KamLan 50mm f1.1 Mark II Review
The Bee’s Knees:
- Vastly improved over previous version
- Fast-aperture lens for APS-C mirrorless cameras
- Creamy bokeh
- Good-enough image sharpness at f1.1 and excellent from f5.6 through f8
- Very-low vignetting for an f1.1 lens (about 1 stop in extreme corners)
- Well-controlled lateral chromatic aberrations
- Near-zero distortion
- Test copy has exceptional image centering (equally sharp in all 4 corners)
- Great quality for the price
- Nicely-damped control rings
- De-clicked aperture ring for video work
- Comes with Zomei ND4 filter for shots at f1.1 in bright conditions
- Good contrast with sun just out of frame
- 0.25x MFD magnification
- 180 degree focus throw
- Solid build
The Grandpa’s Knees:
- Soft corners from f1.1 through f2.8
- Longitudinal chromatic aberrations at widest apertures
- Moderate flare with sun in frame (actually bee’s knees for some)
- Strong coma in corners from f1.1 through f2.8
- Color shift at wide apertures
- Fully-manual focusing difficult to use at widest apertures
- De-clicked aperture ring not ideal for stills shooting
- Heavy focus-breathing
- Screw-on lens hood difficult to attach/detach compared to bayonet mount lens hoods
- Metal lens hood more likely to accidentally scratch lens element than plastic
- Sun stars a bit messy at f16
- Heavy for small cameras
- No electrical contacts for aperture and focus data
Table of Contents
The KamLan 50mm f1.1 mkII is a unique lens for mirrorless APS-C cameras. First of all, there are not many lenses made specifically for APS-C which have such fast apertures. On top of that, this lens is incredibly cheap, relatively speaking. The copy purchased for this review was $249.95 (USD) before taxes. Regardless of the actual image quality produced by this lens, playing with a 50mm f1.1 lens is outright fun. When the lens is stopped down to “normal” apertures of f4 through f16, the image quality is quite impressive in terms of sharpness and overall clarity. The build quality is actually very precise and far exceeds the price point.
There are some downsides to the lens, which are covered in more detail below. But keep in mind that this is a $250, fast-aperture lens which is being scrutinized like a lens costing many times as much.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
(More than absolutely nothing!)
- Desiccant packet!
- Foam padding!
- Microfiber lens cleaning cloth!
- Instruction manual!
- Lens caps!
- Lens hood!
- Materialistic joy!
- Zomei ND4 62mm filter!
- And a 50mm f1.1 lens thrown in as an extra, free bonus
- Sadly, box did not contain any red snapper fish, or a Sony a6300 camera body, or even an old driftwood plank. Luckily, I had at least two of those three ready for the review.
Obviously, the $250 KamLan 50mm f1.1 II is no $4,000 Zeiss Otus in terms of image quality, but it’s far more than 1/16th the image quality if the price difference is taken into account. The KamLan is sharp enough wide open and sharpens considerably as the aperture is stopped down. Bokeh is smooth at f1.1 and handles busy backgrounds quite well. The real standout for this lens is the roughly 1 stop of vignetting in the extreme corners at f1.1, which is very low for such a fast, cheap lens. Even many of the best lenses struggle to achieve such a great result. The Zeiss Otus 50mm f1.4 has over 3 stops of vignetting in the corners wide open. As an added, unexpected bonus to the KamLan copy used for this review, the lens element centering is near perfect on a 24MP sensor. All corners are equally sharp. Many cheaper lenses suffer from lens element decentering which can cause one or more corners to be softer than the others.
While there is much to praise about the KamLan, it does suffer from a good amount of longitudinal chromatic aberrations, otherwise known as color fringing in the out-of-focus areas. But once stopped down, the lens behaves much better and also performs well in terms of lateral chromatic aberrations. On the subject of lens flare, it’s a mixed bag. If the sun is in the frame, expect considerable flare, ghosting, and loss of contrast. Once the sun is just out of the frame, however, flare is very well-controlled. So much so, that attaching the lens hood doesn’t provide much help.
