Jan 092013
 

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The SLR Magic 35mm T 0.95 Hyperprime Lens Review – PART 1

A superfast lens for your mirrorless camera!

As I sit here looking over the images I snapped from the NEX-6 and this SLR Magic 35 T 0.95 I am pretty damn pleased with what this lens puts out. I also am sitting here thinking it is a shame that more mirrorless shooters will not experience this lens because they can not get past the “SLR Magic” name or the fact that it is (hand-made) in Hong Kong. I have been shooting with SLR Magic lenses since they 1st put out their little toy lenses 2-3 years ago and have never had an issue with any of them. Their toy lenses are cheap and great fun but their serious lenses are just that, serious. It seems though that as time marches on that SLR Magic is getting more serious themselves and not letting anything stop them from building quality lenses. (But please SLR Magic – new website please)!

Wide Open at night

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I have been using this T 0.95 35mm lens for a little while now and when it was 1st attached to the NEX-6 I was a little freaked about the size and heft of it as it is pretty massive. But even with its solid build and feel and larger size, it is still smaller than DSLR lenses from Nikon and Canon and provides a unique and beautiful look that I can not get with any of the standard Sony lenses on the NEX. In fact, the rendering of this lens is pretty damn special with melty smooth bokeh and all of the speed you will ever need.

For another great review of this lens check out this LINK. It has some cool comparisons and shows what this lens can do in the night time world :) Superb!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8bRA5yXMFM&hl=en_US&version=3&rel=0]Let’s Get Hyper!

This is a “HYPERPRIME” lens from SLR Magic which in basic terms means that it is their “creme of the crop”..the best they offer. It is up there with the $4900 50 T 0.95 Leica Mount but this is a 35mm T 0.95 coming in at just about $1300. The lens is sharp, the lens puts out amazing color and as usual, super (but smooth) POP. The cool thing is that this lens is for almost all mirrorless systems. NEX, Fuji X, Micro 4/3 and Canon EOS-M. Buy one lens, use it on any of these systems (with adapters).

I opted for the NEX version as I am quite fond of the Sony NEX line of cameras lately. They have been workhorses and giving me no issues in operation or use. When using manual glass like the SLR Magic 35 T 0.95 on a NEX it is a very nice experience though the 1st hour or so you will be wondering about the large lens on the small body.

Smooth Operator – wide open at T0.95 – click for larger

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First things first. This is an APS-H lens and is NOT full frame. It is not compatible with the Leica M even though the all metal mount is a Leica M mount! Why make an M mount lens when it can not even be used on a Leica M? Well, for starters, Leica M mount lenses are able to be used on almost any mirrorless camera with an adapter. If this was made as an E mount it would not be as “universal” as making it an M mount. By making it an M  mount all you need to do is tell SLR Magic what system you want to use it for and when they ship it you will get the adapter you need for your specific camera brand. You can also buy Leica M to Fuji X adapters, or Micro 4/3, Sony NEX E mount or EOS-M. Just switch the adapters to your camera and shoot away.

I am about to write about MY experience with this lens. Not everyone will like what I say (especially the SLR Magic haters) but I only write the facts, and I only write about products I really like. So right off the bat you will know that I like this lens because here I am, writing about it. :) I also post images to back up what I say, and this will be no exception.

As it is shipped. Nice protective box with adapter of your choice.

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When used on the Sony NEX system this is a unique lens as there is nothing else like it from Sony (in Native E mount) that can compare to this. This is a T 0.95 lens, which is probably equal to a F 0.92 lens making it (one of) the worlds fastest production 35mm lens. There is another lens like this one though and it is made by another company. This is NOT that lens. This is a lens unique to SLR magic and not a rebranded lens. Period.

I remember when the Leica Noctilux 0.95 was released and everyone freaked out at the speed (and price). Now SLR Magic has TWO T 0.95 lenses and both are fantastic but this one, the 35mm, is special because it is much cheaper than the full frame 50 T 0.95 yet offers the same qualities, and in a 35mm lens which will give APS-C mirrorless shooters their super fast 50mm equivalent. It is also considered a “CINE” lens which is why it has “T stops” instead of “F stops”. There are no clicks with the aperture dial, instead it is just a smooth silent turn.

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With all of this in mind some of you will know that there is competition for this lens from Voigtlander in the same price range. The Voigtlander 35 f/1.2 II is available in M mount and is a full frame lens yet it comes in at around $1300, the same price as this SLR Magic. I have shot with both and you can see my Voigtlander 35 1.2 II review HERE. I enjoyed that lens quite a bit on the M9 and while it is softer than Leica glass it provided a unique character that did not come with the Leica glass. This SLR Magic lens is sort of the same way except I much prefer the Bokeh from the SLR Magic. It is buttery smooth and melts away in an organic and beautiful way and by T 1.4 the lens is sharp as a tac beating the Voigtlander IMO.

ORGANIC BOKEH. This lens has it and it is beautiful. (Yes, I focused on the watch). 

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The color pops and shows you what great glass can do for APS-C sensors  - This was shot at T 1.4

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Let’s talk about SIZE

You know what they say, “size doesn’t matter”..or does it? 

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Make no mistake, this is a serious chunk of glass. When holding it you get the feeling it should cost about $2400 instead of $1300. It is large, heavy and packs in some serious glass inside the lens barrel. The reason this lens is so large is due to the SPEED of the lens, T 0.95 as well as using quality glass and the fact it is APS-H (larger than APS-C).

So right off the bat this is not a lens for those looking to keep their mirrorless cameras small and compact. At the same time, this lens may balance better on something like an X-Pro 1 over a NEX-5R. In this installment, part 1 of my review, I will be going over my initial impressions of the lens on the NEX-6. Later I will be testing it on the Fuji X-E1 as well (Waiting on the correct adapter) and will be giving more of my thoughts on it after extended use. For now let’s talk about size again. It is large and feels like it weighs about as much as a Leica 50 Noctilux. After shooting it for a couple of days strapped around me I really did not notice the weight though. This usually happens when you shoot with a combo for a while as you get used to the size and weight.

