The Kipon IBERIT 35mm f2.4 is a lightweight compact full-frame 35mm f2.4 mirrorless lens. It’s constructed of an aluminum body with a brass and stainless steel core for a low weight design. While the Kipon 35mm f2.4 is not a very fast lens, its characteristics are very balanced with a classic style of rendering and an extremely versatile 35mm focal length.
Focal Length: 35mm equivalent to 52.5mm on APS-C cameras
Aperture Blade: 6-Blades
Elements: 6 Elements in 6 Groups
Minimum Focus Distance: 1.1′ – Leica M – 2.3′
CPU Contacts: No
Construction: All Metal
Filter Threads: 49mm
Pros – Lightweight, overall good image quality, nice contrast and color, metal construction, nice character, good contrast, nice sun stars
Cons – dry focus ring, lack of precision between focus barrel, the list price is a little high for APS-C shooters, slow, some vignetting and distortion.
Kipon 35mm f2.4 First Impressions
I’ve been using the Kipon 35mm f2.4 for almost a year by the time of this review and it’s one of those lenses I’ve ended up always having on me. I’m always reaching for it and packing it in my bags and regretting it when I forget it. Needless to say, I love using this thing.
I bought the Leica M mount version so I can use it with my Sony A7rIII and my Fujifilm cameras. The Leica M mount loses some minimum focus distance, but since I mostly use it for travel, street or landscape, this hasn’t been a problem. If you’re a one camera brand photographer I would recommend just buying it in the mount of your camera to make your life easier.
Over the last year I’ve tested a lot of cheap Chinese lenses and some nice Korean lenses and would say, for mirrorless shooters, there is nothing like these Kipon lenses. They’ll not match the speed and output of the APS-C Rokinon lenses but they are much smaller and lighter. Compared to the 7Artisans 35mm f2 full-frame lens, there really isn’t any comparison, Kipon smokes the 7Artisans lenses.
The Kipon 35mm f2.4 is all-around sharp, has really lovely contrast and color and a very clean image, something I can’t say about the Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8 or even many of the other Chinese brand lenses.
When you get down to the samples, just notice how clean the images look. They really are flawless, but also, the images aren’t to clinical. They have a nice crisp color and they’ll even flare a little when hit by the sun. Bokeh is also very nice even though an f2.4 isn’t really a bokeh lens.
How It Compares To Other Lenses
For APS-C shooters looking for manual focus in this price range, you have a few options, the Rokinon 35mm f1.2 or the Mitakon 35mm f0.95. The Rokinon 35mm f1.2 lens is very nice with incredible image quality all around but it’s also much larger. The Mitakon 35mm f0.95, the most expensive of the three, is more of an art lens. It’s very comfortable living on very fast apertures but the corners and edges never really get to a great place.
For Fujifilm shooters that feel the Fujinon 35mm f2 is to clinical, this is a nice manual focus substitute with very similar image quality in terms of sharpness, but with a lot more character.
The 7Artisans 35mm f1.2 is a very fun option for a small and compact lens, but I would say it doesn’t have the same perfection and pop this lens has and would recommend the Kipon over lenses like those 7Artisans for photographers that are a little more serious about clean image quality but that also want a little character sprinkled on top.
Full frame shooters looking for manual focus lens have a few more options on the Sony side, but most of the higher quality Voigtlanders and Ziess lenses that I’ve yet to try, are much more expensive and heavier. There is the option to adapt the more affordable Leica M mount lens like the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 (one of my favorite 35mm lenses), but again that lens is slightly more expensive, much heavier and it actually doesn’t have quite as good of micro-contrast / pop.
So again, this little Kipon 35mm f2.4 sits safely in a niche of compact, light weight high quality output 35mm lenses.
Kipon 35mm f2.4 Review | Technical Overview
Build quality it just so-so the IBERIT 35mm Leica M mount. I personally like the build-in terms over feel and weight. Kipon uses lightweight aluminum for the body with a copper core. So the lens has a lightweight feel, but is still build with metal components.
In terms of precision, there is a little bit of wiggle with the front barrel, so if you’re shooting video and trying to focus, your image will shift, unless you sort of press against the front barrel with another finger. It doesn’t affect shooting photos in any way. This also could be just my copy or just a characteristic of the Leica M mount, as my IBERIT 50mm and my IBERIT 75mm f2.4 don’t do this and I’ve noticed the Leica M mount of the IBERIT 35mm has a different build than the Fujifilm X mount lens or the Sony E mount lens that could be attributing to this.
