It is always interesting to see new manufacturers emerge. Mostly because the only way they can actually make an impact on a highly competitive market such as that of digital cameras and lenses, is by producing something truly innovative and new. They need to surprise the market. Break a few rules. HandeVision, a new lens brand that is a result of German and Chinese collaboration, aims to do just that by introducing a 40mm lens with the fastest aperture of f/0.85 for mirrorless cameras.
The new lens, called HandeVision IBELUX 40mm f0.85, is designed for APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras and will come in mounts for Fujifilm X, Sony E, Canon EOS M and Micro 4/3. On APS-C cameras it will act similarly to how a 60mm lens would on a full-frame camera, whilst 80mm equivalent provided when mounted on an m4/3 camera makes it a great close-up portrait lens. The lens is made of durable materials, such as anodized aluminium, stainless steel and brass. It is manual-focus only, but the long throw of focus ring (around 250 degrees) should help in acquiring critical focus even at such a wide aperture. The lens features an aperture ring to control the 10-blade rounded diaphragm, while the aperture range starts at f/0.85 and can be stopped down all the way to f/22. Lens hood is built-in.
All of this sounds mighty intriguing, I must say. But there are some compromises that had to be made. First of all, the lens will be quite long and feature an uncharacteristically large filter thread of 67mm. The diameter of the lens is 74mm and it is 128mm long. It is also rather heavy with all that metal and optical elements, of which there are 10 in 8 groups. “Rather heavy” is a bit of an understatement – the lens weighs a whopping 1150g. That is a lot for a FF DSLR lens, let alone for APC-S mirrorless cameras. Minimum focus distance is a rather unimpressive 0.75m, so it is hardly suitable for close-up photography. And here comes the biggest bummer – MSRP is $2,080. Not unreasonable for a 40mm f/0.85 lens in general, but when you consider the fact it is the first lens by a newly formed brand, it is a bit too out of reach for our liking. Rest assured, though, we will try to get our hands on a copy as soon as it becomes available on February 25th, 2014.
What HandeVision Says?
First of all, they admit that vignetting will be quite noticeable and say it was a necessary compromise, otherwise the lens would have been extremely fat (and even now it is no pancake). On the other hand they also mention that vignetting at such wide aperture in conjunction with shallow depth of field and possibly low light levels will actually make the photograph more pleasing aesthetically, something I generally agree with. They also mentioned that the lens’ focus is its “character”, a word I really like to hear. And here’s a raw translation – it will not be a resolution champ at f/0.85, but will render light beautifully and distinctively, and that is the main reason to buy the lens in the first place.
I was surprised to see HandeVision avoided words used by most manufacturers during announcements. They do not claim “superior sharpness” (superior to what?), perfect this and perfect that, but rather seem to try and evaluate their product a bit more objectively. Refreshing. I actually read all they had to say about the lens, and perhaps so should you if at all interested.
Official Press Release
Here is the official press release by Handevision:
HANDEVISION — December 12, 2013
A mutual passion for photography and the art of image capture between two companies’ owner has led two special firms, Shanghai Transvision and German IB/E Optics, to collaborate on an industry-shaking new innovation. By merging German high-quality engineering standards with Chinese cost-effective production infrastructure, the new camera lens brand Handevision (“Han” means China in Mandarin and “De” is the word for Germany).
After many months of collaboration between engineering and production teams, final quality control assessments have concluded and the IBELUX 40mm f0.85 high-speed lens, the fastest lens in the world, is nearly ready for release. Available for sale by February, 2014, this lens will be available for Sony NEX, Fuji X, Canon EOS M and Micro 4/3 digital mirrorless camera mounts (MSRP is $2,080 USD).
While risky to start our launch with this ground-breaking high-speed lens, we hope to gain the attention and confidence of photographers around the world with our expanding new lenses. Our mission is to manufacture high-grade lenses of metallic construction with a clean, aesthetic finish. As a new player in the lens market, we believe we can expand our new brand internationally as our engineers, uninhibited by production costs nor by material restrictions, will be free to work creatively in seeking optimal image quality and artistic design.
We are currently working on our next project, the wide-angle IBEGON lens. With Sony releasing the new full-frame mirrorless A7/A7R camera, we have designed a high-speed telephoto APO mirror lens called the IBECAT, named for its sharp image capture, its lightweight construction and fast glass. Additional lenses are in development for full frame mirrorless cameras, including a tilt-shift lens and a compact fixed focal length lens.
We are focusing our efforts at expanding our line of full-frame mirrorless and DSLR detachable lenses in 2014 and are constantly developing ways to satisfy demand of professional photographers for faster, sharper lenses.
Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment co .Ltd
Founded in 2007, Shanghai Transvision is well-known for its Kipon brand, a major international player in the body mount adapters for camera, video, telescope, microscope and industrial camera markets. Kipon boasts the most extensive lineup in this field worldwide.
IB/E OPTICS GmbH
Founded in 2001, IB/E Optics is a leader in optics design, supplying optic design for many leading enterprises in different fields. Except for the Handevision consumer camera lens project, mainly active in cine, broadcast, medical, industrial optics, and automotive research.