SLR Magic is a Hong Kong based lens manufacturer who has enjoyed the limelight with some unique lenses at substantially low prices when compared to the competition. Their lineup includes oddities with titles such as Toy Lens, Hyperprime, Noktor, etc.. Recently, the Chinese manufacturer has made their way into the cinema lens market with fully manual, “cine” lenses.
The cine lens offerings from SLR Magic are no different than their regular photo lenses – they simply add a couple of geared rings and change the engravings during the manufacturing process – which is brilliant. While these lenses may not hold up as well as a more serious cinema lens and may not take into consideration many of the opto-mechanical design features of a proper cinema lens, the price and novelty more than make up for this. The focal lengths, specs, and naming scheme are a bit… Chinese. No consistency or uniformity across the brand. But with with their newest addition, it’s no difficult to imagine SLR Magic getting their ducks in a row to design and manufacture a proper cine prime set.
The newest offering is a 50mm f/1.1 for Sony E mount. The T-stop scale you’d normally expect with a cine lens is left out in favor of an f/stop scale. I couldn’t tell you why this decision was made, but I’d imagine it has to do with the actual T-stop reading of this lens. Perhaps a proper T-stop reading would be a disappointing T2 instead of the expected T1.3 – but who knows.
The lens barrel and mount are made of aluminum, anodized black with integrated focus and iris gears. This new 50mm prime lens will cover 24×36, 35mm full frame sensors (perfect for all you A7S shooters out there) and will have a minimum focus distance of 1′ 7″. The lens is nice and light weight at only 0.8 lbs, understandably so with only 6 elements in 5 groups. Here’s the kicker – all this with a price tag of USD $349.
While I don’t expect to see this lens on any major motion picture sets, I can easily see it’s benefit for gimbal work in available light situations. However, if you plan to shoot at f/1.1, you’d better start brushing up on your focus pulling skills. At five feet to your subject, your depth of focus wide open will be a mere 1 inch. SLR magic has several other cine products that they offer at very affordable prices including a PL mount 50mm T2.1 which was announced but I’ve never seen one for sale in the states…