The workshop attendees shoot the SLR Magic 50 LM T0.95 Hyperprime on the M9 and NEX-5n

The workshop attendees shoot the SLR Magic 50 LM T0.95 Hyperprime on the M9 and NEX-5n

Since I am now back home at my desk I can go over more images that were shot at the workshop using the new SLR Magic lens. These were shot by me and a few others at the workshop, credits will be before the photos…enjoy! Oh, and just for fun I threw in a shot taken with the 50 Noctilux ASPH. Which one is it? Check out the two from Jay Bartlett below and see the difference. ALL shots below are wide open and the title shot above of Max was taken by Ashwin Rao with the 85 Zeiss Sonnar on his M9. 

First, A few more snaps of the gang from me.

Stephen, the resident male model of the workshop shot at 0.95 – click image for larger and sharper view

Below: Andrew from SLR Magic talking with Max on Sunday during our Lunch at El Cholo

…and speaking of Max Klimov, he shot some GORGEOUS shots with the Hyperprime – look at the rendering of the model shots

and one of his street shots as well…

Jay Bartlett took these at 0.95  – but one is from the Noctilux ASPH – one from the SLR Magic! Which is which? I can tell…can you?

BELOW: Ashwin Rao snapped this amazing shot while we ate dinner at the Yardhouse on Saturday night. It was DARK!

BELOW: Dave Grady tried his hand with the Hyperprime on the M9  – The 2nd shot has some CA (which the Noct ASPH has as well)

BELOW: Judd Weiss tried the Hyperprime on his NEX-5n

BELOW: Our awesome host, Todd Hatakeyama shot the next couple with the Hyperprime and his M9

I will be shooting with the lens for a few weeks/months and will be posting a full review down the road with many images, full size and comparisons with other lenses. I plan on flying down to Seattle to hang with Ashwin and do a thorough shoot out between this one and the Leica Noctilux ASPH. We may be able to even throw in the Voigtlander Nokton 1.1 in the mix as well. Should be a blast. Also look for a post this week with a wrap up on the LA Workshop including everyones fave images from the weekend. As for the SLR Magic hyperprime, it is a special lens and I am eagerly awaiting pricing info. When I find out, I will post the news here.

FAST FACTS and why this lens is pretty exciting:

The SLR Magic 50 LM (Leica Mount) T0.95 Lens has 12 Lens Elements, 12 aperture blades and focuses to .7 meters (also the equivalent of an f/0.92 aperture at T0.95)

The Voigtlander 50 f/1.1 Nokton has 7 Lens Elements, 10 aperture blades and focuses to 1 meter

The Leica Noctilux ASPH has 8 elements, 9 aperture blades and focuses to 1 meter


  1. o.95 is usless in 99% of situations.. It just goes to show so many photographers are equipment junkies.
    Its not the glass its your eye….. to shoot street stuff and get consistency at 0.95 is near impossible

    Guys , spend your noctilux money on visiting places and making pictures and I bet you get better results with a f2 lens at a fraction of the price.

  2. Btw for people complaining about the name… SLR Magic bought out the Noktor HyperPrime name so they could use it for there high end lenses. But Voigtlander who makes the Nokton series objected saying that Noktor was to close to Nokton. SLR Magic markets the high end lenses as Noktor in other places in the world but not in the USA due to Voigtlanders complaint.

    • Well, that is correct but not totally true. They bought Noktor and previous custoners who bought the Noktor HyperPrime lens can continue to have their warranty and kudos to SLR Magic for that. They now market their high end lenses as SLR Magic Hyperprime lenses.

  3. This lens seems like a winner in terms of the images it produces and it’ll be interesting to see what it does to the market for Leica Noct. What do you guys think, will this lens hold its form, function and value over time the way a Noct will?

    I ask this because I’m sure everyone who owns a Leica Noct must look at it as an investment in some form, since its so expensive to get into, and they know that they can get close to the value they paid for it if that time ever came to sell it. Will the same be said of this SLR Magic Hyperprime?

  4. Thank u Steve for this article:-)
    I believe the slr magic is the first one and the noctilux the second…

    Keep up the interesting articles and pictures. Your site is on my fav bar.



  5. ah…and here is a comment from an other website about Leica Noctilux:

    “Leica’s show-off lens, this huge thing weighs a ton.
    Since many people buy them to try once, they are easy to find used.”

    This is exactly what I think about this SLR Magic too. It’s funny for 2-3 weeks and then you realize it is just too big, too heavy and you let it home and go back you your 200g summicron.

    • The Noctilux 0.95 is IMPOSSIBLE to find used. I think you found a quote from 10-12 years ago. When you do find them used, they are $13k or more. To buy new at $11k there is a long waiting list.

