UPDATE: Lots of nonsense has been spread about this lens on the internet due to one person’s comments and one persons lens. I have never had ONE issues with this lens and I found it to be solid, well made, beautiful and to render even better than the $11k Leica Noctilux (for my tastes) all for less than half the cost. The claims that were made were uncalled for as Andrew from SLR Magic is one of the nicest guys I have met in recent years as well as one of the most helpful and generous. The SLR Magic Hyperprime is now shipping with full production versions of the lens in full production packaging. It comes with a great warranty and is a solid great performing lens. Again, my experience with it has been nothing but positive and in some cases amazing. I am not the type of guy who says “It’s only Leica for my M” as there is tons of GREAT glass out there besides Leica. Whatever works I always say and this lens just “works”.
Thanks again to Andrew for all he has done for everyone AND even releasing this lens which no one else had the balls to do.
The SLR Magic Hyperprime 50 LM T0.95 Lens Rolling Review…let’s get it started
With all of the hype and craziness this lens has been causing since the Los Angeles workshop I decided to start writing a rolling review for the SLR Magic Hyperprime 50 T0.95 LM lens. Basically this means I will be adding to this review, right here on this page instead of making posts every day about it. As I get new images and new thoughts I will add them here. Almost like a diary of my use with the lens over the next few months as I put it through its paces before its official release.
I am lucky to have one with me for the next few months (a black stealth edition no less) so I can test it, use it, abuse it and put it through its paces. One thing to note..this is a taste of what is to come of this lens. SLR Magic is still tweaking and improving on the lens and if I run into any issues they will fix them before going into production. They are already making a couple of improvements before shipping lenses out to the workshop attendees who agreed to be volunteers for lens testing as well. Yes, the lucky ones who were at the workshop had 1st crack 🙂
I already know that the image quality holds up extremely well to the $11,000 Leica Noctilux ASPH. In fact, I may prefer the rendering from this lens over the Leica, and that right there is saying a lot. Actually, now that I read that back, that is HUGE. My curiosities with the Hyperprime is to see if the build quality holds up. By the look and feel, it feels like a solid tank but you never know. Not everyone associates SLR Magic with high quality but it appears with this and their 12mm Hyperprime they have decided to go with quality, and I welcome it.
BTW, for reference you can see my Leica Noctilux ASPH review HERE that was done when the lens was first released.
If you did not see the posts I have already made about this SLR Magic lens you can see those HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and finally HERE.
A Brief History Of This Lens
Probably close to a year ago I heard from SLR Magic and they told me they were designing a new Leica M mount lens from the ground up. A 50mm f/0.95 lens for the Leica M mount. This was not going to be a copy of their old Hyperprime that they sell for the M4/3 mount and NEX mount. Those lenses are nice, but not “amazing” because they are soft and glowy when wide open. They are also smallish but at the same time very well built and made. Still, SLR Magic wanted to create something special that more Leica M shooters could afford. A lens much like the Leica Noctilux but at a more reasonable price.
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After they mentioned their ideas they started sending me pictures of prototypes that looked great. The lens started out semi small (smaller than a Leica Noctilux ASPH) and beefy. But the images that they were happy with that they snapped with the M9 and their lens, I was not so happy with. I told them if they were going to do a lens like this, they needed to do it right. I mean, Leica users shoot with Leica for quality. We do not want to spend money on crappy or overly soft lenses. If a lens has a .95 aperture, then we want to be able to use it at that aperture! As it was at that time, the lens they were creating was really good, but it did not have any magic to it in the image quality dept. They built the lens and it was built like a tank. Solid, smooth and heavy. BUT the lens vignetted strongly and wide open it lacked sharpness and contrast. The color was a bit dull as well and I told them that I would not buy that lens for what they would have to charge for it.
They decided to go back to the drawing board, keeping me in the loop with samples, prototype images, etc. Then one day I received a couple of shots, that to me, looked pretty damn close to the $11,000 Leica. I asked them to send me a lens as soon as they could and a month or two later they did just that. When it arrived I immediately made a quick post on it as I found it very impressive. The build, the feel, the heft… it was all LEICA LIKE. It was performing scary close to the $11,000 Noctilux ASPH. Yes, the lens that has up to a year waiting list and is almost impossible to find used. If you do find one used the prices are usually jacked up to $13k. Crazy. $13,000 for a lens.
Once I saw the quality I immediately sent SLR Magic an e-mail telling them that this is a lens they should be extremely proud of. The only negatives I found with the lens was that it had some evident barrel distortion and that damn green ring on the front. I mean, the green ring looks pretty cool on my SLR Magic 12mm 1.6 for Micro 4/3 mount but on a lens of this caliber…well, it deserved a black ring! Other than that I found the lens to be pretty damn amazing even though it was one of only 6 in existence and basically still a prototype. The lens ring is even stamped with the word “concept”. With the LA Workshop approaching, Andrew from SLR Magic decided to join us and fly down with all 6 lenses. This way, you guys wouldn’t have to take my word for it but you could see what other shooters came away with who were able to shoot with the lens. If it was a bad lens, they would say so as most of these guys love their Leica lenses. I even told Andrew we could do a Noctilux/Hyperprime shootout and he welcomed it. Shows he has confidence in their design. I will in fact be doing that shootout soon so we can see just how much difference there is with sharpness, flare, bokeh, and build.
The Lens In Use – from me and others
If you have been reading my blog posts on this lens then you know that the lens was a huge hit in Los Angeles. There were quite a few guys trying to give Andrew the cash for the lens because we all saw it the same way. The SLR Magic Hyperprime is a well built, well made, nicely engineered hunk of glass. It is not cheap and it is not a toy. In fact, it is quite the opposite of what most people thought it would be. The lens is not perfect due to the barrel distortion but it is pretty close to the Leica $11k monster. In some ways it is BETTER than the Leica, and in others it is a bit weaker.
The ways this lens is better is that it will be coming in at many thousands of dollars less than the Leica. I do not know a price but if I had to guess I would say it will run about $3500-$4000 (The price has now been announced at $4288.00 US). Others at the workshop were thinking it would be $5500. No one knows yet but if you are someone who is into the whole Noctilux ASPH lens look, then saving $7000 or so and picking this lens up would be a pretty sweet option because the Hyperprime can focus closer, is actually faster at f/0.92 and has the same great color and sharpness as the Noctilux. The areas that are weaker is that this lens has distortion (barrel) so shooting straight lines up close will reveal this. Then again, we do not buy a lens like this for architecture. It is also longer and a little but heavier though when holding both in each hand, they feel about the same. No dount about it, this is a specialty lens, and for speed and special effect freaks. Not everyone’s cup of tea. BUT for Bokeh lovers, this lens is the creamiest 50mm lens ever made for 35mm. Click the images below for larger and sharper views…
As I sat there last weekend at the workshop looking over shots with this lens as well as the Leica Noctilux I was thinking “WOW…pretty amazing that a small company such as SLR Magic were the ones to create something like this”. This lens is serious competition to the Leica, and I am not exaggerating. Here is a comment from Bill Fulcher who shot with the Hyperprime at my LA Workshop:
” Shot both and saw many images with both last weekend. The Hyper is at least as sharp at all apertures as the 0.95 Noct. The Noct has slightly better ergonomics for still shooters and is more compact. It is also backed by Leica. The Hyper has slightly better IQ, focuses closer, is much better for video and is a skosh faster. It will also be a lot less expensive. All around the pre-production Hyper impresses me as the superior lens. But I wouldn’t really argue the point if someone heavily values the areas where the Noct has the edge. Best, Bill”
So if you do not care about the name, and the slightly larger build you could save thousands of dollars by going with the HyperPrime. If the Leica name, backing and reputation is worth up to $7k then go for it. It’s all personal pref but as for performance, this lens is just about equal to the mighty Leica in regards to sharpness, and as for Bokeh it is even more creamy. Color is about the same as is the contrast.
Andrew told us that some of the lens elements come from Germany and other China. The lens is assembled in Hong Kong by hand and will NOT be able to be mass-produced due to the tight tolerances and calibration required. The 6 samples at the workshop had no issues focusing, which I found to be pretty amazing as I have had Noctilux’s that were all over the place. Not sure how they managed to pull off what Leica can never seem to do reliably. Then again, there were actually only 4 RF coupled versions there and they were each the 1st lenses made so I am sure special care went into them. I was told that each lens made will have that same special care in regards to build and calibration. I can say that Andrew was a fascinating and very passionate guy and he was truly excited about this product.
