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  1. #1 SLR Magic APO HyperPrime mini review 
    I'd mentioned i'd write up about these.

    A bit of background. I've been through lots and lots of lenses, like most of us it's a bit of an obsession. Most of the lenses i've owned have been more photo and vintage however i have had cine Cookes and Lomos as well. I've walked a similar journey as lots here. I have a full set of contax zeiss. I've explored most every other lens out there - Leica R, OM, Canon, ZE etc,. For photography i used M mount lenses both Leica and Voigtlander.

    I judge a lens primarily on how i feel about it. But then i do like to understand more about why a certain lens works for me and others don't.

    I've been a big fan of M mount lenses, the rendering and the general feeling. I've been tempted to try to switch to M mount on Red but they're not really practical - focus ring too close to the body, wide choices limited and so on.

    I love the look of the Leica Summicrons, the cine ones.

    So looking at moving on from Contax i thought about the usual suspects, Sigma and Tokina. I do have some sigma art lenses but i felt a little too sharp and clinical. The cine versions are quite bulky and heavy although not as much as Tokina. The Zeiss CP3 sound ideal but therein lays the problem.

    My issue with most of the lenses i have used, and used in high contrast situations (real life outside for example) is that they exhibit a lot of LoCa aberrations. So a purple fringe on high contrast edges and then as they roll out of focus you get green tint behind and magenta in front. All lenses show this to a greater of lesser degree. Zeiss very much so. I assume it's a trade off between sharpness and smoothness perhaps.

    It's my layman opinion that these particular aberrations lead to bokeh that isn't smooth, the bokeh balls are sharp edged and there is a colour contamination.

    Of course there are a myriad of other trade offs and i know enough to know i don't know a lot about lens design.

    But for me, if i was going to pick on bugbear it's this. Something which i don't see in the Summicrons (the cine not the R lenses) or similar. But $15k a lens is out of range.

    Then there are the Otus. Well they have the look i like. It's smooth. So the Otus are all APO lenses. And there's the rub, i think i prefer lenses that are apochromatically designed. But Otus are quite heavy and if i'm going to use that weight i'm more interested in proper cine focus.

    So i stumble upon these SLR Magic HyperPrime APO. I see a few threads but not a lot of details and i find someone selling a set so they do some tests for me and i'm sold.

    I think these are wonderful lenses and i don't know why they're not more popular here. So i think it's worth considering these if you are looking because for me they tick the boxes:

    * They're fairly light, just over 1kg and reasonably compact
    * They're PL mount but shallow so PL to EF adapters work no problem
    * They are T2.1 but i'm cool with that, so long as they work well wide open. I rarely shoot motion shallower than that.
    * They look organic and awesome

    However there are only 3 focal lengths at the moment, 25, 50 and 85. I believe there is a 32, possibly a 135 and 18 to come but i don't know anything beyond that.

    T2.1, i have no issue with this. That's plenty shallow DOF for me in practical terms. Wide open they are sharp enough for me. And they are usable wide open too unlike some lenses.

    Minimum focus, the 50 for example isn't as close at a SLR lens but it's fine in use, it's around 50 to 60cm.

    But these lenses are all APO corrected. Thats the whole point and because of that i personally find the bokeh and rolloff sublime. I really really like the feel of these lenses. They're not Otus level, in terms of overall correction and sharpness but they do have that creaminess.

    Of course none of this matters without images, so here's a bunch trying to point out what it is i like about them.

    It is all personal opinion but i wonder whether SLR Magic doesn't have the same kind of brand awareness as the big boys. Is that off putting? Personally i find their website impossible, i really think they do not do a good job of promoting these, i hope that changes. It was only because someone was kind enough to do some tests for me that i have these now. I like to support the underdog and i want to be in that queue for any future APO lenses from them. I'd love to get people clamouring for more because i think there's just something really balanced about these designs in the sea of lenses out there...



    Shown with a Sigma 24-35 for comparison.

    So first up showing focus close and far, in high contrast sunny situation all wide open. Tried to create nightmare scenario.