The clicked aperture ring on the front feels a little dry. The focus ring feels good and has the right tension to it with a 120-degree throw, but it’s not buttery smooth like you would find on the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7.
Overall build quality is fine, I wish there was more precision and firmness with that front barrel-like with the IBERIT 50mm, but it works and has been reliable.
This lens looks really cool, it’s lightweight and controls are easy and fun.
While these Kipon lenses look like retro Leica or Zeiss lenses, don’t expect that from the build quality. They have a nice output in image quality, but they still have quality control that seems rushed. My 35mm has some tooling marks on the inner element and my 50mm had oil on the aperture blades.
Oil on the aperture could have happened after it left the factory though so, I can’t blame quality control on that.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a brand of Chinese or Korean lenses that didn’t have issues, from SLR Magic, 7Artisans, Sony to Mitakon, every brand I’ve dealt that was made in China has shipped me lenses with imperfections at one point or another. SLR Magic has been the worst.
None of the imperfections with the Kipon lenses have given me any optical issues, so that’s fantastic and rare. I’ve seen four of their lenses and all had no flaws with image output. I can’t say that about any other Chinese brand, not even Mitakon which people praise for having good build quality.
I’ve had the 35mm f2.4 almost a year by the time of this review, have used it in the rain, in the snow, in freezing temperatures, nothing seems to affect this lenses performance. It’s not weather-sealed so when I accidentally get it wet with snow or rain, I’ll make sure to leave it overnight in a bag with some Silica beads to protect the lens from any moisture. So far no mold, no haze, no loose components and no decentered elements, no oil on the aperture blades.
Overall sharpness is best around mid apertures. Corners are a little soft but improve dramatically by about f5.6 and f8. – This is probably why I’ve been liking it as a compact landscape lens.
When looking at diffraction, the IBERIT still looks decent even at f16, but the sweet spot would be f5.6 to f8, with even some nice center sharpness at f4.
Full Frame – Sony A7rIII
APS-C Crop – Fujifilm X-T2
On the full-frame of the Sony A7rIII, there is some vignetting. It never clears up completely but starts to look better by f4.
There is some noticeable barrel distortion when shooting brick walls, but it’s not very noticeable in real-world shooting. +4 in the Lightroom distortion correction fixes it with no problems.
There is flaring if you angle it just right, but it is well controlled when you’re shooting directly into the sun.
Flaring, for the most part, looks nice, except you will sometimes see a few ribbons.
Star patterns are very nice with six points. When shooting into the sun, the coatings are resistant enough to ghosting and flaring that they don’t blow out the image. You mostly only see heavy flaring when the sun catches the front element at a steep angle.
I’m seeing very little issues with chromatic aberrations except for in very extreme situations. Blown out sky against a dark edge in the out of focus corners of the frame.
I would rate chromatic aberrations as very mild. You’ll notice it a lot more in the Kipon 50mm and the 75mm in the out of focus highlights.
Art & Character
The character of this lens is really nice. It’s not going to give you a crazy artistic bokeh like a Mitakon 35mm f0.95, but for a slower lens, bokeh is very smooth. The combination of the excellent contrast and micro-contrast with the way the lens handles the bokeh and flaring allows the lens to produce very pleasing images with a unique classic rendering.
Color rending is great. You really don’t need to do much to the images, especially if you’re shooting with the Fujifilm X-Trans cameras that by default seem to have a bit more saturation.
Straight Out Of Camera Samples
These are untouched RAW files converted to JPG in Lightroom with Adobe Camera RAW. I’ve compressed them for this site, but you can find full quality Kipon IBERIT 35mm f2.4 samples on my Smugmug.
For a 6-blade aperture the bokeh is very smooth and rich. It never really gets busy or nervous and is all around very pleasant.
Contrast / Micro-Contrast
Contrast and micro-contrast are both very good. Easily on par with Fujinon primes, but they’re all so close it’s tough to measure.
