has a more cinematic feel than the Olympus 12mm. Hard to say until I put it through its paces but I will be shooting it over the next 2-3 weeks and then will write my full review with LOADS of pics because I am about to embark on a 3600 mile road trip and guess what is coming with me? Yep, this lens!
For those wondering about it, the build quality is FANTASTIC. It’s all metal and has a Leica like heft to it. Focus ring is smooth if not a bit firm. The lens ships with a metal hood and rear cap. I will have all of my thoughts and loads of samples soon.
Below is a 1st look video of this lens so you can get an idea of how it looks:
So look out for this lens to go on sale in December and my Review sometime near mid month. I will be reviewing it on the Olympus E-P3 and will also have side by sides with the Olympus 12mm. One shot I wanted to post was this FULL SIZE shot processed from RAW. This was shot at f/2 – just click the image for the full size 12MP file.
WOW – This looks GREAT – f/2 – click image for full size image
Until then, here are a few test snaps I shot today around the house. Enjoy!
12mm, f/1.6, E-P3 – click for larger
Wide open, the color and contrast is superb!
again, wide open at 1.6
again wide open to show the shallow DOF you can achieve when focusing close
and not so close…f/2
Wide open at 1.6 at ISO 1600