PART 2 of the review is online here.
A few of days ago I’ve received world’s fastest lens for mirrorless cameras; the IBELUX 40mm f/0.85. The company, HandeVision, kindly sent me the X-mount version of this lens, and I was pretty happy to test it on the field.
Now, I’m neither a professional reviewer, nor a PRO photographer. As you might know, I’m “just” a teacher, with the passion for photography (and the X-series).
Therefore don’t expect a comprehensive in depth review a la dpreview or the amazing first looks of Rico Pfirstinger. With a full time day job and Fujirumors as a side project, I walk often enough on the thin line that separates passion from burn-out ;-). So I do not aspire to become a reviewer, too. Let me focus on the Fuji news, rumors and deals.
But for world’s fastest lens for mirrorless cameras, well, I had to make an exception!
And yes, I know Rico would have done a much better job, but I also know he is super-busy with his book “X-E2, Beyond the Manual” (coming very soon) and with his fujixsecrets workshops (probably available also in California later this year), that he’d for sure not have time to test also the IBELUX.
In this first part I’ll just quickly tell you about the handling and build quality.
I have this weekend to make some more shots and will probably share them next week, so you can look at how this lens performs at f/0.85 ;-).
Handling, build quality and features
BUILD QUALITY: “This is heavy!” That’s the first thing I’ve thought when I unboxed the IBELUX and hold it in my hands. This lens, designed in Germany and manufactured in China, is very well build. It weights about 1.170g (2.58 lb), so the lens alone is heavier than the X-E2 + 55-200. There is a lot of metal (even the lens cap is of metal) and glass in the IBELUX. HandeVision says that: “With 10 elements in 8 groups higher weight had to be accepted to avoid aspherical surfaces for cost reasons.”
Heavy and big? Reminiscences of my times with a DSLR arise. To add a bit of lightness, I ordered a pint of beer ;-)
MANUAL FOCUS RING: Forget the autofocus: it’s a manual focus lens only. The MF-ring rotates 250°… and it is very smooth and easy to turn! You can easily and precisely adjust the focus. I really liked it. Combined with the accurate focus peaking or digital split image, it makes manual focussing easy and fun.
APERTURE RING: The aperture ring feels good too and gives you a nice “clicking” with each f/stop…. unless you’re stopping down from 0.85 to 1. In fact, when I wanted to turn the ring from 0.85 to 1, I often accidentally stopped at 1.4. For all the other stops, no problem.
THE LENS HOOD: The lens hood is integrated! So you simply have to pull it out. That looks cool but I don’t think it’s the best solution, as a lens hood not only has to reduce lens flair and ghosting, but also to protect your front element. And, well, it’s pretty easy to push the lens hood back accidentally on the IBELUX. This means that your lens is exposed and not protected anymore. I’d rather like to have a mechanism that allows me to block the lens hood once it’s pulled out. The moral of the story? I prefer the classic, reversible, XF lens hoods. They protect my lenses better. Just a short video to show you how easy it is to push back the lens hood on the IBELUX.
It was my “less internet, more Cabernet” day ;-)
DISTANCE SCALE: On the lens itself there is the Focusing and Depth of Field Scale. Marked in green the 5.6 aperture and the 8 feet (2.5 meters)… that’s where this lens is supposed to give the best results.
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Overall, this glass feels really well made, very solid, nice aperture and focus rings. You’ll hardly find something to complain about.
Consider that the IBELUX and your X-camera can’t “communicate”. This means you have to set your X-series camera to “shoot without a lens” and select the focal lenght to “40mm” manually. Also the aperture and the distance & depth of field indicators in the EVF/LCD won’t work. This isn’t really an issue most of the time (you have them on the lens). But, for example, I was on a concert 2 days ago, it was very dark in the hall, and I couldn’t see which f/stop I was using. In this case, an electronic aperture and distance scale would have been very useful.
shot at f/whatever (not wide open)… not written in the EXIF data
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samples to download
IBELUX 40mm at f/0.85 – 1/80 – ISO 3200
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the “Holy Grail” of super-shallow DOF
(the images displayed here is a SOOC. Click on it and get the RAF)
IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 – 1/1700 – ISO 400