    • Let me guess: that “other website” was Ken Rockwell’s. I wouldn’t take his word too seriously, he likes to exaggerate. I don’t know many people who would buy an 8000€ lens without thoroughly recherching it first (or buy it at all). Fast lenses might be heavy, but I think they are well worth their weight.

  6. Hello guys,

    I have a M8 and I am wondering why all of you guys really like this lens?
    I understand that at this aperture, the shots you get could be impossible with another lens in such lighting but…why want to make such a shot?

    Is it the lens just to shoot at the Pub or at the dark restaurant?
    Or is it a lens just to get this huge and ugly washy bokeh?

    Sorry if I don’t get it…but I think that lenses with wider aperture than F1.4 are pure nonsense.

    Sounds like an expensive toy just to shoot your drunken friends at the pub. lol

    • Why, why, why…. o.95 is usless in 99% of situations.. It just goes to show so many photographers are equipment junkies.
      Its not the glass its your eye….. to shoot street stuff and get consistency at 0.95 is near impossible

      Guys , spend your noctilux money on visiting places and making pictures and I bet you get better results with a f2 lens at a fraction of the price.

      • Mark,
        You are right on the mark! Too many photographers are spending too much money and can’t use half of the stuff that they buy. How do I know that? I used to be a junkie. Rather than carry around a lead weight all day, I would prefer shooting with my Leica 35mm and 50mm Summilux lenses. f/1.4 is fast enough for me!

      • The funny part is you going around posting this same thing on all the 50/0.95 posts. Get over it. Different people like different things. Stop putting everyone into your little box.

  7. Steve you have to ask SLR Magic for a ball park price range they are aiming for.

    I don’t know if it’s worth saving for this thing or just buying the 50mm Nokton. I shoot mostly video on the Gh2 so a 50mm lens would be a 100mm on my camera. My main lens is the 25mm Nokton 0.95.

    I’m hoping to get the 12mm SLR Magic lens and a nice fast 50mm.

    Don’t know if I should wait for this thing or get a Nokton 50mm 1.1.

    Being that I don’t shoot stills on a Lecia cameras and I shoot video with a micro four thirds cameras (Gh2, Af100) do you think I should wait for this lens?

      • I recall Andrew telling me that some of the glass was from Germany, while the rest was from China. Using all-Chinese glass lead to a yellowing of the light passage or ultimate image, and using German (Schott, i think( glass for some of the lens elements allowed for a nice compromise of price/IQ….that’s my recollection…

        • So that explains why the IQ is so Leica like. This could easily have been the f/0.95 Noctilux replacement. Anyone smell a possible Leica Noctilux f/0.92 coming around the corner to take the throne back from SLRM?

          • No, absolutely not. Leica doesn’t play games with lenses–they design to very serious and stringent criteria. The whole T0.95 with this lens is a gimmick–but then SLR Magic needs a gimmick to get people interested. Leica does not.

    • Its an original design and not re-branding. It is the fastest production 50mm lens in the world and most complex 50mm lens with 12 elements. It is not the Noktor being rebranded to SLR Magic. As far as i’m concerned the images here looks a lot sharper than my Noctilux f1 and I’m not surprised the lens is made in Germany.

      • Just to be clear the SLR Magic Hyperprime (terrible name, but oh well) is not made in Germany. The lens has glass elements from Germany, and also some from China. The lens is assembled and calibrated in Hong Kong, which as most people know is much more expensive than mainland China. SLR Magic has very skilled technicians who assemble and test each lens to exacting QA and tolerance levels. This is one reason why the lens is not being released until September, as these guys are serious about producing a lens to the highest quality standards. Because of this I have no doubt that production lenses will continue to exhibit the same outstanding performance as the lenses we saw last weekend.

        And Steve, please stop putting my ugly mugshot in every workshop thread!!!

  8. Steve,

    This is another reason to give some fresh excitement into an M-mount rangefinder system. This lens just wouldn’t be the same on a NEX with an adapter. You won’t find anything like this on a Fuji mount…

    I cancelled my preorder of the Fuji lenses!

  9. If I’m not mistaken the noct has a fraction more contrast. I’m wondering if the magic lens flares badly in scenes shot against the sun. 12 elements compared to 8… it’s bound to make a difference somewhere.
    In some shots I actually like the slightly lower contrast.

    • I’d like to know as well. I’m hoping I can do a thorough shootout with Ashwin in Seattle against the two. Flare, bokeh, sharpness, weight, size, infinity focus, stopped down, mid distance, etc. Should be interesting. The slide out lens hood is sweet though so I am sure it helps with flare. The Leica flared on me all the time when shooting into direct light sources but I loved the flare it gave me (you can see it in some Seal concert shots of mine).

