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The search for the best "ultrafast" E-mount lens

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Poki, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    So, I almost completed my dream lens line-up by now. At least I got the cores covered with my 12mm Touit, 24mm Sonnar and 50mm Touit. So with these lenses, I got a little used to an extremely high image quality standard, and I want the rest of my lenses to be of similar quality. So which lenses do I still want? For one, a fisheye just for some special purpose shots. I will buy the Rokinon 7,5mm at some time to fill that gap. For the long end, the Sony 70-200 f/4 will do fine.

    But for extreme low light situations, I'm not sure yet. What options are there?


    Following the method of elimination, I can make the list quite a bit shorter. The SRLmagic 50mm f/0.95 is simply not a good lens - it's a re-used design of a CCTV lens. The SLRmagic CINE LM 50mm T/0.95 definitely is the best lens of the bunch - it even rivals the mighty Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95. But it gets no longer produced and even back then when it was it retailed upwards from €3000. It's virtually impossible to get now.

    This leaves four contenders in this race. To summarize, the contenders are the following lenses:

    • Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 ' 680g ' €650
    • Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 ' 737g ' €750
    • SLRmagic HyperPrime CINE T/0.95 ' 800g ' €1000
    • HandeVision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 ' 1,2kg ' €1500

    Now to the obvious downsides of these lenses. The HyperPrime is a CINE lens, meaning it is optimized for video usage. This leaves the lens with a focus gear ring - not the most convenient focus mechanism to use by hand. Also, it has a clickless aperture, which is not too bad but still. The IBELUX seems to be the lens with the best quality control, but at the highest price and almost twice the weight of competitors it's a hard sell. Both Mitakons seem okay-ish, but I'm not yet sure about their image quality.

    What are your thoughts about this topic? Do you own one of those lenses? And if not, which of the lenses would you consider to buy and why?
     
    • Like Like x 4
  2. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I'm very curious to see the results of your search!

    However, overall I had done some similar thinking last year and simply decided full frame was the better way to get "ultra" fast performance. My f/1.2 lenses on FF are faster than all of these options (in equivalent terms), and cheaper. And I daresay my FDn 85/1.2 L will fare better than all of these - and weighs about the same as the lightest (with a bit extra on the adapter I suppose).
     
  3. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I am thinking Mitakon 50mm/0.95. Ibelux is too heavy and SLRmagic HyperPrime CINE T/0.95 is cine lens. That leaves Mitakons and I tend to prefer longer lenses generally and 50mm would make nice portrait lens too. If A7S price will came down it will make a killer combination with Mitakon 50mm/.95. However I need to get something wider before that Mitakon. I am thinking trip to Estonia (Tallinn) in a couple of weeks so that wide lens decision needs to be made pretty soon.
     
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    From the size/weight/focal length/prize-combination I'm most tempted with the 35mm Mitakon. I'm just not convinced about its optical quality wide open. Because I wouldn't use this lens for anything but wide open as my Touit 2.8/50M will offer better quality period.

    Luckily, I found a site which offers full-sized samples. You can view them here: http://qicai.fengniao.com/315/3154046_all.html

    Judging from these photos, I have to say I like the color rendering. Unfortunately, I'm not all that sure whether these shots are edited or not. Just look at the eyes in this shot. These are either colored contact lenses or intense post processing.

    Wide open, the rendering still is pretty good. But chromatic aberrations start to get problematic as you can see here and its not terribly sharp. But heck, even the Leica Noctilux isn't terribly sharp wide open, so I guess I can't have everything.

    The HyperPrime CINE 35mm T/0.95 does seem sharper at first glance, so I'll compare the two now.

    Don't forget that you'd need a speedbooster to achieve an equivalent aperture. That adds 200g and additional size to the lens. I'm pretty sure most of the native ultra fast lenses come out with a smaller size and lower weight than such a combination. And the Canon 85 1.2 L alone already weighs more than 1000g. As for the optical quality, that's the question I'm asking myself.
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The comparison at 3D-Kraft shows pretty clearly that out of the 35mm lenses, the SLRmagic CINE ist the best of the bunch. It beats the Mitakon with better CA, less vignetting and especially MUCH better edge sharpness and resolution. It also shows that the Mitakon 35mm is, in almost every discipline, better than a Canon 50mm f/1.4 with Speedbooster. So that seems just about right considering the price.

    The problem with the SLRmagic CINE is that it's hardly available. I don't know what's up with the production at SLRmagic, but something doesn't seem to work out for them. The latest ended ebay auction I could find selling the lens sold it at €1900. I'm not gonna spend this amount of money on the SLRmagic lens.