But again, if it is small and light you are seeking this is not your lens. If you want that special creamy quality and shallow DOF shots that rival full frame results from your APS sensor then this is your guy. This is a “creative” lens but can also be a very sharp performing lens as well. I found the low light capabilities when on the NEX-6 were fantastic. Shooting at night was not a problem at all and using focus peaking on the NEX helped me to nail the focus, even wide open.

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Speaking of focus…

This lens can be a bear to focus when shooting wide open. At T 0.95 the DOF is so shallow that using an LCD or EVF  to focus can be problematic at times. Focus peaking helps but it was hit or miss for me until I racked up about 50 shots or so and got used to how the peaking was working at T0.95. I can imagine on cameras without peaking (such as the Fuji X-Pro 1) it will be even tougher to nail focus (and slower). On the NEX system it was pretty easy and after the learning curve I never missed a shot due to mis-focusing. Just be aware if you do go for this lens it will take a few shots to get used to it but once you do you can get sharp shots in almost any lighting condition while maintaining lower ISO’s and you will also be rewarded with super smooth Bokeh and pop.

Out at night…

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Full size real worlds images:

So how sharp is this lens? Well, it can be very sharp or it can be very soft. Depends on if you are shooting wide open and if you nail focus 100%. Below are a few full size images you can click on to download. These were shot wide open at T 0.95!

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For the images above being shot at an equivalent of about f/0.9 they are pretty damn impressive. In the past most super fast lenses were super soft at wide open apertures. It was not until Leica came out with their f/0.95 Noctilux that the rules were bent. Now SLR Magic has seemingly bent the rules even further. While this is not a lens that ranks up there with the detail and sharpness of a Leica 35 1.4 Summilux FLE it is indeed coming close to delivering Leica Noctilux performance with possibly even smoother Bokeh. This lens has a character all of its own and while some may like it, some may love it and others will dismiss it due to the name on the lens ring, one thing is certain. This is a quality built lens with quality glass. Anyone wanting a super-duper fast lens for their Mirrorless system should take a look at this lens. If you are a Bokeh addict and love that creaminess that comes along with shooting wide open and you love 3D separation and pop then this one may be up your alley.

BUT if you do not need the fast aperture of T 0.95 then you do not need this lens. This lens is for Bokeh and speed junkies (lens speed, not the drug) and for that it is fantastic. 

Just remember that this is a heavy and large lens but it is not overwhelmingly huge. It is large and well made, period. It delivers but it can give you some challenge with focusing until you get used to how it works with your camera body. Wether you own a Sony NEX, Micro 4/3, Fuji X or even EOS-M this is a lens that will work with them all. I have lots more shooting to do with this lens and in part 2 I will have more examples from the NEX as well as some Fuji X samples and a video sample.

BTW, using the lens is nice. The focus ring is smooth as is the aperture dial. The lens ships with an all metal front ad rear cap. Little extras that are very nice to have though the screw in lens cap can be a pain sometimes.

Overall, this lens is a great quality hunk O glass for about $1300. It will start shipping in February 2013 from SLR Magic. If you have questions you can e-mail them directly at [email protected]

I will post more from this lens soon but before that I will have my Fuji X-E1 review up using the Kit Zoom and new 35 T 1.4 from SLR Magic. Stay tuned! 

A few more from the SLR Magic HyperPrime 35 T 0.95 on the Sony NEX-6 

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  106 Responses to “The SLR Magic 35mm T 0.95 Hyperprime Lens Review Part 1”

  1. I think it’s crazy how far technology and optics have come to allow this sort of performance fully opened at f/0.95 (!) attached to an APS-C body. Wow… It feels like yesterday when I had to think about not shooting wide open at f/1.4 on such a lens (not even necessarily very cheap) to avoid softness and excessive chromatic abberation.

  2. WOW! From the Open 24 photo there is practically no chromatic abberation or coma that I would have to worry about. My NEX-7 just found a new best friend.

  3. Thanks for the test Steve, this is really insane quality and it really makes a full frame camera with a normal 50mm lense obsolete! Incredible quality!

    Now I will skip the Sony 35mm and the Zeiss 32mm for my NEX and get THIS BEAST!

  4. Is there any reason why this lens is built for APS-H?
    This way it seems that DOF marks will be useless for all present possible users (APS-C with 1.5 or 1.6 and MTF with 2 crop factors).

  5. António:
    The crop factor of the camera does not affect to the DOF of the lens, it just tells you how large a portion of the available image your camera is able to use. Therefore the markings on the lens are valid regardless of what camera body you attach to any given lens.

    Your other point is however valid, I don’t think that any current camera body has APS-H size sensor. Maybe this lens can be used on Leica M8 also? Therefore the native M-mount would make bit more sense.

    • It can not be used in any M camera – M8, RD-1, etc. It is not rangefinder coupled so will not focus on a rangefinder.

      • Aa, ok. =)
        That however makes the choice of APS-H even more curious. By choosing it to cover only APS-C some size and weight savings would have been possible.
        I’m however no expert in lens design, so it can be that it was easier to design this lens to be sharper in the corners by making it larger or something like that.

        • The size covered makes a big difference in prize. The 50mm costs $4K, covering Full Frame. But by limiting to APS-C it comes down to about $1.350.

        • The advantage of choosing a bigger image circle is surely also the reduction of vignetting in the corners, esecially used wide open as intended. Vignetting is more complicated to remove in video, which this lens is made for. Weight and size is of minor importance for a video lense I think.

        • It would have been much easier to design the lens as APS-C than APS-H

        • By making APS-H you can use full opening without vignetting because they would fall outside the APS-C circle.

      • Does it work on the GXR m-mount module?

  6. Iive allready ordered it, and I am looking so much forward to it, as I love my 50mm version.

  7. The lens cap is a pain if you want to use one. I found a “Leica-like” vented lens hood for 62mm in Hong Kong, with a lens cap that sits on the lens hood (not on the lens itself) and is easy to remove fast. For a few dollars. Took ages for it to arrive though.