For astro photographers, this lens might be a bit off-putting in terms of coma control at the wider apertures, with considerable aberrations all the way from f1.1 to f2.8. In the daylight, anyone looking for an occasional f16 sun star, might be disappointed. The points are a bit messy, and internal reflections muddy the contrast. At f1.1, and when using a camera with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, bright light outdoors can be difficult to control on white surfaces. Luckily, the KamLan lens comes with a Zomei ND4 filter, which darkens the image by 2 stops, and is just enough to handle any bright surfaces on a sunny day.
If you’re obsessed with the opposite of what an f1.1 lens can offer, and wish to focus stack images for a deep depth-of-field from the minimum focus distance to infinity, there is a significant issue of focus breathing to take into account. The field of view is much smaller at the minimum focus distance compared to the infinity focus distance. And in one final nitpick, the lens does slightly alter the color at f1.1 compared to other aperture settings.
Wide open, the KamLan is good enough in the center and then degrades rather quickly as it gets towards the mid-frame of the image. On the plus side, the image sharpness doesn’t get too much worse after the mid-frame out to the extreme corners. If this lens is being used for portraits, you’ll hardly ever get the corners of the image in any sort of focus to begin with, which will hide the softness on the outer portions of the frame. But, if you want to shoot some normal-aperture shots in the f4-f16 range, the center, mid-frame, and extreme corners sharpen up very nicely. By f5.6 through f16, the whole image looks pretty good from corner to corner.
Sharpness test shots were taken in the Center, Mid-frame, and Extreme Corner.
The wagon wheel of image quality! Shoot at f1.1 if you want the f1.1, but keep on rollin’ along the aperture dial if you want some decent mid-frame and corner sharpness. Around f8 seems to be the real sweet spot for landscape photos, assuming it provides enough depth of field. The above samples were taken on a slightly overcast day, so expect a bit more of perceived sharpness in better lighting conditions. Images are enlarged to 100% and cropped. (Note that the sharpness test has a default of +25 sharpness applied in Adobe Camera Raw in order to reduce the blurring effect of the anti-aliasing filter on the Sony a6300 sensor.)
Bokeh is an often misused term, and this review will keep misusing it. While it should be used as a describer of out of focus areas, we’ll just assume it refers to the out of focus areas in general. In that case, this lens has LOTS OF BOKEH! For APS-C mirrorless cameras, this lens is in a league of its own in terms of how much it can blur foregrounds and backgrounds at f1.1. This can be very helpful for bringing the attention of the viewer to the subject in focus, while helping to ignore other elements of the scene. Portrait photographers on a budget will love the look it provides their APS-C camera, even if they do go bonkers trying to get eyeballs in focus.
Creamy bokeh by the scoopful! At f1.1 and closer focusing distances, even the busiest foregrounds and backgrounds will get blasted away in sexy, bokeh bliss. Click HERE for a full-size sample.
The sample array above should give a rough idea of how much foreground and background blur is provided at all the main aperture settings when focus is set at around 8 feet from the lens. The differences between f1.1 and f1.4 are a bit difficult to see unless viewing an image at a much greater enlargement.
Well, here they are! An f1.1 shot compared to an f1.4 shot, enlarged to see the difference. It’s not much, but the f1.1 lens blurs just a bit more for that extra dose of creamy bokeh.
At longer focus distances, the lens struggles a bit more at f1.1. The scene above is a nearly worst-case scenario when shooting outdoors. Many small points of bright light in the foreground and background can give a busy look to the bokeh quality. With that said, lenses costing more may have done worse in such a test.
A 100% crop from the upper-right corner of the scene. Things are getting a bit bubbly here, and the bokeh is showing the trait of oblong bokeh balls.