SLR Magic? Green Rings?
So who the hell is SLR Magic and why the hell are they called SLR Magic when they do not make ANY SLR products? I wondered the same thing so I asked Andrew when they started and how. SLR Magic are based in Hong Kong and started up 6 years ago making adapters for cameras and SLR lenses. They also started selling hand-made leather straps and other fun products. Soon they started the toy lenses that came in for great prices and provided fun results. They decided to start building lenses from the ground up and released a couple of NEX lenses and the fantastic 12mm 1.6 for Micro 4/3 that I LOVED. When they started telling me about this lens and showing me versions with green rings I asked for a black ring and suggested that for a Leica mount lens they may want to sell it with black instead of neon green. At the workshop mostly wanted black, but a couple liked the green. After much thought Andrew decided on selling a “stealth” edition with some other goodies possibly to be included. Ahhhhh…much better 🙂
Who needs a lens Like this?
The easy answer? No one really NEEDS a lens like this. Just like no one NEEDS a Leica Noctilux ASPH. Lenses like this are purchased with the heart because they are special..they are unique..they can give a look like no other lens and it’s also super fast for this nights you want to shoot in the dark. I used the Leica Noctilux last year on tour with Seal and came away with some great stuff. I made his new album cover as well. All with the Noctilux. Lenses like this are very useful and can provide results that help separate you from the crowd but it is also very easy to get carried away with the shallow depth of field. Use it wisely and lenses like this can deliver magical results. Overuse it and it gets gimmicky. It is also NOT an everyday lens due to the weight and size, but for those times you want some magic injected into your photos a lens like this or the Leica will give it to you in mass quantities.
Some readers were commenting how this lens has no real use, but I disagree. It was a lens just like this Hyperprime (The Leica Noctilux ASPH) that gave me this shot and made me some much-needed money in 2011. These lenses do have their place and I enjoy having a super fast special effect lens on hand and in my stable.
QUICK comparison with the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH at 1.4
Below are two straight from camera shots. The 1st from the SLR Magic at T1.4 and the 2nd from the Leica 50 Lux ASPH at f/1.4 – Click each image for the full size 18PMP file. What do you think?
New Sample Images – Full size and crops – and shooting stopped down…
More updates! The images below are all out of camera (from RAW) images using the SLR Magic lens. The T stop is written on the image and you must click each image to see the full size file. Check out how sharp it is when stopped down! This lens is simply amazing and I am loving shooting with it. I took some personal shots and it was the only lens I shot with while in Sedona AZ for the weekend.
The 1st shot is at T/2 which is more like f/1.8. Click image for the full size and check out the blue duster, which is where I focused. Wow.
Below is a full size out of cam shot at T/4…click image to see the full size!
Another at T/4 – not full size but you can click for larger
Wide open at .7 meters…
At f/5.6 this lens is just as razor sharp as it is at any aperture – click image for large size with 100% crop embedded
Love the rendering wide open…
The price of this lens… $4,288.00 – It is NOT cheap!
SLR Magic has announced that this lens will come in at $4,288.00 US. Quite a hefty amount of cash outlay for a lens made by SLR Magic. But, they are not mass producing this lens, and each one will be hand assembled and calibrated for rangefinder use. For a Leica M mount that has the build, feel and IQ of the $11k Leica, the price of this lens is fair. BUT at this price point you have to start to think a little. Would you prefer a Leica 50 Summilux ASPH at $4k? It’s smaller..and a Leica. But, it is not f/0.92. Speed is expensive, just take a look at the Noctilux. IMO, this lens is better than the Noctilux F1, better than the Voigtlander 50 1.1 and just about equal to the Leica $11k Nocti. Just about but not quite. So at $4288 vs $11,000, one can now have an alternative to spending that huge sum of cash for a lens like this. Since this lens is hand made and assembled, SLR Magic can only produce 10 of these per month. So, I expect they will sell them all. I also expect they will fetch a good price used as well.
SLR Magic is giving a 3 year warranty with this lens and it will be available in September 2012, after Photokina.
More samples…all wide open
Shooting this lens on a Sony NEX-5n – IN THE DARK!
When I held my Los Angeles workshop in January, Andrew from SLR Magic brought along 6 copies of this lens for all to try. We had 30+ attendees in all shooting and trying out the lens, well, most of them did. One guy, Judd Weiss had a Sony NEX-5n and was a newbie to photography. He told me the week before he learned what “Aperture” meant, lol. Great great guy though and he was able to take the SLR Magic lens, attached to his NEX-5n to a party on Saturday night to test it out. He told me that all of the photos below were shot in “near dark” conditions but the lens sucked in the light and made them appear brighter than it was. IN fact, I remember him being pretty excited by the fact that even though the room was dark, the images make it look like there was light.
He shot all of the images below wide open at T0.95 and still appears he needed faster shutter speeds, but here are a few examples from Judd in a situation where the large aperture made a difference. When shooting in dark conditions such as this, no lens will give you razor sharp details because you are shooting in the dark at low shutter speeds and high ISO. But using a slow lens and no flash is impossible so sometimes you need the speed if this is the style you want to go after. You can visit Judd’s blog HERE.
ALL shots below were taken by Judd Weiss with his Sony NEX-5n and the SLR Magic Hyperprime WIDE OPEN, IN NEAR dark conditions!
The Barrel Distortion – How bad is it?
Many of you guys have been asking me to update this with some examples showing the barrel distortion I have been talking about. It has not really been noticeable in the images posted so far but it is there and it is EASILY seen when you shoot up close to straight lines. The closer you get to straight lines, the more pronounced the “barrel” effect will be. This is about the only area where the Leica Noctilux ASPH beats out the SLR Magic. The distortion is disapointing but out of 500 shots or so with this lens, I have noticed it maybe 6 times. It is fixable in Photoshop but even then it is not perfect. I never noticed ANY barrel distortion with the Leica Noctilux ASPH but the question is…can you deal with this fault if you are saving $7000?
This lens has a fantastic 3D effect and is sharp as a tac wide open but get up close to straight lines and you will see distortion. The middle of the image pops out while the sides get sucked in. If you do note shoot any lines, you will most likely never notice it. But it IS there.
A quick and dirty attempt to fix using photoshop during the RAW conversion – took about 2 seconds.
So seeing that is is pretty much fixable, we have to ask ourselves what we shoot and what we would shoot with this lens. IT IS NOT a lens for architecture that is for sure. So far, this is the only negative I have found in comparison with the Leica 0.95.
UPDATE – February 19th 2012 – More images
Took this lens with me to a tattoo convention today but I was mainly shooting the Leica 75 Summilux. I did snap off a couple shots wide open though and MAN OH MAN, this lens performed flawlessly. I am convinced it is SHARPER wide open that the Noctilux ASPH! Again, no focus issues, no focus shift, it perfumes up close, mid distance and far distance. I continue to be more and more impressed with this lens. It seems to have the sharpness (or more of it) than the $11k Noctilux ASPH but with a bit more 3D pop and even better bokeh..oh and less CA. See the lamp below? The Nocti would have had purple fringing there 🙂
The 1st image below is wide open – focus on tattoo artist – THIS is one hell of a lens! – Click the pic for larger – all other images below the 1st were also at T0.95!
UPDATE Feb 22nd 2012 – Some notes from SLR Magic on this lens to clear up some confusion
I heard from Andrew at SLR Magic today and he mentioned a few things about this lens that he wanted me to pass along. Here is what he said:
1) The CINE and LM version are different mechanically. The LM version is a mechanically different version in both mechanical design and materials for RF coupling compatibility. The only thing that is the same about the two is the optical design. Differences in materials, mechanical parts, and labor involved to calibrate the lens is the cause of the price difference. If used on a mirrorless camera with an adapter the two versions will look the same optically.
