In the realm of fast ‘normal’ camera lens speeds, you’re looking at f/2, f/1.8 and on the lower end of typical is the f/1.4. There have been many a lens in the past, some still current, made with faster apertures; Canon’s steady staple 50mm f/1.2L comes to mind, and that replaced its 50mm f/1, an even faster, yet otherwise unremarkable beast. Then, among others, it would be also hard to forget Leica’s own offering truly worthy of being referred to as a legend – the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux. This is the lens, for many reasons (including vanity), that sits atop my list of ‘wants.’ Given that it costs north of $10,000 and the glass used for it is poured but once per annum, it’s not happening soon.
But it seems as time moves on, the fast options are beginning to grow, and that’s pretty damn fine with us. Not long ago Mitakon released their 50mm f/0.95 which succeeded their 35mm f/0.95, and Now with the trend in our business steadily leaning in favor of mirrorless and smaller form cameras like micro four thirds, we’re seeing f numbers below ‘1’ more commonly.
We know, given the form factor and sensor size on these cameras, that depth of field isn’t as shallow as on full frame counterparts, and in order to get the bokeh rendering and defocus from these systems, the lenses must be faster (see here). I recently tested a Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4, and even wide open, it just wasn’t giving me what I wanted for portraits, while on a full frame it would be quite ample. As a result, you’ve got lenses like the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95, and the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2; both by all accounts, delicious lenses in their own right, and now the Handevision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 is here and ready to ship.
German engineered (yet built in China), it’s not small and will probably be built to last. It also has a built in sun shade…that’s cool. Interestingly, it’ll be available already for a spread of mounts including Fuji X Mounts, Canon’s EOS-M, Sony E-Mount, and some Olympus and Panasonic. On a micro 4/3 mount, 40mm is quite a nice focal length for a myriad of things, and nice too, is that this lens, unlike the other much more prestigious German counterpart, Leica, will not carry with it a price tag you’d more likely see on a new Ducati. Currently it’s closer to a Specialized StumpJumper, set at approximately $2,400 USD. Get ’em here while they’re hot, and still cool.