    So out of the 35mm lenses, I narrowed it down to the Mitakon - a good enough lens with seemingly good value. As I'd only use it for special purpose shots and very low light situations I guess I can live with the less than perfect quality. The IBELUX is, after thinking about it, out too because of the weight and price. I don't have a problem with paying €1500 for a lens, but for one that probably will only be used every couple of weeks it's a little steep.

    So this narrows it down even further - down to the two Mitakons. As the 50mm is of similar quality as the 35mm one, it's simply a matter of focal length preference. Although the 50mm should deliver better edge sharpness due to the APS-C sweet spot advantages (it's a full frame lens as opposed to the 35mm's APS-C coverage).

    I'll need to look for more images shot with the Mitakon 35 to decide whether it's worth it. But I know I want an ultra fast lens in my bag, even if I don't need it now. So valuable options are few, it seems. And hey, the Mitakon now even comes with a one year warranty.
     
  6. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I'm not going to get into an equivalence argument here (I am speaking of using f/1.2 lenses on FF, not APS-C + speedbooster), so let me just state the FD 85/1.2 L is not anywhere close to over 1000g - it's about 680g, same as the lightest Mitakon (but needs an adapter).
     
  7. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I don't own the Canon lens, but any site I've seen states it's over 1kg, for example here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/423691-USA/Canon_1056B002AA_EF_85mm_f_1_2L_II.html

    Maybe you have a different version of the lens?

    Thanks for posting this. The Mitakon 50mm seems to be as good as the HyperPrime CINE, which means it's extremely good for its price. And, unfortunately, better than the 35mm Mitakon. This means I'll probably have to go with this lens. And although I'd prefer the 35mm focal length as it's a gap in my focal lengths covered, but hey, image quality is more important.
     
  9. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    EF and FD are indeed different. EF is electronically coupled, AFs, and works on modern EOS DSLRs while FD is the legacy mount for film SLRs - the FD 85/1.2 L was produced in the 1980s to 1990s - my copy is from about 1986 and definitely weighs under a kilo. I have never handled the EF 85/1.2 L.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Oh, okay. Thank you for the information! But still, after seeing the quality of the Mitakon lenses, I'm quite convinced I'll go that route.

    Still not absolutely sure about whether to go with the 35 or 50. Sure, the 50 offers a little better quality - especially the CA control is much better. For that, it's also almost €150 cheaper. Still, focal length preference is more important than quality pure quality. So I'll head out with my 50mm Touit and 35mm Fujian to see which focal length works better for me in everyday situations - that should make the decision much easier.
     
  11. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    By the way, just discovered that both MXcamera and the official ZY optics website are selling the Mitakon lenses cheaper than the sellers on ebay. The prices are the following:

    ebay:
    35mm Mitakon - €649,00
    50mm Mitakon - €749,00 (999 USD)

    ZY website:
    35mm Mitakon - €510 (680 USD)
    50mm Mitakon - €670,00 (899 USD)

    MXcamera:
    35mm Mitakon - €547
    50mm Mitakon - €580

    €510 - €580 seems like a GREAT price for a good quality f/0.95 lens. Wasn't able to find a price on the 50mm Mitakon Speedmaster "Pro" version though. I doubt it offers much better image quality (it's probably just a change to make production cheaper), but I'd appreciate the larger filter thread of 67mm as my 12mm Touit uses the same filter thread size so I could share the filters without step down rings.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. aljaszcar

    aljaszcar New to TalkEmount

    4
    Aug 15, 2014
    The voigtlander 35 1.7 ultron compares very favorably to leica lenses
     
  13. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yep, but it's only f/1.7 - so almost two full stops slower than the Mitakons. At that speed, I'd rather buy the 32mm Touit. The reason I want one of those lenses is just one - the low light capability they offer.
     
  14. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I think if you are going for super low light, you need to consider what shutter speed you can hand hold at.

    35 vs 50mm doesn't seem like a lot, but in my experience it makes a significant difference.

    My fastest lenses are a 50mm Rokkor 1.4, and 85mm F2. (I use both with a speed booster so they are pretty close to the 35mm & 50mm). I find I get a lot more usable low light shots with the 50mm, just because I can hand hold it at 1/40 or so.
     
  15. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    That's a good point. For me, with 50mm lenses on my NEX-7, I usually try not to go slower than 1/100th of a second. Which still is faster than the recommended 1/150th of a second. With a 35mm lens, I should be able to get down to 1/60th without too much hassle.

    Decisions, decisions ... I think I'll just sleep a few days over it. I don't need the lens now anyway, it's more a 'want' thing.