2) The lens is designed to be a professional cinema lens. What this means is that the lens does not have breathing, no focus shift, and calibrated in T stops. Breathing is when focusing will cause the angle of view to change while focusing. This is common for many lenses. Focus shift is when focal point is shifted as a lens is stopped down. This is very obvious when seen through video with the lens. T stop is the true stop of the lens so that when filmmakers switch between lenses there will be no jump in brightness. With a regular lens F stop is calculated and not measured so it will be different across lenses even from the same brand. Lastly is the stepless round aperture blades. This means you get to have everything else in between. Could help when using A mode and looking at the desired shutter speed. A bless for some and a nightmare for some.
The fact that it is a cinema lens does NOT mean it is a cheap video lens as many think. There are a lot of requirements to a good cinema lens. Lenses designed to Cinema specs can easily sell for 30-40K a piece!
What he said about focus shift and lens production…
3) Focus shift is not killing our production rate. Focus shift depends on optical design and we do not have issues with focus shift. The part where I mentioned we switch out for elements by dissembling and assembling the lens all over again is to make sure ALL copies of the T0.95 lens performs with superior optical quality (sharpness and centering). This limits our production rate for all lenses. We do not ship sub par T0.95 lenses so the answer is YES. The prototypes are hand picked. This hand picking process will also apply to every T0.95 lens that ships.
UPDATE: Feb 27th 2012 – The Leica Noctilux ASPH vs the SLR Magic LM on a Sony NEX-7
Ok guys, this was an image that someone took in SLR Magics shop in Hong Kong. A Sony NEX-7 was used and each lens was wide open – below are the full size images, out of camera, no PP, no tweaks, etc. Click the images for the full size 24MP files! What do YOU see? Notice one seems more zoomed in that the other? That is because the Noctilux is in reality a 52mm lens and the SLR Magic is a true 50.
UPDATE: The Sony NEX-7 with the Hyperprime 50 T0.95
I was out and about shooting the NEX-7 with an ALL NEW Leica to NEX adapter made by SLR Magic and was very happy with the results. Also, keep an eye here for news on this adapter because it is very unique. It is an adapter that you can twist and make the minimum focus distance of the M lenses disappear. You can focus super close now with your M lenses on the NEX system, so this is really cool. The adapter is not ready for sale just yet but seems to work very well. Check out the images below of the lens on the Sony NEX.
On the NEX-7 and super close focusing using this all new adapter.
Look at the rich colors and depth…this is wide open with an ND filter. T0.95
Again, wide open…click any of these images for larger versions! – ISO 640
T0.95 at ISO 1600 on the nEX-7
Shooting this lens on the NEX-7 was super easy. The focus peaking allowed me to focus quickly and accurately, even when wide open. The one negative about this setup though is that the lens is so front heavy on the NEX body. It is almost borderline ridiculous but with this lens on the camera be sure and hold it by the lens, not the camera body. I plan on shooting this bad boy much more on the NEX-7 as I am really liking what I see. I mean, it’s almost up there with the M9 files except they are not full frame so we get a bit of a different look. If you missed my NEX-7 review, be sure and take a look here.
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As I have said on numerous occasions I stand behind all of my previous comments concerning SLR Magic and the Hyperprime. I do not accept Judd Weiss’s interpretation of my experiences with Andrew and SLR Magic, and no amount of spin can change the fact that I experienced three failed lenses in a row from this company, demanded a refund (which was begrudgingly given) and then attacked for being a disloyal customer. Whatever. I like Steve Huff, and consider him a friend, but he is dead wrong about this lens. Buy at your own peril…
Stephen, prototype. You again neglect to mention that you had issue with a pre-release beta prototype lens. That’s not spin. You never held a production lens, you have no right to comment on it, or to claim that Steve Huff is dead wrong, or that people should buy at their peril. You took some stunning shots with the prototype lens, and Andrew took care of you after using it for 2.5 months even though there was a no refund policy on the discounted pre-release volunteer program.
You are way out of line my friend. I don’t doubt that your self righteousness is genuine. I’m saying you should stop and consider which side of fairness you’re on.
You can be certain that were you behaving like this as a customer of mine, I would not have been anywhere near as kind as Andrew has been.
Judd, have you never heard of the lemon laws, because if you had you would realize that my Hyperprime experience more than qualified. I understand Andrew is changing the facts of the story now, claiming that my third faulty lens could be repaired in 24 hours when in fact he told me it would take a few months. The third failure my friend, not the first or second, but third. This is when I demanded a refund, as the prospect of being without money or a lens when Andrew would go weeks without responding to my repeated requests for information left me with no confidence in him or his company. And while you like to call it a prototype by Andrew’s own admission in LA these were pre-production lenses and the design was “100% finished”.
I was one of Andrew and SLR Magic’s biggest supporters on LFI when this lens came out, and I still believe the optics of this lens are wonderful, but the rest is a nightmare.
You are the one who is out of line, my friend, and in fact your comments here are so repulsive and derogatory that a link to them on GetDPI was deleted and the poster threatened with being banned.
I’m a former customer with every right to convey my first hand experience with this lens and this company. What’s your agenda?
I used the Hyperprime lens to capture some of the shots Steve Huff included in his above rolling review. I was at the LA workshop, and I was just as impressed with the Hyperprime lens as everyone else.
I recently spoke with Stephen Patterson personally about his widely reported matter with the Hyperprime, and I WAS SHOCKED!! I’ve always respected Stephen as a talented photographer and an engaging writer, I couldn’t have believed that I would come to the conclusion that he is a cruel bully and a dishonest jerk. I rarely say such a thing about anyone, and certainly never could say that about Stephen, until I personally brought up with him questions about his claims against SLR Magic and Andrew Chan.
First there is the fact that he neglects to state that he had a severely discounted pre-release beta lens. That alone pretty much explains most of the issues he brought up, and it is ENTIRELY inappropriate and dishonest to publicly review the mechanical quality of a prototype when you neglect to state that. The issues he describes have not been experienced by others with final release lenses. Indeed many others who have early pre-release beta Hyperprimes have not encountered the issues that Stephen is reporting.
There is a difference between Stephen and the other volunteer program testers, Stephen had the 50mm Leica Noctilux on order for 18 months. It seems obvious that you can’t justify owning a $5000 lens when the similarly speced lens you dropped $10,000 on just arrived. That’s big money and it will influence anyone’s behavior. I don’t blame him for wanting to now get rid of the Hyperprime, I do blame him for his immature, unfair, and dishonest behavior in order get his money back outside of the terms he agreed to, and the followup from him in order to justify his behavior.
It must be clear taht Stephen was refunded 100% for his lens. So was Dave Grady, who said he needed the money other things. They weren’t charged a 20% refund fee. They weren’t charged 10%. They weren’t charged anything at all. In fact, as an act of goodwill, Andrew even paid Stephen for his $150 filter, to go over and above to take care of Stephen. Stephen was threatening Andrew with a serious and painful public bashing of SLR Magic if Andrew didn’t issue a full refund in cash at Stephen’s convenience when he was visiting Hong Kong. A full refund wasn’t agreed to in the terms for the discounted test program, but Stephen was so harsh with his threats that Andrew decided to let it go and just take care of Stephen and make him whole, right or wrong.
As many of us know, the heavy public bashing originating from Stephen and Dave went forward anyway, but shockingly dropped the context that they were were knowingly in a volunteer test program for a pre-release beta lens!!
I brought that up with Stephen, he ignored it, and became hostile with me. Wtf?? He’s unwilling to admit that he misrepresented the matter. I told him that it’s suspicious that he had a Noctilux finally arrive after an 18 month wait at the same time that he raised all these problems. Stephen’s actual response:
“Judd, you of all people should know the danger in making false accusations, as you are doing when you say that I simply wanted out of the Hyperprime because I had a Noctilux on order.”
“…to your point about my images with the Hyperprime I agree that they are unique, which is why I was always going to keep the lens in spite of receiving the Noctilux.”
Fair enough, I never accused him, but simply said it’s relevant and and worth considering in light of the hoopla he created. And I pointed out that there were numerous careless casual misstatements (such as personally knowing of a dozen other lens failures) that ended up getting picked up into wider circulation, but not before being further exaggerated. I told him that at the very least, it would be honorable of him to at least clear up the statements that he knows to be false. He refused. I didn’t think this necessarily dishonest at this point, just heartless considering the damage that he’s caused, and the arrogant tone to his blatant misstatements.
And then I remembered and rediscovered this post from June 14, 2012:
My dealer in the US called saying my Noctilux was in, so I will be selling my Hyperprime. It’s a great lens, and for the money can’t be beat, but I prefer the size of the Nocti. Send me a message if interested.
