It seems to be a thing these days for unknown brands to suddenly be jumping into the lens market with things we actually sometimes want and need in our photographic lives. Now, it’s Kerlee’s turn.
The new Kerlee 35mm f/1.2 lens is being pushed as the “World’s First” such lens for full frame cameras, with versions for Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax. There is the Voigtländer 35mm f/1.2 available for Leica M, but that’s not an SLR, so doesn’t really count.
Better known for industrial lenses, the 35mm f/1.2 announces Kerlee’s entry into the photographic world with a bit of a bang. Weighing 690g, it’s a pretty hefty lens, and uses 72mm filters. It’s 15% heavier than Nikon’s 35mm f/1.4G at 600g, and almost 19% heavier than Canon’s 580g 35mm f/1.4L, and it doesn’t even contain an AF motor.
One feature of note, which is likely to be more beneficial to video shooters than photographers, is that you can turn the aperture “click” on and off. Keeping it off gives you smooth aperture transitions from one stop to the next as you rotate the ring, while having it on gives us those comforting clicks that photographers are used to.
It’s always nice to see new names and competition in the lens market, but I do wish they’d start to work a little more on autofocus lenses. Don’t get me wrong, I love manual focus as much as the next guy, especially when it comes to video, or street photography. On a DSLR, however, with no split prism or microprism focusing screen, they’re not exactly the easiest of lenses to get spot on sometimes.
You can see some sample images over on the website of New Zealand based photographer, Richard Wong, who’s been playing with one of these for a few weeks now.
Pricing and availability is still to be announced, but you can find out more information on the Dongzheng Optics website.
I’m not sure it’ll be high up on my want list when it becomes available, unless the price is very attractive. How about you? Would you get it, if it were cheap enough? Or do you love your autofocus too much and would rather go with the existing f/1.4 (or even f/1.8) options? Let us know in the comments.