Let me start by apologising for the suspense! I have had some serious marriage problems recently and am currently separated so depression has been rearing it's head of late. It also doesn't help that I am currently sick as a dog fighting the terrible illness known as "man flu"! But alas, finally I have gotten my hands on a pre production copy of the SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 and this will be the first part of a rolling review!
I have to say I was immediately impressed as soon as I handled the lens, it's reassuringly heavy and solid, it's made of metal and it feels substantial and well made. The (stepless) aperture and focus rings are both smooth and well damped contributing to the impression of quality. Both the focus and aperture rings are geared for easy use with a follow focus, this is a nice touch for movie makers! One major bonus for those familiar with using old preset legacy lenses will be the fact that the number of aperture blades reaches into two figure territory, that means smooth circular highlight bokeh even when the lens is stopped down, that's a very unusual feature on new lenses nowadays but one that can be very useful creatively. Overall the construction and appearance of this lens are very much old school and that can only be a good thing because we all know they used to build lenses better back in the day!
In terms of image quality what I have seen so far impresses me, even wide open sharpness appears to be more than usable and that goes right to the edges of the frame, there seems to be a little less contrast at maximum aperture but this can very easily be restored in software and it can be beneficial when making video on lower end cameras as it can help to improve gradients when you're battling with a limited codec.
This lens is very much usable wide open and that's important because people tend to buy a fast aperture lens with the intention of using them wide open and so far the lens really does not disappoint in this department.
The bokeh I have seen so far appears to be very smooth for the most part with highlights being a bit more distinctive but not in a bad way, taste in bokeh is a subjective matter but for me this lens really delivers and gives a very cinematic look. I am looking forward to experimenting more.
Here are some shots I took today whilst I was familiarising myself with the lens, they are all taken with the lens wide open and I used the black and white mode built in to the Sony NEX-5n:
Click here for part two of the review!
Click here for part three of the review!
- ▼ 2012 (31)