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Thursday, 20 October 2011

SLRmagic = How to get the same lenses for less.

I'm sure a lot of Micro 43 and even some NEX users out there have caught on to not only using manual lenses but also using manual C-Mount lenses made for motion capture such as movie and TV lenses. Some of you will also be aware that many CCTV lenses can be used as well, specifically most lenses with a focal lengh over 25mm should give usable coverage on m43 cameras and many 35mm and longer lenses will even cover the APS-C size sensor in Sony NEX cameras. These lenses are rarely designed to cover sensors this large but are "over engineered" or at least project an image circle large enough even if the image quality becomes "interesting" towards the image boarders!

One of the main perks for me with using adapted lenses is the potential for a bargain and usually this is never more true than with using a CCTV lens however there is a company out there that appears to be selling very cheap CCTV lenses that have been lightly breathed on cosmetically and then sold for an immense mark up. Admittedly these lenses do give very unique and interesting results but it seems somehow unfair to charge such a huge premium for no reason.
This is NOT the SLRmagic toy lens!

The first example is the Fujian 24mm F/1.4 which is a very cheap CCTV lens that offers great low light ability, shallow depth of field and a nice swirly bokeh effect to backgrounds when the lens is used for portraits. It's not a high tech lens but it is very fun and can delivery surprisingly good results and certainly encourages creativity! I purchased this lens last year for under £20 and was delighted. Subsequently SLRmagic released a "26mm" lens with some decorative rubber bands, the result was the "toy lens" coming in at a grossly inflated £80! despite claims to the contrary, extensive examination and image analysis seems to indicate that the lens is optically identical and gives exactly the same results! It's up to SLRmagic what they charge for their products but I just wanted to point out that you can get the exact same lens for a lot less money! In fact you can now buy the same lens complete with rubber bands for £16.62 with free delivery! (you'll have to buy an adapter but it will cost less than £10) Which one would you choose?

SLRmagic: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Toy-Lens-26mm-f-1-4-lens-GF1-GF2-GH2-EP1-EP2-EPL1-/250752008080?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item3a61fbff90

Alternative: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/25mm-F1-4-CCTV-Lens-Set-Olympus-Micro-4-3-M4-3-Sony-NEX-E-Mount-/390354310005?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item5ae2ee1375

PS: SLRmagic also sell a version with an extension tube for an additional £60!!!!!! Yes that's right, £60 for a C-mount extension tube!


The next release from SLRmagic was the 35mm f/1.7 which can be yours for £102.48 or for ONLY £51.15 extra you can have that amazing extension tube that.....well it's just an extension tube, seems a bit steep really doesn't it? Despite their best efforts to disguise the lens with a new name ring and a splash of silver it was obvious to many that a seemingly identical lens made by, you guessed it, Fujian was already available at a greatly reduced price! Once again after extensive testing it was found that the cheaper version performed exactly the same and gave the same results and can be found for prices as low as £18.50 including shipping! A quick search of alibaba confirms that if you order a sufficient amount of these lenses from the manufacturer you can pay £3 or less a piece!

SLRmagic: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SLR-Magic-35mm-f-1-7-MC-lens-EP1-EP2-EPL1-GF1-G1-G2-/250673066577?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item3a5d477251

Alternative: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/35mm-f1-7-2-3-C-mount-CCTV-lens-Micro-4-3-M43-NEX-/350474061881?pt=UK_Lenses_Filters_Lenses&hash=item5199e1c839

Again, a tough choice I'm sure you'll agree!


Some of you might remember back at the beginning of the year that a company called Zhongyi Optics was on the verge of releasing a 28mm f/2.8 manual focus lens for m43 and NEX cameras. It was a simple but attractive lens with a cool rotating aperture mechanism instead of blades meaning that a round aperture could be used regardless of F stop. The lens was intended to go on sale for £50 but nothing came of it. Suddenly, a seemingly identical lens bearing the SLRmagic name has arrived on the scene costing £100 or even better you can have an extension tube for just an additional £60!

I'm sure I don't have to say this but for £160 you could buy a fantastic legacy 28mm lens, adapter and extension tube and have change to spare! The choices are endless with lenses from Olympus, Canon, Konica, Tamron and Tokina to name just a few! For £50 this lens would have been good value and interesting but again SLRmagic have spoiled the party!

There are more examples including the Noktor 50mm F/0.95 which sounds impressive but yet again, a seemingly similar CCTV lens is available for less money!

The latest endeavour from SLRmagic appears to be a CCTV lens with wide angle added to the front! Early reports suggest it is actually fairly good although I tend to be cautious of some reviewers who are all too eager to put their SEAL of approval on SLRmagic gear. You're thinking great!, they have made a fast 12mm lens with decent IQ and being derived from CCTV components it will offer fantastic value for money......well actually it's going to cost around £350.

UPDATE: The reviews are in and the lens is actually very good, kudos to SLRmagic for making a quality product, the build quality is high and the optical performance is impressive, they appear to have made a giant leap in quality and value with this lens, maybe they aren't so bad after all!

If I come across as bitter I apologise and I know companies exist to make profit but there's just something about SLRmagic that doesn't feel right. Maybe it's because they have turned something that was cheap and fun and fascinating into something that is overpriced and represents bad value for money. Some time in the past few years somebody tried these lenses and reported their findings online for all to see and if it wasn't for this nameless individual SLRmagic wouldn't have seen an opportunity to cash in and I think that goes against the very spirit of trying weird and wonderful lenses on modern cameras.



1 comments:

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