  8. Dear António G and JVV,

    This lens cannot be used on the Leica M8 due to the large 36mm diameter rear element of the lens. It will not be able to fit inside the Leica M bodies or the Ricoh M mount.

    It is a difficult situation for us since it is a cat and mouse game for us as a third party lens manufacturer and we never really know what is coming up next. It takes a long time for lens development and sometimes the world is different by the time our lens come out. We spent two years on designing this lens and back then, we placed our bets on two rumors. Leica was rumored to have a mirrorless camera and Canon as well. Canon definitely has high quality APS-H sensors from the 1D line up and Leica mentioned in an interview with British Journal of Photography and Amateur Photographer on June 22 2012 on the rumored Leica Mirrorless system “It’s more than an idea, you will see something at the next Photokina. The new system will use an APS-C sized sensor at least.” With a 35mm focal length we were hoping for a APS-C camera but in case it turns out to be APS-H, the lens would still work.

    It is a gamble for us on how the market will accept a M mount lens that is uncoupled and has a crop sensor coverage. The advantage is a lower cost and size over full frame lenses and users can easily adapt this lens on multiple mirrorless bodies they have. Time will tell if this lens gets accepted. If we made this lens full frame, the lens would be priced higher than the HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95. We only sold the HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95 in Hong Kong ever since the brand bashing went out of control. When more M users can get over our brand name we will be selling our lenses internationally again.

    • Hi Andrew have you ever thought about changing your brand name? For example, have you met anyone who thinks SLR Magic is a good name?

      • Hi Jonny have you ever thought about changing your name? For example, Johnny instead of Jonny? Have you met anyone who thinks Jonny is a good name?

        Yes many people think JJ is not a name but I like my name very much. Just leave SLR Magic in peace. Canon is not a much better name either. How about change Canon to Rocket Launcher or Gun or Catapult?

      • No comment.

      • The issue many have with our brand name is lack of heritage to be making lenses for cameras with a long history. Mirrorless cameras have a shorter history and mirrorless users do not feel they need to attack us to show loyalty to their favorite brand lenses. We hope to be able to offer alternative lens choices for more people to experience shooting at 0.95 and make the idea of shooting at 0.95 tangable rather than a dream.

        • Ahhh I see. You mean people (read: Leica users) have a problem with your “name” as in reputation or heritage not the literal “name” SLR Magic.

        • Andrew – SLR magic does not make one lens for an SLR. Also, by introducing the toy lens line first, you branded yourself as a throwaway brand. I am glad you are making great glass, but honestly, you should change your name. I would just pick the last name of your CEO.

          Just a bit of free advice

        • Andrew,

          Remember that Canon (..a strong-sounding name: as sturdy as a cannon..) started life as Kwanon. But when the company wanted to sell their products in the ‘west’ the name was modified to look and sound more confidence-inspiring to western eyes and ears.

          Nikon began as Nippon Kogaku, but – like Kwanon to Canon – they modified the name to make it short, smart and snappy. Olympus was originally Takachiho Optical. Minolta was Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shoten or Shokei and became Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha ..but most recently was just ‘Minolta’ for simplicity’s sake!

          ‘LG’ was previously ‘Lucky Goldstar’, but names with ‘Luck’ or ‘Magic’ in them – although propitious in the ‘east’ – really don’t go down well in Europe or the United States ..they sound ‘second-rate’, as if the makers are relying purely on hope, not craftsmanship, to get their products sold!

          So ‘SLR Magic’ may sound great in Malaysia or Hong Kong or Thailand or Japan, but in Europe or the US it sounds – I’m sorry to say this – childish.

          In Europe or the US a name which sounds strong and assertive – but also sensitive (to light) – would make these lenses fly off the shelves: something like ‘Strona’ or ‘Pentra’ (..oh, no; Pentra exists as medical equipment..) or ‘Cinegon’ (..no; ‘Cinegon’ is used by Schneider lenses!..) or ‘Chrometar’ ..ah; YES! ..nobody’s using that name.

          So why not get rid of the little bezel ring on the front of those lenses, the one which presents the daft name ‘SLR Magic’, and replace it with Chrometar?

          You see, many westerners ..if they’re asked by a friend “What’s that lens you’re using?”.. would feel silly to have to say “it’s an SLR Magic” ..they’d think they would be laughed at. But if they could say “it’s a Chrometar” they’d feel secure, assertive, wise, knowledgeable!

          George Eastman hunted for a word which didn’t mean anything in any language – but was short and snappy – and chose ‘Kodak’. That worked for many years.

          Branding is important. Who would buy a ‘Leica’ if it was called the ‘Silly’? Calling something ‘Magic’ (in the west) is like calling it ‘Toy’, ‘Frivolous’ or ‘Cheap’. Would you want to call your lenses ‘SLR Cheap’? There’s no connotation in that of precision, high value, superior workmanship – in fact it sounds just the opposite!

          But ‘Chrometar’ (as just an example) suggests “faithfulness to the colours of light”, and “accurately measured”, and hints at the names of well-respected German lenses like “Summitar”, “Tessar”, “Planar” or “Sonnar”.

          Your lenses may be absolutely superb ..the best there are! ..But their name, unfortunately, turns them into a joke. So why not make the name as good as the lenses? ..Put some thought and workmanship into crafting a name for them, just as much as you would put into designing and manufacturing the physical items themselves!

          Designing a name costs nothing – I did “Chrometar” in 32 seconds and it cost absolutely nothing – but it really can be a make-or-break a product.

          • Oh yes, ‘Apple’ sounds so serious and raises instant confidence about product quality. If I ever start a computer company, it will be named Banana and everybody will know its great quality just by its brilliant name…

            The point here being: there are always exceptions and even a name that at the beginning may sound strange may be later associated with quality, assuming that the company’s products are good enough.

          • ‘Apple’ was intended to sound frivolous ..when every other computer seemed intimidating and ‘for serious business use only’. Apple, remember, was “the computer for the rest of us”. It was meant to be simple to use, an everyday object, as unremarkable as an apple.