    I like the out of focus rendering and the way the speculars are blown out yet not purple. These are from in camera but they have been downsampled to 4K from 8K and saved as jpgs at 10/12 quality. No sharpening beyond the downsample (which is a form of sharpening i know...)

    If you look closely there is still some fringing and LoCa but it's very controlled and to my eye doesn't affect the overall image.



    Again above the 50 shown here looks sharp enough wide open to me. And look how smooth the back is.



    The 50 flares, it's pretty much direct sun into the lens. They're pretty well controlled in terms of flare. At night they flare less than the contax and others i have.

    Now with the 85, here are a couple of comparison shots to show the difference between Zeiss and these



    So you can see that APO at work. I find the magenta fringing annoying, i see it in films and on TV a lot. It's a feeling often. The Zeiss (Contax 85mm f1.4 at f2 vs T2.1 on the Hyperprime) is perhaps a tad sharper. But not amazingly so. This is from the edge of the original frame.

    I've always found the Contax the best of the Zeiss, they're sharp but not overly. The ZE and Milvus i do find too sharp and suffer quite badly from the fringing. This is why the CP3 just don't appeal despite the fact the form factor looks perfect. I saw early tests on here and they looked terrible. So a more modern zeiss would render that purple even more so.



    In this high contrast crop you can see the purple fringing really showing up here in the shiny object at the top. This is worst case on purpose. The APO is not totally clear but it's much more controlled. The mesh below that shows the green/magenta cast i often see on these kinds of shots. It makes for muddy blurs, compared to the truer version on the right.



    The general look and separation is good, the OOF bokeh balls are smooth and not full of rings or noise. They're fairly flat across the field (not the swirly bokeh of some of the Leica R lenses for example).

    I think smooth bokeh allows us to concentrate on the foreground more. It's narratively an important part of the feel.



    Creamy OOF and no fringing around the flames.

    So i hope that this shows what i see in these lenses. Are they perfect? No lens is in this budget range. But the tradeoffs made by SLR Magic in the design work for me. They're what i would choose.

    I have no connection to SLR Magic, beyond really liking these lenses. My only ulterior motive is if more people are interested then they may speed up new lenses and make others. I assume it's all based on supply and demand!

    Happy to answer or try out anything people want to see.

    cheers
    Paul
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  2. #2  
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    Love it, I'm in the market for some lenses. Can you comment on the build quality?
    JAKE WILGANOWSKI
    Director of Photography / Filmmaker
    CINE-AUTOMATIC.COM
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  3. #3  
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    I have the SLR APO's. I will be putting them to the full Monstro test soon, I have just used them causally so far. The 85 and 50 seem to cover 8k vv, the 25 7k. I too have them because of the APO. By the way it seems the 55 Otus 1.4 is T1.7. The SLR build quality is excellent. They are small but heavy. I am really hoping the 32 covers 8k VV.

    One note, after reviewing the results in the SALT lens tests and having spent a day with Nick Morrison and going through many Contax and Hassy Zeiss lenses and having the 55 Otus Apo as my go to lens the past year on Helium and now Monstro, I am really stepping back from going to the Sigma or Tokina. The Contax and Hassy on Monstro are amazing, and there is a huge variety of them. The Otus line offers APO and smooth precision and now with the SLR APO's in the mix quite a spectrum of rendering. But, what has really got me going given the above mix as a baseline is that I was going to sell my CN E's and go Sigma or Tokina, but for all their Pl fanboy arguable "flaws" The 50 and 85 CN E wide open are skin tone luscious on the Monstro. And at T1.3 the fastest available FF primes. And, the in viewfinder and in Cine x data is great to have.
    Last edited by scott devitte; 11-21-2017 at 06:41 PM.
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  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Wilganowski View Post
    Love it, I'm in the market for some lenses. Can you comment on the build quality?
    Yes, i should have mentioned that.

    They're metal, solid. The focus has around 300 degrees of movement, smooth. The aperture smooth and slightly more stiff. They feel good. These are marked in imperial. I think i'd have preferred metric but not sure if that was an option.