It’s not just that Stephen Patterson had the nerve to lie to me, to everyone in that facebook discussion group, and everyone else on the internet. It’s also that Stephen had responded with intimidation when he originally lied to me about making false accusations. It’s also that Stephen came across so unrepentantly harsh towards someone who was eager to take care of him fairly. That Stephen arrogantly seemed to feel it perfectly fine to crash and burn a company because he experienced some inconvenience with a discounted pre-release beta test lens.That Stephen was able to capture some STUNNING shots with that lens, and yet was still made whole, never charged for his 2.5 months with an expensive used lens that he refers to as “a great lens, and for the money can’t be beat”. That Stephen refused to correct his damaging careless misstatements and mischaracterizations that got exaggerated in wider circulation.
For those reasons Stephen Patterson is a cruel bully and a dishonest jerk.
Some of us have begged him to be honest here and set the record straight. He doesn’t want to.
That’s such a shame. A simple fact remains, Stephen and Dave were not hurt by their experience with SLR Magic. The same cannot be said in reverse.
A paying customer is not god’s gift to the universe when he’s determined to make your life miserable and ruin your company. Certainly not a fully refunded customer who made good use of the product. Certainly not a customer who took part in a heavily discounted volunteer pre-release beta program.
Stephen has some explaining to do about answering the claims against him. Otherwise he should apologize for his behavior. Or let it stand that he’s a deceptive immature bully and a jerk with zero regard for the damage he causes.
The complaints of Stephen and Dave were not shared by many others in the volunteer test program. And yet Stephen and Dave were the source for virtually all of the complaints on various Leica and photography forums, and then circulated wider by Elizabeth Wang-Lee on her Leicaliker blog and her messages to DPReview.com
Stephen has long moved on from this issue, but the damage he caused SLR Magic didn’t stop, and was particularly painful at Photokina, especially with Elizabeth promoting the dispute.
Elizabeth has become silent on this and I guess that means she’s unwilling to correct her false statements to honestly clear up the matter. If she doesn’t, she will permanently damage her credibility and reputation for accuracy and honesty. I hope she will speak openly and publicly about this. Most of the damage to SLR Magic came from her, and she seemed so nice when I met her, I sincerely hopes she helps to rectify the matter.
For the record, I am not in any way affiliated with SLR Magic. I’ve only purchased 2 items from SLR Magic, and the only thing I’ve ever received for free was a screen protector for my NEX with a friendly note, which I though was a thoughtful gesture. I’ve never been promised or asked for anything for free or discounted from SLR Magic.
I remember how generous, trusting and helpful Andrew was with us all at the LA workshop. He let me borrow a very expensive prototype lens to try out and shoot a party following the workshop after just meeting me briefly. He let us all walk the streets with his very expensive gear out of his sight and reach. Elizabeth dropped one of his heavy Hyperprime lenses on CONCRETE and dented the lens barrel, and Andrew didn’t give her a hard time, let alone even complain. I shot with that same dented lens at a party that night (some photos in the review above) and it performed excellently, that thing is SOLID and clearly well built to handle the concrete crash Elizabeth gave it.
I COMPLETELY agree that Andrew, or someone from SLR Magic should have responded on the forums immediately, whether that’s a pain in the ass or not. If it’s a matter serious enough to potentially take the whole company down, it’s something that needs to be done. I do understand that a subtle language barrier is making it a bit difficult to do that as effectively as he’d like.
I am aware that devastating serious damage has been done to Andrew and SLR Magic. It’s hard to move forward and create exciting products to offer the world when you get the wind knocked out of you from public relation nightmares that may not be fair. I can personally relate to that, and I know how hard that is to stomach.
This is so wrong. These products are Andrew’s life. Andrew has been so kind to many of us. What would demonstrate honorable character here would be for those involved to finally do their best to openly and honestly rectify this matter.
I hope SLR Magic is able to move past this and continue to offer us more exciting options in the future.
I have used and owned two Noctilux f/0.95 lens and all will not focus to infinity. I need to focus backwards to be able to focus at infinity. It never focus like my 50mm Summilux ASPH so I sold the second one I bought as well.
I received my SLR Magic T0.95 lens with RF coupling 2 months ago and I am not having any issues at all. If I have any issues it is the continuous aperture ring that I need to get used to and the size. At first I had issues with focus but after I had my M8 re-calibrated there are no more focus issues. It was my camera all along.
In Hong Kong shops have an exchange policy but there is no return policy and we like it this way. You can only imagine if things can be freely returned you will one day be buying a returned item by another customer. I always find it odd to find taped up boxes in toy shops in US and Canada. The return policy is great but when you buy something new you know it has been previously owned. I read in dpreview forums of people complaining they buy a lens and it is another kit lens inside the box or it is another lens in the box. If you are lucky it is a good used lens. If not lucky it is a lower end used lens. If it looks the same it is still possible it is a used lens of the same model. The return policy is suppose to be goods bought by mistake and returned to be sold as new. It is just unfortunate many abuse the return policy and returned goods are either old items that are a switch and bait or just a used new item http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1029&message=17360527&changemode=1
If you buy a Leica lens from a dealer in Hong Kong and return it to the shop the next day you will loose 30% value immediately. There is no return policy. It is considered you sell the lens back to the shop. The consumer needs to be responsible for their purchase decisions.
I have been reading Stephen Patterson’s posts and also agree with 3dkraft the complaints are not well supported and more of a personal attack on SLR Magic. I read he complained about debris inside the lens. It is common. I have it in all three of my Noctilux. Leica told me it is within tolerance and said it will not affect the image quality so it is no big deal. His other complaint is he wants his lens glued together so that it cannot be serviced in the future. I have had my Leica and Zeiss lens repaired in Hong Kong by repair men before and all lenses are held by thread lock and not glue that cannot be removed. I am sure he has no idea of how a lens is made. Glass is cemented together and screws are held by thread locker. I also see that guys complaining for a refund had the lens for at least 2 months from the forum posts and they are demanding for refund. I have my equipment under repair at Leica or Zeiss for months and they will treat me like an idiot if I even try to suggest to ask for a refund. If you are lucky they will fix the equipment for you. They tend to keep things forever and return it back unfixed and say it is within tolerance. There had been a discussion in HKLFC forum and people have suggested all the complaints at l-camera-forum are from people who do not have the lens. They complain no one is saying anything good about the lens but as HKLFC forum members suggest the people at l-camera-forum just want to scare away anything saying good things about the lens. It is the truth from my careful observations. I did a simple search on photo sharing website flickr and found hundreds of beautiful images of the lens taken by actual owners rather than pure speculation
I recommend the lens to people who cannot afford the Noctilux f/0.95 but at the same time want better images than the Noctilux f/1.0
I did not make the jump for the M9 but I think the M10 can be the real deal with focus accuracy. It would be interesting if the CINE version will work on the M10 but I would still prefer the RF coupled version for my M6.
The information given by Stephen Patterson is a subjective and personal statement suggesting that his personal experience is representative. In his posts across several forums I found no proof for the – how he calls it – “astronomicall high failure rate”. Of course there are posts from others about mechanical issues with the first prototypes given to early volunteers but there are also posts from others, who are confident with their sample. Those who had issues with lenses from early prototype batches were offered repair / replacement.
As I can speak for myself only about the CINE version (without RF coupling), I am very pleased with the results and my replacement for the first sample (which was one of the first six prototypes) has no mechanical issues. You can read my review and comparisons here and here.
Regarding the glueing discussion: Using adhesives for lens assembly is not a problem in general. It depends on the way how it is used in assembly. Since many years, also parts of aeroplanes or cars are held together by adhesives as well. I am sure SLR Magic is able to incorporate feedback from issues with some of the early prototype samples.
So at least I can recommend the reasonably priced CINE version that may be an interesting option for the M10 as well if the rumors about it’s liveview capability get confirmed.
Did Leica hire Stephen Patterson to write this here. I have been using the 12mm 1.6 from SLR Magic for a year now and the lens is solid build. If needed, for self defence you could probably knock someone out with it.
