SLR Magic 35mm F1.2 Sony FE Review

This isn’t really a lens review in the traditional sense in that I want to tell people why I like using this lens as a videographer, talk about what I use it for and share some of the different shots I have taken with it without getting too technical.

SLR Magic 35mm Cine upclose with the Samyang 100mm Macro, a7sii

SLR Magic 35mm Cine upclose with the Samyang 100mm Macro, a7sii

If you want a really in-depth review check out this one by Phillip Reeve where he talks about the lens from the point of view of a photographer. He gets super techy about a lot of things with charts and examples and that’s handy, especially for photographers.

For videographers trying to create a cinematic look to their work we are a bit less concerned about cropping right into images and more interested in how the footage looks generally, how it feels to use, plus how the lens fits in to our current workflow when shooting.

I use this lens an awful lot now and its not perfect but I still love it. Like any good relationship we work through our issues together…. Its pretty much my go to everyday lens now and I realised this last week when packing for a quick holiday, out of all my other lenses (probably getting on for 15-ish) this is the one I chose as my trip companion along with the A7sii. Above all this lens is fun to use and lets me be creative.

Use with a Gimbal

This lens fits in nicely with my current setup of an A7sii, Zhiyun Crane 2, Mechanical Follow Focus as it has follow focus grooves built into the lens. I also own the SLR Magic 25mm and 75mm from the same family of lenses and this makes life easier when changing lens on the gimbal as they are all the same size and roughly the same weight.

The mechanical follow focus allows me to manually focus this lens whilst the camera is on a Gimbal

The mechanical follow focus allows me to manually focus this lens whilst the camera is on a Gimbal

The inbuilt focus gears on the lens are really sturdy,

The inbuilt focus gears on the lens are really sturdy,

The Magic Set - 25mm, 75mm and 35mm.

The Magic Set - 25mm, 75mm and 35mm.

Many clients like cinematic moving shots so being able to manually focus whilst still moving on the gimbal means more in-focus shots and more room for creativity such as pulling focus whilst moving.

Light Flares

Light flares are seen by some as a hindrance, but I think they can be beautiful and this lens creates some really unusual and abstract looks when filming on sunny days. It can be a bit too much for some people but as long as it adds to the story then a flare can be a cool look. Or rather a warm look… or… yeah.

The sun on a boat in Spain created a dreamy, nostalgic feel.

The sun on a boat in Spain created a dreamy, nostalgic feel.

On a shoot for Wholly Cow Gelato this lens created some nice moments in the winter sun.

On a shoot for Wholly Cow Gelato this lens created some nice moments in the winter sun.

Depth of Field

This lens is a bit of a depth of field king with its F1.2 aperture allowing me to get really creative with out of focus backgrounds and foregrounds. Before this lens I was using a Zeiss 24-70 zoom lens with a constant aperture of F4 and going to F1.2 opened up (lol) a new creative way of shooting things. This lens doesn’t have autofocus so manually focusing at 1.2 can be dangerous but fun and if you nail it the results are amazing.

I shot this image of a tree in Spain last week at F1.2 and the out of focus Bokeh is crazy.

I shot this image of a tree in Spain last week at F1.2 and the out of focus Bokeh is crazy.

F 1.2…. Foreground blur too.

F 1.2…. Foreground blur too.

Lanscapes

I like to travel a lot but I don’t like paying for hold luggage obvs. So if it’s just a quick 3-4 day holiday its important to take minimal kit with me and this often means just one lens in with my cabin bag. Shooting landscapes is something I love to do when exploring a new place so I can send to friends and family, Focusing to infinity is easy and this lens is sharp but doesn’t have a digital look at all, its pretty abstract..

España shot at F16

España shot at F16

The Rock of Gibraltar at F16

The Rock of Gibraltar at F16

What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?

What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?

Conclusion

So there we are then. A non technical review of a nice little cine lens i quite like using for work and travel /side projects. Its lightweight, creates some beautiful and quirky images plus it feels like it’s designed for use on a gimbal.

I don’t like how long it takes to pull focus on this lens…It feels like a long time in between minimum focus distance and infinity and makes it sometimes impractical to pull from foreground to background or opposite, its annoying and i only have one wrist. I also don’t like how the image ‘breathes’ when focusing between points…this is also annoying.

Apart from these points this lens is fun to use and like I said i love it. If you have any further questions just give me a shout and I’d be happy to help.

Thanks,

Barney aka Fluxx