    • Good observation Oliver, the SLR Magic .95 definitely has a strong flare show up, but it didn’t bother me at all. There’s a lot of character to the shots I got with this lens, and the flare added to the surreal artistic feel I enjoyed

  10. The Max Klimov shot of the guy on the street has lovely colours – but there is no artistic reason in my opinion to have his hands OOF. I think it actually ruins the image. I don’t think it adds anything – apart from making it look wrong somehow. The 2nd model studio shot – the DOF is used to fabulous effect and draws you to her face.

    I think that there’s a lot of excitement about the speed of the lens – and looking at the images quite rightly so – but I just don’t think it’s all about DOF for the sake of it – and it’s beginning so sound like a lot of kids excited about a new toy.

    • I think the excitement stems, at least for me and the ones who have shot with it, is the fact that it is so close to the $11,000 Leica Noctilux in performance and build/feel and is a bit faster and focuses closer. This will come in MUCH less than a Nocti but will give you 90-95% of the performance. That is reason enough to be excited about this lens. I am not looking at the name (which can not even be seen on the lens I have here) I am looking at the performance and from all I have seen, this lens is up there with the Noctilux ASPH with IQ and is just as sharp at equal aperture and distance with slightly more 3D pop (when wide open). Stopped down this lens is sharp as a tac so you do not need to use the effect of .95 all the time. Still, it’s a specialty lens like the Noctilux, not a daily shooter or a street shooter. The photos here were just a few guys testing the wide open capabilities of the lens since this is what people will be interested in it for.

        • I understand – and agree Steve, but I think its akin to putting images into B&W for no justified reason – other than because its ‘what people do’.

          I would be hard pushed to decide between the SLRM and the 50 ‘lux if the pricing was in the same region.

          • Yea, the pricing is the tricky thing but this is for those who would be deciding on the “Noctilux” vs the “Summilux” – many own both 🙂 This lens, at least MY GUESS, will come in around $7000 less than the Nocti. Maybe more, maybe less…I have no idea what they will decide. BUT if it is $7k less? That makes this lens purchase much easier for those who are into the Noctilux Mojo. It is a versatile lens, and actually now the worlds fastest. Being razor sharp with great Bokeh (like the Leica) makes it pretty extraordinary when you think about it. This isn’t a lens to choose over a 50 Lux. It is a lens to choose over the Noctilux. Let’s see how it holds up in construction over the next few weeks/months and how it stands up to the Noctilux shoot out coming soon 🙂

    • That can be calmed down by stopping down. Wide open at f/0.92 equiv it has less DOF than the Leica. Not sure what the equivalent T stop is on this lens for the Leicas f/0.95 yet.

      • i was wondering about that – thanks. maybe you can eventually post some ‘calmed down’ pics. as always, i love keeping up with the site, Steve!

    • They are 95% the same – small differences in the Bokeh shapes, and the SLR Magic is shooting at f/0.92 compared to f/0.95 of the Nocti. Add to that the larger rear element and you have “fatter” bokeh (according to Andrew from SLR Magic)

  11. Steve, please tell SLR Magic to

    1. Get a new name. Their lenses aren’t even for SLRs.

    2. Make a (very) nice 28mm f1.4 lens for my M8. I have (a good copy of) the Voigtländer f2 and it’s nice. But I want something faster, since the high(ish) ISO capabilities of the M8 are nothing to write home about and I just cannot afford an M9… $600 and I’m in!


    • I asked for a 35 0.95 🙂 Problem with that is for a high quality version like this 50 a 35 0.95 would run VERY high in the cost dept. Would probably be the same deal for a 28 1.4 of high quality. $600 wouldn’t cut it. Just my guess.

  12. Nice rendering in the model shots. The Hyperprime does a really good job. It is interesting how obsessed we are with wide open, sharp lenses. It makes everything look interesting. At the same time I start losing interest in wide-open street photography because often photographers just rely on the lens and shoot a person without adding any context to it. I look at HCB images and he did such a wonderful job in telling stories with his 2.8 Elmar.

    • I agree, Dirk. We should be concerned more with making better photographs, then accumulating specialty lenses.

    • Why, why, why…. o.95 is usless in 99% of situations.. It just goes to show so many photographers are equipment junkies.
      Its not the glass its your eye….. to shoot street stuff and get consistency at 0.95 is near impossible

      Guys , spend your noctilux money on visiting places and making pictures and I bet you get better results with a f2 lens at a fraction of the price.