    Heck, I can't even decide which color of the 35mm I like better. Usually, I prefer my lenses all black to not attract any attention. Still, the white 35mm Mitakon looks just soo classy ... Pretty much like a Leica lens - if you don't look too close. But a white lens on a black body? Hmm ...
     
  16. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    Yeah, so with the 35mm you get around 1 stop more light.

    I agree that white lens looks very sexy in those pictures. Would be interested to see what it looks like on the camera.
     
  17. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I found a very in-depth review of the 35mm Mitakon over at Xitek. Unfortunately, it's written in a language I can't read. I'll see what google translate can do. But the images alone are very interesting.

    For one part, there's a size comparison to the 24mm Sonnar. It's just a little longer and thicker, although it weighs three times more. But I haven't seen any solution with such a light gathering capability which weighs less, so I guess that's a trade-off that has to be made.

    Also, there are some very helpful images with crops. They show clearly that the lens sharpens up pretty well at f/2 almost across the frame. The vignetting seems not terrible either.

    The bokeh seems to be rendered nice wide open. Stopped down to just 1.4 and you get octagon oof highlights, so you probably have to shoot wide open in those situations or avoid too bad highlights.

    The color rendering is a little strange. I love it on skin tones and think it looks nice on most photos I've seen so far. But in landscapes, it simply sucks ... Don't know why this is, but I wouldn't use this lens for landscapes or architecture anyway.

    On another note, things get a strange glow when shooting close-ups wide open. Is this normal for such fast lenses?

    After all, it seems to offer good value. And as it's sharp when stopping it down, it could be the only 35mm lens I'll ever need (the Fujian one is not a joy to use at all), so I wouldn't have a focal length covered twice as it would be the case with the 50mm Mitakon and my 50mm Touit. I'll think a little more about it, but currently, the little 35mm Mitakon is the top contender for the place in my bag.

    I've seen some images in the meantime. The white lens looks absolutely beautiful on silver X-mount bodies and good on silver NEX bodies. But on black NEXes, it just looks out of place. Same thing with the black lens on silver bodies. Still, the black lens on an NEX-7 actually looks kinda nice.
     
  18. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    If anybody is still interested in this discussion - I worked my way through some horrible google translations of chinese reviews and discussions about the 35mm Mitakon. I made a few interesting discoveries:

    • The Mitakon 35mm is actually T/0.95, not f/0.95. This means it's about f/0.92, so it catches even more light.
    • The white version of the lens is limited to a single production run, so when they're all sold, you won't be able to get one anymore.
    • It's a very sharp 35mm lens from f/2 onwards, easily comparable with most of the competition in its price range.
    • Build quality is incredibly good, the focus ring has a pretty long throw.
    • Packaging, lens front and back caps and lens hood are incredibly bad no name parts.

    After all of this research in the past 48 hours, and after looking at tons of images from the lens, I'm convinced that this is the solution. At least for me. A 35mm lens is something missing in my collection anyway (like I said, the Fujian doesn't count), so it's an added bonus that I don't need to buy the 32mm Touit in addition to the 50mm Mitakon (not that I'd have now anyway, but you know, my GAS sure would have convinced me otherwise).

    Also, due to the shorter focal length and the fact that it's actually T/0.95 as opposed to the 50mm's f/0.95, it should have serious advantages in low light conditions.

    The worst part are the chromatic aberrations and the less than perfect oof highlights, but for this price, I can live with it.

    In the end, it's a €500 investment for a lens I'll probably use for fun. A fun little manual focus tank. If I need quality for a job, I'll go with my Zeiss lenses anyway. But for a walk in a park, this sounds like a good idea. Or it's just GAS. I'll hopefully see soon. Will buy it within a few weeks, don't want to rush and regret.

    Any thoughts whether it's actually a good idea to buy this lens?
     
  19. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I do suspect there is some GAS involved.

    I don't have anything intelligent to say about the Mitakon. Unintelligently, I would be worried about spending so much on something made in China by a relatively unknown manufacturer.

    If I was in your position, and as obsessed with Zeiss as you seem to be, I think I would prefer to get an old Zeiss lens for C/Y mount and pair that with a speedbooster.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Well, the speed booster II alone costs more than this lens. Also, I always prefer native lenses if possible. And everybody wants a super fast lens, so this may just be the cheapest option with good quality. Just watched a Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 review and that one seems quite a bit less sharp than the Mitakon, and the bokeh isn't better at all. Seems like there isn't a way to get an ultra fast lens without trade-offs - as long as you don't want to save for a Noctilux.

    Still, I'll wait a few days to weeks to make sure I actually want it. I'm not a fan of such expensive impulse buys.