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SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Review

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : SLR Magic 50mm f/1.4 Hyperprime Lens
Price : £800
Rating :
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

50mm f/1.4 Hyperprime Lens

This manual focus telephoto 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 100mm telephoto lens on a 35mm camera and sports an incredibly bright f/0.95 maximum aperture. The lens costs around £800, which seems quite expensive for a completely manual lens from a third party manufacturer. In this review we'll take a look at how it performs.

SLR Magic 50mm F0 95 Hyperprime Lens (11)

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Handling and features

The construction of this lens is all metal and feels incredibly solid as a result. The lens feels pretty weighty at 490g, thanks to the heavy-duty construction. Even so it balances well with the Panasonic Lumix G3 camera used for testing.

The focus ring is well damped and very smooth to operate. There is just the right amount of resistance in the focus ring and fine adjustments are a pleasure to apply as a result. Closest focus for this lens is 60cm, which is quite impressive given the fast maximum 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 aperture ring isn't damped at all, and actually feels quite loose, which can lead to accidental adjustments being applied I you're not careful, although a small screw can be tightened to hold the aperture setting. Also, 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.

The lens accepts 62mm filters, and the filter ring does not rotate during focusing, which makes it perfect for use with graduated and polarising filters. No lens hood is supplied with this lens.

SLR Magic 50mm F0 95 Hyperprime Lens (7)

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Performance

SLR Magic talk much about the 'dreamy' quality of this lens on their website, which doesn't build much in the way of expectation regarding the sharpness it will deliver. However, despite there being noticeable hazing at fast apertures due to spherical aberrations, this lens delivers fairly good sharpness at f/0.95 in the centre of the frame, which could make this lens ideal for portraiture. Stopping down improves sharpness in the centre to outstanding levels from around f/2.8 and beyond, although the sharpness towards the edges of the frame never really catches up.

Resolution at 50mm
Resolution at 50mm

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 slightly high towards the edges of the frame at all apertures, exceeding one pixel width at f/2. As a result, care may need to be taken when placing areas of high contrast near the edges of the frame.

Chromatic aberration at 50mm
Chromatic aberration at 50mm

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 1.04 stops darker than the image centre and illumination is visually uniform by f/2.8.

Imatest detected 0.497% barrel distortion, which is fairly typical for a telephoto with a fast maximum aperture. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so applying corrections in image editing software should be relatively straightforward.

Images taken with this lens have a certain look to them that can only be described as 'vintage' due to the low contrast delivered by the lens, especially when shooting into the light. This look may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it should certainly be appreciated by portrait photographers. The aperture has eight blades, which are curved in the opposite direction to what you may normally expect. This can result in busy looking out of focus highlights as the aperture is not circular, being more like an eight pointed star.

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Sample Photos


Value for Money

With a price of around £800, this lens seems quite expensive for what you get, even though the maximum aperture is faster than anything else available at the moment. This may be justified by the lack of direct equivalents. The only lens of equivalent focal length is Sony's 50mm f/1.8 lens, which costs around £180. This lens sports autofocus but has a maximum aperture that is over one and a half stops slower.

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Verdict

The effect this lens produces will make this lens one that some people absolutely love, and others will find they just can't get along with. The haziness at maximum aperture generally looks quite pleasant, as does the vintage lens effect due to low contrast. For the asking price of £800, it's a bit more expensive than whimsy alone can normally justify, but if you really like the effect, it may well be worth it to you.

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Pros

Fast f/0.95 maximum aperture
Decent sharpness in the centre when stopped down
Delivers quite a unique look
Metal build

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Lens Cons

Loose aperture ring with no damping
Out of focus backgrounds can look quite busy due to aperture shape
No hood included

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 Hyperprime Specifications

ManufacturerSLR Magic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Fujifilm X Mount
Lens
Focal Length50mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/0.95
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size62mm
35mm equivalent100mm
Internal focusingNo
Focusing
Min Focus60cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades8
Elements8
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsScrew on Front lens cap, Rear Cap, Quick Guide
Dimensions
Weight490g
Height80mm

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Comments


sasan 27
30 Sep 2013 12:34PM
f/0.95 !!Tongue

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