Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream lens” Review

Japancamerahunter  

Japancamerahunter 

I have done a review on the more accessible and affordable Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens. The Canon 50mm F0.95 also known as the “Dream Lens” was designed to replace the Canon 50mm F1.2 to become the fastest lens and offers superior optics.

The Canon 50mm F0.95 lens was made back in 1960s and 1970s for the Canon 7/7s Rangefinder and it held the crown for the fastest production lens in the world at the time.

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Rendering

The “Dream Lens” is famous for its out-of-focus rendering that offers smooth bokeh and extremely shallow depth of field, which combines to produce the “Dreamy” effects.

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Image Quality

The Lens offers great sharpness that is not clinical. It produces “magical” soft glow with smooth out-of-focus areas and extremely shallow depth of field at its maximum aperture of f0.95.

The lens has classic rendering with natural colours and great contrasts. It is excellent for portraits with its glowing effect and becomes very sharp when stepping down the aperture like every other Leica lenses.

This lens has minimum flare and chromatic aberration but it does have some vignetting. 

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Build Quality

The lens is very solidly built with full metal construction. The weight of the lens is towards the heavy side with similar weight to the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux. However, the lens feels more compact in the hands due to the build construction consists of shorter length and larger diameter.

The focus ring feels very smooth when turning and the aperture ring clicks in place very nicely. It is a well-made lens overall.

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Lens Specifications

 

Construction: 7 Elements / 5 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 10 Blades

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F0.95 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 72mm

 

Weight: 605g

 

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Production Versions

 

  •  Standard Canon 50mm F0.95 Lens: Approximately 20000 units were produced. However, significantly less number of units remained today.

 

  • Cinematic Canon 50mm F0.95 “TV” Lens: Around 7000 units of “TV” version were made hence making this the even rarer lens. This version offers a different coating to create slightly cinematic renderings.

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Lens Conversion

The Lens was originally designed for the Canon Rangefinders. However, if you find a clean copy of the lens without any optical issues then it is worthwhile to convert into M mount.

It is recommended this conversion process to be done through an experienced and highly skilled technician. This way the converted lens is likely to offer perfect rangefinder coupling and enjoyable experience on Leica M cameras.

For Conversion and Customisation, Please read my article on Camera Customisation.

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Conclusion

The Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream Lens” offers great userability and extremely shallow depth of field. If you are looking for a lens that has unique rendering with “dreamy and glowing” bokeh effects and don’t mind the size or weight then this will be the perfect lens for you.

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Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95   Street Shot @F2 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95

Street Shot @F2 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95     Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95  

Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95     Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95  

Street Shot @F2

Leica M Typ240 Camera Review

 

Leica M 240 & 50 Summilux ASPH (Black)

Leica M 240 & 50 Summilux ASPH (Black)

I remember the anticipation was building up for the Leica announcement at September of last year, no one was certain what improvements can be done on the already excellent Leica M9. The tension was there until I saw the video  of John Dooley from the Leica Academe demonstrates the new Leica M. Immediately I was attracted by the camera, it offers so much more than the M9 as a camera but it was until I read online debates all around forums regarding to CMOS vs CCD brought doubts in mind too. Until now, when I finally received the new Leica M typ 240 camera that all my doubts have vanished.

There still are not too many Leica M typ240 cameras out around the world as of June, 2013 and this is due to supply issues from Leica (See public statement from Leica). Other than waiting on the long list of Leica dealers, the only alternative would be paying for a big premium to cut the queue. Nevertheless, it is well worth the wait and there is no-going back to the Leica M9 after using the new M substantially.

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"Survival of Strongest" - Leica M + 50 F1.4 Summilux ASPH

 

Improvements Compared to the Leica M9

The new Leica M typ240 improved all the short-comings of that Leica M9 users have asked for: higher resolution screen, quicker camera processor, faster buffer, quieter shutter sound, better ISO performance and overall much improved functionality.

