If you are a bokeh enthusiastic and love shooting at low light (flash - what is that?), here is something that may make you even more addictive. SLR Magic is going to launch a new 50mm lens, the HyperPrime CINE T0.95 that will push the limit to a new level. This rolling review will keep you informed and will be continously updated with more images, videos, experiences and comparisons.
First let me state that I am not affiliated with SLR Magic, Leica or Sony, so you will see and read my pure personal impressions and opinions here. You may have heard already from SLR Magic's HyperPrime 50mm lenses and when first impressions of the CINE T0.95 were posted in the beginning of this year, I saw many people quite confused because they thought those reviews still adressed the 50m F0.95 lens that is already sold for some time under the NOKTOR label for MicroFourThirds and E-mount (Sony NEX). One of the reasons may have been that also the first prototypes of this new lens still carried the neon green ring, that Noktor lenses used to come with. But believe me: This new lens is a COMPLETELY different standard! The pre production sample that I received from SLR Magic already shows the final design (but carrying a "concept" mark) of the black ring version.
The new lens weighs about twice that much of the earlier model and
although it is designed as a professional cinema lens, there is
absolutely no doubt about it's qualities to be used for enthusiastic
photography as well. The aperture ring can be moved stepless and it is
calibrated in T-stops. It has no focus shift which
means the focus will not move when stopping down the lens. It has no breathing which means the focal length and so the angle
of view does not change when moving focus. The aperture blades close in a
very round circle so that bokeh still keeps those nice round circles of
confusion, when stopping down the lens - lights do not mutate to "stop signs"! The near distance is 0.7 meters (competitors like the Leica Noctilux usually start at 1m) which gives you some extra potential for creative usage of DOF.
So what means T0.95? As mentioned before, the aperture is calibrated in T-stops which is important for film makers that must make sure that the light transmission keeps the same when changing lenses at the same T-stop whereas F-stops only describe the calculated ratio of focal length and how wide the lens can open. Due to vignetting and other properties of the lens design, an F-stop of 0.95 typically results in a T-stop of 1.1 or so. Optically the lens is designed to have an F-stop of 0.92 at open aperture which makes it the fastest camera lens currently available for M-mount. This is possible due to an extremely large rear lens element: