New items in house: Leica X, Petzval Lens, Ibelux 40mm f/0.85, Lytro Illum

New items in house: Leica X, Petzval Lens, Ibelux 40mm f/0.85, Lytro Illum

Finally! I expected most of these a couple of days ago but it all landed today. The UPS guy thought it was Christmas at the Huff Household with boxes from Leica, B&H Photo and Cameraquest. For me, it felt like “OH MAN! I AM GONNA BE BUSY”!!!

1. The Leica X with 23mm f/1.7 Summilux Lens


Over the next 2-3 weeks I will be posting reviews for the new Leica X with 23 1.7 Summilux lens (35mm equivalent). The camera looks and feel gorgeous, much like the X2 but with a larger lens. I have the silver and brown and it is a stunning color combo. I shot off 5 shots in my yard just to make sure it powered up and worked OK out of the box and it did. AF seems faster than the X2, maybe the same as the X Vario. Image quality seems similar to the X2 and X-Vario in color, tonality, sharpness, etc. So very nice IQ.


So look back next week for a possible first look of the X.

2. The HandeVision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 Lens for APS-C cameras (Sony mount in hand)


This lens is LARGE and HEAVY. It is an f/0.85 lens of high quality and comes in at over $2000. It is packaged much like a Leica lens and even includes a very Leica like leather lens case. Also, lille the Leica Noctilux it has quite a bit of CA/Purple fringing wide open in high contrast areas. I will be testing it on the Sony A6000 as this is NOT a full frame lens. For me, it may be too large to really enjoy but I am sure the IQ will be superb. I will be shooting some portraits with it this weekend. Available now at B&H Photo.


The box and Leica like case is above.

3. The Petzval Lens


Stephen Gandy of sent me this lens to test and told me I could buy it if I liked it πŸ™‚ I have wanted to give this lens a try for a while now just due to its uniqueness in look, design and build. Of course it is a replica of the old original Petzval lens that was originally made in Vienna in 1840. This is a “artsy” special effect lens IMO and sometimes this kind of lens and effect can make your photos stand out. Cameraquest is a dealer and sells this lens. πŸ™‚ Check it out here.


I will have some 1st shot samples by the end of the weekend with this lens, so stay tuned! What I like is that this is a full frame lens, so should be great on the A7s πŸ™‚

4. The Lytro Illum

This ons I am lukewarm on because I tested the old light field camera and thought it was an overpriced toy. Many love the new Illum though and I am happy to give it a whirl. I took it out of the box and it is huge, long and feels odd but I will give it a full rundown over the next 2-3 weeks.




  1. I am a fan of clean design but this is a bit too clean and minimalistic. Main drawback is the obvious emission of EVF. Not to mention EV comp dial etc. When a manufacturer puts a quality EVF plus ISO, EVF, Shutter speed and ISO DIALS and a decent lens and sensor and menu then I am interested.

  2. Leica X looks huge! Curious to hear how portability compares to Fuji X100, most obvious alternative, and Sony RX1. I wonder if it was worth getting down to F1.7 if the tradeoff was that honking lens.

    Look forward to hearing about usability.

    • Fuji X100 is the slimmest and most portable, then RX1, then X. But the lens has to be larger to get it to 1.7. The Sony 35mm f/2 lens is HUGE but the last 1/4 is IN the body almost touching the sensor in the back of the camera.

  3. Interesting set of toys you have to play with there πŸ™‚ should be fun. Oddly I’m most curious about the Lytro Illum. I know the point of it is the dynamic image, but how good are the JPGs or straight images you can pull out of it for print or general web use? And how well can you control DOF after the event, can you fine tune this to get just the depth you want say in a portrait, or in a macro of a fly, or is the tuning at a broad level several feet deep?

  4. Keep up the good work Steve (great beard too!) looking forward to the X-review, saw it at Photokina last week, looks and feel are great!

  5. It is fair to say that if one could only have one lens, it would be the 35mm equivalent. So a camera like the Leica X is a very good compromise between simplicity, quality and compactness. The iPhone is great but if you want bigger enlargements, or anything that a bigger sensor provides, the X is the logical step up.

  6. Leica X? I’ll be interested to see how this stacks up to the RX1(R). Sorry if this is excessively cynical, but if you look at,576,ha,l the Leica is just as big as the Sony and is uncompetitive in every objective measure (OK, it’s half a stop faster, but the Sony more than makes up for it with the larger sensor which will probably have better low-light performance and shallower depth of field). And at $2300 it can’t really compete on price anymore, especially with RX1s going for $1900 new these days.

    • The RX1 and RX1r will outperform the X, no question. IN low light, in good light, etc. It has an amazing sensor (rx1) that so far is my 2nd fave Sony FF sensor to date for its look and rendering. The X will not be able to compete for IQ, video, and usefulness. It will beat the RX1 in design, feel, beauty and color/leica signature. This X will render just like an X Vario or X2 but now with a faster lens. Same color signature and overall look to the images. Crisp, colorful, nice, beautiful. The RX1 will bring you full frame qualities that are beautiful as well. The RX1 and RX1r are two of the best cameras released in recent years. This X is for those who want a Leica and the Leica X signature look. All personal preference.

      • I’d argue about the design, actually. Speaking strictly ergonomically, I’d much rather have Sony’s aperture ring than the finicky top-mounted knob that Leica uses – with the Sony you can have your left hand control the aperture and your right thumb control the exposure comp (or shutter speed via the rear dial, if you’re shooting in manual), while the Leica shoehorns both controls onto the space for the right thumb, and has a row of buttons on the left edge that can’t be easily accessed while shooting. I haven’t had a chance to handle the new X yet, but the build quality and feeling of solidity of the RX1 sets a pretty high bar. The Leica probably has better OOC color rendition (this isn’t an area Sony is particularly good at in general), though, but considering that the target audience likely has customized color profiles in their editor of choice, I’m not sure how significant the latter is.

        All that being said, one could argue that we’ve reached the point of sufficiency IQ-wise in 95% of shooting conditions (and the two cameras are sufficiently similar in responsiveness) that haptics, and emotional connection are more important factors than raw numbers, and I can see the Leica winning in that department based on brand appeal and aesthetics alone, especially considering their target market is probably image-conscious (“image” meaning how people view them, and not how their pictures turn out :P) enough that a Sony just won’t do because it’s far too plebeian for their rarefied tastes.

  7. “This is a β€œartsy” special effect lens IMO and sometimes this kind of lens and effect can make your photos stand out…”

    …it can also make YOU stand out too! πŸ˜‰

    Petzval = Gold Member

      • Well, the RX1 and RX1r will beat the X for IQ, especially in low light. The 35 mm zeiss f/2 lens on that camera is special, as is the sensor and look it gives. The X is for those who want a Leica from styling, design to color signature and look. The X will get you nowhere near the shallow DOF possibilities as the RX1 though.

  8. Steve, as a fan of yours, I am really hoping that the Lytro will be reviewed well by you. It is going to take skilled photographers to produce worthwhile images with it, and a completely different shooting mentality. I look forward to your updates!

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