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

Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens Review (compared with Canon 50mm F0.95 lens)

Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens Review

Click Here to See the Latest Review on Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream Lens”


I am a big fan of large aperture lens and bokehliciousness images. Since I already have possession of the Schneider Xenon 50mm F0.95 lens that I could not justify spending another 3k on the Canon 50mm F0.95 lens. Alternatively, I had my eye on a similar Canon offering: the Canon 50 F1.2 lens. This is was introduced by Canon in 1956 and it was the fastest mass market lens available in Leica Thread Mount at that time.  This lens is less than a stop slower than the Canon's famous big brother and the prices is only about a quarter of the F0.95 lens.

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Size and Build Quality


There are two chrome versions of this lens and also a limited completely black version made specifically for Black rangefinders. The lens in this review is the version one of this lens imprinted "CANON CAMERA CO. Japan" on the front of filter thread.
The Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens  is much smaller and lighter than the Canon 50mm F0.95 lens, it weights at 323grams compared to 605grams of the F0.95 lens. The Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM has similar build quality to the F0.95 lens and built with Canon's signature black and satin chrome finish. Overall, the lens feels well built and feels solid  in the hands.

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Image Quality and Rendering


The Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens is comprised of 7 elements in 5 groups and with aperture range from f/1.2 to f/22. There are 11 aperture blades with a minimum focusing distance of 1 meter. The filter size thread on this lens is 55mm and filters may be applied accordingly.
The rendering of images is very similar to the Canon 50mm F0.95 lens. Certain photographers buy that  lens because they love the bokeh produced by it. In this case, the Canon 50mm F1.2 lens does not disappoint in this regard and offers that typical Canon bokeh.  The Canon 50mm F0.95 is also well-known for its "softness" when shot wide open, which has the reputation for been a "perfect" portrait lens. In terms of wide open performance, the F1.2 lens surpasses its bigger brother and offers higher resolution and sharper images when shot at F1.2. When stopped down, the sharpness of image progressively increases and peaks at F8. The best resolution is provided at F4 and in terms of sharpness this Canon lens can compete with other lens brands  in Leica LTM mount to produce very detailed images when stopped down.

LTM mount

The Canon 50mm F1.2 lens is in Leica Thread Mount (LTM) and can be mounted on
any traditional Leica Screw Mount camera. To use this lens on the Leica M mount then an adapter is required to convert from LTM to Leica M mount. It is a simple type of adapter and there are many offerings  but to allow the lens work flawlessly with great calibration then a well-machined adapter is necessary. I highly recommend buying the genuine Voigtlander or Novoflex LTM to M adapter as they are extremely well-built and will not incur any "loose play" like the cheaper eBay adapters.

 

Conclusion 

It is an amazing lens that can be had for a relatively cheap price that works like a charm on any Leica rangefinder camera. Most importantly, it is a fun lens to shoot withand offers a very unique rendering.

 

Schneider Kreuznach Xenon 50mm F0.95 lens Review

Schneider Kreuznach Xenon 50mm F0.95 lens Review

I was searching for an ultra large aperture lens on the Internet and have found this very special lens. It is extremely rare and I can hardly find any samples online, so I decided to share some knowledge I learnt and experiences from using this unique lens.

Build Quality and Size

The Schneider Xenon 50mm F0.95 is made in Germany and Schneider is a highly reputable optics manufacturer. The weight and size is similar to the famous Leica Noctilux 50mm F0.95, it feels heavy and solid in the hands. It is densely made with all metal and built like a tank. The weight of the lens is about 700grams so it is a bit front heavy when you mount on a camera, which is the similar case with the Noctilux.

Lens Mount

The Schneider 50mm F0.95 lens is a C-mount lens which is designed for cinematic usage and that is why it has very special characteristics. I bought a C-to-E mount adapter to allow the lens to be used on the Sony NEX-7. The angle of view of the Schneider 50mm F0.95 is about 33 degrees, although it does not cover full frame but close enough for APSC size sensors. I was very tempted to send this lens to a highly skilled Japanese technician who can modify this lens into the M mount, which can be used on my Leica M9 and MP but decided to hold off the modification for now. You may notice some vignetting on some photos but this can be a positive thing, which all depends on personal preferences.

Image quality

The lens design is made of 6 elements in 8 groups and it contains 6 aperture blades. The closest focusing distance is 0.8 meters, which is not too far and not too close. The aperture range varies from F0.95 to F11 (as indicated on my lens barrel) and there are 3 versions of this lens. My lens is the latter version with the distance scale indication.

The Schnedier 50mm F0.95 is capable of shooting in super lowlight conditions, as it sucks in all the light available and it is perfect for night scene usage.

The rendering is very unique as defined by its bokeh, some people may not like the bokeh it produces but it has lots of characteristics. You can get extremely bokehlicious images and it has that “swirly” bokeh can almost sucks you! When shooting portrait with this lens, it provides almost painting-like quality that is very pleasing to the eye. Also when using it for Black and white photography, it offers that “film look”, which makes it very attractive for b&w purist shooters.

I have found the images are adequately sharp when shot wide open and the sharpness improves when stopped down.

Practical use

The lens is very useful in low light conditions, which makes a big difference in practical use compared to my F1.4 summilux at night and it is all you need on a Sony Nex-7. It is useful for street photography when combined with the tilt shift screen on the Nex-7 that can be used like a waist-level finder; F0.95 allows a very fast shutter speed thus making the combination fast and discrete for street use. The rendering is very special with swirly bokeh that can almost sucks you in, which can even make boring subjects look very interesting. It is the perfect lens for portraits as it renders the image with painting-like characteristics that makes the background melts away. The Schneider 50mm F0.95 is also great for black and white shooting since it provides that almost “film look” on today’s digital bodies.

This lens is full of surprises and I am still discovering more characteristics each time I use it. It is a very pleasant lens to use both on streets and for portraits, I would recommend anyone that likes the images produced from this lens to hunt one down as it is quite rare! 

For my Flickr Set by the Schnedier Xenon 50mm F/0.95 can be viewed here.

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