One thing to always watch out for when shooting with a mirrorless camera and a fast lens, is to turn off the electronic first curtain shutter, otherwise known as EFCS. The above sample shots were both taken with the exact same settings, but the only difference was having EFCS turned on and off. Notice how the bokeh balls are half shaded with EFCS on and not so with EFCS off. If the shading effect is desirable, then use EFCS while shooting at the wider aperture settings, otherwise, just leave it off. Most modern cameras will have an option to set EFCS in the menu.
Distortion is usually not an issue with any 50mm lenses. The KamLan doesn’t have any easily-seen distortion, either barrel or pincushion, so straight lines should effectively remain as straight lines. If I had to guess, I would say there might be a fraction of a percent of barrel distortion, which would cause lines to bow outwards by a meaningless degree along the edges of the frame. My wood wall probably isn’t quite precise enough to show this.
Tested at 10 feet away from lens at f8.
Chromatic aberrations happen when a lens can’t keep the different wavelengths of color arriving at the sensor in the same 3D space. Fast-aperture lenses tend to suffer a bit from what is called longitudinal chromatic aberrations, otherwise abbreviated as LoCA. This is apparent when out-of-focus areas suffer from a color fringing effect that often manifests as magenta/red or cyan/green in color. Lateral chromatic aberrations are typically along the plane of focus, and often show up as magenta/red or cyan/green fringes along high-contrast edges. Strangely, the lateral types are often referred to as just “CA” for short, since this is the most common and apparent type of chromatic aberration found on most lenses of many types. The KamLam lens does suffer a moderate level of LoCA, but is quite low in CA. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize both types when processing the RAW files.
The above samples show what the KamLan LoCA looks like behind the plane of focus and in front of the plane of focus at f1.1. Below each sample of LoCA is a rough try at reducing the aberration by using the Defringe tool in Adobe Camera Raw. This test is a little bit of a better-case scenario where the white sky and bland colors of the power pole make it easier to not ruin colors similar to the ones found in the LoCA. If the image had more cyan or magenta objects, it would take considerably more work to prevent those colored objects from being changed by defringing the LoCA.
Regular CA along the plane of focus of the KamLan are far better than what can be found on many wide-angle lenses of lesser quality. Through all apertures, it’s difficult to see CA on either side of the tree, even when zoomed into the image at 100%, which is shown above. Unless you can find a profile for the KamLan in your RAW editor, which is unlikely, it might not be worth the time to manually correct the CA. I certainly wouldn’t, and I’m usually quite picky about such things.
FLARE + CONTRAST
Flare is something you either want to avoid, or invoke as much as possible, depending on your style of photography. Many portrait photographers love using lens flare to add a special look and mood to their shots. In either case, keep in mind that when using an f1.1 lens on a mirrorless camera, much care must be taken to not cook the internal parts of the lens or camera body by pointing it into the sun on a bright day. The KamLan does show a decent level of flare when the sun is in the frame or just on the edge, but once out of the frame, even by a little bit, the flare and contrast are very well controlled. In fact, after doing many test shots with and without the lens hood, it proved to offer nothing more than physical protection for the front lens element, which is a good sign of well-built optics in the lens itself.
Sample shots taken with the sun in different parts of the frame at f16. This test was not done at wider apertures out of caution for my only camera, the Sony a6300. The ghosting is actually not too bad, and would be possible to remove in Photoshop.
The above comparison is two, 100% crop images with the sun just outside of the frame, shot at f5.6. One image has the hood on and one image has it off. Which one is which? (Sorry about the moving branches. Poor choice on my part shooting in windy conditions.)
Vignetting is a term used to describe the amount of darkening in the outer regions of the image, with the corners usually being the darkest. There are some rare lenses with close to zero vignetting, but a value of 1 stop or less is considered excellent, especially on modern camera sensors. The KamLan punches far above its weight class for an f1.1 lens, with a vignetting value of roughly 1 stop or less depending on copy variation and focusing distance. To put that into perspective, there are a few lenses costing far into the thousands of dollars which exhibit 3 to 5+ stops of vignetting when shot wide open. The KamLan, at worst, has 50% of the light intensity in the extreme corners compared to the center, while a lens with 3 stops of vignetting only has 12.5% of the light hitting the corners compared to the center. Quite a significant difference.
