Do you use a DLSR lens on a mirrorless camera? Have you ever considered buying a “Dream Lens” for it? It’s pricey and relatively rare, so it’s worth thinking it through. But a member of Sonyalpharumors, Austrokiwi, allowed us to share his review. He bought a Canon 50mm F0.95 lens for his Sony A7rII. And this is how it performs:
After almost two years of consideration I became the owner of a Canon 50mm F0.95 lens. I finally obtained one reasonably affordable when a Westlicht Auctions in Vienna (where I live) were auctioning one at a time that coincided with my bank account having enough in it for me to bid. This rare lens has a small but strong following and is often found modified to Leica M mount. Excluding prototypes there are two variants a range finder coupled and a TV version. The version I have is Range finder coupled.
My long consideration before purchasing was due to the combination of two important issues, cost and adaptability to my Sony A7rII. I have made the mistake in the past of leaping to buy a legacy lens, due to the enthusiastic reviews of others, and then finding it didn’t perform in a manner I liked.The “dream lens”, as many have come to call, it has many enthusiastic reviews but very few cautionary tales. Noting the usual selling price from US$2000.00 through to US$3500.00 I was concerned that the hype might not match the “bucks” needed to obtain one. The issues I was worried about before buying was Vignetting (a reported issue with Range finder lenses and FF E-mount cameras) and softness. Well I got the lens and now after nearly a month of ownership I can say clearly both those issues are present with the lens.However I no longer care, I suspect every time I am out with this lens on my camera I am smiling. It’s important to be clear this is nowhere near a perfect lens; it’s soft, it suffers from internal reflections, flare, spherical aberration, vignetting and its heavy and clunky( built like a world war II Tank). If you want a sharp F 0.95 lens then you wouldn’t want to go near this 1960s – early 1970s lens, instead it’s either the Mitakon speedmaster or the Leica Noctilux you should be going for. What I wanted, and got from the lens was the dream like bokeh and the 1930s film-star-glow the lens produces when wide open. If you want a legacy lens with Bokeh and sharpness you would be much better off with the Minolta Rokkor 58mm F 1.2. The Rokkor will give you bokeh and hair splitting sharpness, but what it won’t do is give you the “glow”.
The Dream lens seems to be a soft focus lens, a few years back I owned the Rokkor 85mm Varisoft, and that lens is the only one that I have used that comes close to what this Canon range finder lens does. Wide open, with the right lens -subject, subject – background distances, subjects, particularly faces, get a secondary glow about them that is reminiscent of the photos taken with the Leitz 90mm Thambar.When you add in phenomenal subject background separation and a unique buttery Bokeh this is a unique art lens. It isn’t for everyone and I should mention one other significant fault: its size.When adapted to M mount, Leica users find they have to use a credit card ( or similar) to operate the lens release button. On the Sony A7rIIthe necessary adapter frees Sony users from that problem but for those with hands and fingers larger than Donald Trumps (sorry I couldn’t resist)holding the Sony A7rII with the dream lens attached is an issue. In the following photo I have marked with two red lines, the gap between the lens barrel and camera grip.That gap is uncomfortably small and makes managing the lens Camera combination hard. I am seriously considering getting the battery grip to get around this irritation.