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New SLR magic 12mm f/1.6 reviewed at Photozone


Image courtesy: Photozone.

The most popular of al lens review websites just tested the SLR Magic 12mm f/1.6 lens. Read the full review at Photozone (Click here). And the lens is certainly the best ever made by SLR Magic: “The SLR Magic Hyperprime 12mm f/1.6 MFT is an extreme lens design. This has both advantages as well as drawbacks. Technically the lens is capable of delivering a sharp image center at very large apertures but the borders are fairly soft here. In the field this is probably not a big issue regarding the typical shallow depth-of-field applications.

There are two more reviews sent me by 43rumors readers:

Thought you might be interested in this. I’m using a black ring SLR Magic 12mm f1.6 and used it exclusively at this event:
I’ve also uploaded the photos from the event which are here in this folder on flickr:

Hi there.
I’ve had the SLR Magic HyperPrime 12mm for a little over a week now and put together this review and photo examples as request by some of your other readers.
Here you go!

Other SLRmagic lenses for Micro Four Thirds:
SLR Magic 12-36×50 ED Straight Spotting Scope lens (w/ hand grip) is now available on eBay (Click here).
SLR magic 11mm f/1.4 lens you can preorder on eBay (Click here).
Toy Lens 26mm f/1.4 lens on eBay (Click here).
SLR Magic 35mm f/1.7 MC lens on eBay (Click here).

  • digifan

    Yummy yummy, a very nice desirable lens, capable of very nice / excellent pictures.
    On my shortlist.

  • Brod1er

    Fair play to SLRmagic for producing a credible lens in a FL that is not catered for by legacy glass. I was sceptical about what the results of a serious test would show but it looks like this joins the Samyang FE, and Voigtlander 25mm as serious MFT third party lenses. Good news when Olympus’ future is uncertain. Now, who is going to be first to offer a third party AF lens??????

  • Miroslav

    A question to Farrukh, Jonathan and everyone who has used production version of this lens: is the flare pronounced at night when shooting relatively distant light ( street lamps etc. )? Since this is fine lens for available light photography, I wouldn’t shoot into the sun with it too often :).

    • The article shows quite good the potential of that exceptional lens. I would like to add, that it was not possible for me to reproduce the “strange effect” with the blurry center at F8.0 that Photozone mentions in their article.

      @ Miroslav: As shown in my review, Flares at open aperture may still be an issue with the production version at night, if you have strong street lamps like shown in this F1.6 example:

      If you are interested in further low light examples, I added some nice insights of the “Wasserschloss” in Hamburg at the end of my review (

      Best regards

    • Hi Miroslav.

      I’ll see if I can test this with “relatively distant light”, but the other weekend I was taking a photo of the top of an older 4 story building, it was night, in downtown Toronto. I wasn’t pointed directly at cars who were facing me about half a block away, but the flare wide open would have been unusable. I switched from 1.6 to 2.0 and the glare was gone.

      • Miroslav

        “relatively distant light”, let me explain – a typical tourist shot: a person standing at night in front of a building or in a square, street lamps somewhere behind, 10+ meters away…

    • Farrukh

      I’ve found that flare can be an issue at times but to accommodate it I compose the shot slightly differently :) Nothing’s perfect, just have to learn how to get the most from it :p

    • Miroslav

      Thank you all for your answers!

  • Francesco

    The question is: Everybody got this lens, but, where is possible to buy it?

    • Miroslav


      Yeah, Europe especially.

  • Ferdinand

    This looks like a completely useless lens to me.

    Now, a 12mm f/2.5 or f/2.8 pancake lens, that would be great!

    • Nick

      I agree. I mean, what possible use is there for a super-fast, high quality wide-angle?

    • Buy the Panasonic 14/2.5 and be happy with it. It’s a great lens.

      • Brod1er

        Agreed, it’s very small, light, contrasty and fast to AF. A great match for MFT. Much underrated IMO.

    • Bob

      one mans treasure is another mans trash. i think pancakes are too slow

  • Miroslav

    With this one, Panasonic 14mm F2.5 and Olympus 12mm F2, there’s really no space for another lens in this range.

    • rUY

      +1, the performance is not as good as some of those claim at all after seeing all those tests.

    • bitcrusher

      I think that there is a place in the focal length.

      This lens fits in that category of special use fast video lens. I think for still’s you are better off with the 14mm F2.5. No question in my mind that the Oly 12mm F2 is a way better lens and a better investment but this guy definitely has its place.

      The big question is what will the street price be.

  • Mr. Reeee

    Good review and this is quite a desirable lens! It seems the edge softness and vignetting of the sample photos that floated around are something one would need to accept. I much prefer it’s image quality to the clinical Oly 12mm. If only it were more NoktoN-like than NoktoR-like!

    I’d still like to see a good 10mm!

    @Miklos The 14mm is okay, but not wide enough or fast enough.

    @ Nick… no kidding, what M4/3 really needs are more mediocre zoom lenses. ;-)

  • Bob B.

    Are you kidding me…this lens takes the Micro out of Micro Four Thirds. That thing looks like a howitzer. I will keep my 12mm Oly which is one third the size of this rocket-launch, it has auto focus AND an f/2 aperture (with the snap ring it manual focuses quite handily too). …if I need the edges blurred…I will run the photos thru Photoshop.
    I don’t get it …but to each his own.
    Maybe as a video lens???

    • Miroslav

      On the other hand, it’s a stop faster (T1.6 = F1.4), it’s almost half the price of Oly and it’s black.

    • Bob

      Yes you can do that. You can also put hand cream on your lens and make the edges of the Oly blur more. Photoshop can also give you 1/2 stop more light but no one can help you with 1/2 stop less noise from iso unless your lens is 1/2 stop faster

    • Bob

      yes. with the micro size we get micro apertures. look at the nokton 25mm f/0.95. It takes the micro out of micro four thirds and its a stellar performer!

