Micro Four Thirds gets a cheap 50mm f/0.95 hyperprime lens for dreamy, very shallow depth of field or low light work

Written by Gary on March 2nd, 2010

The Micro Four Thirds camera system is blessed with being able to use almost any lens ever made albeit in manual focus only, but at least image stabilised as well if you use an Olympus body, and being mirror-less, having fast, accurate access to manual focus anywhere on the image.

New US-based company, Noktor, has just released its first lens product – a hyperprime 50mm f/0.95 lens in Micro Four Thirds mount for $US750 (yes that is cheap compared to the Leica version which is some 15 times more expensive!), weighing 480g and with close focus of 0.6m and a filter thread of 62mm. The lens appears to be based on the $US900 Senko/Navitron/Yakumo C-mount TV camera lens. It will be interesting to see how it compares with the similarly priced Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 in Leica mount. I suspect the Voigtlander will beat it for sharpness wide open given the images Noktor have posted thus far.

Noktor 50mm f/0.95

They provide the following image sample (click image for large size):


As you can see, it has a dreamy aesthetic, and it has extremely shallow DOF. More images in their gallery, and a quick preview of it by Steve Huff, and also check out Philip Bloom’s review of this lens for videos – he shows a very nice shallow DOF video taken with a GF-1.

Having a 50mm focal length, this gives a field of view of a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera, and I presume a depth of field of a 100mm f/1.9 lens on a 35mm camera, but exposure of an f/0.95 lens, and image stabilised on Olympus!

Now let’s see what other wide aperture options at that focal length we have for Micro Four Thirds:

Autofocus capable:

  • Panasonic Leica M43 45mm f/2.8 OIS macro
  • Olympus M43 50mm f/2.0 macro (coming in 2011?)
  • Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro – slow AF on Olympus, no AF on Panasonic
  • Olympus ZD 35-100mm f/2.0 – slow AF on Olympus, no AF on Panasonic – bit too big for a small body though
  • Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 – slow AF on Olympus, no AF on Panasonic – bit too big for a small body though
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Four Thirds – slow AF on Olympus, no AF on Panasonic

50mm lenses which will only manual focus on M43 but with aperture at least as fast as f/1.2:

  • Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH – 700g, close focus 1m, £6290 or $US11,000 new.
  • Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1 ASPH – 630g 1975 model (~$US4000 on Ebay?) now replaced by the f/0.95 model which has less vignetting and distortion
  • Carl Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 limited production 35mm movie camera lens
  • Tarcus I.T.V 50mm f/0.95
  • Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 Leica VM mount – 428g, close focus 1m, 58mm filter, 10 aperture blades, $A1295 Sharper than the Leica f/1.0 but not as sharp as the Leica f/0.95, but bokeh not quite as nice, and micro-contrast a bit flat.
  • Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 Leica Vm mount is also available – see photos here
  • Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 and f/1.4 are also available
  • Hexanon 50mm f/1.2 – $US2000 on Ebay
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.0 L – 985g, close focus 0.6m, USM AF, discontinued 2002; $US3500? Very soft, no where near as good as a Canon 85mm f/1.2L, even at f/2.8
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L – USM AF, introduced in 2006, sharper than the f/1.0 Canon
  • Canon FD 50mm f/1.2
  • Canon 7 rangefinder 50mm f/0.95 “dream lens”
  • Olympus OM 50mm f/1.2
  • Olympus OM 55mm f/1.2 – very soft wide open on Four Thirds
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AI-S – 354g, 9 blades, close focus 0.5m,  $US670 new
  • Nikon 58mm f/1.2 Ai-s Noct ASPH – 465g, 9 blades, discontinued in 1997  much more expensive than the 50mm Nikon – ~$US3000 Ebay
  • Minolta Rokker 50mm and 58mm f/1.2 lenses

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