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Mark II - Zhongyi 35mm 0.95 , smaller and better


yukosteel
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Zhongyi Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 version II released in Feb 2016, so there are almost no reviews online on this new interesting lens

 

I've decided to try it, and ordered one sample directly from Hong Kong, attracted by 9% discounted price.

It arrived yesterday, so posting some shots and first impressions. Feel free to ask questions if any.

 

Out of the box (taken with ZSM 35mm on 0.95 + X-E2)

 

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Sample on F2.8

 

Sample on F0.95

 

Look on X-E2

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I suppose chroma is neologism created by coma + chromatic aberration or it may have been a typo ? In the NL is a margarine. But I digress.

 

This lens looks interesting but I am afraid that, to me, it would be a ( cheap or relatively expensive ) a one trick pony like the 50mm f0.95 made by the same company too.

 

The point of having a lens with such a large aperture value is to be used for the image separation given by this incredible feature. So their main justification is being used at that aperture which comes to some price ( optical and financial).

 

Yukosteel shows us also some far away shot with some separation with the foreground and the more obvious separation of the foreground at close range.

 

So, if bokeh is your God and you want to worship it, I suppose this is one of the best bokeh specific lenses in the world, certainly for the price, until Fuji comes with something in this range that apparently they are keeping up their sleeve.

 

That one would be autofocus which is, I suppose, a major help for someone wanting to do this with the degree of precision required by a depth of field which at close range has to be incredibly small as we see in the examples above.

 

depth of field, close by, at 0.95 is a couple of mm deep, not easy to do by hand, let alone if the subject is moving... and if, to shoot securely, you have to shoot stopped down, than what’s the point?

 

 

 

It’s very funny, to me, to talk “ bokeh" with the majority of my senior citizens photographers friends, one of whom was also my boss at one time before becoming my first business partner, we had a studio together in Milan.

 

The simply don’t understand what’s so stunning about the bokeh thing. My friend Nicola is rather more impressed by how sharp a lens is from front to back of a picture than how separated the image appears to be.

 

He is pretty vocal about it. I won’t report here what he has to say about bokeh and bokeh users... this forum has rules against turpiloquium   :D   

 

anyway, this video review shows hot difficult it is to focus anything moving even ever so slightly.

 

@https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc9yYMRzelU

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I'd say that coma is quite noticeable wide open, which is probably expected for so fast aperture value. When you have back light points in image borders in OOF area, they are not round, but more distorted in radial directions.

 

I'd recommend to read review from Richard Wong  - zhongyi-mitakon-speedmaster-35mm-f0-95-mark-ii-review

He is pretty descriptive with optical performance of this lens. He reviews this lens on Sony, but I think that distortions, coma, aberrations etc. should be exact same on Fuji X.

 

About DOF and focusing on F 0.95 , it's a good question. I'd agree with milandro - it's not easy at all, needs attention and practice.

I had SLR Magic 50mm 0.95 , and that was very hard to take fast moving kids portraits on F 0.95. I only received good results when kids keep their position : )

Focus Peaking does not work well for me with 0.95, I use zoom to make precise focus.

 

Saying about 35mm 0.95 - the 0.95 DOF is much wider and easier to use comparing to 50mm lens, but still needs practice.

I have Voigtlander 40mm 1.4, and often use it at 1.4 for portraits. If you simply calculate DOF for e.g. portrait distance of 100cm, it will be:

40mm APS-C, F1.4 - DOF is about 3.5cm

35mm APS-C, F1 - DOF is about 3.1cm

 

Taking that into account, if you can manually focus on 40mm F1.4, than it will not be a problem with 35mm 0.95.

50mm APS-C, F1 - DOF is about 1.5cm only - so yes, it's much harder to use.

 

I also remember that SLR Magic 50mm 0.95 has star-looking aperture when closing down. Fortunately this Zhongyi 35mm has rounded blades, so it's better circle when stepped down.