    • @Bob: One third the size? How do you compare…?

      What means AF with a 12mm lens:
      – If you do not have time for focussing, you will have a good chance to have sharpness from about 3m to infinite even at open aperture (with a circle of confusion of 0.015mm) when simply turning the focus to “infinite”
      – If you shoot close ups, it will be quite difficult to get the AF on the desired point. You have much more control with manual focussing.

      If you focus manually with the Oly 12mm, it still means “focus by wire” with discrete steps and not continously smooth like with the HyperPrime. Meanwhile I read several posts from users that have problems with sharpness on far objects with the Oly 12/2.0. Perhaps the “infinite” sharpness point lies between two discrete steps with their samples…

    • Frederic Hew

      Sharp frame edges is hardly one of the Olympus 12mm’s strong points :)

      • Bob B.

        OK…I exaggerated the Oly is half the size. My bad. :-(
        Miroslav, Bob or Helge do any of you own either of these lenses?
        Miroslav your math is not good. f/1.6 = f/1.6. Not f/1.4 its really 1/2 stop as stated by Bob
        Bob…1/2 stop more light is NOT really going to make any appreciable difference in a file if you shoot Raw…and know how to clean it up. …At that point to make a difference…get out the tripod. …please..especially on an MFT camera where noise is not a strong point..
        Frederic.. regarding edge sharpness..but apparently when you compare the Oly to the Magic lens.. edge sharpness IS one of the Oly’s strong points :-)….
        …oh…and Bob…not related to this page post…if you want to spend twice..TWICE.. the money for the Nokton over the Pany/Leica f/1.4..for a huge, smeary, manual lens…go for it…obviously you guys LIKE howitzers. I save that look for my full-frame. I like to keep it sharp, small and fast with my MFT. Its just different strokes for diff……
        Again…some of this may be attractive for video …I would not know…that is not my thing.

        • Bob

          Actually the lens is in T stops so on paper it is 1/2 stop faster but in reality it is 1 stop faster meaning the Oly is 1/2 stop slower than f2. Maybe a f/2.4 actually

        • Miroslav

          “Miroslav, Bob or Helge do any of you own either of these lenses?”

          I don’t, but I’m torn between the two. If I had money to burn, I’d buy both :). As for the difference at largest aperture, watch Seb Farges’ video posted here couple of weeks ago. Magic does allow more light in. How much precisely? Maybe that Polish website could tell when they test it, their reviews are always full of charts…

  • Narretz

    Well, the review quoted the head of SLR Magic and he said they want to build lenses with character. So they are not aiming for what Olympus und Panasonic are doing, and why would they? This seems to be an excellent video lens, which fits m43 perfectly.
    I also see the increased quality as a sign that SLR Magic become better and better at making lenses, and we can hope for more, better lenses in the future. Still a shame that there are no 3rd party AF lenses after more than 2 years.

    • Bob

      +1 i think they should just stick to making premium lenses than making cheap ones

      i too very much agree the output of their lenses has its own character compared to the lab perfect lenses.

  • Cristián

    I would like to buy myself Panasonic’s 7-14mm f/4.0, but it has no filter thread…

    Nikon has a similar lens, with the same front element-problem; luckily for Nikon-users, Lee has developed a wonderful solution…
    but it doesn`t fit on the Panasonic 7-14…

    My question:
    has anybody by chance an idea if here is something similar on the market for the Panasonic 7-14?

    Many thanks for any feedback!

    • Brod1er

      Thidefinitely is the biggest drawback of the 7-14. I have used 100x83mm filters hand held on the lens at 7mm without showing the edges (j-u-s-t!). The problem is you get reflections on the filter from behind. It needs a black out screen or box to prevent this. It must be possible to rig something up to do this although it will be a bit fiddly to do.

      • Cristián

        Ok, I see… thanks for your comment!

  • micksh

    Why do you always post invalid link to SLR Magic 12-36×50 scope on eBay?
    It is in every article about SLR Magic and I could never find such product.

    • admin

      Because I made a huge mistake in the links. Thanks for making it notice to me. I fixed the link!

  • sparedog

    not taking anything away from this lens, but i wish photozone would review some of recent panasonic releases like the leica 25mm 1.4 or the new x lenses.

    it seems like its down to who sends their lenses to photozone – cant they just hook up with a local store and get each lens for a test as they are available.

    its a good resource, but the lenses i want are always missing lol

    • mst

      The lenses you request are already in the queue. However, please remember that we all do this in our spare time, so our resources are limited, even though we’re now a team of three reviewers.

      We once tried to hook up with a store, but it didn’t work out the way we had hoped (in general, wasn’t the store’s fault). So we’re back to ers, but mostly actually purchase the review lenses. SLR Magic is the only exception to this rule, we receive the review units directly from them.

      — Markus
      — Nikon lens reviews,

      • admin

        Thanks Markus for commenting here! Good work!

      • Brod1er

        Loaners and purchased lenses are most representative of what regular folk buy so I am happy with that. I look forward to the other reviews. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  • Christian

    Might be fun to shoot a sky full of stars with this lens.

  • umm

    That lens looks like a bad Pinocchio on a GF1.


    • Bob B.

      The Sam Yang 7.5mm makes sense for MFT…this I do not get at all?

  • Chez Wimpy

    From the review:
    >There’s quite a bit of light falloff at f/1.6 up to f/5.6 which is, unlike on other MFT lenses, not auto-corrected simply because theres’s no electronic coupling.

    ??? I am almost certain no m43 lens corrects for vignetting in camera.

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