Kipon 35mm f2.4 Lens Comparisons
I don’t have too many other full-frame lenses to compare this to. The best comparison would be to the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 lens but unfortunately I won’t be getting that lens anytime soon. Sony focus peaking isn’t good enough for me to justify spending that kind of money on manual focus lenses. Maybe I will get a loner in the future.
I’ll build all this into a separate post with more lenses once I get more familiar with other 35mm lenses for APS-C, I’m still missing a few.
Kipon 35mm f2.4 vs Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f2.8
Compared to the Zeiss Sonnar f2.8, the Kipon IBERIT 35mm f2.4 is better at some things worst at others. All around, the IBERIT is a better lens at f5.6, but at f2.8 the Sony Ziess Sonnar is the winner in terms of sharpness, but the Sonnar has a few other serious issues I won’t get into right now.
Looking at center sharpness at f2.8, the Sonnar is sharper. By f2.8 they are pretty comparable but it almost does seem like the IBERIT has a touch more contrast, that could be because the Zeiss was exposed a touch brighter. By f8, diffraction starts to hit the Sonnar a bit harder and from then on out it’s not as good as the IBERIT.
There is a slight magenta cast to the IBERIT which is very normal for any third-party lens that doesn’t have CPU contacts and camera profiles.
The Sonnar is looking better in the corners until about f4. At that point the IBERIT actually improves and becomes better in the corners. That’s interesting. So if you mostly want to shoot wide open, the Sonnar will give better corner results, but at f5.6, the IBERT is better.
Of course copy-to-copy variations can change things and my Sonnar is about 5 years old now and it’s been all over the world.
What else I’ve noticed is the Sonnar gets a blue shift by about f8 to f16. I personally prefer the Kipon to my Zeiss simply because the Zeiss has a nasty color ring pattern that you can see on any solid color like blue skies.
Kipon 35mm f1.2 / Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 / Fujifilm 35mm f2
For this test I had to shoot the IBERIT on a completely different chart under different lighting from the other lenses. Although the scale is correct, the contrast of the ink may not be, so ignore contrast for now, only look at detail, which is not perfect either.
I will reshoot all these when I do my Fujinon 35mm reviews on the same charts with the Fujifilm X-T3.
The Fujinon lenses perform better up until about f4. Then the Kipon is very comparable. I would say the IBERIT actually looks better, but I think that’s because my new resolution chart has a little more clarity.
You can clearly see the ghosty softness of the IBERIT at f2.4 to f4.
The IBERIT corners look about on par with the Fujinon 35mm f2. The Fujinon 35mm f1.4 is much better here.
Kipon 35mm f2.4 Review | Bottom Line
Should you get the Kipon 35mm f2.4?
For Full Frame Shooters
I would say it depends on what system you’re on, Leica, Sony or Fujifilm. There are a lot of interesting Sony Full Frame Lenses to consider if you’re willing to spend a bit more money. Lenses such as the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 or the Voigtlander 40mm f1.2 and 35mm f1.4 are very nice and worth taking a look at, but they are a lot more expensive. For those that need autofocus, there is the Sony Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f2.8, or even the Rokinon 35mm f2.8. I personally don’t love buying expensive lenses if I don’t have to and I especially hate spending twice as much money just for Zeiss build quality and feel.
The Kipon sits in a nice place in terms of the price for the image quality you get. When they go on sale, these lenses are totally worth it. I three lenses for several hundred dollars off and am waiting for more sales to buy more Kipon lenses.
For APS-C Shooters
For Fujifilm shooters, you really have to love the classic look and retro style of these lenses to make the IBERIT 35mm f2.4 worth it for you. Otherwise, you might want to just go for a Rokinon 35mm f1.2 or if you want to get a little more artistic, the Mitakon 35mm f0.95.
That being said, no other manual focus native mount compact APS-C lens matches the overall image quality of the IBERIT 35mm that is also as small and as light as this lens is. For how I shoot, it’s perfect, I can use it for landscapes and street and it’s very easy to carry around.
My only gripe would be for the list price, I wish the build quality was a touch nicer on the Leica M version. I wish the aperture turned a little bit smoother and everything had a little more precision like with the IBERIT 50mm. Again this could just be the Leica M version has an inferior build because of the shorter barrel. I got the lens on a crazy sale so no complaints and I would do it again.
Kipon 35mm f2.4 Sample Images
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