Nothing wrong with Zeiss, Voigtlander or other non-Leica lenses (I’ve owned plenty) and I’m glad your 12mm lens is solid, but that does not change the fact that the three failed 50/0.95 Hyperprime lenses that I had were not. This is not spin, this is a fact, and facts are hard things to escape from.
I don’t believe there are any “misunderstandings” for Steve to report on. The SLR Magic Hyperprime lens has had an astronomically high failure rate amongst the first group of customers, the communication with SLR Magic and Andrew has been terrible with some reply messages taking several weeks (or never) to be received and he is now charging outrageous fees (20%) for those who wish to cancel, even those who have yet to receive a lens. These are all undisputed facts.
The sad thing is that SLR Magic and Andrew will not acknowledge that the lens has serious mechanical issues with both the assembly and the rangefinder calibration. After my third mechanical failure coupled with the fact the lens is not able to focus at infinity I knew this lens should be recalled. I now understand that the company and Andrew are putting much of the blame on “packaging”. I find this ironic as my three failures were never shipped, but rather picked up in person.
Every initial customer should be given a full refund or the option to cancel without penalty. If this is the lens that SLR Magic plans to introduce at Photokina, with no changes to the mechanical design, I would advise all potential customers to avoid making a $5000 mistake.
We just sent a response to Steve about the issues he heard of for clarification. Hope he will do a follow up post after he checks on the misunderstandings.
Given the comments about production quality, lens failures and the shipping comments on the Leica Forum, can you shed any light or perspective on this ?
With no response from SLR Magic are looking very poor indeed, I would suggest adding comments on yor site in response
Seeing on the review that you said you are not rich, but from all the gears you have, I think you do..lol Poor people won’t be able to afford a lot of things you have. Thanks for all the great reviews!!!
I am not rich at all, and always have to sell something to buy something new. 🙂
will the RF coupled version work on Nex as well and vice versa?
Yes, I have read your reviews and comments from other sites too (Eric Kim, F8 etc. etc.). I have ordered one and hope I can get my hands on it soonest. Before that, like many people here, do think long and hard if I want to purchase one (of course I get it if money is no object!).
I start by justify myself that this is a 50mm f.095 lens (RF Coupled) for my M9. The closest thing I got is the Voltlangder F1.1 and the 50mm Summilux (Version 2 and ASPH Version). As a fan of fast lens, I immediate fall in love with it after this test shot:
It gives you a creamy bokeh and sharp details of where I focus. Although it is a quite heavy, making it more of a portrait lens than street photography, it is still an amazing lens. Of course, the Leica Noct would be nice, that is if you willing to pay a hefty amount (not to mention the waiting list!). As a MF lens, I am sure in the future, this will become another legendary lens and so far the images produce from this lens is amazing and with the classic look. Therefore, I am confident, users will love shoting with it.
Okay, the ergonomics can be improved. One can wish it can be cheaper but hey, the owner has to earn a buck or two! Looking at the current price (yes you can get other Leica lens with it) but, it is a difficult lens to make and a serious challenge to the Leica Noct. IMHO, even better than the Canon F0.95 (too soft). Not sure if compared to the old Fujinon, Nokkor and Zunow lenses. But the price is definitely cheaper than Fujinon and Zunow!
My conclusion is, if you love fast lens, just get it. You probably won’t get another chance to get a good, solid fast lens. Also, this will become history of fast lens, which people will talk about years to come. 🙂
My 2 cent worth.
Don’t know why the hyperlink didn’t work, but here it is again:
Thanks for your insightful review. I am currently using Olympus EPL2 and have just pre-ordered EM5 via B&H. Can I mount this magical lens to my micro four thirds camera? What adapter I have to use?
Sure, you just need a Leica M to M 4/3 adapter. There are many available ranging from $13 to $200 – Amazon has the cheap ones.
Image of the young woman getting a tattoo – you can clearly see her lower back hair.
What a superb lens. I think Steve’s right. I think they’ll sell a stack of these (and the re-sale value will remain ever so close to the new, retail price).
That aside, who cares because check out the quality images you’re going to get! All at a staggering t0.92!!! 0.92!!! So cool you have to say it twice……
Leica’s steepest challenge now is to release an M10 that loses none of the M9/M9-Ps wonderful attributes. It’s going to be tough – especially if they take on a CMOS sensor – they also need to be careful about changing the classic look of the camera itself………..wouldn’t want to be the guy in charge of the M10 project…….
Do you know if the barrel distortion is something SLR is working to correct before the lens gets released or has all the tweaking they intend to do been done?
I believe this is it.
I too was thinking. Scary sharp.
Sorry was suppose to be for Adam
More SLR magic from you, Steve!!! Great shots!
I don’t know why anyone NOT blogging about photo equipment (to attract followers and make money) would ever buy such a lens. For the price of that lens (and the M9 or any Leica equipment) you could buy tons under-appreciated, used SLR lenses and new digital bodies…enough to keep any gear-junkie busy all year long, each and every year. And your photography would not be any worse for the wear. Wake up, y’all.
I just stumbled upon this comment on dpreview, and thought I’d share it here, as it seemed relevant:
“You are right about nostalgia. Rangefinders are to me the essence of photography, I don’t view them as just a tool like a bus driver would regard his bus (or indeed as I view my dSLRs). To me they are my motorcycle that I take out at weekends and I want to enjoy them. I don’t need to, I want to. ”
It’s not about logic, investment, specs, or stuff like that. It’s about subjectivity, feelings, joy and want.
What you’re saying sounds right and good in theory, but every Rangefinder shooter (and every camera gear collector in general) I’ve been associate with buys and sells their toys like it’s candy going down the throat of a baby. “It just feels good so why not.” It’s a net loss all the way around (financially, emotionally). Their photography still stinks, and they’re just as unsatisfied today as they were yesterday, and at the end of the day they experience buyer’s remorse to the point they’ll do anything to part with the source of their dissatisfaction, even if it means taking a tremendous financial loss (which it almost always means).
So the argument sounds nice, but I’ve been around long enough to know the people you’re attempting to excuse, and to know better…40+ years in various photo clubs.
I’m talking generalities here, but many of these people are sick. It’s like any addiction.
Just look at the desperate way these people come across in the “Daily Inspirations” submissions. I’d be humiliated to write one of these same old “M9 stories.”
We’re not in complete disagreement, it seems. Thanks for your reply!:)
too much for a new company len
I for one haven’t been this glued to an article since Steve’s first one about the f0.95 Noct.
Steve are the barrel distortion photos taken beyond 1m or under 1m?
Probably at just about 1m. I will add more at all distances later today… from 0.7 on..
Is it possible that Leica has a build in profile of Noct which shows no barrel distortion while SRL magic has no profile in the M9 which show strong barrel distortion.
If SRL magic can work out a profile loaded in M9 , result will be different.
I dont think Leica would allow any profile other than Leica lenses to be used in its cameras
I got to play with the lens today at Sim City in Hong Kong, it is HUGE and heavy, an absolute monster (in a good way).
I think the one I played with was the one that was dropped, it had a huge road rash on the sliding hood and it has the ugly yellowish/green border around the lens rather than the more practical black.
I did not have my M9 with me, but I did get to test it on my Nex 7, the lens focusing was way off for some reason, maybe it has been tested too many times or maybe the drop affected it. Manual focusing using focus peaking or eyeball mark 1 was off at 0.95 and 1.4. I did not feel it was worth the time to test it stepped down further, I mean this is a 0.95 lens after all.
Taking into account that this is a test lens and it has suffered some knocks and drops, I am going to ignore the problem with the focusing. The feel of the lens is amazing, heavy and solid. Somehow the Noctilux still feels a little more refined, of course it could be the extra $$$ talking to my subconscious or the click of the aperture ring.
I think the lens is a steal at its current price if it only offers half the performance of the Noctilux but it seems that it will offer the same, give or take a little depending on personal preference.
Glad you were able to see the lens and feel how well built it is. I do have to say that the one you used was the non coupled version for use with other cameras and that it is not possible for focus to be off when using it with a “what you see is what you get” LCD camera. Using peaking wide open at T0.95 will be nearly impossible and would be much more accurate to focus wide open with the magnified screen. The DOF wide open is the thinnest I have ever experienced with any lens and unless you are 100% spot on then your image will appear out of focus. In any case, when using an LCD mirrorless, there is no way for the lens to misfocus as you are the one focusing and what you see is what you get. You need a decent shutter speed as well and a stationary subject. It is possible for the M versions to be off if the lens is not calibrated, but with an M there are os many things that could be off. The body, the lens, the operator 🙂 Anyway, if you go back with your M, make sure you try the RF coupled version and report back.