This copy of the KamLan lens shows a slightly darker upper half than the lower half. There is a possibility that the difference is due to user error, as I didn’t quite have the most ideal conditions and setup for this test. Regardless of any variation on my part, it’s very clear this lens performs incredibly well wide open, and even better by f1.8. It’s a sign that the lens has been over-engineered for APS-C cameras and could likely cover a larger sensor. This particular test was done with the focus set to infinity, with a white surface placed several feet away. Expect a slightly different result as the focus gets closer to 1.3 feet.
Coma is an aberration usually found in the corners of lenses where points of light are not rendered as points of light, instead becoming oblong or developing “gull-wings” as they are often referred. The KamLan does have some considerable levels of coma wide open, but that is rather common for any lens with such a wide aperture. With that said, don’t hesitate to use this lens wide open for astro photos if it’s all you have and just want some nice shots of the stars or galactic core of the Milky Way. Sometimes, vignetting can be more of an issue than a bit of coma, and at least this lens has exceptionally-low levels of darkening in the corners. Also, if you are stitching photos of the night sky into a panorama, the coma can be avoided in the edges of the frames by overlapping each shot by 50-70%. Once the images are combined with the right technique, the edges and corners can be discarded and you end up with a wide image that is bright and only comprised of data from the central region of the lens which has little to no coma.
A nighttime scene with points of light in the far distance. This coma test was done in the lower-right corner of the frame.
The coma is rather strong from f1.1 to f1.4 and begins to clear up by around f4. F1.8 would be a decent compromise between the amount of light being gathered and the level of coma. It really comes down to personal taste. I personally don’t mind coma, and would rather have a brighter image, with less noise, by shooting a wider aperture. A little bit of time in Photoshop can sometimes fix the worst areas of coma, depending on the scene.
A night sky photo taken at f1.1. There were some faint clouds obstructing the view, but the coma can be easily seen in the upper-right corner.
A crop of the upper-right corner of the image shows the obvious signs of poor coma control from a lens. Note that while this would be considered undesirable at this task, many lenses do a worse job.
When a lens is built, it may sometimes fall outside of the tolerances needed to make sure all of the glass is aligned within the design specs. It’s often a case where one or more glass elements are not centered with the other elements, or are tilted and not quite facing exactly the same direction. The result of poor centering can lead to one or more corners of the image being softer than the others. The copy of the KamLan used in this review, however, proved nearly perfect when mounted to a 24MP sensor. Many lenses, costing well into the thousands of dollars, can struggle to provide a centered lens, so this result is great. Either one of two things may have happened: I got lucky with my copy and many other copies are not this good, or KamLan managed to produce these lenses with little copy-to-copy variation. I would have to test at least 10 lenses from random sources to say with more certainty. But, it is nice to buy a cheap lens and not send it back several times to get a good copy, which happens quite often with other brands. To put that into perspective, I’ve had to send back a few copies of premium, Canon L lenses for poor centering before getting an acceptable copy.
This centering test shows all four corners aligned together to point out any differences between them. Even at a ridiculous 200% zoom level, this lens looks very well-centered at f5.6. If the difference is hard to see with all four corners aligned in a test, then it is vastly more difficult to see any difference in a regular photo. The hub of the wagon wheel is the best area to compare in this test. One could say it’s a “wheelie” great result!
When a lens aperture is stopped down, it can create streaks of radial light if shot into a bright source. Not many people will be using a 50mm f1.1 lens to get sun stars, but since very few lens reviews post such results from lenses, it’s at least an extra bit of info that might otherwise not be available before purchase. There are two things going against the KamLan for sun stars: internal reflections, and only f16 as the smallest aperture. Usually, it takes going down to f22 or smaller to get the best sun stars. Also, keep in mind that even stopping down an f1.1 lens to f16 is not always enough to prevent your camera or lens from getting fried. Definitely don’t leave the camera pointed into the sun on a tripod with it set at f16 or wider. It’s too risky at this focal length and native aperture.
