USER REPORT: The Jackar Snapshooter 34 1.8 Lens for Micro 4/3
Melt your images away for $175
By Nathan Wyss – His website is HERE
I’d never heard of Jackar before seeing the name on some list of manufacturers of Micro Four Thirds lenses. I rarely see this 34mm lens mentioned on forums or blogs, but the photos I take with it are interesting enough that it seems worth the trouble to do a real world style review on it. After using it for a few months, I’ve found it to be an artistic oddball good for breaking up my usual photographic routine. Priced and purchased for around $175, I have no regrets.
It’s a quirky piece of optics. I want to put down some pros and cons, but these two lists would be almost interchangeable. For a solid metal build it’s fairly light. Stepless aperture ring and focus ring are both firm and smooth. The focus markings on the ring seem to be approximate, not exact, so they are pretty useless. When shooting wide open, the DOF is so narrow and center weighted that I need to focus by eye with the view finder anyway….assuming I have time to do that. Annoyingly, it’s possible to focus past the infinity mark.
What I find to be the most fun aspects of this lens might be undesirable to others. It has chunky, asymmetrical, psychedelic bokeh that sometimes looks to be swirling and other times looks like it’s melting. Wide open, all parts of the frame but the very center blend into the bokeh for a very surreal effect.
The photos below are of the same scene, shot with the Jackar 34 and Oly 45, both wide open at 1.8 and at, or near, the closest focal distance.
Jackar 34mm – ISO 200 – 1.8
Olympus 45mm – ISO 200 – 1.8
This shot, below, really illustrates how crazy the bokeh can get at 1.8.
I’m not sure how many elements and coatings are involved with this lens, but it must be minimal. It is in no way a sharp lens like we’re used to with the Panny 20mm or Oly 45mm. Fortunately the hood is deep because what would be stylish lens flare on the Oly 45mm can wash out the entire image using the Jackar. But the way it handles blown out areas of the frame, the inherent overall softness, and the fuzzy corners (at any aperture) give the images a warm analog feel. It reminds me of the lenses I used on the old wind-up Bolex 16mm movie cameras. More than any lens I’ve shot with, I’m able to process the images from the Jackar 34mm to have a unique, old school look.
Most of the shots used for this review have DxO film filters applied to them. There’s a lot of processing applications and film filters out there, which is wonderful. I haven’t tried them all but I really like DxO’s software and filters (more than the Nik Collection). DxO does not have presets for the Jackar lens.
ISO 200 – 5.6 – DxO Fuji Film Filter (Can’t recall wich one)
1.8 Notice how his elbow is in perfect focus while his head begins to get fuzzy. Wide open only the dead center is sharp.
You can buy the Jackar 34 1.8 for Micro 4/3, NEX, or Fuji X for $175
I picked this up for use with the fuji xe-2 and I’m more than happy with it. I use it almost exclusively for black and white handheld portraits in low light. It is the lens I reach for when I want to completely lose the background and get lost in the people or animals I’m shooting. This is one of the funnest lenses I’ve ever used and wide open it’s like you are shooting in a fantasy. This lens has tons of character and simply works. Frankly I don’t know what a cctv lens is, but this lens is simply great for 150 bucks.
Your examples are good photos… but they say more about your artistry than about this likely redressed CCTV lens. I have some shots from a $35 CCTV lens and a Fotodiox adapter with similar looking “ferris wheel” effect on out of focus leaves in trees also… which is intersting looking. Which may be exactly what some-one may be looking for.
Just don’t pay > $120 extra for the “dedicated” mount (without any electronic
communication to the camera).
the out of focus areas are far less swirly than I imagined, looks good. Nice images Nathan.
This really does look like the Fotasy 35mm f1.7 CCTV lens. I love these lenses, but i think SLR Magic tried this stunt already. Get them for $30 from Rainbow Imaging and be even happier =o]
Optically this is probably very similar to the CCTV lenses, but you have to watch out for cropping and vignetting with them, as most of them are designed for small ccd security cameras.
Not the Fotasy lens. As long as the rear element is 1″, it’s large enough to cover an APS-C and u4/3 sensor. Here are some images i shot using the NEX-6 and the Fotasy 35mm f1.7 lens. http://www.flickr.com/photos/computercontrolled/tags/fotasy/
No vignetting and they look very similar to the images with the Jackar.
Yeah your images look great. My favorite is the girl with the backpack.
“This shot, below, really illustrates how crazy the bokeh can get at 1.8.”
What you call “crazy” is usually considered “crap”.
Yea, by those who think they know Bokeh. Bokeh is one of those things that is personal pref. What you think is crap, someone else may think is gorgeous. For example I love the Bokeh from a 40-2 Helios 85 1.5. Some say it is beautiful and some say it is ugly. But no one can judge it for others. The Jackar and other CCTV lenses can give artistic and interesting results, no doubt. Will it be sharp and crisp and smooth? No, but sometimes that gets boring. For the cost what you get here is well worth it if you are into artistic looking results every nw and then. One reason why I own a few lenses that give this effect, one being a Leica 50 Summmarit 1.5.
Bikes and flag is the best one 🙂 awesome stuff.
I like this lens. It has a depth that looks almost real in some shots. The dog and the shot above that one particularly. Yes, the sharpness is not the best but I think it gives character that looks good, possibly depending on the background. Lets face it sharpness does not a picture make, but it can cover a lot of shortcomings.
I use the old pen 38mm 1.8 so I have that length covered on the em5 so I don’t need it though its in my preferred focal length for the em5 (it is sharp as well). There again this Jackar may be interesting for character shots!!! and old look black and white.
Very cool Jim. The more I use the older manual lenses the more I like them. Your combo sounds great.
I have been looking at this lens for a long time, to be used in Fuji mount.
I guess, the best way to describe it,is, you pay for what you get.
This lens can be interesting, like you had stated, when you get ‘bored’ with your normal working lens. At this price, I think it is still a steal.
Nice photos. Though I believe this lens is just a redressed CCTV lens with a permanent mount in a nice presentation. Which can be purchased for like $25 on eBay.