Thanks for clearing that up, my mistake on the focus being off. The guy did say that others have had the same problem with focusing on a Nex 7 and asked me to try a shot down the corridor rather than the Nikon poster on the wall across from the shop. Thin DoF plus high megapixel on a cropped sensor coupled with unsteady hands I guess.
Also I am too afraid to go back, as it is, I left with 2 SLR Magic lenses. A trip back will just hurt my wallet even more.
What SLR Magic lenses did you get? Would love to hear your feedback on them.
I got the E mount 23/1.7 and 50/0.95. Both are really nice lenses, full metal, heavy and solid.
Both are not the sharpest lenses around but they are great fun and have their own character that make them unique.
I also got the play with the m43 wide, the 12/1.6, now that is a funky looking lens but from playing with their E-PL2, it takes some really good images.
I reviewed both of those lenses. The 23 1.7 I had was not the best…the 50 f/0.95 for NEX and M4/3 is also a soft lens wide open but sharpens up by f/2. Totally different lens than the LM T0.95 but well made and much smaller (which is a good thing).
Try turning on mf assist rather than focus peaking
Hi Steven, I am getting really excited about this lens. I just can’t wait for more information.
If I may suggest something of the rolling review. I think it would be wonderful have a few of noct vs t0.95 comparisons night shots so we could study how well controlled are the coma aberration as well as how the busy background light spots impacts on the bokeh effect.
Thanks for bringing all this excitement again Steve, please keep it up!
Hey there Steve…..
Clearly, I’ve been away too long – SLR Magic? “HYPERPRIME”?? Decent build quality AND that Leica look? Wow.
I’m also pleased to see the quality and exuberance of your articles are unchanged. I’ve been pretty busy with my new job recently so I can see I have a LOT to catch up on in terms of your site.
I still haven’t plunged into the Leica camp (have decided to wait for their upcoming announcement), but am definiteily enjoying all your articles (my humble D3 will have to do for now). My wife and I are due to have our second child in June this year, so Leica, if you’re listening, how about it??? M10? Available for sale in May? Sold with a 35 1.4 kit lens??
Keep up the great work Steve, I’m looking very forward to the “f/0.92” rolling article.
Hi Steve. I’ve been on your site quite a lot and really enjoy what you do. I would like to support what you do by buying though your links, but I live in the UK. Would there be any way of including a sub page in your site with the international links to Amazon etc? As it doesn’t cost me anything, I (and I’m sure many others in your international readership) would use these links to support you. Anyway, keep it up.
I may be adding Amazon links for outside the USA soon…until then, I thank you for reading and coming back!
thanks for another interesting article; it is good to see people excited over new product!
i have mixed feelings over this one, and obviously cannot pass any judgment, having not seen or tested the lens myself. a few images on a computer screen frankly do not mean much.
i am not sure how they can position this lens; it is obvious that the noktilux will stay where it is, super high price, niche market, with enough followers to justify it. at over 11k, a pricey, luxury item.
i think their real competition is the nokton 50/1.1, which i bought a few months ago (i could not even contemplate buying a LENS for over 10k, it is not even a question of money, it is a question of what i feel is morally acceptable), and which i am very pleased with.
voigtlander has a longer history, excellent track record, and a GREAT price for a lens with very similar specifications. looking real hard one could find differences, it is surely expected from the Noktilux at least , but i am not so convinced it is worth the huge price leap.
once again, this is a great subject for those who love to debate endlessly over minutiae, basing their ‘wisdom’ on specifications on paper and a few random shots.
bottom line for me is whether a lens/camera combination gets the image quality and the look that i am happy with. beyond that, it is pixel peeping, boring and pointless.
would this lens (or the noktilux) make GREATer images than a cheaper one? that is the only question that matters – to me at least.
you seem to really love it, and that is great.
One difference you forgot is light gathering capability. For avaliable light photography this is a dream lens. F/0.92 with sharpness on par with the Summilux and probably sharper when compared with the Nocti. The well balanced light falloff is also definitely a plus. Would love to use this lens on my M6
Ill be getting to that topic later “sucking in the light” 🙂
This lens looks like a real winner. The detail on the last photo posted of the vine when blown up is impressive….especially being at mfd. Steve, do you know if there is any kind of floating element that will help retain sharpness at mfd? The lens does show tons of CA even at f/4 (house/tree shot) in the corners, but that is a minor complaint in a lens that offers this kind of sharpness at t/0.95. The blur in that same shot on the corners, is that due to DOF or is that field curvature? Thanks for the pics, Steve!
I can see the focus is on the lodge sp the trees would be in the OOF region
Where will the lens be sold? If it is not available in the EU, many potential buyers would need to factor in additional ~30% or so to cover tax and customs.
awesome… all I have to do now is wait till they replace that horrid highlighter green ring with something dark and stealth and I got my Noct. Epic.
These very fine differences in comparing one lens to another are, for the most part, overlooked by the average viewer. Just my opinion in showing my photos around to family and friends. What is significantly more important is composition and accurate exposure. These things can be done with any lens. I stick with my view that an f/1.4 lens Leica Summilux is just as good, more practical in various situations and a hell of a lot easier to carry around. Also, the value of the Summilux will only increase as time goes by. Ten years from now most people won’t even know what an SLR Magic lens is. In the meantime, the 50mm Summilux will probably double in value. Every Leica lens that I own has either already appreciably increased in value, or will be increasing some time soon (i.e., the 50mm Summilux and the new 35mm Summilux) – eac a better investment than gold!
I think that Steve has already mentioned that the Lux is more an all-around lens while the Noctilux and SLRM are specialty lenses for very short DOF applications. The SLRM may lose in value over time, but you don’t have to put 11k down for a Noctilux. Comparing the Lux and the SLRM because of the potentially similar price is understandable but not really useful for those that need a Noctilux kind of image.
i hate to say it but going by the sample pics…i prefer the SLRM. factor in the price and it becomes a no-brainer to me. all i need now is a price…and maybe a raise…
I guess we all see different things. It’s funny. I think Steve nailed the focus on the center of the bag with both lenses. The rope is out of focust in both images (just more out of focus in the Lux shot.
…and because of the difference in the exposure values..it is really hard to judge or compare the quality of the bokeh from these images.
Any way you look at it though…the SLRM is a VERY good performer.
This Lens looks really Nice, however it would be great to compare it with the old noctilux F1.
You can find actually a noct f1 for 3000 euros on the web.
Where can you find for so cheap? I found a used one for 6.5K and there is small scratch on front lens element.
From the samples on this page, it seems that there is more noticable purple fringing on the high contrast zone which are in the out of focus areas (the top plate of the M9, the border of the chair).
That was the main reason for me to move away from CV lenses to Leica ones.
But it’s still far from production status lenses, so it can be fixed.
Based on THE ROPE ,I think The Hyperprime is “just Slightly sharper than The World Sharpest 50”,..is funny.
Hope the price would not be sharper than The LUX
Not sure if those are legit, but I found following on ebay:
– NEX version: http://goo.gl/KvqL4
– M43 version: http://goo.gl/pmhr8
Price is $1070 each… Thoughts?
TOTALLY different lens. The NEX and M4/3 mount version is 1/3 the size, and 100% different design and glass. I reviewed both of the lenses you linked to, they are soft wide open and have a totally different look.
The oakley bag shots ,the “ROPE” handling with HYPERPRIME is defenitly more sharper than The LUX,.and also the color is more “Vibrant” ,.but the Hyperprime has CA on the edge
impressive,.thx Steve for the comparison review
These are manually focused pictures at f1.4 ..so it’s easy to fractionally mis-focus.
The SLR-M lens is focused fractionally higher up the target, or closer, than the Leica 50mm is. Hence the front-most rope handle looks sharper in the SLR-M photo (and the rear edge of the bag is unsharp, although it’s fairly sharp in the Leica 50mm shot).
You have to allow for photographer’s mis-focus, AND for focus-cam calibration differences between these lenses – meaning that the focus may have looked identical in the viewfinder to Steve, but the actual focus points of the two lenses, relative to what the viewfinder shows for each, may be different.
