1st Look world premiere! The SLR Magic/Noktor 12mm f/1.6 Premium Lens for Micro 4/3!

The SLR Magic/Noktor 12mm f/1.6 Premium Lens for Micro 4/3

1st Look!

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.

The details..

  • 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

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  1. I’ve been searching the internet and cannot find this lens anywhere, only the 50 mm. Any ideas where it might be found?

  2. Hello Steve! They make some interesting lenses. Is there any way for people in Canada to purchase these lenses??? They have yet to reply to any of my emails. 🙁

  3. I see quite a bit off CA. Now my 9-18 also suffers but CA can be easily corrected in SP or PS or even Gimp. Did you correct? Guess not. At 499 dollars ah, its a nice addition and who cares for autofocus on 24 mm, with the DOF of a 12, hyperfocal distance covers most shots anyway if you step down to 5.6.

    Greetings, Ed

  4. Hi steve…very busy ?

    is that the rubber lens shade on the image (ep3 + 12mm) is supplied with the 12mm?
    he must buy it more?
    possible to rubber lens shade with this one .. ND fader?

    good day to all

  5. A fine lens and one that I am very interested in. A question, Steve: It’s manual focus but does it have a chip for metering like some of the Voigtlanders do? Or it is 100% manual?

    Also… just a suggestion… it’s fine to put the Noktor name on the front of the lens, but they shouldn’t put “SLR Magic” on it. In fact, they should change their company name to Noktor. SLR Magic just connotes cheapness to me. Maybe it’s just me.

  6. Steve,
    Do you think if we want the green ring we can special order it??

    Thanks so much for all the work you do on your site; it is so informative and inspiring!…i literally visit several times a day, everyday, for the latest news in photography, to follow interesting conversations, to see your photographs, and also to check the daily inspirations…You’re the best!!
    sori gottdenker

  7. Thx for the test steve

    If we dont speak about focus, what is the best ? 12mm olympus or noktor ?
    less distorsion ? sharper ?

    what is the mark ….of your dog ?

    wellcome of these 2 wide angle primes for 4/3…more Orson wells in the game…

    have a nice day

  8. Correct me if i’m wrong. Hyperprime 12mm is most likely based on Kowa 8mm f1.4 C-mount lens with custom teleconversion to enlarge the image circle. What puzzles me is how did they manage to keep the light loss so minimal? Astonishing!

    Original Kowa 8mm lens has claimed 120 lp/mm resolution at center and 80 lp/mm in corners. Custom teleconversion means more lenses, so final resolution is most likely lower than that.




  9. Steve, as always, you are there for the latest goodies. I really thought I wanted a Leica m9, but your reviews of the 4/3 system convinced me to purchase an Olympus EP2. I have not regretted the
    purchase and with new lenses coming out for this platform, I know I chose correctly. I do, however,
    use Leica lenses with adaptor (oh the blasphemy of adaptors). Keep up good work. Your site is
    the second one I visit each day, after my stock trading site which is not as pleasant a journey as
    going to your site.

  10. I am so pleased with to micro 4 thirds system I could not ask for anything more really. PS I get so excited steve when you have something new for review I would probly test in the same way you do that’s y I feel like it’s in my hands and I’m reviewing it god bless and keep up the good work

  11. Looks like interesting lens – though a bit on the large side. Comparison to 12mm from Olympus will be interesting to see – Steve, you will do that for us, right? Please …. 🙂

  12. Wait a minute… Are those 0.8 mod gears engraved on the focusing and aperture rings???

    That would be an amazing feature…

    Also, according to Phoblographer, it’s actually T 1.6 lens in cinema terms, so the depth of field is probably more like F 1.4!

  13. looks like a great lens in my book. Awesome versatilely, slr magic is really getting their feet at this.

  14. Great for Wide angle-low light.
    NOT great for BOKEH. Unless you’re doing food photography which requires you to be up close which then you’ll achieve “some” bokeh.

  15. Are you serious? I love the green ring! The lens looks like a good contender against the 12mm f2. Really looking forward to the full review.

  16. Uuh these new primes for MFT makes me want to come get back in the MFT game and this announcement is no exeption.

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  1. EXCLUSIVE Noktor 12mm 1.6 on GH2 day and night tests ! - Micro Four Thirds User Forum
  2. Noktor F1.6 Micro Four Thirds Lens (12mm) - Micro Four Thirds User Forum

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