Feb 082012
 

Price of the SLR Magic 50 T0.95 LM (Leica Mount) Hyperprime Announced

After all of the guessing and wondering what this new Leica mount T0.95 monster lens will cost, I was informed today by Andrew from SLR Magic that the official price of this lens will be $4288 US dollars. Higher than some thought, and lower than others thought. About $300 more than I thought. As many of you know, I have been reviewing this lens in a “rolling review” and updating is as I go along and use it. I have now shot with this lens on three M9 bodies, including two M9P’s and on each the lens has performed flawlessly. No focus issues, no problems.

What does the $4288 get you? Well, for starters it gets you as close to a Leica Noctilux ASPH f/0.95 as you can get and for about $6700 less. You get a hand-built, hand calibrated lens that is on par with the Leica in weight and feel but no, you will not get a red dot.

This is a T0.95 lens so the widest aperture is equal to f/0.92.

Some more facts about the lens…

  • It is faster than a Leica Noctilux ASPH so technically, this is the fastest 35mm lens in production today.
  • It is slightly larger and weights slightly more than the Leica Noctilux ASPH
  • It will focus as close as .7 meters with very sharp and accurate results. There is no floating element in the SLR magic and it is NOT Aspherical. The Leica focuses to 1 meter but has a floating element and ASPH glass.
  • The lens is sharp wide open, and share stepped down. To date, I have not discovered any focus shift in my use of the lens (though further testing is coming)
  • The lens will be rangefinder coupled of course, and SLR Magic is also creating a CINE version without RF coupling for $2988, for use on NEX, Micro 4/3, etc.
  • The lens is hand assembled in Hong Kong by SLR Magic. Production will be limited. Not mass-produced.
  • SLR Magic is including a 3 year warranty with the lens.
  • You can order the lens with a black or green ring for the front, so black IS NOW an option.
  • Lens will be available to order in September 2012.
  • If anyone is in Hong Kong and wants to see the lens, you can visit the SLR Magic shop at — Shop 316, 47-51 Shan Tung Street, Sim City, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong

You can read and keep up with my review HERE and I will be adding to it weekly. So far the only negative I see with this lens when compared to the $11k Leica is this lens has barrel distortion. If shooting straight lines up close, you will see this distortion. It can easily be fixed in 2 seconds but it is there. There will be samples showing this added to my review soon.

Below are a few newer samples I added to the review this week…

1st one, wide open at T0.95 (f0.92) – just to test wide open performance. 

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This was shot at f4 or f5.6…cant remember! But either way it is sharp :) Click image for larger and 100% crop

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Shot at T1.4

Jan 282012
 

Day 1 Workshop Report: Night shooting with the Hyperprime 50 T0.95

Woo Hoo! Day one of the Los Angeles workshop has wrapped up and with over 30 of us in attendance it was an amazing night! This is gearing up to be the best workshop yet and today we all gathered at Hatakeyama Studio in downtown Los Angeles to talk cameras, lenses, passion, and everything photo

The highlight of the night was the new SLR Magic 50 T0.95 Hyperprime lens and Andrew from SLR Magic was the special guest who told us all about the new lens as he passed around 3-4 samples for everyone to try out.We then hit the streets with cameras in hand. Everything was here from M9′s, E-P3′s, GXR’s, and even a NEX-7.

Myself, Ashwin Rao and Elizabeth Wang Lee were hunting in the dark for photos as we each had our M9′s (Elizabeth was shooting it on a GXR with M mount) armed with the Hyperprime 50 T0.95. At one point during our walk we heard a loud “THUD”! We looked back and the Elizabeth’s strap came loose on her GXR and the camera and lens fell to the concrete. The Hyperprime was dented but still performed flawlessly. Guess the weight was too much for the GXR stock strap.

But only one word sums up our experience with the lens…STUNNING.

But don’t take my word for it, check out our samples below. Yep, I will let the photos speak for themselves today. The 1st set is from me and my M9P and the 2nd set from Ashwin and his trusty 2 1/2 year old M9. No PP here, just processed from RAW.

Tomorrow I will post a side by side test with a Leica Noctilux 0.95 ASPH as a few of us will be doing the model shoot with both lenses. Should be interesting! But for low light, this lens ROCKS. Any softness of NON shaprness you see is a result of missed focused, slow shutter speeds and high ISO. The lenses we were using were all calibrated spot on – and remember to click the images for larger versions!

Steve’s Set – ALL shots wide open at T0.95, which is closer to F/0.8

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Ashwin’s Shots – ALL wide open

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Yes Leica M shooters…you WILL want one of these lenses. More to come…

Jan 242012
 

Bokeh and Sharpness with the SLR magic LM 50 T0.95 on the Leica M9-P

You guys have already seen what I posted last night from the new SLR Magic 50 T0.95 lens on the M9-P and I wanted to get out to day to get some shots but ended up getting stuck inside again working on the site and answering e-mails. I did get to run some errands and while I was out I snapped a few test shots to see what to expect from this new lens in regards to Bokeh and sharpness. What I am seeing is gorgeous in both areas.

