I recently purchased a lens for my m4/3 camera. The lens is manufactured in China and constructed with all metal construction and step-less aperture. It has focus markings for range on the barrel, but they appear to be inaccurate. Perhaps this is because the lens is designed for more than one mount, including the Fuji APS-C mount. Regardless, it isn't important to me at the moment, I have only mentioned it for those that are curious. It is a prime lens, but the front lens element zooms in and out when focusing (most likely not weather sealed, nor does it claim to be). The aperture ring is located against the camera body, which I don't mind as it avoids mistaken adjustment when focusing. The lens has a 35mm (70 mm equivalent) focal length and a maximum f1.2 aperture. It is a manual focus lens, which, with focus peaking on a mirrorless camera, makes it usable... barely. The shallow depth of field can be a challenge when making focus adjustments especially since the throw of the focus ring is short, though I prefer lenses with shorter focus throws. The lens can focus at a distance of about 10 inches. The lens filter size is 43mm. It weighs, according to the seller, about 210 grams. I have measured nothing about this lens as this post is strictly a subjective opinion of the lens from someone that has invested some money into it, and taken less than 100 photos with it. It was received in a box with a soft drawstring carry bag and separately packaged screw on type lens hood, also metal construction and of the short open flanged type.
Confession: I purchased the lens because I am a cheapskate. The lens cost $100 American dollars. It is the Pergear MFT 35mm F1.2 manual focus lens. I bought it on Amazon after seeing it posted as available on the 43rumors website. I have no affiliation with the company or the lens distributor (if there is one) or Amazon...but this isn't a formal review, so who cares?
Here are a few reasons why the lens interested me:
Fit: It fits my camera body. Not all m4/3 camera bodies have similar clearances around the mount and in the throat of the camera opening. So you must make sure this will work with your particular brand and model of camera. I trusted the info on Amazon, watched a youtube review in which the reviewer was hesitant to mount it on one of his cameras and then carefully checked it as best I could before putting it on my camera. A five second evaluation to be honest. Buyer beware. It’s fit on the camera is somewhat questionable, requiring a forceful twist to get it in a position to be recognized by the camera (this may be a sample issue or standard for the thing). There is a slight rotational play when mounted on the camera. Just enough movement to feel it…$100.
Affordability. The lens is priced less than many accessories for cameras.
Size and construction: The lens is small in size, similar to a Leica prime lens. It is fairly light but made of all metal construction which I prefer for the “feel” and “look” of a lens mounted my camera. Personally, I dislike the ribbed plastic barrels of many “lightweight” lenses including those I own (Olympus 45 1.8 and the Panasonic 25 1.7). But it’s all about the images, right? The image quality of the lenses I have just mentioned are of good to very good quality. I use these lenses regularly. Will this lens be added into my regularly used camera bag?
Bokeh (Mis)information. Somewhere along the endless avenues of the internet I read an article comparing lenses for bokeh quality. As I recall, the author concluded that the number of blades for the diaphragm and the number of lens elements within the lens design contributed the most towards the perceived quality of “better” bokeh. In a nutshell, the lower the element count and higher the blade count, the “better” the perceived bokeh. This lens has a 10 blade diaphragm and 6 lens elements. I have wished to evaluate such a lens for its simplicity of design and reduction in size. After reading a Leica paper on lens design for one of their Elmarit (?) lenses, I think this concept of simplicity is subjective and means nothing for image quality (as opposed to lens characteristics) and everything for price...$100.
The truth is I love the tactile feel and aesthetics of the lens which has already prejudiced my feelings about its image quality. The quality of the glass appears to be good - but do I know? Can I attest it was ground and polished to 1/10000 of an inch tolerance (or is that mm)? No way. Whether the claimed coatings will last or not is to be determined. They have lasted 4 days so far...$100.
The pictures are fairly sharp wide open, the bigger challenge is the selection of the focal plane with such shallow depth of field. Stopped down to 2.8 and beyond appears to deliver good image sharpness across the frame though I should qualify why I can't be more definitive with this assessment: many times I focus and recompose. If the subject isn't square to the focal plane and off center in the image, it will be slightly out of focus upon recomposing and capture. I tend to do this far less with manual lenses, but I sometimes do it out of habit nonetheless.
Color rendition by this lens is superb…and as a result, the black and white photos from it are also very satisfying. I notice many lenses either with bluish or reddish casts in certain light. This lens appears to render colors neutrally on my camera. Contrast is fairly high and natural looking with this lens. The following photos are not straight out of camera. Remember, this isn't a lens review, it is an exploration of a new prime focal length for my work, and a more flexible depth of field for the format as result of the maximum aperture. I have not saturated any images. Instead, they are all adjusted in C1 with combined RGB tonal adjustments (for contrast/range) and some sharpening. I perform these on most of my images.
Any thoughts? Is this worth keeping? I like the damn thing. I'll post more after I've had an opportunity to use it again.