Last Updated on 09/14/2012 by Felix Esser
Image credit: Bellamy Hunt / Japan Camera Hunter
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, we stated that Miyazaki-san was from Tokyo. This is of course wrong — he actually lives and works in Honcho, Chiba. We apologize for the mistake.
A few days ago, the Leica world went abuzz when details of a new superfast 50mm lens made by the legendary Miyazaki-san from Chiba, Japan surfaced. After the supersmall 35mm f3.5 and 28mm f4 Perar lenses, this is his third M-mount lens creation which he — as always — designed and manufactured all on his own in his little workshop in Tokyo.
The 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar, technically a 51.7mm f1.163 lens, is based on the famous Sonnar design invented by Zeiss in the mid-twenties. Based on the basic Sonnar design, Miyazaki-san created a completely new lens design that not only features a superfast f1.1 initial aperture, but is also hardly larger than a contemporary Leica Summicron-M 35mm f2 lens.
The lens features multi-coated tantalum glass, a circular German-made 14-blade aperture mechanism and weighs in at only 190 grams (6.7 oz.) Additionally, the apeture ring turns stepless, offering extremely precise apeture control. According to Bellamy Hunt, the lens has a speed-vs-sharpness sweet spot at around f1.6, being rather soft at f1.1 and getting gradually sharper from f2 onwards.
The first batch of this lens has alread sold out, but more are going to be made. The price will be around USD 1k. For more information, please visit japancamerahunter.com. If you can’t wait for the next batch of Sonnetar’s to be made, you can still get the equally fast and equally priced Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f1.1.
UPDATE: Dirk Rösler from Japan Exposures brought it to our attention that only the first batch of pre-orders from Japan Camera Hunter has sold out. He did not mention whether the lens will be available from Japan Exposures as well, but considering his good relations to Mr Miyazaki, we assume so. Make sure to check out his website for more information.
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