KamLan 50mm F1.1 Mark I : Is it really so bad?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Tom Schum
OP Tom Schum Veteran Member • Posts: 9,880
Re: KamLan 50mm F1.1 Mark I vs Mark II

boogisha wrote:

Hmm, sharpness difference is clearly visible when looking at large.

BUT, if I may, I think I actually prefer the overall looks of the first/original version photo anyway (the bottom one) - contrast seems better (if that is the correct description of what I`m seeing, though it could be scene/lighting/processing influenced, too, not perfectly matched between two shots), and background bokeh seems "softer", too (mark II showing some distracting outlines).

Considering size (and probably price?) difference as well, first version does look like an interesting option Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for taking a look!

I didn't do anything to change white balance or contrast, so at least some of this is due to the differences in the lenses.  But, every time I hit the shutter button for the 10-second timer to start, the camera took a reading of available light and set exposure.  Unfortunately I had the camera set to use auto white balance too.  If I were doing this again, which I never intend to do, I would set up my camera for custom white balance.

I like the look of the Mark I image better, too.

Yes the Mark II does better with sharpness, and until I did this test and you pointed it out, I did not know that the bokeh from the Mark I is better at F1.1.  But it certainly is!

I think lots of sharpness is good with male portraits, where the subject wants to look rugged and manly, and this is getting to be a portrait style these days.  I see this frequently in the New York Times magazine in the Sunday edition, for example.

I think the muted microcontrast of the Mark I is actually better for portraits because it does not get a whole lot sharper at pixel level when you stop it down.  This de-emphasizes complexion detail a little, and I think this is better for a portrait.

I think the Mark II gets a whole lot sharper when you stop it down to F2.  At F2 and above it is at least equal to the sharpness of the Fuji 50mm F2 WR in my opinion, and to me this is maybe too sharp for much portraiture.

I also think that these are not very good portraits because so much of the face is blurred.  This is why I prefer F2 and above for portraits, even though the bokeh is going to be more difficult.

At F1.1 everything in front of and behind the plane of focus just turns to fluff.  There are a lot of artistic reasons to shoot at F1.1, but I don't list portraiture among them.

All of this is just my personal opinions though.

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Tom Schum
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