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Author Topic: The Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 APS-C lens - $169!!  (Read 425 times)


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The Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 APS-C lens - $169!!
« on: May 25, 2019, 10:11:20 am »

I was poking around the web the other day and came across this lens--the Kamlan 50mm f/1.1. Now, who ever heard of Kamlan? But an f/1.1 APS-C format lens for $169? It caught my interest.

The lens is as basic as can be. There are no electrical connections between it and the camera body, so (obviously) no autofocus, no reporting of lens metadata, no automatic closing the aperture down just for the shot. What you see is what you get, no more! The build quality seems great, all metal as far as I can tell, and with a good, hefty feel to the controls—somewhat reminiscent of the Leica lenses I used on my M3 many years ago. My only beef is that the aperture ring (f/1.1 to f/16) has no click stops, it’s continuous. Focus goes down to 0.5 meter.

As for image quality, it’s about what you would expect for the price. If you want images that are tack-sharp edge-to-edge, look elsewhere. But its “flaws” make it a great lens for portraits, where rarely does the subject or photographer want every pore and facial hair in sharp definition. And the bokeh, IMO, is terrific. As is often the case, the optical performance improves as you stop down, but I think that’s beside the point. This is a lens for shooting wide open or perhaps at f/2. If my counting is correct, it has an 11-blade diaphragm, surely a major factor in the great bokeh.

The lens is available for Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Canon EOS-M, and Sony E. Why Nikon is omitted is a mystery.

The flowers and portrait below were taken at f/1.1 and are unprocessed aside from a bit of cropping.

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