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SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Review

SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : SLR Magic 35mm T0.95 Hyperprime Cine
Price : £370
Rating :
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

SLR Magic 35mm T0 95 Hyperprime Cine (8)

This manual focus lens is available to fit Micro Four Thirds, Sony NEX and Fujifilm X-series cameras. In Micro Four Thirds guise, as tested here, the lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 70mm short telephoto lens on a 35mm camera and sports a bright T/1.4 maximum aperture. The aperture is expressed in T-stops rather than F-stops as this takes into account light transmission losses within the lens, which is especially important for video work. The lens costs around £370, which seems like pretty good value on paper. In this review we'll take a look at how it performs.

SLR Magic 35mm T0 95 Hyperprime Cine (7)

SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Handling and features

The construction of this lens is all metal, finished in satin black. The build and finish is reminiscent of lenses of a bygone era, when lenses were good to last a lifetime. The lens feels pretty weighty for its size, thanks to the heavy-duty construction, but it still only weighs 390g. As a result it balances well with the Panasonic Lumix G3 camera used for testing.

The focus and aperture rings are well damped and smooth to operate. There is just the right amount of resistance in the focus ring and fine adjustments are a pleasure to apply. Both rings have a geared grip, which makes the lens compatible with follow focus equipment, commonly used for video recording. A useful hyperfocal scale is etched onto the lens barrel and closest focus is 30cm, which is quite close for a lens of this focal length and aperture.

There is no electronic communication between the lens and camera, and aperture is stepless, which can be especially useful for applying adjustments during video recording, as the aperture can be adjusted seamlessly. The scale on the aperture ring isn't linear, so the ring needs to be turned further at fast apertures than at slower ones to apply the same amount of adjustment. This can take some getting used to, as close attention needs to taken to ensure the correct adjustment is applied, especially as aperture values at the slower end of the scale. These are so closely bunched together that some values are actually missing.

The lens accepts 52mm filters, and the filter ring does not rotate during focusing, which will aid the use of graduated and polarising filters. No lens hood is supplied with this lens.

SLR Magic 35mm T0 95 Hyperprime Cine (1)

SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Performance

Reading the description of this lens on the SLR Magic website, you'd be forgiven for expecting this lens to perform poorly, as far as sharpness is concerned. In the centre of the image area, sharpness is excellent from maximum aperture. Towards the edges of the frame, there is a gradual vignette of softness at fast apertures, with sharpness reaching very good levels here as the lens is stopped down to T/4 or beyond.

Resolution at 35mm
Resolution at 35mm

How to read our charts


The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are a little high across the frame at fast apertures, exceeding one pixel width at T/1.4. The amount of fringing present is reduced to acceptable levels as the aperture is stopped down to T/4 or beyond.

Chromatic aberration at 35mm
Chromatic aberration at 35mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc. to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is very well controlled for a lens with such a fast maximum aperture. At maximum aperture, the corners are 0.95 stops darker than the image centre and illumination is visually uniform by T/2.8.

Imatest detected 1.14% barrel distortion, which is fairly typical for a standard lens with a fast maximum aperture. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so applying corrections in image editing software should be relatively straightforward.

Contrast is pretty good with this lens, although shooting into the light at fast apertures will result in a loss of contrast similar to what you might expect from vintage lenses with weak anti-reflective coatings. The look it produces in these conditions is an acquired taste, that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 Cine Mark II Sample Photos


Value for Money
With a price of around £370, this lens is reasonably priced for an optic with a fast maximum aperture, even with its back-to-basics approach to focusing and aperture control.

There is no direct equivalent to this focal length for Micro Four Thirds cameras, but Fujifilm X-series camera owners may compare this lens to Fuji's own 35mm f/1.4, which costs around £420. For the extra cash you get automatic aperture control and autofocus.

Sony NEX camera owners have the 35mm f/1.8 OSS as an alternative. This lens is actually less expensive than the SLR Magic optic at around £350 and it includes optical image stabilisation and autofocus. However, it is two-thirds of a stop slower than the SLR magic lens.

SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Verdict

Although this lens is sold as a special effects lens due to the softness towards the edges of the frame seen at fast apertures, it is a competent performer, delivering excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame from maximum aperture. Although this lens is geared toward those shooting video with their camera, it is equally at home for still photography, and is priced reasonably when compared to the competition.

   
  The SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II lens offers excellent sharpness for a fair price.   

SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame
Low falloff and distortion
Fairly priced
Metal build
Stepless aperture and geared controls are excellent for video

SLR Magic 35mm T/1.4 Cine Mark II Lens Cons

CA levels a little high at fast apertures
No hood included

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 Cine Mark II Specifications

ManufacturerSLR Magic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Fujifilm X Mount
Lens
Focal Length35mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/1.4
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size52mm
35mm equivalent70mm
Internal focusingNo
Focusing
Min Focus38cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades12
Elements8
Groups8
Box Contents
Box ContentsScrew on Front lens cap, Rear Cap, Quick Guide
Dimensions
Weight390g
Height76mm

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