The Kipon 75mm f2.4 lens is a small lightweight manual lens designed for mirrorless camera systems including the Leica. The lens features 5 elements in 5 groups for incredible contrast and color rendering and a 6 blade aperture for butter-smooth bokeh at f2.4.
Kipon IBERIT 75mm f2.4 Review
You might be wondering, who is Kipon (formally known as Handevision)? Are Kipon lenses good? Is this Kipon IBERIT 75mm worth it?
Hopefully, I’ll be able to answer those questions in this review but to sum it up, Kipon is a joint venture between two companies, one German and one Chinese, both lens designers and manufacturers. Are they good, yes! Is the 75mm worth it, yes!
Price to performance the Kipon 75mm f2.4 packs a big punch. You’re not going to find a lot of other lenses out there at this price that can do with this lens does across the board.
Kipon IBERIT 75mm f2.4 Lens Stats
Focal Length: 75mm (APS-C 112.5mm)
Aperture Blades: 6
Minimum Focus Distance: 2.3′ / 70 cm Leica M | 1.97′ (60 cm) Sony E & Fuji X
Front Element Filter Threads: ø49mm
Element Count: 5 elements 5 groups
CPU Contacts: No
I bought two other Kipon lenses along with this one, the 35mm f2.4, and the 50mm f2.4. Of the three, the 75mm is the one that stood out to me the most. It’s very clear that Kipon has made a true gem here. It’s an outstanding lens with incredible image quality for both full-frame and APS-C cameras and I’ve really come to love it.
While it’s only an f2.4, on a 75mm lens that’s plenty fast and it produces some really shallow depth with incredible bokeh. I have faster manual lenses at about this focal length, but they’re a lot more difficult to focus on the fly, they’re also a lot heavier. The performance when wide open at f2.4 is also really nice, so you don’t have to worry about any significant loss in image quality when shooting wide open, like a lot of retro lenses or other Chinese lenses.
For me, this lens was a missing link, I’m always looking for high quality, lightweight lenses that don’t feel cheap for street photography, and this 75mm f2.4 fills in that gap perfectly. There is nothing like this by Fujifilm, it’s a complete void in their lineup. For Sony, they have some more options, but they’re usually too big, too expensive, or lack quality. For example, the Loxia lenses by Zeiss are great, but they are made for Sony E-Mount only, and they are slightly on the expensive side.
The IBERIT 75mm With The Sony A7r III
I absolutely love this lens on the Sony A7rIII, but it can be a little difficult to focus. This isn’t because the lens has issues, rather, focus peaking on the A7r III kind of sucks. It really doesn’t give you the precision you get from Fujifilm. It’s like Sony took the same algorithm for focus peaking from the lower megapixel A7 camera and just popped it into the A7r III. Because the resolution of the sensor in the A7r III is so high, everything seems to peak out even though it’s not in focus, this is my guess anyway. So to get consistent, usable focus, I always have to punch in and double-check focus on every shot. Which is fine really, I’ve built it into my C1 custom button so snapping in to check focus is quick.
I’ll have an A7 III soon, so I can see how focus peaking is with fewer megapixels.
On the full-frame sensor of the A7r III the lens still pumps out some really nice performance. No obvious issues in the corners and no issues with color ring patters like you get on some of those Sony Zeiss Sonar lenses.
Because of the quality, this lens has quickly become one of my favorite lenses for the Sony A7r III when shooting street photography. I just love the thing. The best part is that I can put the Sony A7r III in Super 35mm crop mode and the lens gives an equivalent field of view of a 112mm lens with about 18 megapixels.
The IBERIT 75mm With The Fujifilm X-Pro 2
It’s much easier to use the IBERIT 75mm on Fujifilm cameras as their cameras have better focus peaking. However, because of the APS-C sensor, it will give you a field of view of about a 112mm lens. So you have to keep in mind when buying a 75mm lens, that a field of view of 112mm isn’t the most useful focal length for daily usage or street photography, but it can be really nice for portrait or street portrait work.
Image quality is outstanding since the APS-C sensor does naturally crop in on the circle of projection produced by this lens. This gives the illusion of even better corner and edge performance with overall less vignetting, which was already good on the full-frame cameras to begin with.
The Kipon 75mm f2.4 lens is absolutely perfect for street and portrait photography and the image quality, man, I love this thing. Is relatively small for the size, and fairly light. Focus is smooth and aperture has nice firm clicks that feel good.
Let’s get into some details.