 

Leica M240 & 50 Lux ASPH Chrome Set

Leica M240 & 50 Lux ASPH Chrome Set

 Build Quality

The build quality of the Leica M is simply amazing. It is build even better than the Leica M9 but maintained similar weight. The camera feels impeccably solid and the body is carved out of a single piece of brass. As a proud Leica MP owner myself,  the Leica MP is undoubtably the best build film M camera until the present. The engineering standard matches the pinnacle of Leica film era, if the Leica MP stands for "Mechanical Perfection" then the new Leica M can be labelled "Digital Perfection." The build quality is equally as solid as the Leica MP.

Image Quality (CMOS vs CCD)

  "Queen Victoria Building"   - Leica M + 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH

 "Queen Victoria Building"  - Leica M + 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH

Prior to obtaining the Leica M that I have seen enough online images from the camera to conclude the rendering is different with the new sensor. However, the sensor inside the Leica M is no ordinary CMOS sensor, it is specifically made for Leica by an Italian manufacturer named "CMOSIS." After shooting the Leica M,  the rendering is smooth, sharp with rich colours whereas the Leica M9 files are crisp with vibrant colours.

The Leica M offers about two stop better than the M9  in terms of ISO performance, I would state the files are usable even at ISO 6400 with noise reduction in post-processing.  The CMOS sensor is not better or worse than the CCD sensor, each has its own characteristics and produces an unique image rendering.

Functionality

Leica M240 & 21 Summilux ASPH

Leica M240 & 21 Summilux ASPH

The Leica M typ240 improves greatly in overall functionality compared to the Leica M9, it feels like a complete camera. There is no question that the Leica M9 outputs amazing images but the Leica M makes the M9 feels like incomplete in the functionality department. The Leica M is the perfect digital camera, it feels like a "real" camera with the new LCD, new design and fast processor. The LCD screen has improved significantly on the Leica M, the screen size and resolution increased from 2.5" and 230,000 pixels on the M9 to 3" and 920,000 pixels on the Leica M. The new Menu on the Leica M appears to be modernly designed yet maintained the navigation simplicity of the Leica M9, all the features are in one clean and simple menu list.  The in-camera processor has been updated to a much faster processing electronics and this combined with the new LCD provides users with immediate feedbacks. The shutter sound on the Leica M is different to the Leica M9, it is much quieter yet solid without the re-cocking sound on the M9. The new shutter produces more pleasant sound to the ears and increases discreetness when shooting at quite locations.  The transition of the electronic frame lines from the Leica M9 titanium onto the new Leica M is a great addition, the electronic frame lines will adjust its brightness according to the light source thus offers better visibility through the viewfinder.

The battery life of the Leica M improved significantly over the Leica M9, the voltages increased from 3.7v on the M9 to almost double with 7.4v for batteries on the M.  The real-life battery usage increases from around 400 to about 1,000+ shots. This prolonged battery life offers extended period of camera use and fewer batteries to carry.

The Leica M9 is prone to issues such as camera freezes regularly and SD card compatibility issues. I have not observed or yet encounter any of these issues after using the Leica M extensively and this reduces the burden on the user during shooting process.  

 

  "Opera Sunset" -   Leica M + 50mm F1.4 Lux ASPH

 "Opera Sunset" -  Leica M + 50mm F1.4 Lux ASPH

Camera Use/Settings Tips

  • Format your SD with external software "SDformatter" rather than in-camera format, as this will cut down start-up time from 4/5 down to about 2 seconds to avoid missing the "moment."

  • Set your metering to centre-weighted and exposure to classic just like the good old Leica M9, this will avoid camera lag when out shooting.

  • Use the live-view function combined with rangefinder mechanism will significantly increase your hit rate when the streets, it is the perfect tool for street photography. The new features do not remove good-old fashion rangefinder shooting but only add to the versatility.

  • For image settings, I tend to use original image settings rather than new film filters offered as I found them to look "different". It is recommend to set Sharpness and Saturation to Standard whilst contrast to High to offer the closest look to M9 files, post-processing is definitely also important but luckily the new M comes with the powerful Lightroom 5.