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Monday, 3 December 2012

SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 rolling review part 1

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!

Initial impressions:

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:

SLR Magic 35mm T1.4

SLR Magic 35mm T1.4

SLR Magic 35mm T1.4

Click here for part two of the review!

Click here for part three of the review!


J Toha said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for doing the review. Looking forward to reading the continuation.

And hey, hope things get better between you and your wife. It's always sad to see married couples get separated especially when there's still a chance for things to be resolved.

D said... Best Blogger Tips

@J Toha

Hey thanks, the second part is now posted!

I don't think it can be resolved and it's out of my hands. Maybe after some time has passed things will change and I hope they do but for now trying just seems to do more harm than good sadly.

k9sound said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for the review and images. It looks like it's the lens to have.

My old 35 ƒ1.7 is enroute to Hong Kong, SLR Magic has my payment for the 35 ƒ1.4, and hopefully the new lens will be in my hands before New Year's.

Veryan Weston said... Best Blogger Tips

Dear Atom....?....sorry not sure of your name, but thank you for your very useful blogg was directed to me from google as I am interested in doing something creative with photography but for very little money.

Also the 2 young grandchildren are coming over from want to document the occasion

This means I bought from Amazon uk a purple (that's probably one of the reasons why it was £149) used Olympus Pen E-PM1, with their standard M.ZUIKO Digital 14 -42mm II R Lens on it. But also have bought for £19 off Ebay a BELL&HOWELL ZOOM MACRO 80-205MM F4.5 and an adapter for the same price....can't afford anything am interested in what will happen when it all arrives....any time now.

If you have any advice and tips for how to use what is coming - let me know....I would be grateful for any imput - however negative.

Good luck with your personal life....don't let it be a killer. Best - Veryan

D said... Best Blogger Tips

@Veryan Weston

Hi there,

Atom is not my name, that's just a term for a protocol that the blog uses!

That's not a bad little camera and personally I think purple is an awesome colour so don't worry about that!

As far as the kit lens goes there's not much I can tell you, just point and click, try experimenting with aperture priority mode to learn how to use depth of field creatively. Apart from that just read about composition, there's many great articles to be found online but above all practice and more practice is the key!

As for the 80-205mm lens, definitely get a tripod if you can, you won't be taking photos of anything moving fast with a manual focus lens anyway so you might as well make things more stable for yourself. Focusing is easy as long as you use the zoom mode in liveview, this will make it much easier to ensure you have perfect focus and are making the most of the lens. I would also consider taking a burst of shots, digital memory is cheap and you can delete the bad shots and if you take several pictures of the same subject, especially with a telephoto lens you are more likely to get a sharp one that isn't affected by camera shake. You could also use the self timer on the camera so you're not actually touching it at the time the photo is taken which will also help to avoid blur.

I would also consider getting a flickr account, there's lots of positive criticism and advice to be found there as well as inspiration.

I hope this helps!


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