Quality And Performance
The design of the Kipon 75mm f2.4 is awesome, all-metal construction with anodized aluminum, brass and stainless steel. It’s also very light.
There is some very subtle wiggle between the two focus barrels of the lens when the focus is fully extended. Not really a big deal. You can also hear the cold metal of the aperture blades sort of rubbing against each other as you adjust aperture if you listen very closely, at least on my copy. Again, not a big deal but I did think that was a bit strange.
Build quality compared to other brands is below Ziess and Voigtlander in terms of precision and overall feel, but much better than Rokinon or any other Chinese brand except maybe Mitakon.
When you give the lens a light shake you do hear some movement, but from what I understand this is not entirely unusual with most lenses. The IBERIT 50mm makes noise as well. The IBERIT 35mm does not.
I’ve had a few issues with other Kipon lenses but at least it never was with the optics. So far every Kipon lens I’ve tested has had perfect optical performance out of the box which is rare for lenses made in China, however, you should still double-check that the quality control staff did their job over there at the Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment factory.
The aperture ring has half-stop clicks, some lenses are full stops and I just don’t like that. Half stop or third stops is my preference.
The focus throw is a little shallow at about 90 degrees, the advantage is it allows you to throw the focus quickly, but you do need to be a little careful when shooting for perfect focus. I personally haven’t had any issues with focus precision considering f2.4 isn’t really that shallow, but some people may not like the 90-degree focus throw on a lens this long.
The minimum focus distance is 2.3′ on the Leica M variant of this lens. On the Sony E, Fujifilm X and Leica L, it’s a touch closer at 1.97′. I find 2.3′ to be fine with this lens, but if that bothers you get the lens in your cameras native mount or use a Hawks Leica M adapter with a helicoid.
In terms of quality and tactile feel, the focus on this lens is buttery smooth and it’s a real pleasure to use.
Who actually makes Kipon lenses?
They are designed in Germany by IB/E Optics GmbH and built by Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment, which happens to be the same company that makes those high-quality Kipon adapters. So they’re one of the good Chinese companies, like Mitakon, and I do recommend their products. Kipon adapters, as you may know, are fantastic.
I have to knock a few points off when it comes to durability.
I’ve been using the lens for a few months and it was functioning perfectly until I got home from Japan. I’m not sure what happened, but the focus will now stick sometimes in a certain spot.
On the IBERIT 75mm Leica version, there is a cam that comes as part of the rear element assembly that I think is designed to tell Leica cameras focus information for the viewfinder (since it moves only while focusing). With my copy, this cam seems to have loosened up a bit causing some play in the assembly. If I pull on the cam while focusing everything is fine, if I let it sit naturally the focus sticks. So it seems I will need to send my lens in for tuning. Good news is, non-Leica versions of this lens shouldn’t have this issue as they won’t have that Cam.
I haven’t been able to get a hold of Kipon and they aren’t emailing me back. So I will reach out to BHphoto next to see what’s going on and if I can take advantage of that 1-year warranty. This is concerning.
Sharpness is all around very nice. It’s good in the center, stays good in the corners. I love it.
It’s sharper than a lot of my lenses except for a few. In early tests I’m seeing the Kipon 50mm lens is actually a touch sharper than this one, and the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 is actually sharper as well. Yes, I know, two completely different focal lengths, but there isn’t really anything else to test this against that I currently own and I own almost all the Fujifilm primes except for the Fujinon 80mm macro, which I believe is the sharpest lens Fujifilm has produced to date?
The bottom line, sharpness is not an issue with this lens. It won’t blow you away, but won’t disappoint you either.
My daughter was moving around a lot, but I managed to get a few shot at f5.6.
I shot this using an Einstein 640 with the Fujifilm X-Pro2. ISO 200, f5.6, 1/60. Click for full view or to download.
Diffraction & Spherical Aberrations
The center of the lens has a blue tint, which clears up at around f5.6. In terms of sharpness, f4 to f8 renders the most detail.
At f11 the lens is still very useable with only some loss in IQ from diffraction. By f16 you will see a significant loss in detail and micro-contrast.
You will see some chromatic aberrations with this lens. Nothing serious, but it’s not quite as corrected as some of the modern lenses you see with more complicated designs.
I’ll have some more CA samples up soon.
Some vignetting at f2.4, by f4 it clears up. By f5.6 it’s almost completely gone.
There is also a noticeable bright spot in the center until about f4. You can especially see it in the Chromatic Aberration sample above.
