As you can probably tell from this blog, I’m a big fan of the SLR Magic line-up of cine lenses. Their mFT mount makes them an ideal set to pair with our Panasonic GH4s, and overall they are very well matched for color and contrast. That’s not to say I’m predisposed to like anything they offer. I would certainly voice disappointment if a new lens didn’t live up to their previous releases. Fortunately, this new 50mm is amongst their best.
It hasn’t been released yet, but I was given the opportunity to purchase the new 50mm T/.95 Hyperprime. I was eager to see how it compared to the rest of their lenses in terms of sharpness, color rendition, contrast and how useable it would be wide open. The first opportunity I had to use it was on the 4th of July.
These clips were shot at T/2.0 at ISO 800 on a Panasonic GH4, recorded in 4K to an Odyssey 7Q+ in ProRes HQ. What I quickly discovered is that the SLR Magic 25mm and the new 50mm are both perfectly matched for color and contrast. They seem to be very much cut from the same cloth. You can easily drop the same grade on both of them and expect identical results.
The 50mm is incredibly sharp and while I’ve found it to be useable wide open, things really start to tighten up at a T/2 and beyond. With a small sensor, that kind of advantage is something filmmakers like myself will truly appreciate about the design and build of this lens.
Next, I wanted a better sense of the lens’ character, so I invited my friend, writer and actor Kelsey Nicolle Scott to model while I auditioned the lens in natural light.
Here again, I’m shooting with the GH4 at ISO 200 with the aperture at T/2 and T/2.8. For the outdoor shots, I’m also implementing SLR Magic’s variable ND filter.
Straight away I was struck by the detail in the images, but also the buttery smooth character it exhibited. When light enters the lens it can result in a pleasant low-contrast look that really appeals to me. I could say more but the images speaks for themselves. Skintones in particular render beautifully.
I’m told that this and a few other SLR Magic lenses can be used on S35 sensors too, so the only downside I can see is that if I were ever to move to a camera without a mFT mount option (like the URSA Mini, for example), I’d have to leave this beauty behind. But for now, I plan to put it to good use, as often as possible. It’s easily the best performing lens I own.