March 2013 - Back in February I had another opportunity in Hong Kong to compare quite a unique collection of superfast 35mm prime lenses that - attached to a NEX-7 - provide you an equivalent angle of view to a classical 50mm lens on full frame. Three of them start at an amazing aperture of about f/0.95 that compares in terms of depth of field (DOF) to 50mm f/1.4 on a fullframe sensor.
One of the candidates, the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 35mm T0.95 was compared already in December 2012 to a Voigtländer Nokton 35mm
f/1.2 ASPH (version I) and an AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G on full frame (the Nikon D800E) (here, in memory), thus triggering a discussion about onion rings ...
The shootout candidates (ordered by transmission / aperture):
- SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 35mm T0.95
The final production version used in this comparison will start shipping in about May 2013 for an introductory price of US$ 1249. It is a very solid (about 800g) construction with 12 lens elements, circular aperture blades and an extractable lens hood. The aperture ring operates clickless and is calibrated in T-stops (a transmission of T0.95 usually requires an aperture of about f/0.9 to f/0.92) and has the same cogging like the focus ring to support video applications (follow focus) as well. It is shipped with M-mount and an adapter to E-/X-/EF-M-Mount depending on your order. It covers APS-H sensor size but with its large rear element (diameter 36mm) it does not fit into the throat of current Leica-M cameras or Ricohs GXR module. For more details please see this article.
- Mitakon 35mm f/0.95
This lens is a very solid construction as well with 10 lens elements and a 10 blades aperture. It has good haptics, weighs about 680g and comes with E-mount. Prices I have seen so far varied between 700 (eBay auction) and 1000 US$ (private auction). The lens is manufactured in China and until now I did not see a dealer that offers it with warranty.
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens + Metabones Speed Booster (converting to a 35mm f/1.0 lens)
This combination of a 50mm f/1.4 full frame lens and a focal converter provides you a lens with 35mm focal length and an aperture of f/1.0 still covering the size of an APS-C sensor. To understand that functional principle please see Metabone's white paper. The adapter is designed to transmit /convert also the electrical signals to the lens in order to control aperture setting and autofocus (on selected lenses) by the camera. The Canon EF 50/1.4 lens is about 400 US$, the adapter costs about 600 US$ when ordered in Hong Kong.
- Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH
This lens is designed with 9 elements, one with aspherical surface and 9 aperture blades. It is very compact and weighs only about 320g. Some people say it is still the "35mm/1.4 reference". Prices are about 5000 US$ (new and about 4500 US$ used).
- Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC
This lens is designed for fullframe DSLRs and constructed with 12 lens elements (some aspherical) in 10 groups and an aperture with 8 blades. It weighs about 712g. It is availabe with different mounts and has an attractive price of about 500 US$.
- Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2.0 ASPH
This even more compact desgined lens is propably the smallest 35mm f/2.0 fullframe lens avaiilable today. It is designed with 7 elements (one aspherical surface), has an 8-bladed diaphragm and weighs 254g. Price is about 3200 US$.
In this article we will cover
- overall comparison
- center-sharpness of the f/0.95 and f/1.4 candidates at open aperture and F1.4 as well as edge sharpness (of the 0.95 candidates)
- bokeh (rendering of the out-of-focus areas and the shape of the circles of confusion of highlights) at F0.95, F1.4 and F2.0
- further sample shots
Acting as a good subject for real world photos, we met Bertille Tabourot, who is a stylist
and fashion designer from Paris, living currently in Hong Kong. She used this opportunity to present some of her fancy
creations acting as a freelance model.
Overall Picture Comparison at F0.95 / T0.95
The following pictures were all shot from the same position (with about 3m distance to the model) on a cloudy afternoon at a time, where already the first lights on building arcades started providing a nice "available light" mood. The images were developed from RAW with identical settings for sharpness, contrast, clearness etc. You can click on the images in order to open higher resolutions
(including the original 24 MP resolution) and from there you can also navigate to the EXIF-data but we will also discuss 100% crops
with actual pixels in the next paragraph.
Let us start with the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 35mm T0.95 at open aperture: