It can’t be easy to produce Leica mount lenses. That’s because the expectations of such lenses, to be able to give you only the best in optical performance, are enormous. And in a market filled with 3rd party lens manufacturers, you have to produce something distinct to stand out. Having often drooled over the results I’ve seen from native Leica lenses, I had high hopes while testing the Thypoch Simera 35mm f1.4. It’s a great choice for those on a narrow budget, but it’s not unique in any way or form.
Table of Contents
The Big Picture
The Thypoch Simera 35mm f1.4 is a well-constructed head-turner. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was made by Leica themselves. It has all the good-looking qualities you’d want from a lens that would claim stake to the precious mount on your prized Leica camera. The body is finely constructed with excellent attention to detail and some admirable finishing. It’s a thing of beauty; there’s no doubt about that. But while it can deliver some decent images at a price point for Leica that some might consider a steal, it’s a lens you must spend lots of time with to love. It’ll make you work hard to get the best images out of it, with some quirks that can, at times be frustrating. The sharpness doesn’t jump off the screen like you’ve come to expect and cherish from native Leica lenses. Yet, it’s still considerably better than I expected it to be. If you’re starting out in the world of Leica and are looking for a street photography lens, this is a lens I’d say you can safely consider.
I’m giving the Thypoch Simera 35mm f1.4 three out of five stars for its quality construction, smooth bokeh, adequate sharpness, and low price point. It comes in black and silver variants, and you can pick one from Adorama today.
- Cinematic, dreamy depth-of-field fall off
- Solid looks
- Exceptional build quality
- Super interesting depth of field indicator
- Cinematographers rejoice! The aperture ring can be de-clicked.
- Who doesn’t love square lens hoods?
- Not super sharp at f1.4. But the bokeh often distracts you enough to prevent most people from noticing this.
- 45cm (17.7 in) close focusing distance doesn’t make it suitable for macro shots
- Once focused at infinity, you must disengage the focus lock to refocus at closer distances. I get that this lock is an homage to what was on vintage Leica lenses, but we really could have done without it here.
The aperture and manual focus rings are easy to grab on and very smooth to turn. The superb exterior finishing really makes the experience a joy. It’s a lens you’ll find yourself getting easily attached to.
The square lens hood also comes with a lens cap (both metal) for protection.
Ease of Use
The one feature I have a real issue with is the infinity point focus lock. You constantly find yourself unable to move focus closer to you once you’ve taken a photo set at infinity. I wish there was a way to remove this lock for good for those of us who want to. Otherwise your pinky finger will get a daily workout when you use the Thypoch Simera 35mm f1.4 lens.
The depth of field scale has a nice touch to it. It’s one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen of late. But for the most part, I referred to the peaking highlights on the LCD, especially when shooting wide open.
The lens itself can focus down to 0.45m, but you can’t get focus right through the viewfinder at distances below 0.7m on the focus ring. You’ll need to switch over to the live view on the LCD to focus up close accurately using this lens.
When using the lens hood, expect vignetting to be quite prominent. I can’t say I was a fan of the flare this lens produced. Sharpness really starts standing out past f2.8
At f1.4, and even all the way up to f2.8, the fall-off is so creamy. You want to shoot so much more wide open, but there’s so much work to do to nail the focus precisely. If Thypoch ever makes a fast autofocus version of this for the Nikon Z-mount, I’m ordering one.
All images were shot on Smooth Color Film Simulation in DNG file type on the Leica M. Aside from some slight under-saturation of the blues, the accuracy of the colors was spot-on
I couldn’t really observe any chromatic aberration or barrel distortion. If you’re a fan of rainbow lens flare, you’ll see a bit of this when shooting into the sun.
This isn’t something I was expecting from a lens priced so affordably for the M-mount. And it doesn’t even have the micro contrast that I’ve seen on S-line Nikon Z-mount lenses. But when used patiently and stopped down a bit, the Thypoch Simera 35mm f1.4 too can give you sharp results in the right conditions. Swipe left and right on the above image, to see the sharpness at 100%
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy The Thypoch Simera 35mm f1.4 Lens?
The word Simera comes from the Greek word for “today,” so it would appear that Thypoch has designed this lens to be an everyday lens for you. While it can easily serve this purpose, you would probably use it with greater comfort if that infinity lock was somehow removable. But for a lens that’s so attractively priced, you might just have to sacrifice that little comfort to get such decent results. Visually, it’s a perfect match for your Leica. It’s not too heavy at all, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good during usage. Just don’t expect the world from it, and I think you’ll be pretty happy with the images it helps you get. Thypoch is definitely a 3rd party lens manufacturer to watch out for.
Taken from the Thypoch website:
|Black / Silver
|43.2 mm (FF)
|construction of Optics
|9 Elements in 5 Groups
|Angle of view
(diagonal, horizontal, vertical)
|64° / 55° / 38°
|Type of focusing
(from sensor plane)
|0.45m / 1.5ft
|50.8mm / 2” (Without lens hoods)
64.8mm / 2.55” (With lens hoods)