The lenses view from front:
Many people think of sharpness first when comparing lenses. This is not the strongest point of those speed lenses and in my opinion this is also not the most important thing but at least one aspect to be rated. The following scenery was shot from tripod and the lenses were focused on the small letters of the bottle's label. Beside the sharpness you can also see how the creaminess of the bokeh changes when stopping down.
I do not want to bother you here with the whole aperture test series, you can find an album with all images at full resolution here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/sets/72157646254858476/
This is a comparison of 100% crops (actual pixels):
As you can see from the crops, the HyperPrime CINE seems to have a slight (but very little) advantage in contrast and sharpness in the center but produces some more purple fringing (although still significantly less than the Leica Noctilux as observed in my earlier reviews). The purple fringing can be easily corrected in post processing.
In both situations, focus was adjusted at open aperture, so there may be a little focus shift when stopping down the Speedmaster as the result at f/5.6 could propably be better when the lens would have been refocused there.
Now let us take a look to the outer regions where you might quite often focus as well e.g. when shoouting a portrait:
Again, you can find the album containing all images at full resolution here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/sets/72157646254858476/
Here is the 1:1 comparison of 100% crops (actual pixels):
Here you can see that both lenses are not intended to be used for landscape or architecture photography but the Speedmaster has a clear advantage in that area of the frame.
One of the most desired effects of these lenses is getting those nice light circles ("bubbles") from highlights in out-of-focus areas. In order to get better light reflections in the beer bottles, they had to be emptied for this test :).
Both lenses produce a very smooth and quite similar bokeh without any "onion rings" that you can see quite often when the lenses contain aspherical elements. The HyperPrime deforms the bubbles a bit more towards the borders but it keeps them longer round when stopping down whereas the circles start getting edges from the aperture blades already when stopping down the Speedmaster to f/1.4.
You can find the album containing all images of the series at full resolution here as well: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/sets/72157646254858476/
Of course, lenses with these wide apertures can not be completely protected from flares but this is something you can use for artistic compositions as well:
Yes, both lenses vignette at open aperture, the Speedmaster has a stronger light fall off towards the edges than the HyperPrime as you can see from many examples in this article (there was no vignette correction applied). But as this is something which can be easily corrected in post processing and quite often gives an additionally desired effect, I will not rate on this.
Both lenses are far from the perfection of a lens like the Zeiss Otus 50/1.4 but provide a lot of fun if you like playing with extremely shallow depth of field and bokeh. Center sharpness is good even at open aperture but you may have to adjust contrast to get crisp looking results. The Speedmaster provides better sharpness consistency across the frame.
If your main system is E-mount based, the Mitakon / Zhongyi Speedmaster 50/0.95 may produce better value for money for you whereas the three times more expensive HyperPrime CINE 50/T0.95 (which is still much more reasonably priced than the Leica Noctilux 50/0.95 ASPH, if you do not require a range finder calibration) provides more adaption versatility through its M-mount. The HyperPrime may have an advantage when used for videos as it has a clickless aperture ring and is free from focus shift when stopped down.
PROs for the Mitakon / Zhongyi Speedmaster 50/0.95:
- less bulky and lighter
- sharpness more consistent accross the frame, less distortion
- less purple fringing
PROs for the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95:
- more adaption versatility through its M-mount
- integrated sliding lens hood
- light circles in out-of-focus areas keep nicely round even when stopped down to f/2.0
- free from focus shift when stopping down
- warrenty directly from the manufacturer
So there is no clear winner, it may depend on your particular demands which lens fits better to your requirements.
Credit: My special thanks go to Merlin Ulrich, who provided the Speedmaster lens and contributed many beautiful shots for this comparison. You can find more photos from him here.
Update: Meanwhile MXcamera announced an upgraded "Pro" version of the Speedmaster - now called "The Dark Knight" - here.
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