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The Jackar SnapShooter 34mm f/1.8 is a new manual lens for Micro Four Thirds and NEX system cameras, giving manual aperture and focus control. The compact lens is constructed out of metal and comes in a stylish and some would say over the top presentation box with leather case, lens hood, and instruction manual.
The lens is relatively cheap for a fast prime lens, available for $190 US dollars excluding any imports charges or VAT you may have to pay when delivered. The bright f/1.8 aperture may also appeal for those who are shooting in low light and combined with the click-less aperture ring, it may be a good choice for video recording as well.
With the lens hood on, the manual focus ring is a little compact, and with the aperture ring being larger it's easy to accidentally change the aperture setting rather than the focus. As the aperture ring lacks click stops it's easy to accidentally change the aperture, and when twisted the other direction it's possible to completely shut the aperture letting no light through the lens.
The lens certainly feels well built with thick metal used in it's construction, although one concern was the faint lettering on the lens which may wear away in time. The manual focus and aperture rings turn smoothly, and it's relatively easy to correctly set manual focus when using the cameras enlarged magnification view. Although care does need to be taken not to accidentally change the aperture when focusing - this happened on a number of shoots.
The lens has a 37mm filter thread, which is the same as a number of other Micro Four Thirds lenses, and doesn't rotate when the lens is focussed, which should make adding a filter easy. The lens fits neatly onto the camera body, and the styling looks good with the retro styled Olympus OM-D E-M5 used for testing.
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Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8 Sample Photos
f/1.8 | 1/1250 sec | f/0.0 | 0.0 mm | ISO 200
Drive | 1/100 sec | f/0.0 | 0.0 mm | ISO 200
Leaves | 1/400 sec | f/0.0 | 0.0 mm | ISO 200
Spout | 1/640 sec | f/0.0 | 0.0 mm | ISO 200
Structure | 1/640 sec | f/0.0 | 0.0 mm | ISO 200
Water | 1/1000 sec | f/0.0 | 0.0 mm | ISO 200
Bokeh wide open | 1/80 sec | f/1.8 | 34.0 mm | ISO 3200
Bokeh stopped down | 1/40 sec | 34.0 mm | ISO 3200
Bokeh | 1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 34.0 mm | ISO 3200
Studio Portrait | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 34.0 mm | ISO 200
Lens Performance - Centre and edge quality: the centre of the frame can be extremely sharp when the lens is stopped down to around f/8 to f/11, although going up to and beyond f/16 there is a noticeable drop in image quality, until eventually no light is let through. While images can be sharp in the centre of the image, they become soft towards the edges.
The lens is particularly susceptable to lens flare and therefore the use of the lens hood is recommended, although this will not stop lens flare when the sun or light source is visible in the frame. If you do encounter lens flare in the shot, it's possible to use the shape of the flare or bokeh as a quick guide to what aperture was used when taking the photos, as these change depending on the aperture used, and the camera is not able to record the settings an there is no electronic contact with the camera.
CA/Purple Fringing wasn't a massive problem in the shots we took. Vignetting appeared low in general shots, and there was very little barrel or pincushion distortion visible.
Focus markings on the side provided were quite useful, and appeared to be accurate. The bokeh (out of focus areas) mimic the aperture blades shape and design when there are bright highlights in view which could be of concern. The closest focusing distance is around 30cm, so macro shots are not the lens' strongpoint.
Value For MoneyThe Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8 lens is available for $190 US dollars including shipping from Jackar, although you'll also need to pay import duties and VAT (roughly £33), making the total £151 (£118 + £33). Similar lenses are available, with manual lenses available from SLR-Magic, including the 35mm f/1.7, available for £91, and at the lower end of the market the 26mm f/1.4 Toy-lens, available for £66, albeit these are CCTV lenses with adapters, whereas the Jackar SnapShooter has much higher build quality. Other manual lenses to consider include the plastic Holga, as well as the Pinwide.
Alternatively with AF, there is the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens available for around £220, and Sigma's 30mm f/2.8 DN lens available for around £145.
Holga, Toy-Lens, Pinwide cough), and with a sharp centre, bright aperture, and soft edges, this lens may be ideal for anyone looking for a good compact lens for portrait photography, low light, or creative control over depth of field.
If you want a manual, compact lens, then the reasonably price and high build quality would make this a good choice, however, for landscape shots and situations where image quality is more important, it may not be the ideal lens, but for low light, wide-open shooting, and portrait shots, it could be ideal.
Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8 ProsSharp centre
Case, hood provided
Click-less aperture ring
Solid metal alloy construction
Focus markings on lens
Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8 ConsEasy to change aperture accidentally
Aperture can be closed completely
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8 Specifications
|Angle of View||No Data|
|Internal focusing||No Data|
|Box Contents||Hood, Case, Manual, Lens, Lens Cap, Lens Rear Cap|