There are a few lenses that honestly surprise us and cause us here at the Phoblographer to provide manufacturers with applaud for trying something so incredibly different. While lenses are said and meant to be pretty small as much as possible, some lenses are absolute monsters. These lenses, however, often incorporate some interesting innovations to them. So we’ve rounded up a number of lenses that are really amazing us right now.
Fujifilm 33mm f1.0 R WR
Beauty: The Fujifilm 33mm f1.0 R WR lens is going to be Fujifilm’s fastest aperture lens for their X series cameras. I’ve seen the prototype in person and while it’s promising a whole lot, it’s also pretty massive.
The Beast: This is a big, beefy lens. When I look at it, I’d expect this size of a zoom lens; but this is a wide angle prime. The reason why it’s so big? This is designed for Fujifilm’s APS-C sensor cameras and it has an f1.0 aperture with weather sealing and autofocus. For anyone that complains about APS-C sensors being too small and therefore not rendering enough shallow depth of field, this lens is going to render the equivalent of f1.5 on a full frame sensor but with the light gathering abilities of an f1.0 lens. That will mean that your shots in Acros will be that much more dreamy.
Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux
Beauty: The Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux lens has been out for many years now. Focusing an f0.95 lens on a rangefinder can be difficult to do unless it’s very well calibrated. This is arguably Leica’s biggest lens and lets their sensors gather up a whole lot of light. Granted, pretty much nothing is in focus, but whatever is in focus is going to render with a whole lot of pop. Leica’s lenses do this, but those from many other manufacturers, who try to do it at a more affordable price point, don’t have the same pop wide open. That’s what you’re also paying for.
The Beast: If you’re a rangefinder camera user, then you’re probably going to stick with f1.4 prime lenses instead. They’re big enough, but this massive lens is going to set up back perhaps more than you pay in rent for a year. When you sit there weighing the scales of whether you should buy it or not, I’m not quite sure how many of us will sit there saying “Oh yeah, I’m homeless; but I’ve got a Noctilux!”
Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM
Beauty: The Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM is a special lens. It’s bigger than most normal prime lenses that we’ve tested and loved. But for what it’s worth, this lens delivers a very cinematic look to the images. The reason: it was developed as a cinema lens first and a photo prime second.
The Beast: When we first mounted this lens to a camera, there was some hesitation about shooting with it. It’s not something that you want to photo walk with and I’d argue that this is Sigma’s first wide angle lens not really meant for anything else but professional grade work. Basically, you take this thing out only when you need it. And when you need it, every image is going to make your jaw drop.
Canon RF 28-70mm f2 L USM
Beauty: The idea of workhorse lens in the form of a 28-70mm or 24-70mm lens makes lots of photographers happy. But what if you could go even faster? That’s what the Canon 28-70mm f2 L USM does; and while it’s guaranteed to give you a full stop more of bokeh and light gathering than many competing lenses will, it’s also pretty huge.
The Beast: When I first saw this lens during its unveiling, I was very happy about what it was and is. But then I mounted it to a Canon EOS R and said “Forget it.” While it’s bound to give some photographer great images, I’ll stick to the company’s other weather sealed L lenses instead. Their 50mm f1.4 L USM RF is my current darling.
Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art
Beauty: The Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens delivers images that are only rivaled by Nikon’s own version of this lens. But Nikon’s isn’t as big. Sigma’s on the other hand pretty much developed the lens to be comparable to a medium format lens.
The Beast: The Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens quite literally will take up a whole entire section in my camera bag when mounted to a Nikon D850.