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 micro-contrast and color rendering and a 6 blade aperture for butter-smooth bokeh at f2.4.
Kipon 75mm f2.5 History & Improvements
There are a few different forms of this lens now IBERIT and Elegant. Kipon has kept the original design of the lens intact with the Leica M version and there are the new Elegant versions.
The IBERIT lenses also no come in red, which is super cool if you have a black camera.
There is actually a lot of difference between the IBERIT and the Elegant lenses and a lot has changed since the IBERIT lenses were first introduced.
Original Kipon lenses went by the name Handevision, it was this joint venture with IB/E Optics and Shanghai Transvision. IB/E optics knew how to design lenses and make them all work, but they were not experts with mass production consumer products. Since these lenses were born, better ways of doing things were been discovered by new designers, and over the years these lenses have been upgraded. Today the Handevision name has been dropped and these lenses now just go by Kipon. A few years ago, new and very experienced designers out of Germany were hired and these lenses have been upgraded again. A lot of the little issues that would plague the early designs of these lenses have been fixed – things like oil on the aperture blades or range finder focus calibration issues. At least lose things I’ve discovered, and the overall feel and precision have been improved.
Aside from the upgraded IBERIT lenses, there is a totally new design of lenses called the Elegant lenses.
I used to always say it’s better to buy the Leica M mount lenses and just adapt them if you can, but since the Elegant lenses don’t have to deal with the Leica rangefinder system of calibration the designs could be totally overhauled – and they were.
Not too long ago Kipon sent me an Elegant lens to try out as sort of a replacement to my 75mm that was having problems. I have to say, the precision and the design are honestly some of the best I’ve seen from a brand other than Leica or maybe Zeiss.
If you’re not shooting Leica, or on multiple camera bodies from different brands, it might be best to go with the Elegant lenses. They are very pro and feel very modern with good high build quality.
For Leica shooters, the new M lenses have been improved. They feel about as good as Voigtlander lenses, actually better in some ways, since Voigtlander lenses usually have very loose aperture rings that kind of feel cheap in my opinion. So if you’re curious as to how these Kipon lenses are compared to a Voigtlander lens, they are very similar in quality and in design. I’m not sure how rigorous Kipons quality control department is vs Cosina but you can be confident in Kipon as a brand.
Kipon Elegant 75mm f2.4 Review
I’ve shot on this lens since year one of its inception and I’ve gone through a few different copies over the years and now have a full range of experience as to what this lens is and what it can do.
Since the optical formula of this lens has not changed, the Kipon Elegant review also works as a Kipon IBERIT 75mm f2.4 review since the image quality will be the same.
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.
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
One thing to understand with most third-party lenses, is they are not designed exactly for each camera brand’s focus stack. Meaning every camera has a piece of glass as well as a micro-lens configuration that can affect the performance. When Canon or Sony or Leica design lenses, the way this cover glass affects the light before hitting the sensor is actually built into the optical formula which is why Sony lenses perform perfectly on Sony bodies. These Kipon lenses are designed for a generic test bench and they can see slightly different corner performance between brands of cameras but should perform the best on the Leica M or maybe even Nikon Z cameras since they use the thinnest cover glass.
Still, on the Sony A7rIII, I absolutely love this lens, 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.
Now using the lens on the Nikon Z6, might actually be harder than the A7rIII since focus peaking is even worst. What sometimes do on Nikon is shoot RAW with a B&W profile with the sharpness turned up. Then I can get my focus peaking very good and the lens is very easy to use. Then in post, remove all the sharpness and convert back to color.
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 patterns 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.
Quality And Performance
The Kipon 75mm f2.4 lens is absolutely perfect for street and portrait photography and the image quality. Is relatively small for the size, and fairly light. The focus is smooth and the aperture has nice firm clicks that feel good.
Around the time when this lens came out, the only other lens like it was the Voigtlander 75mm f2.5. The Voigtlander has since been discontinued so now for the Leica M mount, there really is nothing else similar to it except the actually 75mm f2 Leica lens. Most companies now are trying to make faster 75mm lenses, which sometimes introduces more problems. If you’re shooting on the Leica M range finder system, you probably already know that something faster than a 75mm f2 is going to be very niche in what you can actually use it for.
The design of the Kipon 75mm f2.4 is nice with all-metal construction, anodized aluminum outer casing, and brass helicoils. It’s also very light.
Nobody makes better feeling lenses than Leica, but the Elegant versions of these lenses are actually very nice and definitely up there with the bigger brands.
On the older version of this lens, there was some very subtle wiggle between the two focus barrels when the focus is fully extended, this has been improved on with the new Elegant lens, but I would say this is nothing unusual as even my Voigtlander lenses do this and even Leica lenses can loosen up over time.