            It was meant to be non-intimidating, compared with IBM (International Business Machines), TRS-80, the DEC VAX or PDP-11, Data General, Control Data, Microdata 1600, Wang 220, etc.

            Compared with those daunting and “professional”-sounding names, Wozniak’s and Jobs’ ‘Apple’ was named to sound simple, friendly, and with the idea that just anyone could use it.

            It was intentionally named NOT to sound serious ..but to be a breath of fresh air and was aimed at people who HADN’T used a computer before.

            The ‘SLR Magic’ lenses, though, are aimed at people who HAVE used cameras before, and who are technically savvy enough to know that they want an f0.9 (or T0.9) lens to achieve shallow depth-of-field, but without flare and with very sharp results at a wide aperture.

            Those people want a serious name which exudes confidence and doesn’t sound silly or trivial.

            But if you were selling a capable camera to novices then you would want a simple-sounding name, to make the device itself sound simple to use. So you might call a pocket compact camera, with a decent zoom and autofocus, an “Apple” (if the name hadn’t already been taken) in the same way that Olympus sold their easy-to-use compact film cameras with the name “Pen” ..as easy to use, and always in your pocket, as a pen.

            Then they revived the name, but gave it extra letters and numbers to sound a bit more technical, with the digital PEN series.

            Horses for courses! Lenses for serious people who are serious about their photography: serious name.

            Lenses – or cameras – for everyday users who don’t care a jot about the technicalities but just want quick good pictures: simple, or “magical”, name.

            • Andrew,

              I did email you yesterday (11.1.13), as you requested, but had no reply. Perhaps check your inbox and spam filter?

              Yours, David.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Please, please, please, please, PLEASE develop a 35mm 0.95 RF Coupled M Mount.

      Pleeease.

    • I applaud you and your company. Awesome. I am seriously considering one for my Nex 5n and it would cost more than everything I have in my bag now! I think t 0.95 would be unreal as the low light is already great.

    • Thank you Andrew for giving insight about the design behind this lens!
      I understand that it can be hard to predict the direction of the everchanging camera market, especially for third party lens manufacturers. I think it is complete rubbish to bash any lens manufacturer by its name or origin, if the lens is good I could no care less what name is printed to its side. These kind of ultrafast lenses are in my opinion extremely interesting, so I hope you all the best in your chosen path, good work so far!

      One lens segment that is so far pretty much untapped is the tilt-shift lenses for mirrorless cameras. I think there would be potential customers there, because the TS lenses made for Canon and Nikon systems are annoyingly large when attached to for example NEX or m43 cameras.

      • Just for info’s sake, I use an Olympus-OM-to-m4/3 adapter to fit my Oly shift lens on an OM-D (or other m4/3 camera). Works a treat ..but, of course, putting it in front of a smaller sensor effectively doubles its focal length from 35mm to 70mm!

        So I use a Canon-EF-to-m4/3 adaptor to fit a Canon 24mm tilt/shift lens (behaving as 48mm) on the OM-D.

        “Kipon” is a brand – see eBay – which offers similar big-to-small adaptors, but which include a tilt facility within the adaptor. So the Oly shift-only lens, for example, becomes a shift-&-tilt lens when used with the Kipon adaptor for m4/3, and any ordinary non-tilt lens becomes a tilt lens when used with it.

        The tilt adaptor costs far less than a tilt – or shift – lens, as it’s just a few metal spacers, with no glass in it at all.

        The T/S lenses have generally been made by large corporations which offer “system” cameras and lenses, and need to include every type of lens in their line-up ..even if that particular model may not make much, or any, cash for them: they’re included for the sake of completeness. So Nikon, Canon (and previously Olympus) have made these ‘larger-than-normal coverage’ shift lenses, but I don’t think they’re seen as money-spinners by the independent companies (no Cosina, Sigma, Tamron shift that I know of).

        People often tend to buy LensBabies for that sort of thing, or even make their own cheap ‘PlungerCam’ ..out of a piece of rubber and a couple of jubilee clips!
        http://blog.cow.mooh.org/2009/07/plungercam-2-cheaper-and-more.html

    • Thank you to you Andrew and to the SLR Magic workers for opening beautiful new options for us. Thanks Steve for your enthusiasm.

    • Andrew, why is the rear element size an issue ? The rear element is contained inside the M-mount, and the M-mount is 44 mm. I understand there is no rangefinder coupling, and the lens will vignette on FF, but why is this preventing the lens to be used on a Leica-M ?

  9. Steve, How does the lens compare to using a 50mm 0.95 on the M9?

    • Well totally different lenses but at the same time, the results are not THAT far off from each other. Build, feel is similar but the 35 is smaller. IQ is almost similar but I found the 50 to have more magic. Still, this is a gorgeous lens. A little tough to master MF wide open but when you nail the focus you will get beautiful results.

  10. Steve, I’m still new to your site, I’m a filmmaker and photography is sort of alien to me. I’m visiting your site more often as I love your objective opinion on the tools.

    That said… you would likely never have been able to convince me that the first photo of the gold man was shot wide open at 0.95 on ANY camera from any manufacturer. The lack of haze, smooth bokeh, and overall noise-free image makes it look like you’ve got a pristine 50/1.4 on a Full Frame camera.

    Pretty amazing, and a real tell that SLR isn’t just stepping up their game, they’ve already done so and they’re just refining their brand. It is definitely a shame that, for some people, the brand name will interfere with the opportunity to add something special to their toolkit as an artist or creator, or even a professional.

    In the lower budget cinema world, SLRMagic is becoming much more accepted in comparison to the days of the toy lenses, and I see a lot of anticipation not only for what they’ll do next, but what they have recently released. The 35/1.4 for example.

    Thanks for putting up some stills! I have to have this lens.

  11. it seem to be super sharp on the nex @0.95, but have you planned to test it for the em5

  12. For the price that’s pretty amazing. I love what SLR Magic is doing, and hope they can keep doing it. However, I kind of feel like there just isn’t enough character in the bokeh. I imagine a lot of people will buy this lens (or any 0.95 lens) for the bokeh, and it just doesn’t seem bonkers enough. When I shoot wide open (which is almost always) I want the bokeh to be completely crazy. It’s smooth, I’ll give it that. But it’s not even close to the kind of character and downright insane smooth/dreamy feel that a Rokkor or Takumar could produce.