So this is not really a comparison of the sharpness of two lenses, as much as a comparison of Steve’s – and his camera’s – focusing accuracy with two separate lenses. (I spent a day last week at Solms getting just ONE lens accurately matched to my camera).
These slight ‘sharpness’ – or, more accurately, ‘focusing’ – discrepancies are probably less difference than you’d find between two separate Leica 50mm lenses on the same body, so they’re hardly a sharpness comparison between two separate brands of lens.
What the pics DO show is the similarity between these two lenses ..between an extremely wide-aperture lens stopped down a notch, and a fairly wide-aperture lens fully open. But neither of these shots is pointed towards the light, so we get no idea of their comparative susceptibility to flare. If Steve had shot them facing the other way – pointing towards a window – then we’d also have an idea of their relative flare-resistance, too.
As it is, the fall-off in focus of the SLR-M seems less ‘soft-and-even’ than the focus fall-off of the Leica 50mm, which is probably why there are little emphasised ‘rings’ around out-of-focus highlights in some of the SLR-M shots, compared with the very smooooth out-of-focus regions which you get from a 50mm Summilux and Noctilux.
But then again ..using a cheaper 100mm (at twice the distance, of course) you can easily get very smooth fall-off which rivals, or matches, the superb 50mm Summilux.
Steve, any idea as to what extent an M’s viewfinder is blocked by the new lens? Say a phone camera photo taken from the eye point on the viewfinder?
I’ll take one and post it soon. Thanks!
OK…this is a not so even comparison because the Leica lens has the great advantage of less glass at the same aperture. The SLRM-Lens shot is slightly over exposed (which means it lets in more light yet again, same when compared to the Nocti)…I would really like to see these images evenly exposed for a fairer comparison but as it stands the Leica is definitely sharper..but I am still VERY impressed with the SLRM’s performance, especially considering its maximum aperture. How does the Nocti stack up if compared to the Lux….hmmmmm? That might tell me how well the SLRM is doing in this situation.
Oh..above I was discussing the Oakley Bag shots…I was not clear about that. Sorry.
t/1.4 is brighter than f/1.4 thus the difference in brightness at f/1.4. A fair test would be t/1.8 sharpness vs f/1.4 sharpness with same exposure. I’m impressed with the SLR though considering the Lu xis considered as the worlds sharpest 50.
Dear Steve, your blog is the first bookmark I open every single day. I love reading your real world reviews, your thoughts and opinions , readers daily inspiration, etc… But as I am living in Europe, I am not in the possibility to support you by buying stuff from B&H .
Why don’t you create a “paypal donation” button ? It would give me a much better conscience feeling 🙂
Good idea for Steve Huff. I donate to another site frequently using PayPal.
So far I see no one is looking at their twist on cap, I know it’ll probably drive me nuts if I own one.
If it’s gonna be significantly cheaper then noctilux, and they still gonna profit, then they’ve nailed it!
In the comparison of the Oakley bag – it looks like the grey is more neutral with the Leica Sum Asph. The SLRMagic is a little more blueish.
Or is Steve doing different post-processing again?
Not a lens for everyday use. No one, including an old guy like me, likes to carry around a “beast”. I don’t see much of a difference between the two chair shots. I think the shot taken with the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux is just a good as the shot taken with the SLR Magic lens. Having been a follower of your work and your site for a few years now, I know how much you favor super fast lenses. Who is SLR Magic? What else do they make? I currently get excellent support from Leica here in NJ. Mechanically, how does the SLR Magic compare to a Nocti or even to a 50mm Summilux. Don’t see how they could sell a lens so cheap and at the same build it to match the quality of a Leica lens. I’ll stick with my 50 mm Summilux. My wife tries to hit me with every lens that I buy! If she catches me with that SLR Magic lens, I’ll get a fractured skull!
I was really hoping this lens would cost around $2k. At $4k the voigtlander f1.1 is a better buy. I bought a classic f1.0 Noctilux for $4kish a few years ago and I do not want to spend that again on any lens!
If you’re not shooting in the dark, but just want the out-of-focus ‘bokeh’ ..why not simply buy a 90mm or 100mm f2..?
Same look, same shallow depth-of-field, but at a fraction of the price.
Same can be said for buying a Noctilux or a Summilux 50. People who want a 50 want a 50, not a 90. The 90 ASPH sells for $4-$5k used so not cheaper, and not a 50 🙂 This lens is actually good for just about any situation – dark, light, shallow DOF not so shallow DOF. Only issues is it is a BEAST of a lens meaning it is large and heavy, but at the same time it is a specialist lens, like the Noctilux which is also big and heavy.
But what I mean is (..real time conversation here..) WHY do people necessarily want a 50..? My bet is that there are many people here who don’t realise that, say, a Canon Leica-fit 100mm f2 will look just like this 50mm f0.9. (Double the focal length, add two stops to the aperture: looks are identical.)
Cost of a Canon? £400/$600.
People seem hell-bent on paying a lot of money – I suspect because that implies they’re getting a lot of lens for the money. It seems to me to be a kind of perversity ..as if it’s a kind of inner glow (“Wow; look how much I’ve spent to get great pictures!”) which people want to buy, instead of choosing the tool, and then paying a sensible price for the tool.
Do people here pay top dollar for tyres (tires), shirts, ‘designer’ glasses-frames, dinners at the Waldorf-Astoria ..or just – for some odd reason – simply for lenses?
“WHY do people necessarily want a 50..? My bet is that there are many people here who don’t realise that, say, a Canon Leica-fit 100mm f2 will look just like this 50mm f0.9.”
No it won’t – it’s a totally different focal length! It will look very different indeed.
(P.S. Don’t go on about ‘zooming with your feet’ – I have both a 50mm and a 100mm, and with the 100mm you quickly find yourself bumping in to walls!)
Oh, and if you think any old budget tyre is the same as a good premium one, you’re sadly mistaken. And if you think the food at the Waldorf-Astoria tastes the same as any old dive, you’re missing out!
I know what point you’re trying to make, but sometimes you really do get what you pay for!
Looks like your son might have a goitre Steve.
As I perform in bands, run and organise a lot of shows and therefore do a lot of low-light live band photography, this lens is of great interest to me.
Thank you so much for your running review Steve. As much as you are lucky to be the first in the world to really put this thing through it’s paces… we are all just so lucky that you are sharing your thoughts with us. Keep up the good work, both you and Andrew from SLR Magic, you are giving me toys to dream about at night! 🙂
Great start of your comparison of Noct vs SLR-M…
Can’t await all your mentioned topics being published with this lens.
Good work Steve!
Just FYI, SLR Magic is about as far from a “sweatshop” as you can get. First of all, SLR Magic is in Hong Kong, not mainland China. For those who live and work in Hong Kong you already know that the labor laws and salaries there are on par, if not higher, that the west. There are several components of this lens that are produced in mainland China, but not in sweatshops. Anyone who thinks differently hasn’t worked recently in Guangdong Province. Over the last several years the Chinese government has made great strides in protecting worker’s rights, and takes a dim view of companies that mistreat or withhold pay from their employees.
Furthermore Andrew, the manager from SLR Magic who brought the lenses from Hong Kong to Steve’s workshop last weekend, can normally be found on the production floor, where he personally trains the technicians, calibrates lenses, and personally inspects every one. Believe me when I say that this guy is nuts over quality. Andrew looks at building a lens as a bespoke tailor looks at making a custom suit, namely that nothing less than perfection will do. I have every reason to believe that the “production” lenses from SLR Magic will be every bit as good, if not better, than the lenses we tested in LA.
the girl with blond hair is very pretty, is that your amazing fiance?
Yes that is my amazing fiancé 🙂 Thank you for the kind words.
Well done Steve,
Looks pretty good so far.
Lets see what the price is and then I can give it some serious consideration.
5000 meh to expensive from a newbie company and the best bokeh lens is the nikkor noct 58 1.2 it kills in all categories sorry just my 2 cents worth
No one said it is going to be $5000. That was the guess of those who shot with it for a weekend, after they used it. My guess was $3500-$4000 but no one knows. I do know the cost for them to build each lens is insanely high. We will wait and see, a price should come soon.