The above image is a test to produce a sun star, set at f16, and perfectly centered at the sun in the middle of the frame. This test was done very quickly handheld to minimize the risk of cooking the camera internals in any way. Nothing to write home about here, but not terrible either.
MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE
The KamLan is by no means any sort of macro lens, and isn’t marketed as such. With that said, it does focus rather close at 1.3 feet. With a little bit of cropping, it can take photos of flowers and insects. Considering it shoots at f1.1, the amount of foreground and background blur is extreme. The result is dreamy shots where even the worst backgrounds will melt into a slurry of color. After what seems like ages of twisting the focus ring to the minimum focus distance (MFD), you can use the camera position to get the focus where you need it. It also helps to shoot in a burst mode if timing of the shot is critical, as the focus plane is razor thin unless the aperture is stopped down.
Image of a honey bee, un-cropped at f1.1, with focus set at the minimum of 1.3 feet. Click HERE for a full-size sample.
200% enlarged crop. Notice how the depth of field at f1.1 is about as thin as the pollen on the bee’s head? The sharpness is a tiny bit lacking where it is in focus, but that’s due to such heavy cropping. This shot would have enough detail for a post to Instagram or Facebook, especially after some sharpening.
WITH ZOMEI ND4 FILTER
As an unexpected bonus, the KamLan I purchased came with a Zomei ND4 62mm filter attached. This was more than a good thing for taking photos, as this filter kept the loose lens-cap from hitting and rubbing the lens element while getting tossed across the country by UPS. In many outdoor shooting cases, especially with bright sunlight and white surfaces, the limited shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second on some cameras will not be enough to keep highlights from blowing out at f1.1. The included ND4 filter will darken the light coming into the camera, much to the same degree as shooting at 1/16000th of a second. It’s just enough to keep highlights from clipping into pure white and blowing out. On the other hand, you might want to pay for a higher-quality Neutral Density filter, as the Zomei ND4 does inflict a considerable amount of color casting that could potentially degrade the final image quality, even after digital corrections. It’s also worth noting that the ND4 filter doesn’t come with any storage case in the lens box. Another means of storing the filter will need to be found.
Zomei 62mm ND4 Filter Equals 2 stops of light reduction. The ”4” in ND4 means the exposure value (EV) is divided by 4. Exposures change by one EV, or one stop of light, every time the exposure is reduced by half. Exposure ÷ 4 = 2 stops of light reduction coming into the camera. In the sample images above, even at 1/4000th of a second shutter speed and ISO 100, the flowers are blown out at f1.1. Notice how they are not blown out with the ND4 filter attached using the exact same camera settings.
The bad news is that the Zomei ND4 is an incredibly cheap filter that probably costs no more than a dollar or two to produce. It’s better than nothing, and free with the lens, but notice how it causes a cool, blue color cast to the scene above. This is a very poor result from an ND4 filter, which is not found with better filters. The color cast can be corrected to a degree, but it may not be perfect, and it takes time out of your image processing to correct for images with a wide spectrum of glorious colors. BUT, there is one big BUT, and that is the fact that the lens produces a warm cast when shot wide open, so the colder color cast from the ND4 might balance out the color shift of both the lens and filter to something that’s closer to normal. The sample shots above were both taken at f1.1 and ISO 100, but the one with the filter was shot 2-stops slower in shutter speed for equal exposure brightness. Both RAW images were processed with the exact same white balance and tint.
Focus breathing in a lens is when the angle of view changes based on the focus distance. Some lenses have a wider view when focused close, while others have a narrower view when focused close. The KamLan exhibits a large amount of narrowing as the focus gets closer to 1.3 feet. This is hardly an issue when taking single photos, as you just frame the shot as it’s seen through the viewfinder. But, if you wish to focus stack a series of shots taken from close to far, this narrowing and widening of the view must be taken into account for the final output. Your shots will never end up wider than the angle of view seen at your closest focusing distance for the focus stack. If you’re not familiar with focus stacking, it’s a process where a series of images are taken at many focus distances and then combined in software to create a final image with a deeper depth of field than what is possible in a single photo. At f16, the KamLan requires around 11 shots to get a full depth of field from 1.3 feet to infinity. On top of the change in the angle of view, there is also noticeable darkening of the image as the focus gets closer to 1.3 feet.