  13. I just bought the SLR MAGIC 35mm/1.4 to mount on my Olympus Ep2 and EPM2. Will have an extensive shooting spree this weekend. I would have loved this 0.95 version and am still considering it. I have the Nokton 25mm/0.95 and also waiting to see how the SLR magic of that same specification performs. So yes, Andrew should keep it going, Leica/Zeiss quality at affordable prices…Magical.

    • I bought the 35mm 1.4 for my lumix gx1, and the results have been fantastic so far. I still can’t believe that the lens costs as little as it does. There’s a bit of chromatic aberration when shooting wide open, but it cleans up nicely in Lightroom.

    • Yes, I have tested the f1.4 on my Olympus Epm2 pretty extensively. I admit I am new to both the lens and the Epm2 so there was quite a bit of a learning curve on setting up the camera and lens combination. I managed to shoot at iso200 to iso12800 as well. Overall findings…
      1) The DOF at f1.4 is super shallow, grrreat, but you really gotta get the focus point right on to see the good quality of the lens sharpness. It is very good wide open, almost comparable to the 45mm mZuiko.
      2) If you compare this lens with Voigtlander 35mm/1.4 it would focus closer (1 foot), hence it is more practical.
      3) Comparing with current Nikkors and Canon L offerings, it is smaller, cheaper and fits the m43 much better as a manual focus lens because of the focus and aperture action is more direct.
      4) Comparing it to older Manual focus Nikkors and Canon or any other film SLR 35/1.4 lens, it is much sharper wide open, smaller, handles CA better and is more useable wide open than the rest, plus it is much cheaper too.

      I have a set on Flickr that contains shots made with this lens but it is a restricted stream meaning “nudity”…so if you are not offended by female nudity, then click this link.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/paparazzi666/sets/72157632539544045/

      Most of the images are shot wide open or close to wide open as the lens is clickless it sometimes moves a bit from maximum, but makes little impact to the final image I would think. Most images have some minor tweaking but the source files usually have to be very good to get a final good image, you can’t turn a very poor lens into something sharp with good definition, dynamic range and color.

      • The 35 T 1.4 is a different lens, much different. Will have my review of it up with the Fuji X-E1 this week.

        • Hi, Steve did you already make a test with the SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 X mount for the Fuji X-E1.

          Was reading a warning ( Avoid SLR Magic 35mm 1.4 Design Flawed!) on the X100 Forum about a Focus problem with this lens..!!

          Thanks in Advance.

          • Ive been shooting with it for 3 weeks, no issues with my copy at all. It is solid and focuses just fine. A little soft at 1.4 but other than that a great lens. Sounds like someone just purchased a bad copy, which happens with ALL lens brands – Canon, Nikon, Leica, etc. I am shooting it again today at a comic convention so we shall see how it goes. I wanted my review up this weekend but am holding off to make sure that I have no issues with it today. Thanks

            • Thank you Steve for you’re explanation, I was a bit worried I just ordered this lens at SLR Magic by Andrew Chan.

              In any case have a nice weekend looking forward from your Test.

              Many greetings from Amsterdam the Netherlands..!!

  14. Focus on the watch…? But I prefer the Bokeh on the breast better ;-)

  15. it seems to be super sharp on the nex @0.95, but have you planned to test it for the em5

  16. The Nokton 35mm f/1.2 II looks pretty soft wide open in comparison in the review. No point in using the f/1.2 lens at f/4

  17. Thank you Steve for that nice review and for linking to my review as well.

    I agree that this lens is the best I have seen so far from SLR Magic and on a crop sensor it gives me some additional flexibility compared to the 50/T0.95. Perhaps it should be mentioned that you get the HyperPrime 50mm T0.95 also for 2995 US$ already, if you plan to use it on a camera without RF coupling (including the Leica M 240 with EVF).

    Best regards
    Helge

  18. It all looks good however I would be cautious and wait for others to buy and give their results for a few months.

    I seem to remember the M version of this which was touted this way and didn’t deliver.
    I am not even sure if they intend to produce an M versions now?
    Ross

    • The 50 M version delivered better than my Leica noctilux at 1/3 the cost. This one also delivers at 1/8th the cost.

      • The price was raised to almost $5k, which isn’t 1/3 of the cost of a Noct.
        I never owned one nor do I own a Noct, but there is a lot more to the story and one should certainly look at both sides. Google the issue and decide for yourself. This site is not one where you will find unbiased information. Hype abounds here.

        • I did a bit of google and it seems it is not possible to buy the Noctilux at the advertised MSRP. Steve is right on this one.

          • No you aren’t right. There are two on amazon right now for $10995. You have no idea what you are talking about. Leica dealers don’t sell for above MSRP.

            • Seriously? You walk into a shop and they tell you there is no stock unless you are willing to pay more. You call Leica up and they say dealers do not have to follow MSRP.

            • Leica shop does not sell above msrp but they have no stock. Leica dealers have stock but they sell lenses with a premium.

  19. So many perfectly good lenses are remade or have to be made because of a group of folks who cant seem to take a photo without the slightest hint of so called CA and purlple fringing”. What a bunch of camera wussies, this is the reason why prices get driven up, why useless 1.whatever lenses are made. I don;t think you folks even like photography, i think you folks buy these almost perfect lenses, take pictures with your “focus peaking”, pics of rocks and chairs and then with your computers check to see how much ca or not there is, and how less soft the corners are. And men used to say that women were shallow and silly for putting cosmetics on their faces,

  20. In a bit of a niggle with this one, planning on an X-E1 soon however I’m stumped on the choice of lenses at the moment, also my intension is to go full frame eventually with a FUJI or Sony mirror less.
    My choices are:

    1) Go with the Fuji 35mm for now (or until the 23mm is available) and replace it when full frame is available.