The Kipon 75mm shows almost no distortion. Maybe a touch of barrel distortion, that’s about it.
Flaring is very well controlled. I haven’t really noticed it being an issue in casual shooting, so I took it out and shot into the sun. Even at f2.4 and shooting directly into the sun I still see very little flaring and very little loss in image quality. Usually, older and cheaper lenses like the Kamlan 50mm f1.1 will fail the test here.
The Kipon 75mm will still produce very nice contrast and color even when shooting directly into the sun.
Art And Character
Art and character is a new section I’ve been adding to my reviews. It’s not quantifiable really and most lens reviews completely fail to really talk about this. In my opinion, this is what makes a lens great. If you were reviewing cars, this would be how a car drives or how it handles. It might have a lot of horsepower, quick breaking, good safety rating etc, but is it fun to drive?
With lenses, the art and character can make or break a lens, despite it having great corner sharpness and chromatic aberration control.
What is the art and character of a lens?
It’s a few things, color rendering, depth rendering or foreground to background separation, bokeh, contrast, and micro-contrast.
I’ve tuned the color in all the sample photos in this review (except in the charts), but not by a lot. I usually just apply a film look (usually Kodak Gold 200 by VSCO or Portra 160 and Classic Chrome if shooting with Fujifilm), brush in some extra contrast and clarity into the subject and that’s about it.
What I’m noticing, and you can see in the image below, is very rich color even in the bokeh. If you’re ever wondering why some photographers have such deep and rich colors in their images, a lot of it has to do with the lens and the Kipon 75mm will give you that.
Foreground To Background Separation | 3D Pop
What gives that 3D pop? A few things, good contrast, micro-contrast and good foreground to background separation.
You can really see what I’m talking about in these images below. The subject looks almost cut out from the foreground and background, almost like fake 3d. Even at f2.4 it creates very beautiful subject separation you just don’t see very often, especially in a lens that you can get for under $500-$600 dollars.
Contrast & Micro Contrast
Micro contrast is different than just contrast. Micro Contrast has to do with inner tonal details. This gives the illusion of sharpness and detail even when you’re not pixel peeping. It usually, but not always has to do with how many elements a lens has. Ultimately, the more glass light has to pass through, the more micro-contrast is lost. For example, you’ll notice your images take a huge hit in quality if you shoot through your car windshield.
The Kipon with its 5 elements in 5 groups has incredible micro-contrast. Images always look very detailed and contrast is very lovely. It’s an excellent lens for black and white photography.
I thought this image below was an incredible testimony to the contrast and micro-contrast to this lens. There is just so much detail.
Bokeh is buttery smooth and very rich. Even at f5.6 bokeh is still very pretty even though it only has only a 6 bladed aperture. At higher f-stops you will see some hexagonal bokeh.
There is a slight swirl with some cats eye bokeh along the edges.
Kipon 75mm f2.4 Review | Bottom Line
Should you get this lens? For Fujifilm, there just aren’t a lot of other options without going with cheap Rokinon / Samyang lenses. For Sony there are a few if you’re willing to spend the cash. I can’t speak for the Loxia lenses in terms of quality and durability, but Zeiss does have a great reputation if you’re willing to spend twice as much money for their 85mm.
For the price, this lens is incredible.
If you’re buying lenses in a Leica Mount, a lot more options open up from Voigtlander, Mayer Optics, Zeiss and Leica, but again, nothing that is this light or anywhere near this price.
This lens is a great deal and I’ll be adding the rest of the Kipon lenses to my collection. Except for maybe that overpriced, super heavy 40mm f0.85.
I’ve been very happy with the IBERIT 75mm and it is currently one of my favorite lens to use on my Sony A7r III for street photography. It’s great as a full frame lens, but also as an APS-C lens.
My only concern is with durability. Kipon is a fairly unknown brand and they haven’t fully gained my trust. Their website is a little underwhelming and who knows if they actually honor their 1-year warranty. Luckily, I have a problem with my 75mm lens so I’ll soon find out!
If you own this lens or end up trying it out, let me know how you like it.
Kipon 75mm f2.4 Sample Photos
Sample photos are shot with the Sony A7r III in full frame and in Super 35mm crop mode. Some are also shot with the Fujifilm X-Pro2.
Did you like this review? Is there something you want to see more or less of? With my reviews, I’m trying to take a more real-world approach to how the lens is used when shooting actual photography rather than building the most extreme situations to find flaws in the design that you would never see in real-world settings. But I will get more technical if that’s what people want. Let me know in the comments.
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