The SLR Magic Hyperprime 50 T 0.95 for Micro 4/3
By Steve Huff
Order this lens at B&H Photo HERE
I remember back in the early part of 2012 when I was putting on a Los Angeles workshop with Todd Hatakeyama and we had 32 attendees or so, which meant we all had a blast shooting on the streets of LA.
What was ultra cool about that workshop was that we had a couple of special guests and a very awesome lens debut at that event. The 1st special guest was none other than actor and comedian Jeff Garlin who came by to give us some stand up and talk about a movie he was working on called “Finding Vivian Maier” which is EXCELLENT BTW and a MUST SEE! Jeff was awesome and he was part of that memorable event and helped make it a success.
Me and Jeff in 2012 at my Los Angeles workshop
The other special guest at the workshop was Andrew Chan from SLR Magic and he was there to let all of us try the a lens that he was very very proud of. That lens was the amazing 50 T 0.95 Leica Mount and yep, it went right after the Leica Noctilux f/0.95, and man…not only did it go after it, it proved that a Leica Noct killer could be made for MUCH less than the $11,000 Leica charged for their lens.
Me shooting the 50 Leica Mount Hyperprime back in 2012 on my Leica M9. Photo shot by Judd Weiss.
Not only was the lens $6-7K cheaper than the Leica at the time, it was a tad better in the sharpness department and even Bokeh department. It has less CA and focused closer. It was a bit larger and heavier but wow, that lens was a masterpiece.
After it was getting some crazy buzz online it seemed some politics came into play as all of a sudden SLR Magic was being attacked with nonsense accusations in an attempt to stop them from selling that lens, or at least derail them here in the US. Seems it was a huge threat to someone somewhere as the mud-slinging and stories that were told were just ridiculous. The lens was Leica M mount and worked with the RF meaning it was RF coupled. Six friends of mine bought one and loved it, and a few still have the lens to this day for their Leica or Sony FE cameras. In any case, SLR Magic seemed to withdraw the lens for a while but it did return and is still available for purchase in the NON RF coupled version in Leica mount but in reality for Sony FE mount (using an adapter) for $2999. The lens indeed has some magic. See my review HERE.
But wait! Now there is the New 50 T 0.95 Hyperprime for Micro 4/3
Well, today I am happy to announce that SLR Magic have brought out that same lens formula for Micro 4/3, in a NEW 50mm T 0.95 Lens. This is a premium lens in build, feel and performance for Micro 4/3 and the fast T 0.95 aperture (T stops are used in video and are slightly faster than the F counterpart making this lens an F/0.91 or so. While it will not give the same look and feel as the full frame version, it will offer a flavor of that look for a fraction of the cost and will be one hell of a manual lens for your Olympus or Panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras. It will also be a fraction of the LM version, coming in at $999.
Now, all Micro 4/3 shooters realize (or at least I hope they do) that the sensor in our cameras will double the effective focal length of any lens attached, which is why Olympus sells the 25 f/1.8, to mimic a fast 50mm. So naturally this 50mm T .95 will now give us an effective focal length of 100mm, which is quite long for my tastes. I am a tried and true 50mm guy, sometimes 35mm and sometimes even 28mm. But 100mm? Not so much. This was a concern of mine when Andrew Chan sent over the new 50mm T 0.95 for me to test..that 100mm reach means not so good for indoor work.
About a day or two after I received the lens my worry subsided as I remembered that no matter what lens you have on your camera, you can always find shots to fit it and make it work if you truly open your eyes and look for shots. You know, the old saying “zoom with your feet”, well that rings true here.
I took the camera with me along with friends and family to Las Vegas and enjoyed testing it out in various lighting situations. What I soon found out is that when wide open at T 0.95 there is a very SLIGHT softness. VERY slight. But stop this lens down to T 1.1 or 1.4 and you have an amazingly sharp and crisp lens that has some serious POP to it, and I mean amazing sharpness to the level of some glass that will set you back much more than this.
I believe SLR Magic designed this lens as a video tool primarily but it is equally as nice as a photo tool. With its smooth click-less aperture and medium focus throw it feels delightful on my E-M5II Titanium Edition. It looks awesome as well. The slide out hood is reminiscent of the Leica 5o Summilux ASPH, quality all the way around in regards to fit finish and feel.
This shot was taken at T 1.1 to give a tad more crispness to the subject. This could have worked at T 0.95 but I found that I preferred using this lens from T 1.1 to T 1.4 most of the time.
This one is at T 0.95 and I focused on the upper most piercing. It is also up close at its minimum focus distance, which is also why we see a tad bit of softness and glow.
So what do I think of the lens after using it non stop for a while? I do really enjoy it, but at the same time it is a specialty lens. I would use it if I wanted a nice portrait with shallow DOF. I would stop down to f/2 for max pop and detail as well as making it easier to nail the focus (when wide open it is very tough to 100% nail focus as T 0.95 has paper-thin depth of field). I would use this lens in low light or night-time situations when I needed the maximum light sucking capabilities. I would use this lens whenever I was in a manual focus kind of mood when using my Micro 4/3 camera or if I wanted an artsy look. I would use this lens for video interviews as well or even some street work. So yes…
It is versatile.
