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SLR Magic announces 23mm F1.7 for Sony NEX's E-mount

By dpreview staff on Dec 9, 2011 at 19:27 GMT

Hong Kong-based lens maker SLR Magic has announced a 23mm F1.7 lens for Sony NEX cameras as part of its 'HyperPrime' range. The E-mount lens offers a 35mm equivalent field-of-view and a minimum focus distance of 0.15m to offer a good degree of control over depth-of-field. It becomes the company's forth E-mount lens (in addition to the recently announced 35mm F1.7, 50mm F0.95 and 28mm F2.8), which it claims it is the fastest APS-C lens of this focal length. The company is seeking volunteers to provide feedback, who will be able to buy the lens at a discounted price.

Press Release

NEW: THE SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7

Hong Kong, China (December 8, 2011)  - SLR Magic expands the E-mount lens lineup with the new SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7 wide angle lens. With this latest addition, the portfolio of lenses for the E-mount system is now comprised of four focal lengths. The world's fastest interchangeable camera lens with APS-C coverage in this focal length, the SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7 will be available in January 2012.
 
The field of view of this new HyperPrime Lens corresponds to a 35mm lens in 35mm format and this fast wide angle of view opens up many new creative composition opportunities, particularly in the fields of candid, street, and landscape cinematography and photography. A minimum focus distance of 0.15m allows for pleasing defocused backgrounds. Additionally, a fast max aperture of F1.7 makes the SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7 ideal for available-light photography. 
 
We place our highest priority in the development of all HyperPrime lenses to fulfill the demands of professional cinematographers and photographers. The design and build of the SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7 is solid and reliable.
 
The SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7 will be available from authorized SLR Magic dealers by the end of January 2012.

SLR Magic is currently looking for volunteers to test this lens at a special price. If interested:

  1. Send an email to sales@noktor.com with the subject "SLR Magic 23mm F1.7 volunteer".
  2. Include sample videos/photos or link to photo/video reviews you have done

SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm F1.7 Specifications

Lens Type Fast wide-angle lens with five Tantalum glass elements to ensure superior cinematic performance.
Compatible Cameras All E-mount cameras
Optical Design 8 elements in 7 groups
Distance Settings 0.15m to ∞, combined scale meter/feet
Aperture Manually controlled diaphragm, 12 aperture blades (circular), Lowest value 22
Bayonet E-mount
Filter Mount 49mm; filter mount does not rotate.
Surface Finish Black anodized
DimensionsLength to bayonet mount approx. 50mm (approx. 1.97in) 
Largest diameter approx. 61mm (approx. 2.40in)
Weight approx. 240g (approx. 8.47oz)

Comments

Total comments: 60
agilestyle
By agilestyle (Dec 15, 2011)

Why the hell this lens is so huge while the Panny 20mm F1.7 is a quarter shorter and comes with AF?
Are the Nex system lenses all plagued by fattness?
Please, make some decent pancacke lens, instead of these heavyweight piece of metal!

0 upvotes
Jens_G
By Jens_G (Dec 23, 2011)

The 20mm m43 lens has a narrower field of view and resolves a smaller image circle than this lens. Both factors allow it to be smaller. In general, larger sensors require larger lenses - taking into account that that NEX sensor is roughly twice the size of an m43 sensor, the size of this lens is perfectly reasonable, for the field of view and aperture.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 12, 2011)

T or F: "fast" equals flare, vingetting, and blow-outs. My luck would be to buy something like this, and then learn (the hard way) why most lenses aren't so fast. Meanwhile, I wonder whether AF on a fast prime adds much if the AF needs a lot of outdoor light to work well.

0 upvotes
adech
By adech (Dec 12, 2011)

Cy, fast lenses are meant to be used in low light conditions. It has its specific purpose and is not for everyday use. If you use in daylight ND filter should be used to reduce flare. Graduated ND can reduce blowouts. Center ND minimize vignetting. Lastly, it seems many manufacturers tend to use better glass for fast lenses than for slow lenses so fast = IQ in a weird kind of way.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 12, 2011)

Curiously, though, Dpreview has tested "fast" lens performance at bright outdoor events or settings. Low light settings often feature lamps or candles, which are apt to turn into huge halos if the aperture is wide. I don't know (but imagine) that HQ glass may reduce that, but I don't have an idle $1k sitting around just to find out. A review that included sample low light scenes with lamps in the frame, or slightly off-frame, would be worth 1k dollars or words.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Dec 11, 2011)

If only this has AF, OIS and is F/1.2. Id be the perfect lens for indoor photography.