 

Concerning bokeh , I like lens that make OOF area calm and smooth looking, which is close to how our sight works. But I'd not specifically hunt for that.

The OOF area on this ZSM lens looks good to me in most cases.

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One thing noticed yesterday when comparing shots from Voigtlander 40mm and Zhongyi 35mm made under incandescent light.

It looks like Fuji WB on X-E2 adds quite noticeable "red tint" with Zhongyi, comparing to well balanced WB on Voigtlander.

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One more observation on optical design. While focusing the rear lens remains on place, and when I look inside from the front it looks like most of front lens area move together.

 

Zhongyi makes Focal Reducer adapters. So I believe most of their F0.95 lens are kind of combined combo of lens + adapter in single body.

I personally think (but may be wrong) that first version of 35mm 0.95 lens was kind of 50mm 1.4 + speed booster.

 

With this version 2, looks like the optical formula is improved by using different glass types. I don't know if elements/groups formula changed.

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[F0.95] jpeg is PP a bit. Here you can see OOF "circles" in border areas that are not round, but also not much distractive.

 

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Edited by yukosteel
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Few words about "magic" F0.95 number.

 

Usually when photographers see that on the first time, they say (or think) "Wow! F0.95".

Yes, there are old film lens like Canon 50mm f0.95, which are massive and huge lens with extremely narrow DOF wide open.

But it's not something unusual in terms of APS-C or m4/3 frame coverage.

 

I'm ex-Nikon shooter, and often used quite popular lens like 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4. With that lens + autofocus the narrow DOF on F1.4 is very usable for portraits.

 

With Fuji system, its nice and lovely XF 56mm 1.2 replaces Nikkor 85mm 1.4 it terms of DOF. And using 1.2 there is almost the same.

F0.95 35mm is just corresponding equivalent of Nikkor 50mm 1.4

 

So the main reason for me to try ZSM 35mm 0.95 - getting similar results I had with Nikon. From that perspective this "magic" 0.95 number is just regular F1.4 I got used to.

 

 

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Edited by yukosteel
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Couple of night B&W street shots, all on F0.95

 

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That's right, thanks for correction. Nikkor 85 1.8 is also awesome lens.

Looks like in terms of same DOF it should be "magic" 0.95 56mm on Fuji then to make same result as FF 85mm 1.4 :)

I never had chance to use Canon lens, but theirs 85mm 1.2 is even more tricky to focus on FF. Fortunately autofocus on Canon and Nikon is not a problem on such fast lens.

 

Manual focusing with Zhongyi 35mm 0.95 is a joy. It has about 60mm diameter focus ring that rotates smooth, very well dampened and takes only 90 degrees from infinity to 0.5m, then about 45 degrees more to 0.35m. On 0.95 focus peaking works better with this lens, but I got used to focus zoom.

Edited by yukosteel
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Bokeh looks quite messy. Transition to out of focus areas is quite ugly, too. I can't imagine being comfortable using this lens for anything given more capable alternatives.

 

Out of interest, at what aperture does it stop gathering more light? Allegedly light gathering ceases at around f/1.1.

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Few shots of the lens itself. It feels just a bit smaller than 18-55 on X-E2 body, though the weight is more noticeable.

Comparing to XF 35mm it's longer but slimmer. On that pix the lens is with attached 58mm filter using black vinyl film, so it's about 7mm longer.

 

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One noticeable flaw with this lens - aperture ring feels almost the same as focus ring.

I quite often start rotating aperture ring, and increased DOF in EVF looks like focus is moved : )

 

Stepless aperture also forces me to look at the numbers each time. I got used to count "clicks" on other manual lens to know which value is selected.

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[F2.8]

 

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Well, I think in each case it's subjective reason. Most people buy 35mm alternatives to receive something that XF 35mm 1.4 does not provide.

 

From the perspective of picture you may look for different rendering, DOF, contrast, colors, flare resistance, etc.

And from ergonomic perspective it can be: real manual focus, lens size, weight, durability, etc.