You must click images for better view.
What about detail? How sharp is this lens?
As I hinted at already, this lens sharpens up DRAMATICALLY when stopping down just slightly to T 1.1 or T 1.4. Wide open at T 0.95 it is a tad dreamy and slowly and unsharp. Take a look at the crops:
YOU MUST click on the images to see them larger and with full 100% crops!
1st image is shot wide open at T 0.95…click it to see the crop..
The next image was stopped down to T 1.4, look how much sharper it gets..like it “snaps” into place and becomes another lens..
Below is a full size image from RAW, click it to see to full size. Shot at f/4
The lens is not perfect though, and as I mentioned in my video overview above, it does have some CA (Purple Fringing) in high contrast situations. The thing here is though is that all fast primes like this have CA, all of them (when used on digital). Some cameras now remove this in camera before you see the image. Leica, Canon, Nikon..all have CA in their fast primes. So if you shoot this lens wide open, and take a picture of a high contrast scene with metal or glass, look out for some CA. As you stop down this will go away and I did not have any issues once I stopped down to just T 1.1. Below is an example of the CA you can expect when shooting wide open and in a high contrast situation..
Click images below to see them larger…examples of CA in high contrast areas when shooting wide open..
So all in all, the new SLR Magic 50 T 0.95 Hyperprime lens for Micro 4/3 is a winner in my book. When SLR Magic wants to put out quality, they do and can. This lens is a solution for anyone wanting a shallow DOF option for their little M 4/3 camera or for those who shoot lots of video or for those who need a lens for ultra low light to keep the ISO down or even for those who want to shoot some nice creamy portraits.
What this lens is NOT
What this lens is NOT is perfect. DO not expect to shoot a scene and get an image that looked like it came from a Leica M and 50 APO cron. This is what I call a “character lens” when shot wide open, and this is good as character is unique from lens to lens and it’s always nice to have these options in your toolbox. So if you shoot at T 0.95 do not expect across the frame sharpness, instead expect a nice almost dreamy kind of look. In fact this is probably the look that is attracting you to this lens!
Click any image for larger and better versions! I love the deep blue and shadows in this 1st shot. The 2nd blue man is a ball of blur when shooting at T 0.95.
If you click the image below you can see how sharp this gets by T 1.1..I focused on his face/eyes..
My final word on the new SLR Magic 50 T 0.95 Micro 4/3 Lens…
With so many lenses out today for Micro 4/3, and 98% of them being fantastic, how do you know which lenses to invest in and which ones to skip? Well, you don’t! All you can do is read reviews, look at samples and decide what works for YOU. If you enjoy the images here, the Bokeh, the color, the way this lens renders on an Olympus E-M5II AND you do not mind manual focus, and you want a solid well made lens that will last you a lifetime..then this just may be what you have been looking for.
What separates this lens from a lens like the Panasonic Nocticron that offers a 42.5 f/1.2 design with auto focus and gorgeous color and IQ is about $400 and with the Nocticron you get a much larger lens as well. You can see that review HERE to compare the images. The Nocticron is beauty and will give you an 85mm equivalent instead of 100mm. It will give you f/1.2 instead of T 0.95 (more like F 0.91) and at T 1.2 I’d put the SLR Magic up against the Nocticron any day and while it will not replicate the look of the Nocticron it will offer you its own look and character. You do lose Auto Focus but some prefer this as it slows us down, makes us think about the shot. So all up to YOU, the user.
Then we have lenses like the Olympus 75 1.8 which gives us 150mm, for me, too long for every day and indoor use though it is also a beauty. At the end of the day I enjoyed the SLR Magic lens. The 50MM T 0.95 Hyperprime is a premium lens, with much of the character from their legendary M mount version at 1/4 the price, which is nice and I have no complaints. 😉
To have yet another option for those of us who shoot Micro 4/3 is a good thing, selection and choice is wonderful 🙂
Where to Order?
If you want to order the SLR Magic 50 T 0.95 for Micro 4/3 you can do so HERE at B&H Photo who is an authorized SLR Magic Dealer. The price is $999.
A few more snaps below using the SLR Magic T 0.95 from wide open to T 1.4…
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This lens with 49/77 Step Up Ring 77 ND 0.4-ND 1.8 filter is a game changer over your few very few negatives. (Streaming is ideal.)
Try an add on to your opinion using the ND.
Mike = Steve is correct regarding T stops. I m an SLR team member out of SF CA.
Steve, I thought, if full frame, its not x 2. If, stays x 1 full frame value goes way up – this sharp.
I will check with Andrew too. Andrew confirmed the SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x 50 Anamorphic Adapter straps this lens and the Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T* FE ZA Full Frame Prime Lens – Fixed
This lens on the Micro 4/3 system will give you a 100mm equivilant focal length. This is for M 4/3 so 2X crop. 50 = 100 equivalent field of view. It is what it is.