0 upvotes
sesopenko
By sesopenko (Dec 11, 2011)

You're being sarcastic, right?

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 11, 2011)

@ Paiasdf: No, this one does not have all that. But ehre is an idea: how about getting an AF, OIS, F1.2 lens instead of this SLR Magic one. Would that work for ya'?

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Dec 12, 2011)

Well there is an AF-S 24mm f1.8 Carl Zeiss lens available for $1000 if you are interested.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Dec 12, 2011)

I forgot to add pancake as well. One can dream....

0 upvotes
Jens_G
By Jens_G (Dec 23, 2011)

With focus peaking and an EVF, you won't ever want to use AF again.

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Dec 10, 2011)

Yeah, okay, I like this lens even though I have no NEX-n to put it on. So now I love this lens so much I want to buy -5N or -7. The subject lens is manual only, untested, kinda bulky on a body, and costs about as much as Pana 20mm 1:1.7 real light and thin pancake (<1"), which is tested, is AF or MF, has no IS (but Oly has IBIS), and has hundreds of truly raving reviews on Amazon.
So now it's boiling down to M4/3 vs. APS-C architecture. The "size matters" crowd thinks that even though there will never be a small & bright & IS lens for APS-C, this is or will be outweighed by the IQ even though without AF your world is but the static studio along with some trees and tripod scenery.
I guess I am missing something. Perhaps it is between the full frame vs. APS-C.
The so-called pros can go on dreaming in their studios but I'd rather walk the streets and have some fun. Maybe do a motorbike tour.

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (Dec 10, 2011)

I was all ready for putting my money down on a GF2 or GF3 and the 1.7mm lens when today I found a NEX-5 twin lens pack at the Best Buy closing down sale for just shy of £300!!!

Happy with my purchase of course ... but kinda miss the opportunity for that touch to focus and shoot feature with a 1.7mm lens (although my wallet is much happier of course :o)

1 upvote
frosti7
By frosti7 (Dec 11, 2011)

samsung NX has amazing pancake lens selection, and its newest nx200 20mp sensor looking even better then nex-7's on dpreview comparison tool

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 11, 2011)

I so hate autofocus lenses. They don't really work too good, do they? I just use my left hand's fingers to set the focus distance manually. That works amazingly well! Thanks for yet another amazing HyperPrime, SLR Magic.

0 upvotes
Pr0peller
By Pr0peller (Dec 12, 2011)

OneGuy - you are certainly missing something - like the depth of field of a 24mm lens which makes AF superfluous in most cases. No experience with pro lenses, eh? Should try getting into a studio - meanwhile keep pounding the asphalt.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Dec 10, 2011)

I have been very sceptical of SLRmagic products in the past, many of them are lenses you can buy for a fraction of the price on ebay and they charge a huge premium for basic extension tubes too but starting with the recent 12mm lens there has been a sudden and dramatic increase on build and image quality, the 12mm looks like it has a wide angle converter glued to the front but it really is a decent performer and surprised me a lot, they seem to be going in the right direction, hopefully the 23mm can maintain this new new level of quality.

The old CCTV lenses they sell are overpriced but these newest offerings seem a lot more like it to me!

I'm trying to get my hands on a review sample but my blog isn't exactly world famous so I don't fancy my chances!

0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Dec 10, 2011)

I take back some of what I said about the CCTV derived lenses, after speaking to SLR Magic it seems they are somewhat superior in terms of multi coatings and quality control, also the macro extension tube is much better than I thought and has a zoom ring to adjust the magnification, nifty! This new knowledge combined with the recent 12mm lens makes me see the company if a different light and I have to extend kudos to them, they have invested profit from the toy lenses into making a very good optic in the 12mm and hopefully this 23mm lens will follow suite!

