EXCLUSIVE: SLR MAGIC 50mm 0.95 on M9/XPro1
UPDATE: I made some comments about the white balance on the Fuji not being so great later in this post – I retract that statement as I had the camera set to VELVIA mode, so the colours are naturally boosted, making skintones much yellower than the M9…an unfair comparison, so please disregard anything about colours in the post for now, updated images coming soon with ASTIA/PROVIA film settings and RAW once available.
Its arrived! The SLR Magic 50mm 0.95 ‘stealth’ edition lens…one of only a few in the world available for testing….and we are lucky enough to be one of the chosen few to put it through its paces. Unfortunately the M mount version of this lens (featured here) is not available to the public yet, so you will have to wait a few more months to get one, the initial pre-order batch for end of July has already sold out. I think September 2012 is the next batch so get your pre-orders in quick if you are interested!
Another toy that happened to come along with it was the Kipon M adaptor for the Fuji XPro 1, so we have the exclusive opportunity to be able to show some of the first ever images (if not the first) with this combination.
Effectively on the Fuji (1×5 crop), the hyperprime becomes a 75mm 0.95 lens, great for portraits!..
The shots on this blog post were all taken on day 1, have tested the lens here in Hong Kong on a rainy night only for only about 2 hours, the images will all tell you underneath which camera was used and all are shot wide open at 0.95. The images shot on the Fuji XPro 1 were in Vivid (Velvia) mode in JPEG FINE setting as we are still awaiting RAW conversion update for Lightroom 4, so is difficult to compare with the excellent RAW files coming out of the M9.
With the Fuji, there is no focus confirmation, but there is the zoom button which allows very easy focus confirmation at extreme magnification…if anything it zooms too much for my liking. Personally I found it a lot easier to use just the EVF (i normally hate EVF viewfinders) to focus it and found I could do it quickly and accurately most of the time, even wide open was easier than I thought….this gives a slight advantage over the M9, as with that of course it is always manual rangefinder focus with available light…which is fine during daylight, but much more difficult in low light, the EVF on the Fuji brightened up the scene and made it relatively simple to nail the focus.
I noticed Steve Huff did a review yesterday using the lens in bright sunshine with an ND filter, link here, I will be taking his advice and trying something similar myself, although unfortunately the current Hong Kong weather has little requirement for ND filters…its dark by 3pm with this crappy weather! Maybe in a few days I can get a few images up on the blog with that setup, I have only generally used ND filters either for video work with the 5DII, or with flash to shoot wide open during daylight…perhaps I will try the same with this lens
So, heres some more images for now showing both cameras output with the lens. I must state again as before in all my reviews that I am a ‘user’ not an analyst, so i don’t care much for technical jargon, I just want nice sharp images full of ‘pop’ coming out the other end of the camera, and both M9 and Fuji are doing that without any hitch whatsoever, I am excited to see the RAW files from the Fuji, as the JPEGs are already amazing….i think in all honesty I am still a slave to Leica though….theres just something magical about what comes out of that camera for me…maybe its the time, effort and money I’ve invested in the Leica system that hypnotises me…I have used many many different cameras over the years…but like most M9 users we all agree that when it hits the target…there is nothing quite like it.
My main observation so far between the two has been colours….of course as stated before, its very difficult to compare RAW files with JPEGS…..so I’m not going to dwell on it just yet….more tests to come as soon as I can get RAW access from the Fuji.
You can clearly see from these samples that the colours on the Leica M9 are far better, much more natural and muted and representative of the natural light when out shooting, the Fuji images are excellent, just need the white balance tweaked for each one (I haven’t touched white balance on any of these samples).
Anyway, hopefully this will show anyone that is interest in either combination of camera that they are both very very capable of producing excellent results with this lens, and I am very excited to try more shots, especially during daytime also with the ND filter.
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Written by Gary Tyson
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