I’ve decided to try it, and ordered one sample directly from Hong Kong, attracted by 9% discounted price.
It arrived yesterday, so posting some shots and first impressions. Feel free to ask questions if any.
Out of the box (taken with ZSM 35mm on 0.95 + X-E2)
Sample on F2.8
Sample on F0.95
Look on X-E2
Few words about “magic” F0.95 number. Usually when photographers see that on the first time, they say (or think) “Wow! F0.95”.
Yes, there are old film lens like Canon 50mm f0.95, which are massive and huge lens with extremely narrow DOF wide open.
But it’s not something unusual in terms of APS-C or m4/3 frame coverage. I’m ex-Nikon shooter, and often used quite popular lens like 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4. With that lens + autofocus the narrow DOF on F1.4 is very usable for portraits.
With Fuji system, its nice and lovely XF 56mm 1.2 replaces Nikkor 85mm 1.8 it terms of DOF. And using 1.2 there is almost the same.
F0.95 35mm is just corresponding equivalent of Nikkor 50mm 1.4
So the main reason for me to try ZSM 35mm 0.95 – getting similar results I had with Nikon. From that perspective this “magic” 0.95 number is just regular F1.4 I got used to.
Couple of night B&W street shots, all on F0.95
One thing noticed when comparing shots from Voigtlander 40mm and Zhongyi 35mm made under incandescent light.
It looks like Fuji WB on X-E2 adds quite noticeable “red tint” with Zhongyi, comparing to well balanced WB on Voigtlander.
One more observation on optical design. While focusing the rear lens remains on place, and when I look inside from the front it looks like most of front lens area move together.
Zhongyi makes Focal Reducer adapters. So I believe most of their F0.95 lens are kind of combined combo of lens + adapter in single body.
I personally think (but may be wrong) that first version of 35mm 0.95 lens was kind of 50mm 1.4 + speed booster.
With this version 2, looks like the optical formula is improved by using different glass types. I don’t know if elements/groups formula changed.
Following shots are made on f0.95-f2, with NR-2, few of them are slightly PP for better contrast. I’ve also cut crop sample from each shot.
One noticeable flaw with this lens – aperture ring feels almost the same as focus ring.
I quite often start rotating aperture ring, and increased DOF in EVF looks like focus is moved : )
Stepless aperture also forces me to look at the numbers each time. I got used to count “clicks” on other manual lens to know which value is selected.
From the perspective of picture you may look for different rendering, DOF, contrast, colors, flare resistance, etc.
And from ergonomic perspective it can be: real manual focus, lens size, weight, durability, etc.
Also economic reason, or just curiosity.
I have XF 35mm 1.4, and plan to keep it – it’s very sharp, light, small, and has autofocus. That’s nice option for many situations.
I personally like how fast and completely silent camera operates with manual 35mm alternative, and I like precise and responsive control of manual focus.
I tried different Voigtlander 35mm lens: VC 35mm 1.2 II, VC 35mm 1.4, VC 35mm 2.5. All they are awesome glass, I spent nice time with that lens and made a lot of different pictures.
Zhongyi 35mm 0.95 II just surprised me. Its set of POS and CONS in general attracts me more than any other 35mm lens I had chance to shoot with for a long time.
Like with Fuji 35mm, this lens allows to easily focus on very close distances up to 35mm. That’s quite handy.
Few shot crops on 0.95, 1.4, 2.8 with backlight reflections. It’s visible that aperture blades are not symmetric from the center.
It’s round on most important values of 0.95-1.4 and then starting to distort its shape.
F0.95 / F1.4 / F2.8
Slightly asymmetric look of closed aperture blades, it’s observed on many samples.