1 upvote
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (Dec 10, 2011)

You'll say anything for that SLR offer LOL!

2 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Dec 11, 2011)

Lol actually that didn't go so well, I'm not sure why, my blog has 11 subscribers and counting!

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 12, 2011)

And don't forget their 50mm/F0.95 HyperPrime, folks. The mother lode of all ultra sensitive optics. And at US$999, a pretty darn good deal, too.

Re. the SLR extension tubes, how would those work exactly?

0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Dec 12, 2011)

They actually improved the hyperprime after buying out Noktor too, I didn't believe this at first but if you look at the Steve Huff reviews there is a pretty big difference in contrast and saturation when he tests the revised version on a Sony NEX. The lens is still pretty soft wide open but the actual results are a lot more pleasing to the eye. I would probably still choose the Voigtländer 50mm f/1.1 Nokton over it but there's no denying that they have made a noticeable improvement in the IQ

The macro tube is fairly straight forward in theory, the bigger the macro tube you use the closer you can get to the subject and the higher the magnification you can achieve, what this ring does is extend by turning a ring so instead of having to change rings to change the magnification ratio you just adjust the length of the one tube, it's simple but effective!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 10, 2011)

So glad to see that SLR MAGIC of Hong Kong continues to deliver quality metal-barrel products at plastic lens prices. Also glad to see that their lenses are pro-style manual focus -- they are not designing optics for the AF amateurs, apparently.

Their lenses should all come with at least 2-3 different lens mounts, however, not just one. Like, what about the same 23mm or 35mm lens with a M4/3 mount?

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
RPJG
By RPJG (Dec 10, 2011)

Riiiight... so anyone who uses AF is an amateur?

4 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (Dec 10, 2011)

Indeed .... WTF is wrong with AF ... I seem to recall my professional full frame canon lens having the feature!!!!

1 upvote
spontaneousservices
By spontaneousservices (Dec 11, 2011)

Currently I use my NEX5n with old Nikon lenses, MF. Love it! But I wouldn't take it to a paid photo job. Guess I'm waiting for a sturdy NEX 16-60/2.8 with an AF that's better than my Canon L-lenses.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 12, 2011)

Problem with the autofocus is, it is a dumb computer chip of whatnot, not your BRAIN. Like, don't you know better what you want to have in focus and why, or does your camera/lens know it better? No cinema camera lens in over 120 years have ever used AF, and surprise: somehow most of the shots in most movies are miraculously in perfect focus.

AF is pretty reliable for still pix, of course. But I do mostly film/video shooting, and AF there is a bit dubious.

0 upvotes
HIScamera
By HIScamera (Dec 13, 2011)

Problem with thinking only about yourself is, it is dump to discount what other people's needs are. In movie, they have everything they want in the shot the way they want it lined up, not moving or moving the way they need it to. Of course you don't need AF for that. Any idiot can MF still subject or subject that moves they way you ordered them to. But can you MF entire game of Soccer? Or how about an Airshow? You need AF when shooting unpredictable subject, BECAUSE you don't know better than your camera when, say, tracking a fast moving plane that's banking left or right in unpredictable pattern.
MF is pretty reliablt when everything is set up the way you want it to. Everthing else in life tends not to be.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Dec 10, 2011)

Aside from the little irony that "SLR Magic" now mostly markets lenses that don't work on SLRs, I think it's good to have more lens options for NEX. Even if it should turn out to be a re-labeled industrial or CCTV lens, they are still providing a service by finding one that doesn't vignette, etc. The 12 aperture blades are a distinctive feature I haven't seen on simple re-labeling candidates.

The fast 24mm I lean on now is an old Vivitar/Kiron f/2.0, which is small and has good IQ. However, it's 3" long with an MD-to-NEX adapter -- this 23mm f/1.7 claims under 2" (although the photo doesn't look like it is wider than it is long, as the specs say). We'll have to see if it has the IQ to work like a fast 35mm FOV lens, i.e., grabbing shots wide open in low light and capturing crisp landscapes when stopped down.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 10, 2011)

What does "lens IQ" mean, pls? Thanks!

