Video: Quick review of the $550 Sainsonic Kamlan 55mm F1.2 lens
Photographer Christopher Frost recently got his hands on the Chinese-made, ultra-affordable Sainsonic Kamlan 55mm F1.2 lens and put it through its paces in a short review. At just $550, it's leaps and bounds more affordable than similar lenses by well-known brands, but as you might expect, those savings come at the cost of performance.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that this manual-focus only lens is not optically on par with, say, the 50mm F1.2L USM from Canon, which retails for $1,350.
In Frost's test, F1.2 produces some pretty heavy purple fringing and contrast that's "just okay" from the center all the way out to the edges. To get sharper results with less chromatic aberration, you really need to stop the lens down to F2, or F2.8 if you're shooting close up. Finally, the lens also produces some noticeable barrel distortion... more than you would expect at this focal length.
Which leaves us (or you, if you're considering this lens) with a question to answer: are the drawbacks at F1.2 worth the additional light? If you're only going to use this lens very occasionally, they might be, especially when you compare the price against Canon's F1.2. If, on the other hand, an F1.2 lens would be a go-to in your camera bag, spending the extra cash on the L-lens is probably worth it.
Watch the full review up top, and let us know what you think in the comments. Are you at all tempted by these cheap, fast lenses coming out of China?
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