    2) The voigtlander 25mm F1.2 VII and keep it for future use, though theres conflicting report whether this is a good choice for the X series due to corner smearing.

    3) SLR Magic 35mm T0.95 though not full frame compatible so would have to replace it.

    Also the price of the SLR Magic may be a problem, UK price will be at best £920 (with VAT and duty with 1.6 USD conversion). 2nd hand voigtlanders are going for no more than £650-£700 give or take, it will hold it value more and I’ve no idea how much the SLR magic would go 2nd hand later on.
    Would really appreciate advise on this, especially a comparison to the voigtlander.

  21. So what’s the deal between this and the Mitakon 35mm T0.95 that i have and bought for $800 (if i remember rightly). It looks *identical* but a different company. Are SLR Magic just rebadging it and upping the price?

    The lens is f0.92 or T0.95, clickless aperture and in general very nice. The focus barrel could be a little smoother, i detect a slight grindiness in it but overall the quality is amazingly good for such a fast lens. Same as the examples above.

    cheers
    paul

    • .Can you send your lens to Steve Huff for a comparison? I am sure Steve wouldnt mind doing that

      • I’m sure Steve would be willing to send me his and i’ll do the comparison :) I’m in the UK so that’s not going to happen.

        The mechanics are different between the lenses, but the specs are identical. The mitakon is clickless but has no follow focus rings so i assume SLR Magic have rebarrelled the mitakon into a more cine friendly lens. The focus ring and aperture ring are the other way around for example.

        Weird…

        • Comparing specs is silly. For example the Hyperprime 50/0.95 has different rendering from the Noctilux 50/0.95 and Canon 50/0.95

          I dont think they rebarrelled those and certainly not the Mitakon 35/0.95 either.

          • Speaking of which there is also the Angenieux 35mm f/0.95 you can buy on eBay and certainly did not rebarrel that either.

            • The Angenieux is a very different beast, from a different time, different image circle (and also not very good).

              These two lenses are at the same time, same mount (same flange distance – not SLR) and look to render the same IMHO.

              The differences between them are entirely mechanical from what i see. It’s just too much of a coincidence.

              Now whether it’s worth an extra $400 to have it cine style then yes it probably is. Although the mitakon is clickless aperture as well.

              cheers
              paul

              • Paul you are wrong. M mount means 27.8-27.95mm flange. the one you are refering to has a 20mm flange. FYI, it is not the same lens.

    • If you compare pictures of the lenses they are clearly different. The diameters of both the front element, the filter thread and of the outer barrel, are much larger. The iris has fewer blades on the mitakon, etc. Clearly af totally different lens. A comparison could be interesting though.

      • I missed your comment as i was replying above. Yes the mechanics are different but i’m sure the optics will be the same. Too much of a coincidence really.

        Obviously tough to tell comparison shots but i’d say they render the same from Steves examples.

        The mitakon has 10 blades, which is pretty high for a lens.

        cheers
        paul

        • The optics are also different. The front element is smaller diameter, and the Hyperprime CINE has 14 or 16 blades, if the same as the 50mm version. Just because two lenses have the same focal length and speed, they can be totally different in optical construction, quality, character – and therefore also different in price.

          • I disagree, it’s fairly easy to change the iris as part of the rebarrelling. The SLR Magic one has a different physical hood, which is where the different diameter comes from (only 4mm)

            It would be quite unusual for the optics to be different and yet arrive at the very same f0.92 and T0.95, as i mentioned they render very similarly (the creamy OOF)

            I thought that SLR Magic generally modify other peoples lenses, or at least they started out that way with machine vision optics.

            I might be wrong of course but i suspect the SLR Magic is just a rebarrelled mitakon. The aperture markings look the same (in terms of their position). The focus barrel has been made longer i think, which can be done with the rebarrel and also i think the MFD is 7 cm shorter on the SLR Magic one.

            I’d love to find out what the deal is with these two lenses!

            cheers
            paul

            • The filter thread is 4mm less on the Mitakon, yes. But still it has greater distance from the filter thread to the edge of the front element. Making the front lens element on the SLR Magic considerably larger in diameter.

              I don’t know much about SLR Magics “cheaper” lenses, like the 50/0.95 for E-Mount. But they state quite clearly, that these much heavier CINE-versions are designed and developed from scratch. And earlier comparisons by steve concluded quite a difference in optical qualities and character.

              You could also suspect, that 50/T0.95 CINE is also just a changed version of the much smaller $1.000 E-Mount version, made heavier with lead, a larger diameter front lens element etc.

              But I think it is unfair speculation, that Andrew lies about it. But IU certainly agree, that a side by side picture comparison between the two lenses would be really interesting.

            • Well, honestly, the deal is very straight forward: They are two different lenses. It kind of doesn’t matter if you have a lens that you feel, which is the right term since you’ve never used the SLR 35/0.95, is similar. You just have a fast lens, and now there’s another one in the same range that’s just as fast.

              Everything I see points to a new barrel of glass, down to the iris blade count and I would also wager that the SLR 35/0.95 has less breathing than the lens you’re referring to.

              This same thing happened with the 12/1.6, people claiming that it was a rehoused CCTV lens when clearly it was not. Then the gear on the 12/1.6, people with no first hand experience claiming it was something as ridiculous as a clock gear. The effort in which people are out to defame this company is kind of silly. They’re offering new products to extend the creator’s toolset of options.

              How is that ever bad?

              As far as the focus goes, it’s where it should be, at the front of the lens. Just like any other cinema lens, which this is badged as “Cine”. There’s nothing fishy going on, just better functionality for cinema purpose.

            • The filter thread is 4mm less on the Mitakon, yes. But still it has greater distance from the filter thread to the edge of the front element. Making the front lens element on the SLR Magic considerably larger in diameter.

              I don’t know much about SLR Magics “cheaper” lenses, like the 50/0.95 for E-Mount. But they state quite clearly, that these much heavier CINE-versions are designed and developed from scratch. And earlier comparisons by steve concluded quite a difference in optical qualities and character.

