Review Highlights of 2022

Introduction

laowa 35mm 0.95 worlds fastest lens review bokeh 42mp 61mp laowa venus optics venuslens fullframe contrast resolution bokeh optical vignetting fall off
Sony A7III | Laowa 35mm 0.95 | f/0.95

Having reviewed a lot of things this year I thought it might be a good idea to mention this year’s highlights, giving them some well deserved spotlight.

Unfortunately there was also a noticeable amount of junk I reviewed, so this list ended up being a bit short.

TTArtisan 6-bit Adapter

ttartisan leica m to sony e adapter 6 bit code programmable exif
Voigtlander VM 75mm 1.5 via TTArtisan M->E 6-bit adapter on Sony A7rII

Why is it on this list? Gives you Exif data for (many) M-mount lenses on your Sony cameras.

Clearly my highlight of 2022. Even though I wonder: why didn’t someone bring this to life earlier? I pitched the idea to plenty of manufacturers. And there is still so much unused potential here. Why don’t we have adapters with programmable Exif for other mounts? Why is there no user programmable version with USB socket for fully detailed lens data? Why don’t we have a combination of Exif and close focus adapter? So much potential…

The lens I needed it for the most (because at 135mm IBIS is really helpful for focusing manually) had some vignetting issues with it, so I even modified my adapter to fix this:

Read the full Review

buy from the official TTArtisan shop or from ebay.com for ~$72 (affiliate links)

 

Mr. Ding 50mm 1.1

mr. ding optics studio 50mm 1.1 noctilux leica nokton voigtländer review m10 42mp 24mp sony a7rii contrast resolution bokeh coma noxlux
Mr. Ding Noxlux 50mm 1.1 via Techart LM-EA9 on Sony A7rII

Why is it on this list? Out of many many lenses I have used this is one of the few with to me outstanding rendering. And one of the cheapest of those.

50mm is one of the most popular focal lengths which is also a reason I review so many of them. That being said 50mm isn’t exactly my favorite focal length. But this Mr. Ding 50mm 1.1 is such a useful and appealing overall package, I had to buy one for myself.

Read the full Review

You can buy this lens from the official Mr. Ding Studio shop for $399. The lens can also be found on ebay.com, but here you may get an OEM lens without product support (affiliate links)

mr. ding optics studio 50mm 1.1 noctilux leica nokton voigtländer review m10 42mp 24mp sony a7rii contrast resolution bokeh coma noxlux
Sony A7III | Mr. Ding 50mm 1.1 | f/1.1 | LM-EA9
syoptic mr. ding 50mm 1.1 noctilux leica nokton voigtländer review m10 42mp 24mp sony a7rii contrast resolution bokeh
Sony A7III | Syoptic 50mm 1.1 | f/2.0
mr. ding optics studio 50mm 1.1 noctilux leica nokton voigtländer review m10 42mp 24mp sony a7rii contrast resolution bokeh coma noxlux
Sony A7III | Mr. Ding 50mm 1.1 | f/1.1 | LM-EA9

 

Techart LM-EA 9

AF-adapter techart leica m sony e fe fullframe autofocus mf close focus programmable exif
Techart LMEA9

Why is it on this list? Equips M-Mount lenses with autofocus when used on a Sony camera and is a huge improvement over its predecessor.

It seems 2022 was a good year for adapters and in fact it was. The really interesting thing about this LM-EA 9 is: I was never interested in the predecessor LM-EA 7. Not even remotely. Too big, too loud, too clunky.
But (almost) all of my points of criticism have been addressed here and we ended up with a compelling product.

Read the full Review

The Techart LM-EA9 sells for $399 and you can order it on the offical homepage, B&H as well as ebay.com (affiliate links)

 

Silbersalz 35 films

Why is it on this list? High quality film with developing and scanning for a fair price.

I started with the Analogue Adventures this year venturing a bit into film photography. Researching possible and interesting film options was a bit of a bummer though. The choice is limited. The availabilty even more so.

The Silbersalz 35 films are a notable exception. And pretty much the only option to find tungsten balanced films these days. Taking into account the development and scanning quality their package price is very appealing to those not interested in doing that work themselves. At least when you live in Germany and don’t have to deal with expensive shipping costs.

Analogue Adventures: Silbersalz 35 films

buy from their official homepage

analogue photography leica m6 voigtländer silbersalz35 kodak vision 3
Leica M6 | 200T | Voigtländer VM 35mm 1.2 | f/1.2
analogue photography leica m6 voigtländer silbersalz35 kodak vision 3
Leica M6 | 200T | Voigtländer VM 35mm 1.2 | f/1.2
Leica M6 | 500T | Voigtländer VM 28mm 2.0 | f/2.0
ms-optics ms-optical ism sonnetar f/1.0 f/0.95 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting silbersalz35 silbersalz kodak cine vision3 santorini greece
Leica M6 | 200T | MS-Optics 50mm 1.0 ISM | f/1.4

 

MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia

MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia on Leica M6

Why is it on this lis? If you were to carry only one lens, wouldn’t it be a fast 35mm lens?

