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INTO THE WIDE: IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 hands on review and samples to download at Fujirumors (PART 2 – with cat shot ;-) )


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Hi again

As you know from the first part of this hands on review, I’m shooting with the IBELUX 40mm f/0.85. The company HandeVision was so kind to lend me one for testing.

Now, I remind you that I’m neither a professional reviewer, nor a PRO photographer (I’m a teacher).

Therefore I’d like to clear this up: don’t expect charts and massive pixel peeping. I also don’t have studio light equipment and models for a professional shootout. If you’re looking for statistics, then I recommend you to read the lensrentals review (btw, they say “It’s built better than I expected. It’s optically better than I expected. It has far less variation than I expected… it’s an excellent lens!” And, according to the lensrental tests, it’s better than the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2, in the center).

I’ll simply share some of my shots, and then send this über-fast lens back to HandeVision. However, as many reviewers out there, I can finally take images of cats and bricks in the wall… I won’t miss this exceptional chance ;-) !

So judge the IQ by your own. Download the high-resolution JPEG’s, all SOOC, no post-processing, film simulations or sharpening added, all handheld, unless it’s written in the image description. You can download also the RAW-file of some images.

IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 at: BHphoto / Adorama / AmazonUS

That said, let’s start:

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Shooting wide open at f/0.85 isn’t easy at all. In fact it is a challenge, for the lens and for the photographer. You have to know exactly what you have to do and the proper situation where you can use it. If you don’t have the skills, you’ll get unusable results at f/0.85.

Sunlight is obviously not a friend of this lens when used wide open. You have to use filters or a shutter speed of 1/8000 or faster (with electronic shutter) in order to… no wait 1/8000 or faster? Electronic shutter? Ok, use filters. I didn’t have a filter for this lens, so I did the wrong thing and shot wide open on a quite sunny day.


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In this case, stop down and get pleasing results, no PF and sharp images.

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Now let’s cross fingers that the rumor posted here is correct… also in this case, 1/4000 of a shutter speed is not enough

IBELUX 40mm – f0.85 – 1/4000 – ISO 200

download RAF / click on the image for the Full Size JPEG

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Another shot stopped down at… don’t ask me which f/stop it was. It’s not written in the EXIF data. The lens and the camera do not “talk” to each other (see Part 1 of the review). Maybe f/5.6

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Choose a proper situation, and the results are much better wide open. Here is my cat, captured in a rare moment of relax, shot at 0.85. Used wide open, the lens is not razor-sharp, but the result in this case is still pleasing.

sorry, I had to do it… the inevitable Cat-Shot

IBELUX 40mm – f0.85 – 1/50 – ISO 400

download RAW-file here / click on the image to enlarge and download SOOC

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Believe me, it was really dark under the dense leafs of the grape, one hour after sunset. But stop down at f/0.85, and it will look like daylight… and with pleasing results also this time.

IBELUX 40mm – f0.85 – 1/150 – ISO 400

download RAW-file here / click on the image to enlarge and download SOOC

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with velvia film simulation and +1 sharpening (in camera RAW conversion)

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crop of the SOOC

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The day after I’ve received the lens, I decided to take the train and to go to the next city. Time to hang out in dark pubs with the IBELUX. I took also the XF 35mm, as I wanted to compare the performance of both lenses at f/1.4… btw, there is no 1.2 f-stop on the IBELUX. So the fastest comparison possible is at f/1.4.

Now, as I said, judge the IQ by yourself. You can click on the images, download them from my dropbox and make up your own mind.

I tested it, almost exclusively, wide open. Mainly because I wanted to push the lens to its limits and also because if I’d have posted samples at 1.4 or 2, you’d probably wonder how the image would have looked liked at 0.85.

So let’s go ultra-wide and start with the Fujinon vs Ibelux comparison.


All images shot handheld

IBELUX 40mm – f1.4 – 1/60 – ISO 2500

download RAW-file here / click on the image to enlarge and download SOOC

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↓ Fujinon 35mm – f1.4 – 1/60 – ISO 2500 ↓

download RAW-file here / click on the image to enlarge and download SOOC

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I convinced my brother to stop at the bar after work. I needed some portrait shots… it cost me a few beers, but I was able to corrupt him for this little photo session.