              You could also suspect, that 50/T0.95 CINE is also just a changed version of the much smaller $1.000 E-Mount version, made heavier with lead, a larger diameter front lens element etc.

              But I think it is unfair speculation, that Andrew lies about it. But IU certainly agree, that a side by side picture comparison between the two lenses would be really interesting.

            • The filter thread is 4mm less on the Mitakon, yes. But still it has greater distance from the filter thread to the edge of the front element. Making the front lens element on the SLR Magic considerably larger in diameter.

              I don’t know much about SLR Magics “cheaper” lenses, like the 50/0.95 for E-Mount. But they state quite clearly, that these much heavier CINE-versions are designed and developed from scratch. And earlier comparisons by steve concluded quite a difference in optical qualities and character.

              You could also suspect, that 50/T0.95 CINE is also just a changed version of the much smaller $1.000 E-Mount version, made heavier with lead, a larger diameter front lens element etc.

              But I think it is unfair speculation. But I certainly agree, that a side by side picture comparison between the two lenses would be really interesting.

              • A side by side would be interesting. Im really not trying to belabour a point but Lenses get rebarrelled all the time into cine housings. Panavision use a lot of Leica R glass and Zeiss themselves turn the ZE/ZFs into the compact primes. The optical formula are identical, each CP is tested more than it’s cheaper counterparts too.

                Bearing in mind how *hard* optical design is from scratch is i still find it more than a coincidence that suddenly there are two f0.92 lenses at the same focal length for the same mounts. They are both sold as T0.95 – how many lenses in this price range are marked with T stops?

                The Mitakon design is out, shipping and has been for a while. I’m not suggesting that SLR magic are ripping anyone off. Maybe they have an agreement with the optical designers at Mitakon (who have been around for quite a while). Maybe they’ve improved the formula, it would be great to find out.

                But i still suspect that $400 extra gets you the same optical formula with a cine housing (which is worth the $400 extra).

                Does anyone have contact details for SLR Magic to ask them? Or Mitakon? I tried finding some but it’s pretty difficult! Perhaps, if Steve is reading this, his contacts at SLR Magic can clarify.

                cheers
                paul

            • Good point.

            • Both our 50mm T0.95 and 35mm T0.95 has 12 elements.

              The Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 has 8 elements and the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 has 10 elements and there is no rebarrelling of either lens involved. Hope this could be the end of the rumors and brand bashing.

              • Andrew are you from SLR Magic?

                If so then thank you very much for the confirmation – really don’t mean to ‘brand bash’ it’s very very difficult to get information about either of these lenses.

                It will be an interesting comparison then, i must see if i can get an SLR Magic version too

                thanks
                paul

            • Here is a shot test that compared many 35mm lenses. Helps to clear there is only ONE version of the SLR Magic HyperPrime 35mm T0.95 lens.

              http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138:adorable-35s-35mm-speed-lens-comparison-leica-slr-magic-mitakon-canon-speedbooster-samyang&catid=40:camerasandlenses&Itemid=2

  22. I, as many here, love shooting at wide openings (1.4, 1.2, in my case, with slr’s), 35′s and 50′s mostly, though there are two 85′s as well. Focusing accurately wide open up close, non-stationary subjects, is a pig, even with a top quality slr. For iq reasons too I usually stop down to 2.0.

    Then again, the 1.2/50 Ai-S (500 USD brand new; Nikon still makes them), is a classic gem, wide open.

  23. GREAT REVIEW, Steve! Looking forward to part 2;
    Without any doubt, this is a very impressive lens! IQ is impressive, although, Steve, I hope in the second part of your review, you will also show color pictures IN DAYLIGHT. Nighttime and B&W really only covers part of its use, for most of us probably even a small part.
    Owning an NEX-7, I was immediately very interested to read about this lens, because of its speed and shallow DOF capabilities. AND YET I’M DISAPPOINTED that it’s not a full frame lens. With the release of the RX-1, I’m absolutely sure that in the near future Sony will offer a full frame IC mirrorless, that will be more compact than the Leica M. That means adapters for M-mount lenses will be available. Now I love to buy all kinds of lenses, as long as they are M-mount or I can transform them into M-mount (Zeiss ZM, Canon FD, Voigtländer, Jupiter…). I leave an adapter on each lens and leave the NEX/M adapter on my camera. In that way, I don’t have to bother about adapters anymore.
    Making this SLR Magic lens an M-mount is a very wise decision IMO, because, for an enthousiast like myself, it fits perfectly in my way of working.
    So when I’ll buy my full frame mirrorless body (probably the future Sony), I want to put an M-mount adapter on it and be able to use all my lenses. If that’s not possible, the body is a no go for me. Period. Hense my disappointment about this lens.
    BTW I’m really astonished that making this lens a full frame would raise it’s price above that of the 50mm version. It’s not that I wanna question it, it’s just that I don’t get it. If somebody could explain, please do.
    Steve or Andrew?
    BTW, I’m surprised that so many people question the SLR Magic brand name, although the exceptional IQ is pretty obvious. It only confirms (once more) that most people are conservative from nature (this doesn’t refer to the political party – I’m not a USA citizen). Indeed it takes nerve to be open for innovation and evolution. For most people that appears to be insurmountable…

  24. Impressive

  25. great review Steve!

    with regards to the discussion on making FF or not, I personally have this view.
    while FF has been around for some time, but technology advances, so advanced that some of the new APS-C sensor could produce images very close to what FF can do.
    What that in mind, am sure camera makers might still want to continue to push out FF and make some money off it, however there could be a day not so far away that even APS-C would deliver quality that FF can offer nowadays? isn’t that all technology can do for us which makes things smaller, lighter? same applies for MFT, which I think many loved the OM-D and didn’t bother it was just a MFT.

    just sharing my thoughts, open for discussion and most important of all – Happy Snapping :)

  26. Great looking lens. Plenty of sharpness, great colors, and nice contrast. T 0.95 and the high iso capability of modern sensors provides a potent set of tools for late-night shooting.

