This quirky little Leica clone is really starting to grow on me. Great ISO performance…
Organic X-Trans CMOS sensor rendering filmic images with noise free shadows…. lack of an a/a filter… adding these up there really is something different about these images, that I quite like. Enough so that I can live with some of the camera’s oddities.
One of the reasons I chose the X-Pro1 was the beefier body. Very close to the size of a M9 the X-Pro1 is a better match for odd glass…then say a NEX7. I added the Thumbs Up (CSEP-2) grip/rest to help handle the load of heavier glass… which it does brilliantly…. also works to improve stability even with ultra small Leica M lenses. Such a great little improvement.
The quirks that really bug me…
1) The Q (quick menu) button is a great idea but why can’t I view the image when dialing in white balance/iso etc… seems like an correctable over site.
2) No focus peaking? The 1:1 zoom function is enough to get me by but even my $400 HD preview monitor has this feature built in. Let’s face it most folks are going to be using legacy glass on this camera at some point. Add this to the next firmware… all the mirror-less cameras are doing it!
3) I can’t speak to the Fuji Film 35mm or 60mm but please, please, PLEASE! Make a pro series of lenses ala Canon L series of glass. Make them simple and all manual if you must. I picked up the Fuji 18mm to try out and it was a train wreck of a lens. Decent enough image quality but the focus by wire system is a disaster. Even after the firmware update. On a bright day it couldn’t even hit consistent points. The delay in time it took for the lens to communicate with the body, process and relay the info back to the lens to respond in manual mode was unexceptionable. There must be a better way. A fast auto focusing set of PRO level primes with truly manual responsiveness would be next level for the FUJI system. The sensor tech seems to be there already.
I am just hoping there are no surprises when ADOBE updates the camera RAW plug-in and we can really enjoy these images.
Next up I’ll profile the ZEISS ZM line of LEICA M MOUNT lenses on the X-PRO and EPIC-X
I wanted to compare these two lenses in a shoot out in part one but the Canon 50mm f0.95 won’t fit the SpaceCam Leica M mount. (The locking ears are too thick and prevented the lens from fully making contact with the back of the mount.) This is the only lens that I experienced this with, so part II of this review will be done using a GX1. I will probably revisit this when my RED Leica M mount ships out. But until then…
DAY TIME BOKEH and OOF AREAS:
In day light the SLR_M renders smooooth OOF areas. It almost reminds me of bokeh/oof produced by a long telephoto lens. The SLR_M can produce classic looking bokeh but just had to work a little harder to do so in the daylight. Maybe this was due to the subject being photographed in this comparison shot. Curious if this might be due to the different field of view of these two lenses and/or the different close focus distances. The SLR_M has a much close focus range (.7m) then the Canon “Dream” lens.
Split view on a PANASONIC GX1
(Full resolution on Flickr)
Backgrounds completely melt into a soft field of color in the SLR_M shot…while lacking the oof bokeh circles . The SLR_M renders an extremely sharp image and coupled with the smooth oof/bokeh the image evokes that Leica “3D” effect. The Canon gives you the dreamy soft-ish focus, diffuse/glowy hi lights and slight low contrast and saturation images, and classic bokeh.
NIGHT TIME BOKEH and OOF AREAS:
The same smooth oof/bokeh performance from the SLR_M on the EPIC-X. I almost needed a ND filter shooting 800 ISO at night with the EPIC X and the SLR_M Hyperprime on the streets of Los Angeles. The streets at night are pretty bright and I seriously had to up the shutter rate to compensate for the extra stops this lens produced. I was a bit suprised… I can only imagine the performance on the EPIC when its rocking a RED DRAGON sensor. Night vision???
I did run into something of note with the SLR_M Cine. I noticed this in the RED EPIC footage more so then the images from the GX1. At 5K you could see that there are dark dots or white dots in some of the bokeh circles. This only showed up occasionally in a shot or two. Its visible in the footage around 6:22. I have been told that this is a side effect in all lenses f1.0 and faster due to the inherent design of the optics.
Not a deal breaker but something to keep an eye open for while shooting with these fast lenses. I will have to test this further…as it is apparently present in the Leica Noctilux as well.
Conclusion/Thoughts: For the price the SLR_M CINE you can’t beat what you are getting. A low light monster that can deliver that LEICA 3D effect while staying very sharp wide open. To me the SLR_M delivers a super clean, sharp modern feeling image. As for the Canon, I do like the size and the vintage feel the “Dream” lens brings. The flaws of the Canon are what give it a ton a character. Each has its place in my arsenal of lenses.
Camera: EPIC-X w/ Spacecam LM/ARC mount. Shooting 5k FF in RED COLOR 3
TECHNICAL: Focus Chart
This is about as technical as this review will get. The full 5K versions will go up on flickr for anyone interested to pixel peep. But the SLR_M was pretty sharp @ T0.95 and sharpened up very quickly at T1.4 & T2.0. The CA is very minimal @ T0.95.
SLR_M CINE 50mm @ T0.95
This lens is SOLID. Each one of these are hand crafted and you can tell. Very well built. 62mm filter ring. Built in sliding lens hood. Weight just over 2 pounds.
To be named “CINE” I would think the lens would have focus and aperture gears. This prototype did not. Maybe this will change with the production units. The aperture is declicked and silky smooth to operate … a “CINE” plus.
PERSONAL NOTE: The lack of focus and aperture gears is not a huge disappointment for me. I will primarily be using my LEICA M glass in the most run and gun light configurations w/o any follow focus…matte box etc. This would change of course if SLR Magic were to release an entire line of CINE lenses.
A rare overcast day in Los Angeles …
Excellent image quality wide-open. This lens is very sharp. Close focus is 0.7 meters.
SLR_M CINE has a round aperture through out the aperture range keeping the bokeh circular at all stops. Bokeh and out of focus areas are silky smoooooth.
Thanks to the actor Karl E Landler for standing in.
WISH ONE and big one. A complete set of HyperPrime Cine lenses matched for color and contrast uniform T stop across the set. A 35mm, 50mm, 85mm @ T0.95. Hahaha…right. Well a matching set in T1.0-1.2 range would be nice…
WISH TWO It would be nice to have a few screw holes for the addition of a focus lever. I added my own bolt on version for the test. On the EPIC and I imagine on other cine style bodies the thin, “close to the body” style focus ring can be a bit difficult to grip.
WISH THREE Focus and Aperture gears
WISH FOUR Bring back the NOKTOR name … or go with HyperPrime… What’s in a name… ask the Chevy Nova.
FOOTAGE LINK : SLR MAGIC CINE 50mm T0.95 on EPIC X (http://vimeo.com/39774350)
PART II : Bokeh SLR MAGIC CINE 50mm T0.95 vs CANON 50mm F0.95 (DREAM LENS)