Hey, Steve. I just have one question concerning the actual f-stop values of this lens on a Micro 4/3s camera. If the “working” focal length doubles from 50 to 100mm with that sensor, then one would also need to multiply the f-stop to get the actual working one, right? In other words, while the marketing department can say it’s a 0.95 (or 0.91 in your experience), isn’t it really acting like a f/1.8 (0.91 x 2)? Just curious as I’ve been taught to always make adjustments in the f-stop values, too, when multiplying lens values on a non-full frame sensor. Thanks for any feedback you have.
Oppss… I guess I should have written “T-stops” 🙂
Hi Steve, I have to correct myself I made a slight mistake. The equation for T/ is
T = Focal length/ square route of the transmittance (not just the transmittance) So, in my example T = 0.95/0.949 = nat’s whisker greater than 1. The effect is the same T/ is always larger than f/.
Now I can go back to making out of focus B+Ws of my wife’s back side 🙂
No not true. People do this ALL the time and there is loads of misinformation about it. As I explained..your will have a 100mm focal length equivalent. Your aperture is still T 0.95 so light gathering is still T0.95. Period. Your lens will still gather the light of a true T 0.95 lens, as it is. What changes is the focal length equivalent and the Depth of Field equivalent. Remember, fast lenses are made to gather light #1, and that is what this lens does.
Thanks, Steve, for the feedback and setting me straight on this. Appreciate your time!
Hi Steve, just getting back into photography after a prolonged absence and you and your site have been a major asset in helping me to choose new gear!
I hate to be a pain in the asset but I know you will appreciate the correction.
Unless you are putting LEDs inside your T lenses, T stops will always be higher than f stops. T= f/x where x = the % light transmission by the lens. So, If you have an f.95 lens that transmits 90% of the light that enters it, T = 0.95/0.90 = 1.05. As it is impossible for a lens to transmit more light than it takes in, the T stop will always be higher.
Whoops T = f / the square root of the transmittance = 0.95/0.949 = just over 1. Again T/ will always be larger than f/. Sorry for being so scatter brained.
I see in your video a Turntable in the back! IMHO vinyl still sound better 😉
“After it was getting some crazy buzz online it seemed some politics came into play as all of a sudden SLR Magic was being attacked with nonsense accusations in an attempt to stop them from selling that lens, or at least derail them here in the US. Seems it was a huge threat to someone somewhere as the mud-slinging and stories that were told were just ridiculous.”
I seem to remember that several people bought that lens and had it fall to bits (quite literally; the glue failed). There was a lot of fuss about it on several Leica forums at the time. The internet may have a short memory but I don’t!
Actually the real story is ONE person said his lens fell apart. This was a guy who got a substantial discount on one of the very early lenses (as he was at the launch…my workshop and this deal was offered to all who attended). So this guy buys the lens, gets it early as did quite a few of us. This guy also bought a Noctilux and a week later said his SLR Magic fell apart. He was offered a full exchange and he sort of blackmailed the owner of SLR Magic saying he would keep quite if he got a full refund and he would “not say a word”. Well, Andrew refunded him as he was going to anyway and the guy (who was very Leica motivated) trashed him on all the forums after he received his refund. HIs was the only lens that “fell apart” and he was refunded. I know over 10 who bought the lens and no one else had one problem. So the story is actually just that..”a story” of a Leica fan who tried to hurt SLR Magic. The lens is stellar and beats the Noctilux slightly for IQ, color, DOF. Also, my old Noctilux fell apart on me TWICE while using it for pro work. Had to be repaired and rebuilt twice and was never the same. So my SLR Magic never fell apart but my Leica sure did.
Thanks for the review, but you are killing me with your enthusiasm for these fast, portrait length MFT lenses 🙂 Do you find yourself using the Panasonic/Leica Noctilux, SLR Magic 50 T .95, or the Voigtlander 42.5 F .95 more? Do you prefer the rendering of one of those lenses more than the others? Just trying to choose between three excellent lenses. Thanks!
For M 4/3 I would take the Nocticron 1st, then this one, and third the Voigt (just too large, though fantastic performance that bests this lens).
How would it compare to the Voigtlander 42.5? Which you reviewed a couple of years back
Interesting and tempting! Thanks for the review.
BTW, “Seems it was a huge threat to someone somewhere as the mud-slinging and stories that were told were just ridiculous.”
Corporations always have a nice flock of yes-men ready to discredit the competitions, nothing new here… 😉
Does it have any focus shift? And what is distortion like? I imagine that no camera or RAW converter would have a profile for this lens, but I could be wrong.
Focus shift does not exist with mirrorless/liveview cameras, that is a Rangefinder issue. No distortion that I saw, but 50mm’s generally do not have distortion.
For all intents and purposes, your statement about focus shift is absolutely right. But I might disagree with you like this: suppose you wanted to focus and compose wide-open, then stop down?
I’m not saying you’d use this kind of lens for commercial or still-life photography, but focus shift can make that kind of thing difficult.
I focus and recompose all the time in fact, that is the only way I shoot and ever review image on this website, for almost 8 years has been taken via focus and recompose. I had zero issues here with this lens. If I were to shoot at f/4 I would focus at f/4. If I shoot at f/0.95 focus at 0.95. No issues.