IBELUX 40mm  f/1.4 – 1/30 – ISO 4000

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↓ Fujinon 35mm  f/1.4 – 1/30 – ISO 4000 ↓

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I hear you screaming for ISO 200 portraits. I understand, NR (in the X-E2) can be quite aggressive at high ISO and produce unpleasing skin tones (in JPEG’s, but not in RAW) . So I asked a friend to repeat the comparison. The result is underexposed due to the ISO200. But download the RAF file and you’ll be able to brighten up the dark areas with any Photo Editing Software.

Fujinon 35mm  f/1.4 – 1/50 – ISO 200

download RAF  / click the image for the full size jpeg

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↓ IBELUX 40mm  f/1.4 – 1/50 – ISO 200… handheld ↓

download RAF  / click the image for the full size jpeg

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Purple Fringing can be often an issue when you shoot wide open. In this case you have to expose darker or to go in post-production and correct/mitigate them.

IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/60 – ISO 800

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before and after correction in Lightroom 5.6

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Shooting at 0.85 with a bright light source in the frame (especially in the center) can make appear some halos at f/0.85

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↓ Not so pronounced, but still a bit visible also in the next image ↓

IBELUX 40mm – f0.85 – 1/30 – ISO 1600

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↓ visible also here ↓

IBELUX 40mm – f0.85 – 1/1000 – ISO 200

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vignetting & distortion… and finally the famous bricks in the wall (which is quite ironic for a teacher as me… got it?)

IBELUX 40mm – f0.85 – 1/1600 – ISO 200

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Wide open and handheld at 0.85

IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/40 – ISO 2500

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/30 – ISO 3200 — candlelight only

Exp.Comp -1 / H-tone +2 / S-tone +2 / NR -2 / Sharp +1

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/60 – ISO 1250… triple selfie!

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IBELUX 40mm – f/0.85 – 1/150 – ISO 400

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IBELUX 40mm – f/0.85 – 1/1000 – ISO 200

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Velvia Film Simulation / Color -1

IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/1700 – ISO 200

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/2900 – ISO 200 & -1/3 exposure

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/60 – ISO 640

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/30 – ISO 1600

+2/3 exposure using the in build RAW converter

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/15 – ISO 6400

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IBELUX 40mm  f/0.85 – 1/85 – ISO 200

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The lens is heavy, expensive and really sees in the dark thanks to its super fast aperture of 0.85. Keep in mind that shooting at 0.85 is a real challenge, and the results depend, in part, on your skills and in which condition you use this lens. Choose the right conditions and set up properly your camera and lens, and indeed, the results will still be pleasing, even at 0.85.

But, in any case, even with the best conditions & settings, you won’t get razor-sharp images wide open, a bright light source can provoke halos and purple fringing can occur pretty often. Luckily, there are two ways to control the purple fringing: expose darker or eliminate/mitigate it with a photo editing software.

And of course, stopped down, this lens is amazing and delivers really marvellous images.

To Buy or Not To Buy?

Well, I don’t think this glass is really “exceptional“, as they say over at lensrentals. Sure, they might have made their tests and good reasons to say that. But what I know is that the Fujinon glass is exceptional. Hence…

… hence, X-shooters have excellent and much cheaper options for low light situations and shallow DOF. For half the price you can buy the XF 56mm f/1.2, which gives you shallow DOF, pleasing bokeh and sharp results wide open all over the frame. Also the XF 35mm at f/1.4 at ¼ of the IBELUX price, will already allow you to handle many low light situations. Fujifilm spoiled us X-shooters with the amazing Fujinon glass… there is, in my opinion, no need to look elsewhere.

But, if what you need is an extremely shallow DOF and a lens that sees in the dark, then you might consider the IBELUX too… but it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the $2000 price tag.

The IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 can be purchased at: BHphoto / Adorama / AmazonUS