12-blade aperture blades and stop-less iris rings -- $20,000 and up cine primes have those. Kudos the SLR MAGIC for that. But I agree, their choice for a company name leaves me scratching my head.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Dec 10, 2011)

IQ is image quality -- resolution, contrast, flare resistance, etc.

1 upvote
doublet
By doublet (Dec 10, 2011)

Obviously the lens will 2" long as claimed, once it is focused to infinity. The lens is not of internal focus type, so the length varies according focusing distance.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Dec 10, 2011)

Yeah, I see that the focus is set fairly close in the photo, but it still looks like it would be longer at infinity than it is wide. Does it look 2" long and 2.4" wide to you? Then again, where's the mounting flange? I see neither a rear cover nor mount in the photo. Well, I guess we'll know in January....

0 upvotes
S.A.
By S.A. (Dec 10, 2011)

12 circular aperture blades and no need for an adapter. I personally hate the adapters... Might even be able to use shooting modes other than A and M. Heck I couldn't care what the name is. It could be made by Mattell but if it is excellent quality for $379, I'm in for sure.

2 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Dec 11, 2011)

I tested the 12/1.6 m4/3 lens and it was way better than I expected. Lovely build and feel, beautiful contrast, colour and out-of-focus rendition. Very sharp in its sweet spot. If this Sony mount lens is of the same quality, there will be some happy people out there! You'll need that focus-peaking though, especially at wide apertures.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 12, 2011)

@ ProfHankD: Appreciate the bit about "lens IQ." Nowhere to be found on Wikipedia even, phew.... Actually, I was sort of hoping that is some sort of a complex numerical calculation that gives an objective number on a scale of 100. But if it is a subjective evaluation of the quality, well, who is to say then, hmmm?

0 upvotes
NeilJones
By NeilJones (Dec 10, 2011)

I will pay $50 to try and keep the lens.

1 upvote
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Dec 9, 2011)

If this lens is as decent as latest 'SLR Magic' designs seem to be, this could be a valuable addition for all those who primarily use their NEX with manual lenses anyway. Existing fast 24mm primes, whether new or legacy, are either huge and heavy (if they're SLR lenses) or really expensive (if they're rangefinder lenses, like the Leica 24mm f/1.4 Summilux M).

6 upvotes
LarryPhoto
By LarryPhoto (Dec 9, 2011)

If price is right, and has decent performance I will buy, I am not expecting it to be a Zeiss or Leica, but if its "good enough" wide open and sharp at F4.0, then its worth it to me.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 10, 2011)

Hopefully, coming out of Hong Kong, the quality will be better than what the Germans can deliver of late. Leica is almost notorious these days -- when were they that good last time, back in the 1960s or 70s? People are dropping names left-right-center, but a high price does not mean squat any more.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 10, 2011)

Yes, but people love the names, even if it's Zeiss made by Cosina or Leica made by Panasonic, and when you spend a lot, it's awfully difficult to admit to yourself that a camera or lens isn't that great (although admittedly, the Japanese Zeiss stuff is very good and priced accordingly). I have to admit, I'm surprised how successful this rebranding has been recently. If two items are essentially identical except for the logo and the price, you wouldn't expect many people to be taken in.

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 12, 2011)

@ AbrasiveReducer: Quite in agreement with ya' on that. Saying "ZEISS" or "LEICA" these days probably means that they are NOT made in Germany. Maybe partially designed there and built elsewhere? So, a "CARL ZEISS" of 40 years ago was a West German lens (unless it was the GDR Jena Zeiss lens, which was just as excellent). But these days, it could be made in Malaysia, for all we know.

Problem I see with the CosinaZeisses and PanaLeicas is that once you start to dislike the lens for some reason, who you really gonna be blaming? Good thing with the NOKTOR/SLR MAGIC is, there are no partners on the scene (yet).

0 upvotes
spontaneousservices
By spontaneousservices (Dec 9, 2011)

auto focus?

0 upvotes
WyldRage
By WyldRage (Dec 9, 2011)

None. It would really help their sales if they had it.