I had a look at many MS-Optics lenses and this is probably my favorite so far. It is lightweight, tiny and the optical performance is surprisingly good at f/2.0, at least for what I would want to use a fast 35mm lens for.
This is actually the lens that can be found on my M6 analogue camera most of the time.

Unfortunately it is not easily available so I am still happy the owner who sent it to me for a review offered me to buy it.
The 35mm 1.3 II Slim Apoqualia performs way worse, but maybe the recently announced 36mm 1.3 Apollon manages to fill the footsteps of this 35mm 1.4.

Read the full Review

ms-optics ms-optical apoqualia 35mm 1.4 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0 | Gold 200
ms-optics ms-optical apoqualia 35mm 1.4 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting
Leica M10 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0
ms-optics ms-optical apoqualia 35mm 1.4 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0 | 200T
ms-optics ms-optical apoqualia 35mm 1.4 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting
Leica M10 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0

Final Words

It seems in the end there were a few nice surprises in 2022. Unfortunately there were also plenty of negative ones, so I was wondering if I should shift my focus for 2023.

Should I review more cheaply made AF lenses because there is the most money from affiliate links to be made?

Should I put less effort for a single review and spend less time with the lenses so I can publish a higher number of more superficial reviews?

Should I try to become closely affiliated with the bigger manufacturers like Sony, Sigma and Tamron so I can use their lenses in a controlled environment and work on reviews of those lenses prior to their release?

My answer to all of those questions is no.

I will continue doing what I did from the start: in-depth reviews of lenses that no one else is reviewing. That means I will probably keep reviewing some uninspiring lenses every now and then, but it also means this will still be the place where you first learn about gems like the 7Artisans 28mm 1.4, TTArtisan 50mm 1.4 or Mr. Ding 50mm 1.1 and the only place where you can find in-depth reviews of exotic lenses like the ZY 135mm 1.4, Sigma 180mm 5.6 Apo Macro or Olympus OM 180mm 2.0 (to only name a few).

The Analogue Adventures will also continue in 2023. Maybe one day I will be experienced enough with film photography to consider getting an Xpan…

Further Reading

The following two tabs change content below.
My name is Bastian and I am your expert here when it comes to ultra wide angle lenses, super fast portrait lenses (ranging from a 50mm f/0.95 to a 200mm f/1.8) and I also have reviewed way too many 35mm lenses. Don't ask me anything about macro or wildlife shooting though.

Latest posts by BastianK (see all)

18 thoughts on “Review Highlights of 2022”

  1. I appreciate your strong vision. It’s been harder to get objective good reviews these days for most modern lenses released, but then again I don’t have to know every detail of everything newly released. I think focusing on rare or boutique lenses is a good focus.
    Thank you for all the reviews in 2022. I look forward to reading more in 2023.

    1. If I get offered modern interesting lenses (or I buy one of those for myself) I will of course also have a look at them as I did with the likes of Sigma 35mm 1.2, Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM and Sony FE 85mm 1.4 GM.

  2. As always, I appreciate your great effort, especially because you practically do it out of love and it takes many hours of work. This was clearly a very busy year so far, as Chinese manufacturers seem to be extremely (over?) productive with their new creations.
    Personally, I enjoy reading reviews of poorer lenses as much as of better ones. There is a bit of suspense as I read towards the end of an article, wondering if you found some redeeming qualities in such an optic for any kind of niche use. But then I understand how underwhelming it must be, finding no inspiration in a lens you try to review in-depth, without even small monetary or any other incentive.
    Unlike most other reviewers, you’re also educating your viewers, explaining technical terms, lens’ properties and how to put them to the best use and avoid their shortcomings… I don’t read your reviews because I’m considering buying a lens as much as to quench my curiosity, and for entertainment and inspiration (and if I find a reason to send some money, so be it…).
    Thus I’m really happy to read that there are no changes being planned, I can only applaud the enthusiasm.

  3. Plenty of reviews on mainstream lenses out there, so I appreciate your reviews on marginal lenses.
    I do miss the reviews on vintage lenses like C/Y, Minolta and Nikon -optics.
    But that’s such a vast domain to cover, I think you’re well off doing what you do with contemporary MF-lenses. Thank you for everything so far!

    1. The problem with most of the (interesting) vintage lenses: they have become collector’s items.
      Canon FD 50mm 1.2, Minolta 58mm 1.2, Nikon Ai-s 50mm 1.2: they are more expensive than e.g. the Mr. Ding 50mm 1.1.
      On top of that the risk of buying one of the oldes ones and ending up with a faulty one is also significantly higher.
      That makes them somewhat hard to recommend these days imho.