It`s all bloody amazing. A lens better then Noct at less then halv price. Would be interesting to hear Leitz reaction to that. It`s kinnda blow to their reputation. Should Magic pull another trick and produce 24 or 28/1.4 better then leica then wow. I do hope all this will not be another madame Jiang story. You know, Maos concubine interested in photography that in order to prove that chinese are as good as germans if not better qualitywise, decided to produce kind of hybrid copy of M4 and of three lenses 35/1.4, 50/1.4 and 90/2. They were close to Lieca standards but production costs were six times times the german. Well, a bit of well known history. You get what you pay for, still Leica is a great bit overpriced, thats a fact.
some of the zeiss zm wides are also better or on par with than the leica-m counterparts, at 1/3 the price.
True, but the mechanical parts ain`t the leica level.
I would take it for 2,000 bucks max, not for 3 or 4,000 and definitely not 5,000.
Looks like a fantastic lens with great image quality. But with that said, I will not buy made in China tube amps, turntables and the like. How much are these workers being paid to assemble these products? i would rather wait for Zeiss or some other company to make a lens from Japan, Germany or the US. I have the dough ready for a M9-P, and have a Summilux 50 on order and might pick up a 28-Elmarit before that comes in. Maybe wait for the M-10, but think the ccd might be the sensor that makes the Leica appealing for me. But no thank you to made in China luxury items!
all this knee jerk xenophobic China bashing sickens me… what’s the minimum wage in the good ol’ US of A these days? $4 or some crap? Try living off that in the US economy… I wonder if illegals earn that much even? Let him who is without sin cast the first stones…
I am off to ebay to get a decent Chinese made tube amp…. at a great price.
almost everything now , is made in China
why someone still has this kind of sentiment to product
when a product is good, high quality and functional..
even all my medical equipment, the best breed from siemens, philips
they has china componenet in it
so I am not supposed to use it ??
IMHO thats a very discrimative thoughts
sir.. I bet u
u can not live in the world , now
with ur shallow tiny mind
now u open all ur shirt, tear down ur house, car , etc
they has china component in those.. if u hate chinese.. u dont use it , right?
ur cell phone, ur laptop, all the communication device, planes, car, space ship
all has china made component
with all do respect
u can go to the jungle
live natural way like a tarzan.. that suits ur thought
all u can go to germany or whatever snobb country ur mind like
live there, and not using any china product
u try it..
It’s all about choices my friend. At times you have many options and others you don’t. When I do, I exercise it. Let me know when it’s $1500.00 and I will buy it!
“But with that said, I will not buy made in China…” “…when it’s $1500.00 and I will buy it!”
george troll etter = USA SELLOUT!
And it will not be, LE DOUCHE. do ya GET IT. Very thick! Let us all know when you pick yours up for $1500 DUH.
hahaha are u a billionaire that NOTHING you own is made in china? Then yes you are either a sellout or clueless.
what a hypocrite .. u are, sir..
when its 1500 usd ? hehehehe
u really are live in ur own tiny mind….
in global economic.. the component of our daily stuff
could be made everywhere…
like i stated before
the only way you live only by ur high end european stuff
is you go live naked in europian jungle then..
u would be saved from china, india, any other 3rd country products.. u seem so discrimanate for
DRW, I would probably agree with you if I understood what you wrote…
Excellent review Steve. Looking forward to seeing more.
Nice results, but I wouldn’t pay $3-$4K for that lens. If I were going to spend that amount of money on a rangefinder lens, I’d buy a Summilux 50 instead.
This is not a lens meant to compete with the Lux. It is a competitor for the NOCT. So those who would be interested in a Noct .95 would be interested in this. If someone wants to buy a Noct, they don’t buy a Lux instead. 🙂
but was actually happier to hear f/0.8, but now it is actually f/0.92. so how many stops is that faster than f1.4?
More than a full stop faster.
f/0.7 – f/1 – f/1.4 – f/2-0 – f/2.8 – f/4.0 and so on.
You can always go back and forth by a full stop by dividing or multiplying with the square root of 2 which is approximately 1.4.
So Steve, straight out… this lense versus nocti, all things considered (i.e. performance, CA, price etc), which one would you go for if you don’t own one?
Well….tough one. Why? Because the Leica is a Leica. Period. We KNOW it will have amazing build inside and out. But we have to look at things in perspective. The SLR Magic, from what I hear will come with a 3 year warranty and will be priced well below half of what the Nocti costs. The IQ is very close between the two and in many ways I prefer the SLR Magic. The SLR Magic is larger, and oh so slightly heavier. It has German made glass inside and is assembled in Hong Kong by hand. I have had zero focus issues or shift with the SLR Magic lens, and that can not be said for the Leica Noctilux. If we strip away the name and just look at the lenses side by side, the price/performance goes to the SLR Magic without question. It is probably a hair sharper than the Leica, is faster at f/0.92, focuses closer at .7 vs 1 meter, appears to be build to the same level of quality (on the outside, can;t say what the inside is like), and has less CA than the Leica. If I had the chance to buy one of the other and one was $11,000 and one was $4500 I would buy the SLR Magic at the lower price without question. If both were $11000 Id take the Leica just because it is a Leica. But I would take the SLR Magic over something like the Nokton 1.1 which I found to have a much flatter rendering in comparison, not built as well, and it has a much more funky bokeh. The SLR Magic bokeh just melts away. Beautiful. So far I am impressed.
For $3200, I will be able to make a room for this impressive lens. I hope SLR’s marketing department will have a change of heart in their initial pricing of the lens.
Paying more than US$4K for a lens made by “SLR magic”? Seriously..?
Even if they can make a 18-400 F1.4, don’t think I am going to spend that money with a brand that is less known than Sigma.
I have a noct, honestly not very happy with the result but this.. is just not right for a Leica user.
Being this looks like it’s going to be priced near to the Leica Summilux, I’d be very interested in hearing your take on it as an alternative.
In terms of pure image quality, the Summilux is (was) pretty much unbeatable. I’d argue its combination of sharpness and bokeh is about the best there is. At 1.4, can this match it?
Would this plus a Summicron be the perfect combination? (Tiny for every day, 0.95 for special occasions – but huge!)
Thanks for the comparison. I definitely prefer the Summilux. But enough to to not swap for the hyperprime and a Summicron 0.95? Now that’s the question!
The thing is, if I didn’t carry the hyper prime round as an everyday lens, would I miss both that and the ‘lux when shooting with the ‘cron?
Typo, sorry. I meant hyperprime 0.95 and Summicron 2.0?
When is the m mount version expected to be shipping?
i want this lens – in chrome! 😉
Wow these look great. Only tiny thing I saw was a ton of CA on the top of the camera in the first show with the guy on the stairs but probably unavoidable. Cant wait to see more!
Oddly, The Leica Noct has more CA…
With all the respect don’t see where this lens is better then noctilux other than the price. When all is said what remains is the best. As always. Nothing new in this world.
Well, Noct has more CA, doesn’t focus as close and is $11,000. This one has less CA than the Noct, focuses closer, is a bit faster (f/0.92) and will be thousands less. Both are equal in sharpness from what I have seen to date, both have great build as well.
if slr-m is still tinkering with it, PLEASE correct the barrel distortion!
Great story. I am glad you pushed them to better results. Now I am curious how long it will take to actually get one into my hands to try it out. I bet they will sell like freshly baked bread and will have a waiting list as well. Ok, enough reading, time to get out shooting.
Very interesting story and introduction. Looking forward to see the rest.
Ok wallet, get ready, here we go…
All positive stuff…..where they pitch this lens in terms of price point will be the deciding factor for me. I have a figure in mind (no point in speculating). If it’s above that I will follow through with my Noctilux order, in fact I’ll follow through with that anyway and sell it later if I decide the SLR Magic Hyperprime 50 T0.95 is the lens for me. Looking forward to more updates on this.
Good on ya Stevo.
You gots a family to look after.
Hope photoing with the SLRM HP brings you many more opportunities.
It sure looks like a great lens, but already owning a f/1.2 50mm m-lens I have a hard time convincing myself I need another one being so close…
wow , this is fantastic i can’t keep my eye away from the photo of the guy with the phone and red t-shirt , this lens is magical
The lens has a magic touch to it. It really shines in the picture mentioned.
Remember they called the iPad magical and they sold millions of them !