1 upvote
zoranT
By zoranT (Dec 9, 2011)

The previous lenses were cheapies or rebranded CCTV lenses, but I welcome that finally more and more companies dive into NEX territory. It' s about time.
The 35mm 1.7 is not sharp anywhere, but has gimmick-y character and interesting for video - but it was around 99€, so you could justify purchase.
This one is around 400, so they need to deliver here.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 10, 2011)

A 12 blade aperture, 50mm F0.95 lens (SLR MAGIC HyperPrime) -- in which closed circuit TV lens did you see that exactly, please?

0 upvotes
djec
By djec (Dec 10, 2011)

"A 12 blade aperture, 50mm F0.95 lens (SLR MAGIC HyperPrime) -- in which closed circuit TV lens did you see that exactly, please?"

the senko / navitron... http://www.flickr.com/photos/33343722@N05/4400997268/

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 12, 2011)

@ djec: Thanks for linking us to the NOKTOR 50mm/F0.95 on flickr. Did you know that "NOKTOR" is another name of the company "SLR MAGIC?"

0 upvotes
djec
By djec (Dec 12, 2011)

you don't seem to bright, i linked to a cctv lens! some more info for ya...

http://www.adlinc.co.jp/product/index.html
(bottom lens on the list)

and fyi both the noktor and senko cctv lens have 8 aperure blades.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 9, 2011)

"The world's fastest interchangeable camera lens with APS-C coverage in this focal length"

Pretty easy when you use a non-standard focal length like 23mm! :) However, there are multiple 24mm f1.4 lenses out there. I'd almost suspect it is really a 24mm that they labeled as 23mm for marketing purposes.

1 upvote
adech
By adech (Dec 9, 2011)

it is simple. compare it to the Zeiss 24mm to see if it is 23mm! 23mm is a wider angle than 24mm after all and it is more common to see a f2.8 for legacy glass.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 10, 2011)

I agree here, this was below-the-belt. If nobody else has a 23mm focal length lens, yours is going to be the "fastest in the world" -- even if max. open aperture is f8 on it. Good try on the part of SLR MAGIC, however.

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Dec 10, 2011)

Well Rodenstock makes a 23mm f5.6 but it costs over $7000.

1 upvote
adech
By adech (Dec 11, 2011)

Is the Rodenstock at least APS-C? f/5.6 hmnn is it a pancake?

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 12, 2011)

"Well Rodenstock makes a 23mm f5.6 but it costs over $7000."

Ha-ha-ha-ha, that's a good one. When lens snobbery walks in a ball room in top hat & tails, you can be rest assured it will have a royal sounding Euro name, so-so specs, and of course a preposterous price.

Yeah, and this coming April will be the 100th anniversary of the SS Titanic going down... Hear that, Sir Rodenstock?

0 upvotes
JensR
By JensR (Dec 12, 2011)

Francis, you might want to check the Rodenstock first, before getting all haha:
http://www.graham-mitchell.com/blog/?p=43
That monster is an ultrawide lens for the 645 format and could probably sink an iceberg.

0 upvotes
Jens_G
By Jens_G (Dec 9, 2011)

Can't wait. Perfect focal length on APS-C. Going to be amazing using MF with contrast peaking in Nex-7 viewfinder.

7 upvotes
Nigel Wilkins
By Nigel Wilkins (Dec 10, 2011)

Perfect for?...
Surely that depends on your subject & style? My perfect focal length would be 13mm for example.

1 upvote
Jens_G
By Jens_G (Dec 13, 2011)

@Nigel, perfect for me, if I'm limited to a single focal length on a single camera. I usually shoot 3 cameras with 3 primes, 24,35, and 85 (FF). Of the three focal lengths, 35mm (or 23/24 on APS) is by far my most indisposable.

If I had to stick with a single lens for the rest of my life, it would be 35mm FF equiv field of view.

Granted, I probably should have qualified 'perfect' with 'for me'.

0 upvotes
Dan Ortego
By Dan Ortego (Dec 9, 2011)

Again, no news as to 'rough price' range ...500, 1k or 1500?

Update: Just found the price of $379.00 over on another cam forum.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 60