  4. You milled the 6 bit adapter by yourself! When I first used dremel, I was so ignorant about safety. But it was much faster, more powerful than I imagined. I didn’t hurt myself, but I bought protect gears right after my first use. Hope you did the modification safer than me.
    I always hoped AF mocking adapter can confirm focus using phase detect sensor(the small green boxes on screen) with manual lens operation. I don’t know wheter it can be done or not, but it would be much useful than focus peaking. I think focus peaking usded in high-res cameras isn’t sufficient, focus magnification is too slow, the moire method is pretty eye-dependent(it makes a bit tired for me)
    Recently I bought Samyang 135mm F1.8, 75mm F1.8 for sale price. I’m kind of happy they are viable AF option for high-res camera. They produce sharp images with nice bokeh and their AF performance is acceptable. My copies are decently centered (pretty similar to my previous Sony lenses), but it is too ealry to judge their durability though. It is kind of shame that they re-release their old design optics with updated functions: 2nd gen AF lenses got AFL button, V-AF lenses got linear(300 degree) MF throw, etc.

      1. https://1drv.ms/u/s!ApChBCAABuR-jasp5_nJKiJBOKbBOQ?e=yWixFi
        I’ve tested Samyang 135mm F1.8 with MTFmapper at 1:8 reproduction ratio(A4 target). These are left bottom quarter of the test grid(center is hourglass shape focusing point), and the annotated figures are MTF50 values(lp/mm) of trapezoids. You can see two sagittal, two meridional values in one trapezoid. The decent sharpness would be 20 lp/mm and over 25 lp/mm looks sharp and below 15 lp/mm looks soft.

        Samyang 135 F1.8 is pretty much sharper than Canon 135 F2. But it never reaches the sharpness level of Sony 90mm F2.8 Macro in this magnification ratio. I think the lens is optimized for portrait distance.

          1. I agree, that’s another reason I’m here to see how the bokeh is produced in these lenses. The test I’ve done is just showing their on-the-go macro performance or crop capability. I think using fast, sharp 135mm lens as 225mm F2.8-3 in APS-C mode is quite useful.

  5. Thank you for all the work done keeping this great website alive. I bought the TTArtisan 50mm 1.4 after reading the review here and I ended up loving it as much as my Canon 135L, I really wasn’t expecting that.
    For 2023 I am hoping we’ll see more fast 28mm options, I know there is the 7Artisans you mentioned in the article, but the min focusing distance and need of an adapter are putting me off.

  6. „Unfortunately there was also a noticeable amount of junk I reviewed, so this list ended up being a bit short“

    I think you should be a bit more selective and filter out some of the „junk“ lenses next year

    A short real-world test will show what’s worth reviewing fully and what is „junk“

  7. Bastian,
    The reason I am a fan of this site is because you guys often focus on lenses that are not the “status quo” options you see advertised constantly in photo “gear reviews”. I have learned about and bought many amazing lenses from the very detailed reviews I have read on your site…..lenses that I may not have found or considered otherwise that are now some of my most used!! (Notably the Laowa ultra wide, and Voigtlander lenses)
    I have also discovered and bought many vintage lenses (often for different effects on specific shoots) and have arrived at those choices based on these reviews. I appreciate what you guys do because it is clear that you are “photographers photographers” and do these reviews out of genuine interest instead of an interest to enlarge your bank accounts….and for this you guys will always have a loyal following!! Thank you

  8. Bastian,

    Sempre aguardo, às vezes com uma certa ansiedade suas resenhas, pois é o único site que conheço que realiza este tipo de trabalho digamos não convencional.

    Apesar da grande dificuldade aqui no Brasil da adquirir qualquer lente que não seja Nikon, Canon e Sony adoro saber como cada lente se comporta.

    Há alguns anos, um amigo de um amigo foi aos EUA e encomendei uma Voitlander 40mm baseado nos seus comentários e eu adoro a renderização e nitidez dessa lente para paisagens.

    Torço para que a desvalorização da nossa moeda diminua e que eu possa adquir com menos sofrimento os acessórios de que necessito.

    Abraço,

  9. Bastian, keep doing whatever it is you enjoy, the writing on this website is outstanding and I never miss an article I feel you tell amazing stories in your reviews and I always look forward.

  10. Great stuff, looking forward to continuation of your film adventures!
    I know you’re currently not interested in developing or scanning film yourself, but it would be interesting to see you getting into that 🙂 It would be very interesting to read your take on camera scanning using tools like valoi360 and software like negmaster and NLP. I only do B&W but always curious to follow the color enthusiasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.