The above example shows two shots taken at 1.3 feet and infinity. First, notice how dramatic the difference is in the angle of view. The final image would have to be cropped to the size of the smallest view to avoid blurred edges. Also notice how the narrower, closer shot is a bit darker than the other. Great care will need to be taken to make sure not only is the angle of view enough for the scene, but that the exposure won’t be too dark or too bright. This darkening also creates issues with combining the images into a stacked image if the shots are all taken at the same exposure settings, as they will need to be equalized in brightness to avoid issues with blending the images together.
Here is what it looks like after 11 shots were stacked in Photoshop. The left image is uncropped. Notice the blurred edges from the change in the angle of view. The right image is cropped to remove the blurred edges, but at the cost of losing a large portion of the image frame.
It’s not often that color shifting must be part of the lens review, but since the KamLan shows a significant level of color shifting at the widest apertures, it should be pointed out. The lens does have a bit of a warm cast when shot at f1.1. When shooting the camera with the White Balance set to Auto, this color cast might not be obvious.
Move the slider between these two shots taken at f1.1 and f5.6. Notice anything about the color? Both RAW files were processed exactly the same to eliminate any variable other than the change in aperture. Yes, this is being very nitpicky, and the vast majority of users would never notice such a trait. In fact, many people might like the warmer feel when shooting portraits.
One of the most surprising aspects of the KamLan is the build quality, which is a very solid, metal construction that exceeds expectations for the price. Not only is everything metal, including the lens hood, but the precision and finish are excellent. Even the lens hood screws on so the logo is perfectly centered on top when fully tightened to the lens. When mounting to a Sony a6300, the lens attaches with a tight fit with no wobble or play. The control rings are also nicely damped and smooth. An all-around pleasure of a lens to work with manually.
It never gets old looking down the barrel of a fast-aperture, well-built lens. The KamLan is no exception. Great optics for the price range.
Most lenses are designed to focus past true infinity to account for the fact that the actual focus for infinity changes with the temperature. At 60° F the infinity focus is a bit away from the infinity symbol. Setting the lens to the infinity symbol will result in an out-of-focus image at f1.1, as shown in the example shots above, which are 100% crops of larger images. To the credit of KamLan, the focus marking aligns perfectly dead-center to the infinity symbol when the focus hits the end stop. Just another example of finely-made precision for such a cheap lens.
The most noticeable aspect of working with the KamLan is the weight. It’s a hefty lens due to the metal construction and massive lens elements producing the f1.1 aperture. For smaller cameras with tiny grips, it can feel a bit front-heavy when shooting. But, since it is fully manual, it needs to have two hands present regardless. The control rings are nicely damped and smooth, with the aperture ring having no clicks. Even with a smooth focus ring that rotates 180 degrees of throw, getting sharp focus at f1.1 is incredibly difficult without some luck. Increase the keeper rate by using focusing aides for magnifying the image and focus peaking.
Video shooters may welcome the de-clicked aperture, but for stills shooting, it can be annoying having to look at the lens to know where the aperture is set to. When mounting the lens to the camera, the tight fit can make it a little difficult to screw on since there isn’t much space to grab the lens without turning the aperture or focus rings. It’s not advisable to twist hard on control rings, so take care to not grab onto them when twisting. When it comes time to put the lens hood on, things get a bit more annoying. It’s metal and threaded, which makes it incredibly slow to get screwed on, and the metal may damage the front lens element if it slips in the process. KamLan would have done much better to supply a plastic lens hood with a quick, bayonet-style mount. That design is just better in every way.