The Bokeh is silky smooth and has that Leica Noctilux look and the sharpness, even wide open is remarkable. Take a look at the images below but you must click on them to see the larger versions with 100% crop embedded. I am looking forward to shooting this lens side by side with the Leica Noctilux ASPH at the workshop this weekend and of course results will be posted here, as well as a portrait test with the lens.

I have now had the lens for 24 hours and what do I see so far? I see that the main difference between this lens and the $11,000 Leica Noctilux is that the SLR magic has some barrel distortion and LESS CA than the Noctilux. I think that the SLR Magic may be a teeny bit sharper than the Leica but we will see this weekend for sure.

YOU MUST CLICK IMAGES FOR THE RIGHT SIZE TO BE SEEN!

This image was shot as I passed through a drive through buying a cheeseburger. Wide open at 0.95, straight from camera, processed from RAW

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This is an OOC JPEG from the M9 untouched.

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Check this one out. When you click the image below you will see a larger version and the full 100% crop. This was shot wide open at 0.95 and look how sharp it is. Bokeh looks nice as well. You will see some CA which the Leica Noctilux has as well, but it appears the SLR Magic may have less.

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Stopped down to 1.4 the lens gets even crisper…

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and wide open to try and show Bokeh and sharpness – this lens performs well at all apertures I have shot with it (0.95 – 4) so far

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So far so good. I will soon start a rolling review of the lens since there will be so much going on with it this weekend. This is a pretty big deal for Leica shooters. If this lens can keep this performance without breaking down or falling apart, going out of alignment or having issues then this will most likely be a home run hit for SLR Magic. Much more coning soon!

Jan 232012
 

 

World Exclusive 1st Look! SLR Magic HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95  - For Leica M Mount

Yes, it is true. Leica has some competition in the high end 50mm market…and competition is good!

It looks like a Nocti…feels like a Nocti…does it perform like a Nocti? (pic below taken with iPhone)

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Hello to everyone! I hope you all are having a GREAT day.

Today I received the worlds first SLR Magic 50 0.95 Leica M mount lens delivered to my door and WOW! Now this is what I am talking about! First…take a look at the quick 1st look video…(well it is 8 minutes or so)

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So who is SLR Magic?

SLR Magic started out making small toy lenses for Micro 4/3 and then Sony NEX. The lenses are affordable and super fun and creative and were huge hits. Soon they started making some serious lenses and and they released the 12 f/1.6 for Micro 4/3 mount. The 12 is a fantastic lens for still images and video and superior to the Olympus 12mm in many ways.

So now SLR Magic has been working on this Leica M mount lens that will be their flagship and a statement that shows us what they can do, and that is good. But for clarification, SLR Magic is NOT Leica, NOT Voigtlander. They do not make the Nokton line of lenses that Voigtlander produces. SLR Magic makes the “Hyperprime” line of lenses and I have to say that they are starting to really make a move in the lens world. Their HyperPrime line all have a cinematic feel and nice quality to them and this newest addition is a beast, but a sexy beast no doubt. I just wanted to clarify this as a few people are confusing SLR magic with ‘Nokton” which is made by Voigtlander.

Ok….

So if you watched the 8 minute video above you will now know that I have had this lens for only a few hours. The lens was delivered to me direct from SLR Magic who wanted me to give the lens a workout and see what I thought about it on the Leica M9, or my Leica M9-P (same camera).

I have been in contact with SLR Magic over the past several months as they have been designing and perfecting this lens. It has been through a few versions already and the finished product that they have sent me today is absolutely beautiful. I only had a few hours with the lens so far, so the images you see here are all just quick snapshots. In all of the excitement I had to get out an snap anything and everything…you know how it is :)

As always! Click on ANY image in this 1st look to see a larger and better version of the image.

Wide open at 0.95 – this lens is gorgeous and the good news? It will cost much less than the Leica Noctilux.

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Please realize that this is NOT a review as I have to shoot with the lens for a while before I can truly judge its performance but my very 1st “after a few hours” look tells me that SLR Magic has stepped up their game dramatically. This lens is just as solid, if not moreso than the Leica Noctilux f/0.95. It is a bit larger and heavier. The good news is that it is just as sharp (if not sharper) and it focuses down to .7 meters instead of the 1m of the Noctilux and in my limited testing so far the close focus is spot on, no issues. 

On the M9-P though it is one heavy setup.

We all know the Leica is $10,995 and it is impossible to find one in stock even at that price. Leica sells every single one they make but they really do not make too many of them. The reason being is that this is a hard lens to make. The process is slow, and the demands of perfection on a lens like this is very high. SLR magic found this out first hand after they committed to making this new lens. It is not an easy lens to make and it certainly is not CHEAP to make. Instead of giving up on the project though, SLR Magic pushed on and I am glad that they did.

Why? Well, once this lens starts shipping it will give so many more Leica shooters the opportunity to shoot a Noctilux type of lens at a fraction of the cost, without having to worry about shoddy build or performance.

Leica M9 and the new SLR Magic M Mount 50 0.95 wide open…

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THIS IS NO TOY LENS!

