Is the world’s fastest prime lens all it’s made out to be? Michael Topham finds out if it’s a good choice for mirrorless users
HandeVision Ibelux 40mm f/0.85 – Image quality
The appeal with this lens is its incredibly fast aperture, but with such a fine margin for error when it comes to acquiring focus at its widest aperture, it’s certainly not the most forgiving. To achieve optimum focus and useable results, you’ll need to take advantage of your camera’s manual-focus assist settings. By using focus peaking in combination with a magnified view in the viewfinder, I was able to shoot a series of sharp shots with glorious bokeh. It’s a lens that lends itself to portraiture and instances where you’d like to separate close subjects from distant ones to emphasise the impact.
We know a super-fast prime is likely to have its flaws at its maximum aperture, but the big question is, are they so bad to be unusable? During the time I spent testing the lens, I didn’t shy away from shooting at f/0.85, and although it’s not unusable at this aperture, it does require a lot of patience to find optimum focus and you will need to be prepared to shoot a lot of frames to get one that you consider sharp enough. As our lab results clearly show, things sharpen up considerably when you close down by a few stops and with such a fine margin for focusing error at f/0.85 I found myself stopping down to f/2-f/2.8 quite frequently.
It should be noted that coupling the lens to an APS-C camera does magnify the effect of chromatic aberrations. Spherical aberration and longitudinal chromatic aberrations were found to be severe in the images I took at wide aperture settings, and users will need to be prepared to manually correct for these in post-processing. A close inspection of images taken in the direction of the light revealed that the severity of purple fringing could be resolved by increasing the Defringe amount slider to a value of 10 using Lightroom CC.
Corner shading is observed in images taken at the widest aperture settings at the very edge of the frame. At f/0.85, we measured the corners to be approximately 1.2EV darker than the centre of the frame, but just like image sharpness, vignetting does improve when the aperture is closed down by a few stops.