As mentioned earlier in the review, great care must also be taken to avoid pointing the lens into the sun with the aperture set wide open. You risk cooking your sensor or other internal parts and causing permanent damage. This is especially important for mirrorless cameras which don’t have a mirror to help protect the sensor, and are prone to damage even when the camera is turned off.
This lens can be handled with hands! How amazing is that? Is it really this small though? No, I just have large hands. The Sony a6300 gives a better idea of the size than the pink ape holding it.
Oh, baby, that Is one good-looking rear element! Also notice the convenient yellow/orange marking for lining up the mounts when attaching to the camera. It helps.
The barrel extends a bit when focusing at closer distances. Make sure to keep dirt and water from entering the lens in this spot, as it is unlikely to have robust weather sealing, or any for that matter.
If you want to leave the lens hood on, but flipped backwards to be more compact, keep in mind that it completely blocks the focusing ring, thus making the lens nearly unusable with it on like this. Combine that with the fact that it is very tedious to screw on and off compared to bayonet type mounted hoods, it can get tiresome very quickly if the lens hood has to be reversed to fit in smaller camera bags.
The Sony LCSU21 Soft Carrying Case is one of the better cases on the market for smaller camera systems. When the lens is mounted to a Sony a6300, it fits perfectly sideways.
CAMERA SETUP FOR MANUAL LENSES
Most cameras may not activate the shutter if the lens is fully manual. The camera doesn’t have any way to know there is a lens mounted. Make sure to go into the settings and set the camera to fire the shutter without a lens attached. Most mirrorless cameras made today should have this option. It’s also advisable to use focus aides if the camera provides them. Both focus peaking and image magnification help get better focus accuracy when shooting at f1.1 with manual controls.
Visit back in the near-future for complete articles covering how to set up these camera functions on various brands and models. In the meantime, Google should have plenty of good results if you search for the above suggestions.
This lens was originally purchased for creating shallow-depth-of-field landscapes where many shots are stitched together into wide panoramas. It’s a fun technique for creating shots that are impossible with wide-angle lenses, since their apertures are never close to large enough to get such blurred foregrounds and backgrounds.
The depth of field in this panorama is the equivalent of f0.31 on a 14mm full-frame lens by using 24 shots at 50mm f1.1 for a wider angle of view.
Another panorama at f1.1, with the focus set to the huckleberry bush in the center of the frame. This would otherwise be too busy of a scene if shot at regular landscape apertures of f8-11. At f1.1, the complexity of the scene is reduced into something more elegant.
F1.1 panorama of 3 shots with the focus set at 1.3 feet.
An artistic manipulation of 4, f1.1 shots stitched into a panorama. White balance and tint have been altered for a shift in the color spectrum.
Panorama of 3 shots at f1.1.
The KamLan is the first lens reviewed by me, so I will have to wait until I review more lenses to compare it to the competition. With that said, there really isn’t any 50mm f1.1 competition in this price range for mirroless APS-C cameras. From what I have seen reading other reviews and viewing sample photos, the KamLan version II of this lens if a huge improvement over the first version of the lens. The first version is cheaper, but the image quality is lacking far more than the difference in price. One would have to be crazy to buy the old version with the new one available for a couple of Starbucks coffees more in price.
CORRECTING LENS FLAWS IN POST-PROCESSING
If you want to correct the LoCA from shooting the KamLan at f1.1, check out how to use the Defringe tools in RAW converters. I should have some dedicated articles covering these techniques in the future, but in the meantime, do a quick Google search for “Photo Defringe Tool” and there will be plenty of help out there.
|Aperture Range||f1.1 – f16|
|Aperture Blades||11 Circular Blades|
|Minimum Focus Distance||1.3 feet (0.4m)|
|Optical Design||8 Elements, 7 Groups|
|Size||2.8″ x 2.6″ (72mm x 68mm)|
|Weight||1.24 lb (563g) Without Hood|
|Angle of View||31° On APS-C
|Camera Format||Mirrorless APS-C, Micro4/3|
|Dust Specs||0.000000001% Dust By Volume|