As I already mentioned earlier, SLR Magic have come to be known for their little toy lenses for Micro 4/3 and Sony NEX mount. Recently they have been creating a stir with some higher end serious lenses like the fantastic 12mm f/1.6 for Micro 4/3. Let me state right now that THIS NEW LENS IS NOT A TOY LENS in any way! This lens is SOLID, HEAVY and built to high standards.

If I can be 100% honest…It feels MORE solid than the Leica Noctilux f/0.95 if not it’s equal.

The performance wide open is simply amazing. I had NO focus issues at all during my three hour 1st sting with the lens so it seems to be well calibrated as well.

I can not give you any kind of solid concrete thoughts on this lens right now but I will be using the lens for the next week at home and will also be using it at the LA Workshop this weekend (two seats left). With any luck I will be taking it with me to Sedona where I will be staying in a creekside cabin the weekend after my workshop.

Also, Andrew from SLR Magic is bringing a couple of these lenses with him to the LA Workshop (up to 3) so the workshop attendees can try them out, and even do a Noctilux shootout if so desired.

The unveiling at the workshop will be a world premiere event as this lens is not available to buy until SEPTEMBER of 2012 and no one else has one right now. Just me and SLR magic. 

Wide open, how this lens has been optimized to shoot (but it’s razor sharp stopped down as well)

It was a dreary day here in Phx, AZ today so I did not have any kind of good light so tomorrow I will be taking a drive looking for some photos with this lens attached to my M9-P. The things I already like about it? The .7 meter close focus distance, the solid build, accurate focusing, sharp results and the rendering looks great as well.

I do see some ever so slight vignetting at 0.95 (but less than the Noctilux F1) but remember, this lens, even with it’s Leica like build and style will come in much cheaper than buying a Leica Noctilux f/0.95. Let me put it this way. I’d buy one right now and if these were available for sale right now I bet many of you would as well.

$$$

The price has not yet been determined but I have a feeling it will come in at a bit more than some are thinking. This is an exotic specialty lens.

With a lens like this, SLR Magic spends more  to make each lens than most think it will cost. I do not have any guesses yet but do not expect the $1100 price point of the Nokton 1.1 or even the $2000 price point of a 50 Summicron. This is a specially lens and SLR Magic are not able to mass produce this lens due to the difficulties and precision involved. It will most likely be a special order type of deal. I am hoping they release the pricing soon.

ISO 2500 – M9-P – 50 at 1.4 – you must click for larger image

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This version of the lens is called the “SLR Magic HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95″ and it is rangefinder coupled. There is also another version that is NOT RF coupled. Why would SLR magic do this? Because it is easier and less expensive to make and is perfect for those who want the lens to use on their Micro 4/3 or Sony NEX cameras using adapters. The non coupled version will come in at a lower price.

at .7 meters the Bokeh starts getting intense…the Leica only focuses to 1m :)

So that is it for now. Again, I have only had this in my hands for a few hours and it’s already dark outside right now. I will be doing some more testing with this lens for a while so stay tuned for more. So far so good.

UPDATE - See more HERE

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The FULL Press Release on this lens with all of the details

PRESS RELEASE

NEW: THE SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95

SLR Magic expands its M mount lineup with a new normal focal length lens

Hong Kong, China (January 1, 2012) – SLR Magic opens up the M mount lens lineup with the new SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 ultra fast normal focal length lens. The world’s fastest interchangeable camera lens with an image circle beyond full frame coverage in its focal length, the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 concept lens will be publicly available for experience testing in September 2012 at Photokina in Cologne, Germany.

The field of view of this new HyperPrime Lens corresponds to a 50mm lens in 35mm format. It is optimized to be shot wide open. This ultra fast normal focal length prime lens opens up many new creative composition opportunities, particularly in the fields of available light, in portrait, and street cinematography. Built with modern non aspherical lens technology, the lens excels at defocusing busy backgrounds at T0.95. A minimum focus distance of 0.70m allows for artistic bokeh effect. A fast maximum aperture of T0.95 makes the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 ideal for available-light photography.

Our highest priority in the development of all HyperPrime lenses is to fulfill the demands of professional cinematographers and photographers. The design and build of the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 is solid and reliable.

The SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95, a concept lens, will be available from authorized SLR Magic dealers by the end of September 2012.

Technical Data

SLR Magic HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95

Lens Type: Fast normal lens with seven Tantalum glass elements to ensure superior cinematic performance.

Compatible Cameras: RangeFinder M mount

Optical Design: 12 elements in 7 groups

Distance Settings:

Distance range: 0.70m to ∞, combined scale meter/feet

Aperture: Manually controlled diaphragm,

12 aperture blades (circular), Lowest value 16

Bayonet: M-mount

Filter Mount: 62mm; filter mount does not rotate.

Surface Finish: Black anodized

Dimensions:

Length to bayonet mount: approx. 95mm (approx. 3.74in) without hood

approx. 110mm (approx. 4.33in) with retractable hood

Largest diameter: approx. 73mm (approx. 2.87in)

Weight: approx. 975g (approx. 34.39oz)

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