      • Mark,
        Right on! I have a 35mm and 50mm Summilux lenses. f/1.4 is fast enough. Who want to carry around a lead weight lens all day? Can’t see where a .95 lens would be preferable.

  13. I can live with my nikon 85mm 1,4 The bokeh is nicer and The dof at .95 is just so small that is useless unless You want The dof to be The Main subject in The picture.

    I prefer to have a nicer bokeh. I Will not go for it. Ithink everybody is over reacting to some curiosity lens.

    Greg Donikian

  14. model shots lovely…renders skin tones nicely and not too much detail
    same as summilux 50mm (non asph)

    am i guessing the slr magic is a little like the nokton 35mm 1.2 vers II ? modern yet classic look…

  15. Seems a very nice lens, a lens that like the Canon TSE’s give a clear reason for getting a system. I’d have left Canon a while ago I think as I often found that Nikon AF and sensors seems more accurate and sharper (thanks in part probably due to a lower pixel count) but I love the quality, build and as you say rendering from the TSE range and just seem to match my 5d’s sensor well..not razor sharp but not soft and smudgy, nicely drawn.
    The Max Klimov shots of the model are lovely, lovely poses, lovely grade, lovely rendering and oft over looked nicely lit. I think that as we live in a world of sensors and high expectation we forget that sharpness, contrast and colour (and our perception there of) is affected by the quality of light as much as the quality of lens and sensor. I don’t think that I am wrong is saying that people expect their camera bodies and lenses to give Klimov results all the time even on overcast days in dark England as you snap a picture of a crow eating some bread. Only one thing is harder to manage than money and that is expectation.

      • Jeremy, I agree with Andrew. He’s saying that like the Canon tilt and shift lenses, the ultra-fast lenses like the Hyper and Nocti are highly specialized in utility and function. Light-gathering is one thing, but light quality cannot be compensated for at the lens. The nightshots from the workshop prove this. Night-street photography is a lose-lose situation without bringing your own light and appropriate filter gels. Narrow depth-of-field, focusing issues and light quality create a horror show for night street work at such wide-open apertures.

        In the studio, I find Ashwin’s work with the 85mm Zeiss much more satisfying. This has maybe more to do with the longer focal length and large aperture combination. It would be interesting to see Steve experiment with out-of-focus rendering between the 0.95 50mm and the 90mm Summicron at f/2.0. The 90mm pre-Asph’s are an absolute bargain compared to the Zeiss and the SLR or Nocti.

        • Hi Jeff, phew glad someone understood what I was on about. In all seriousness light quality is oft overlooked and can work both for and against any lens. There is a reason that the look of many feature films and high end stylized photo shoots is achieved by both lighting, lens (maybe film stock and sensor type) and colour grading. CONTROL. Otherwise everyone would shoot HD in available light (not the same as natural light)…hang on that seems to be Michael Mann’s mantra!

  16. Great looking shots from this amazing lens!
    Any more from a Nex? I like the one that is there, but would be awesome to see a few more… I think I’m not the only Nex user jonesing for this amazing piece of glass!! 😀

  17. I hope SLR MAGIC maintains the quality when they sell this to public. Im a bit pesimistic with china product in terms of their QC.

  18. Hmmm Pic#1 seems to have a slightly lesser DOF, creamier bokeh, On the other hand the girl has a slight smiile in Pic#2 … Is she acknowledging the NightMeister or laughing at the green ring? C’mon, Steve, give us a hint.

  19. Steve ,.is it just my eyes? or maybe the SLR MAGIC it is really more thicker color rendering and sweeter,?.is like blue ,purple red-ish color but also really smooth soothe ring,..he he lol ,is hard to describe but I LOVE IT .just my opinion maybe,…thx

  20. – “but one is from the Noctilux ASPH – one from the SLR Magic! Which is which? I can tell…can you?”

    I think the first one is from the SLR Magic, as it has a little less less depth of field… but I’m only guessing 🙂

    • I agree. The first one also has more ‘blooming’ which I have seen in the other SLR Magic lens shots. The second one has more consistent out of focus rendering (see outline of the model’s upper arms, shoulders and neck) highlights of the eyes are also sharper in the second image, and there is virtually no blooming effect. If I have to guess I’d say second one is the Noctilux.

  21. From the 2 pics the first one is clearly the SLRMagic. “Thicker” bookeh and more 3D depth.

    I wish I could get such a depth with my 24mm CZ on my NEX.. Great lens!

    • I have the GXR, and when we do our shootout, I’ll be sure to nab some images….Elizabeth may have some nice GXR/Hyperprime caps

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