Hands On Review: SLR Magic 12mm f1.6 Noktor Lens for Micro Four Thirds

When news of the SLR Magic 12mm f1.6 Hyperprime broke, we announced it on our Facebook page. Our copy literally just came in the door yesterday, here’s a quick video preview of the lens. Note that this lens was primarily developed for videographers and in my conversations with the SLR Magic reps, the lens actually has T-stops and not F-stops. So like the Zeiss 85mm that we had hands on time with, it’s a cinema prime. What are T-stops? We explain it a bit in this article; but they’re f-stops only much more accurate.

Here are some stats right from SLR Magic:

1) 12mm Wide Angle
2) F1.6 Max Aperture (Best performance is at F4 but we were told to make this lens as wide aperture as possible)
3) ~2% distortion (optical distortion correction for natural perspective when taking photos of people)
4) 0.15m Minimum Focus Distance
5) 12 Stepless Aperture Blades for always round aperture opening like a cinema lens for better compatibility with GH2 and AF-100
6) Depth of field scale included
7) $499 MSRP due in October

Here’s an image sample I shot with the lens on my EP2 at f4 and without any editing. Indeed, this lens is significantly larger than both the Olympus 12mm f2 and SLR Magic 11mm f1.4; but to me it already seems to be giving both a run for their money: if you manually focus that is.

How does the lens feel? It’s very well built: all metal body and quite heavy for a micro four thirds lens. But it’s not overpoweringly heavy. More to come in the full review; stay tuned!

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.