  27. Hi As always Steve and all the D Film folks out there Hippy New Year and Nothing but all the Best Karma Karma 2 1 and obtain great deals on gear…
    Well not sure what this means but my fiends at UK areospace have droped me a possible Next Generation and this one will be a Game Changer…Cine lens Yes still the same modified Cine 35mm Arri lens but the “sensor is a Heat Source light that captures light pushing the limits of extreeme low light use I asked if this can compete agianst the 0.85 and the tech team remeber these guys are shoping around for a patent and sell to Leica-Panasonic or another company willing to R and D but it’s interesting to contemplate…might pop by later this year and get a secret showing but I Can’t sneak in any point and shoots but I’m told that Photokina will show this AFTER ’14…Dont write off anything folks because the future will challege what we all think D photo capture can achieve…Can this mean any new full frame senser with out full frame but I’m excited about how this new “whatever” will capture light heat source anyone out there can add any science comparing light heat waves…sorry not a science majior folks…Keep up this great site and many thanks to all the passionate folks willing to post camera-lens STUFF Hi Hi Hi to all the APUG and LTM MF users out there…
    Got ILLFORD if U want it…Paul Circle
    Over and Out

  28. I Just wish this company would get a new name. SLRMagic is OK for a novelty / toy lens brand, but it’s pretty unsuited to a serious optics company IMO…

  29. How does this rate against the Olympus 75mm? I know it’s more expensive, and the manual focus thing doesn’t bother me as I’m used to it, just wondered how this, or the 50mm, would compare on the OM-D?

  30. Love your review on SLR Magic lenses. That dreaminess and brightness of image is wonderful on the SLR magic .95.
    Do you know (since I’m an Fuji EX-1 user) if Fuji have a working adapter yet for 35 or 50mm?

    Kindest, Paul

  31. How come this lens is not mentionned at all on the manufacturer website?

  32. SLR MAGIC as a brand name really sucks. I suggest the owners get a good marketing book and educate themselves a bit. Brand name is HUGELY important to the success of any company so they should not underestimate this. Just a quick tweak of the current name – say into Maginox or Maginoct is infinitely better. It retains the ” magic” part of their name but transforms it into something that sounds more technical, snappy and relevant.
    Keep. SLR MAGIC for the toy lenses but it doesn’t cut it for the higher priced professional products. Take a leaf from the car manufacturers. Toyota developed the Lexus brand for their luxury cars.
    I too come from Hong Kong and there are lots of strange brand names. What works in Hong Kong doesn’t necessarily work internationally. The owners shouldn’t be so obstinate. Take the advice of the photographic community. They are your potential customers so should not be ignored.
    If you want to be taken seriously internationally change the name!

    • I spoke with Andrew about all of this two years ago. Told him to create a new name, a much needed new website, etc. He was not interested it seems. But it was not only me telling him, it was many others who had these suggestions. The name, I agree, is not good. They make lenses for mirrorless yet they name the company SLR Magic. The website is awful as well but they do have some nice lenses.

    • Hey there,

      I live in Hong Kong and I see hardly any marketing for SLR Magic except in the hidden away lens shops in Mong Kok. Generally it is hard to find their products in the more traditional Leica carrying stores. Although I think ‘Tin Cheung’ Camera shops may of started stocking alongside Voigtlander, Zeiss etc. They don’t have the same presence in the store fronts however.

  33. Hi Steve or Andrew,

    Do you have any information on the availability of the 35 mm T 0.95 Hyperprime lens for E-mount? The slrmagic.com website doesn’t mention any 35 mm lenses and the slrmagic.co.uk website doesn’t have a picture of the lens. It kind of looks like this lens is cancelled.
    I hope not as this and other reviews of it are very promissing.

    • Dear Laz,
      I was wondering the same, having been waiting for this glass since this article by Steve was made. I emailed SLR Magic today (Saturday) and was surprised to have a reply within the hour…

      Hi Nick. This lens has been redesigned a few times from the initial samples
      and never properly released due to commitments with other lenses.
      Furthermore the manufacturers have decided to enhance a few aspects of this
      lens before official mass release (to be known as mark II). Consequently the
      price has increased a bit from where it was previously envisaged. Our UK
      price will be £1299 inc vat (free extra 12 months warranty). A small amount
      of stock in MFT, Sony E and Fujifilm X will be coming in the next few weeks.
      First come first served. It will be available to purchase from our direct
      retail site http://www.ukdigital.co.uk in the next few days.

      Regards,

      Paul

      UK Optics Ltd
      http://www.slrmagic.co.uk
      http://www.ukdigital.co.uk

      • Thanks for this information Nick,

        Too bad I’ll have to wait for another review to see if this lens is still interesting to have. But then again an increase of the price from around £800 to £1300 is quite steep. It will therefore definately be scratched from my list. I’d rather had the Mark 1 which was apparently good enough for the £800 price tag. I don’t get the need to improve something that had good reviews but never had a chance to prove or disprove itself on the market.

        I appreciate the review Steve, too bad nobody can benefit from it…..

  34. The “company” of Noktor (who rebrands these lenses), and I used that term “company” loosely must be a few High school buddies who rent a small metal storage shed from the local personal storage company. Some of their web pages do not work, some of their images don’t render. How do you do that?!

    Just try calling their tel# if you can find it. I sleuthed 3 #’s for “them”. In 10 months not once have they ever answered the phone, and in the same time, not ever have they actually returned any phone call. Yet their telephone tape machine has this guys voice gushing about how they are swamped with telephone calls and are really busy from all of it. What a crock!

    I ordered the 35mm T.95 e-mount from Adorama, who has been falsely advertising it for almost a year. They sent me the 1.4 version and invoiced me for the T.95 version. The 1.4 version felt like there was sand in between the barrels as you rotated the focus. I never was able to test the lens clarity as the clowns at Adorama sent me some bizarre mount not related to a Sony E-mount. They STILL do not have this lens. Why? Because Noktor has vaporware.

    Try even e-mailing the company about their 35mm T.95 and see if they even respond to that. Or you can do a followup question on their Facebook page, that way you can see what it is like to be ignored by multiple venues.

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