    So to my eye and handling they're really well made, certainly nothing to complain about yet

    They even have filter threads which is quite useful, 82mm. which i think is unusual.

    cheers
    Paul
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by scott devitte View Post
    I have the SLR APO's. I will be putting them to the full Monstro test soon, I have just used them causally so far. The 85 and 50 seem to cover 8k vv, the 25 7k. I too have them because of the APO. By the way it seems the 55 Otus 1.4 is T1.7. The SLR build quality is excellent. They are small but heavy. I am really hoping the 32 covers 8k VV.

    One note, after reviewing the results in the SALT lens tests and having spent a day with Nick Morrison and going through many Contax and Hassy Zeiss lenses and having the 55 Otus Apo as my go to lens the past year on Helium and now Monstro, I am really stepping back from going to the Sigma or Tokina. The Contax and Hassy on Monstro are amazing, and there is a huge variety of them. The Otus line offers APO and smooth precision and now with the SLR APO's in the mix quite a spectrum of rendering. But, what has really got me going given the above mix as a baseline is that I was going to sell my CN E's and go Sigma or Tokina, but for all their Pl fanboy arguable "flaws" The 50 and 85 CN E wide open are skin tone luscious on the Monstro. And at T1.3 the fastest available FF primes. And, the in viewfinder and in Cine x data is great to have.

    The 25 works okay on my full frame A7sII so it must just miss out on that Monstro.

    The Otus are really the alternative i think. They're more expensive but not by much. However i think the form factor is heavier in general and a bit more awkward to use. The 135mm ZE is APO as well, an Otus in everything but name i heard, so that would work well at the longer end. Need a wide Otus to round out.

    I really do like the contax though, prefer them to Leica R and i did go out and source a bunch of late, high qualities Rs to compare with and didn't see what the fuss was about.

    cheers
    Paul
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  6. #6  
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    Thanks for posting this great write up with examples. Its always great to read about lenses (specially the ones that are hard to test out for one self)
    What is the price for the set?

    Edit: 6790 usd at B&H
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  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
    Thanks for posting this great write up with examples. It’s always great to read about lenses (specially the ones that are hard to test out for one self)
    What is the price for the set?

    Edit: 6790 usd at B&H
    Thank you. And yes, that's sort of the price. (I think it's $ to over here...)

    I found so little online about these, so anything to help spread the word

    cheers
    Paul
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Ilya O.'s Avatar
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    Paul, that is very nice review and a charmingly beautiful shots. I liked that rainbow flare shot much:-) Appreciate your efforts for sharing with everybody here!!!

    For the Zeiss' oversaturated purple fringes I totally support and agree your negative position. It goes awful especially for the macro kind of shots when you have black and white object or text...
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  9. #9  
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    I own the contax speeds. Absolutely love them. But I need pl. Nobody will put a pl mount on the 35mm contax speed. For some reason, it can't be done. So, I'm very familiar with contax. I particularly love the flare and bokeh. These Slr magics seem like they flare way less and very differently than contax. Can you comment on the differences you see in that regard since you are very familiar with contax as well?
    JAKE WILGANOWSKI
    Director of Photography / Filmmaker
    CINE-AUTOMATIC.COM
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  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya O. View Post
    Paul, that is very nice review and a charmingly beautiful shots. I liked that rainbow flare shot much:-) Appreciate your efforts for sharing with everybody here!!!

    For the Zeiss' oversaturated purple fringes I totally support and agree your negative position. It goes awful especially for the macro kind of shots when you have black and white object or text...
    Thanks Ilya, i'm glad it's not just me. Looking at the Salt test for the Zeiss CP3 35mm the outdoor target behind the girl is just magenta. For stills lenses this is not so bad because there are tools in Lightroom to help remove some aspects but in motion it just becomes a massive post headache. And macro as you say, with very identifiable out of focus areas it can be really ugly.

    I have no idea what the optical formula are for these lenses. I'd read that they were quite 'traditional' with no aspherical surfaces. Maybe that's the key.

    cheers
    Paul
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