With the year-one version of the IBERIT lens, you can also hear the cold metal of the aperture blades rubbing against each other as you adjust the aperture, this is completely gone with the new Elegant lens.
With the year-one version, when you give the lens a light shake you do hear some movement, again, whatever that was has been totally fixed with the Elegant lens.
Some of these issues could be from my original lens being several years older and heavily used.
I’ve had a few issues with other Kipon lenses but at least it never was with the optics. So far every Kipon lens, except the version II of the 40mm f0.85 lens I’ve tested has had perfect optical performance out of the box. But you should still double-check that the quality control staff did their job over there at the Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment factory.
Some of my early lenses were also not perfectly calibrated for the range finder Leica system and I don’t think it’s possible to adjust them yourself. The last lens I received was perfectly calibrated.
The aperture ring has half-stop clicks. With the Elegant lens this is buttery smooth with the perfect amount of tension. This was good on the year-one version of this lens as well but has improved.
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.
In terms of quality and tactile feel, the focus on this lens is buttery smooth and it’s a real pleasure to use. The only minor imperfection I see with this lens is when the lens is close to being fully extended, the focus turn does lose some of the tension, as the Helicoil extends and has less contact. Basically, when the focus is set close, there is more resistance in the focus turn, compared to when it is fully extended.
I have to knock a few points off when it comes to durability with the early versions of these lenses.
With my year-one-copy of this lens, I had been using it for a few months and it was functioning perfectly until I got home from Japan. The focus will now stick sometimes in a certain spot and it will totally jam on my Leica MP. What had happened I think was a screw from the range finder tab had fallen out from all the vibrations of flying and traveling and the lens being in my bike bag.
I’ve actually learned that you really should put lenses in a bike bag since all the vibrations can destroy the optics. I’ve lost another Fujifilm lens from this same thing and I was biking around a lot with these Kipon lenses since they were so lightweight. Even Apple warns of this phenomenon with their iPhone optics.
This was never a big deal because at the time I wasn’t using this lens on the Leica system. But Kipon did actually send me their latest version of this IBERIT lens that I wanted to use for this review, but unfortunately, I let a friend borrow it for his Youtube channel to compare with his Voigtlander 75mm f1.5, and for whatever reason thought I just randomly gave him awesome $600 Red Kipon lens and he sold it after a few months. Yeah, sucks very and I’m very bummed about it. He also never even did the review which I was curious to see.
Anyway, good thing I have at least the Elegant lens to compare.
I’ll have to buy a new one at some point and update you again to see how the new IBERIT compares to the old one. For the few weeks I had it, it did definitely feel better than my original copy, but didn’t feel as good as the new Elegant lenses.
I’ve talked to one reader who bought this Kipon lens, and he had an issue with the focus calibration on his range finder. The good news is, that he was able to contact Kipon and get the problem worked out. I don’t think you can adjust this yourself like you can with some TTArtisan or 7Artisan lenses.
Sharpness is all around very nice. It’s good in the center and stays good in the corners.
It’s sharper than a lot of my “classic” 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 is, sharpness is not an issue with this lens. It won’t blow you away, especially by today’s standards but I won’t disappoint you either and is totally fine if you’re shooting a film. I’ll try to get some Leica M11 samples up soon as well.
My daughter was moving around a lot, but I managed to get a few shots at f5.6.
I shot this using an Einstein 640 with the Fujifilm X-Pro2. ISO 200, f5.6, 1/60. Click for a full view or to download it.
Again not as sharp as something like a Nikon Z 50mm f1.8 or their 40mm which are some of the shapest lenses out there right now, but for a manual focus lens, this is acceptable.
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 render 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.
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 only has some very minor 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. But I don’t really consider this a very high contrast lens.
Art And Character
Art and character is a 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. Some cars might have a lot of horsepowers, 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 as some people are now calling the “transition zones.” This is how the image renders between the areas that are in focus out of focus. Then there is 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 a 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 a 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 of the structure of the light 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 the 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 cat’s-eye bokeh along the edges.
Kipon Elegant 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.
There are a lot of faster long lenses now by companies like Voigtlander, TTArtisan or even 7Artisans and sometimes they are great, sometimes they are less expensive. TTArtisan has been making nice lenses lately, but it just depends on what you need and what style you shoot in.
The Kipon lenses when it comes to the build are much better than 7Artisans and TTArtisan. So while you’re sometimes paying more money for a slower lens, you’re getting better build quality and probably better micro-contrast.
For the price, this lens is nice. For Leica M shooters that don’t need a super-fast, lens, this is one of your best affordable options. There is the Leica 75mm f2, but that lens is a totally different price category.
This lens is a great deal and I’ll be adding the rest of the Kipon lenses to my collection.
I’ve been very happy with the IBERIT 75mm and it is currently one of my favorite lenses 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.
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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