Impression on Canon 50mm f0.95 lens / Sony A7 II

Canon 50mm f0.95 hold Sony A7II behind

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This lens seems somewhat difficult to use for general purposes. However, it shows special atmosphere for the portraits which I like. Before this shoot out, Lena’s portrait, I used twice the lens briefly and was not so much impressed.

In this portrait session, I plan to use CF-22 digital back as main tool and Sony/Canon f0.95 combination for backup mainly test shots. However I found the studio is more like ‘just indoor’ instead of photographic studio. I mean there is no supportive lighting to play with which makes the room very dim as if real Japanese room in old days. My digital back quickly returned to back-pack and Sony A7II with Canon lens became sole main tool suddenly….

Lena's portrait

   DOF is so shallow that lost eyes even if nose is on spot… 

Focusing and depth of field

A7II has screen enlargement function to adjust focus pin-point on the spot. Nice but…  f0.95 lens has just only a few centimeters in depth of focus. Slight movement of the model will be a problem, also photographers usual actions like, lower camera to see setting, or move camera for better composition…etc will ruin critical focus immediately. (so called Cosign error)

In fact, the cosine error is theoretical concern rather than practical under normal circumstances. But with f0.95 lens, it is a real problem indeed…

Distortion

In wide opening, big barrel distortion exist and quite noticeable in the frame. If stop down, distortion improved a lot but it is not cure for this lens. What’s the reason to stop down f2.0 when pick up f0.95 to use?

The main purpose of portraits lens is the dreamy and soft rendition otherwise not possible. Therefore creamy background blur of Canon f0.95 is more important factor than distortion or resolution in the context of the portraits. If distortion becomes important matter as architecture or interior, f2.8 TS lens would be right choice.

A0021964.jpg   A0021966.jpgSize comparision Mitakon 50/0.95 vs Canon 50/0.95

Size

Compared with the Mitakon f0.95 or Noctilux f0.95, Canon has shorter barrel, almost half of them. This is one aspect I like. These days ‘mega-size-tele-like-standard’ lenses are popular. In my taste, short & wide barrel fits much better to slim bodies like Leica M or Sony A7.

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   With simple adapter, can attach to Sony A7 series

Modify lens mount to Leica M type is another option, then the lens can be used with Leica M as well as Sony A7. Just one reminder though. DOF is hair thin, rangefinder of Leica has to be corrected and adjusted ultimate precision to match with lens.

Post processing is must

Unlike Mitakon f0.95 which requires almost no retouching, Canon f0.95 can’t work well without it. It was produced in 1961 with single coating, and collected dust & humid many years. Coating was not good enough even at new and degraded over time. Mechanical position of lens elements has changed if ever disassembled for repair or internal cleaning.

Fuzzy and smeared in color (yellowish) covers picture out of the camera, but the resolution is still very high surprisingly. So post processing is mainly removing smeared color, reduce glare in highlight (can’t remove completely) and adjust Sharpen and Local Contrast to make the photo acute as much as possible.

Once get it done, it returns dreamy, soft but still sharp image. It is different mood from Mitakon f0.95 at the end, worth to pay extra effort.

* The photo below, I did not change yellowish color to keep intact the atmosphere of the interior. It came out clearer color when lower the color temperature about 200 degree, but overall color changed like fluorescent lighting  … don’t like it…

** If the camera placed on a tripod and use as if medium or large format cameras, easier to get tack-sharp focus on eyes. Handheld is possible but challenging to get it done perfectly.…

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   Canon 50mm f0.95 assembled with Sony FE adapter and square hood

 

 

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