After the triumphal procession of new full frame mirrorless system cameras, Photokina 2014 was dedicated to the strong demand for lenses catching up with requirements of today's digital sensors. Beside Sony, Zeiss and some others, also the SLR Magic manufactory located in Hong Kong showed up with their latest cine lens, the Apo-HyperPrime CINE 50mm T2.1 (see the press release here).
Already the short video review opening this article gives you an impression about the potential of this lens. It is purely manual, solid like a tank, equipped with a PL-mount and armed for rough work in ambitous as well as professional video business. The focus ring with a rotation angle of 300° and a scale calibrated in feet as well as a clickless aperture calibrated in T-stops give you precise control. The geometrical aperture is about f/1.8, so it suggests itself to be compared to the stellar Zeiss FE 1.8/55 (the "Otus light" reviewed here).
Beside its heavily built housing, the optical formula is dedicated to high expectations as well. In contrast to effect lenses wider than f/1.0, priority was given to
much more consistent resolution across the whole frame as you could see
when scrolling over the 36 MP "wall shot" in the video already. The lens design is apochromatic corrected in order to reduce color fringing on borders with high contrast to a minimum right from open aperture.
100% crop (actual pixels) from the image above:
The following shot compares the ZEISS FE Sonnar T* 1.8/55 @ f/1.8 to the Apo-HyperPrime 50mm T2.1 @ T2.1:
The apochromatic correction becomes visible when you look at the 100% crops:
100% crop from the image taken with the Zeiss FE 1.8/55 @ f/1.8 (no lens / fringing correction applied)
100% crop from the image taken with the Apo-HyperPrime CINE 50mm T2.1 @ T2.1 (no lens / fringing correction applied)
Some may argue that color fringing can be easily corrected in post processing but for videos that's a different story...
Further comparisons can be found in the video review at https://vimeo.com/106772135
The first member of a new Apo-HyperPrime CINE lens family provides optical performance close to the stellar ZEISS FE Sonnar 1.8/55 with better apochromatic correction. The housing, focus and aperture operation are highly optimized for video applications. The aperture blades can be stopped down keeping out-of-focus highlights still nicely round (see the the starting image of the video as an example - it was shot with a second Apo HyperPrime CINE 50/T2.1 at T2.8). This lens is ready for 6K!
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