Also economic reason, or just curiosity.

 

I have XF 35mm 1.4, and plan to keep it - it's very sharp, light, small, and has autofocus. That's nice option for many situations.

 

I personally like how fast and completely silent camera operates with manual 35mm alternative, and I like precise and responsive control of manual focus.

I tried different Voigtlander 35mm lens: VC 35mm 1.2 II, VC 35mm 1.4, VC 35mm 2.5. All they are awesome glass, I spent nice time with that lens and made a lot of different pictures.

 

Zhongyi 35mm 0.95 II just surprised me. Its set of POS and CONS in general attracts me more than any other 35mm lens I had chance to shoot with for a long time.

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Like with Fuji 35mm, this lens allows to easily focus on very close distances up to 35mm. That's quite handy.

 

[F0.95]

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[F1.2]

 

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Few shot crops on 0.95, 1.4, 2.8 with backlight reflections. It's visible that aperture blades are not symmetric from the center.

It's round on most important values of 0.95-1.4 and then starting to distort its shape.

 

[F0.95]

 

[F1.4]

 

[F2.8]

 

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Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

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Well, I think in each case it's subjective reason. Most people buy 35mm alternatives to receive something that XF 35mm 1.4 does not provide.

 

From the perspective of picture you may look for different rendering, DOF, contrast, colors, flare resistance, etc.

And from ergonomic perspective it can be: real manual focus, lens size, weight, durability, etc.

Also economic reason, or just curiosity.

 

I have XF 35mm 1.4, and plan to keep it - it's very sharp, light, small, and has autofocus. That's nice option for many situations.

 

I personally like how fast and completely silent camera operates with manual 35mm alternative, and I like precise and responsive control of manual focus.

I tried different Voigtlander 35mm lens: VC 35mm 1.2 II, VC 35mm 1.4, VC 35mm 2.5. All they are awesome glass, I spent nice time with that lens and made a lot of different pictures.

 

Zhongyi 35mm 0.95 II just surprised me. Its set of POS and CONS in general attracts me more than any other 35mm lens I had chance to shoot with for a long time.

Thanks for your feedback.

 

Really nice rendering.

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To understand ZSM 35mm 0.95 II lens better I'm following old approach noticed in many lens review articles - using only single lens for some time.

 

3-4 weeks of daily shooting with single lens helps to discover its potential, and figure out if you like it.

 

BTW, I've contacted seller from Hong Kong. He was very kind and checked other 2 lens samples for me - all have similar slight shift of aperture blades.

Obviously it's not Zeiss or Voigtlander mechanics, so aperture blades are not perfectly centered. Good to know it's not a defect, but just build tolerance.

And it's not an issue for me : ) Meanwhile I mostly like to use f/0.95 - f/2.8 range for most shots.

 

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wow, if this is true then this lens is sh*t for the price??

Buying a vintage Nikon/Canon 50mm 1.4 plus their Turbon lens II  reducer (the new version)  is gonna be cheaper.

youll still have that  f0.95 light gathering upgrade. 

 

 

 

 

One more observation on optical design. While focusing the rear lens remains on place, and when I look inside from the front it looks like most of front lens area move together.

 

Zhongyi makes Focal Reducer adapters. So I believe most of their F0.95 lens are kind of combined combo of lens + adapter in single body.

I personally think (but may be wrong) that first version of 35mm 0.95 lens was kind of 50mm 1.4 + speed booster.

 

With this version 2, looks like the optical formula is improved by using different glass types. I don't know if elements/groups formula changed.

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Yes, it would be interesting to try 50mm 1.4 + booster combo. I think that will give totally diferent and also very nice looking pictures.

The main pros of choosing ZSM for me are:
- focus ring is closer to camera, so more convenient to operate
- optical formula is optimized for 35mm, so better optical corrections and overall IQ
- 9 aperture blades

there are many other differences, but they are not so important, so I mostly "overpaid" for things listed above : )

 

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Edited by yukosteel
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