Handevision is a joint venture between German lens manufacturer IB/E Optics GmbH and the Chinese Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment Co. who also produces high-end adapters under the trademark Kipon. Today Handevision is making some interesting full frame manual lenses for mirrorless and Leica cameras, including the fastest lens ever made the 40mm f0.85 (a gimmick . . . yes), but are these lenses any good?
Here is a quick overview from a few weeks of using several of their lenses.
Handevision Lens Review
Are the Handevision lenses good, or do they suck? Jury is still out . . . kind of. I’ve been shooting with Handevision a lot these last few weeks, beating them up, abusing them and they are holding up nicely. Image quality, color, contrast and distortion are all fantastic and the physical design make the lenses very fun to use. These lenses are small and light with an all metal construction. But are they good? Yes and no.
Here is why.
In terms of build design you can definitely see and feel the German precision and care. However when taking a close look at the lens construction and quality control, they scream Chinese sweat shop, which is very unfortunate. Of my three lenses, two had flaws. Maybe, I’m unlucky, but quality control should have caught two of these.
None of the lenses had dust, however, my 35mm f2.4 had tooling marks inside. It didn’t affect image quality and the lens was optically balanced, so I kept it. However, if this was the only lens I bought, I would return it as this is unacceptable. Last month I bought something like 7 Chinese lenses and had to exchange three. This would have been four and I could have returned returned my 7Artisans 25mm as it started coming apart after only a few weeks. So five out of seven of my Chinese lenses had issues.
My 50mm lens had oil on the aperture blades and a lot of what looked like imperfect flaking on the inner barrel that was ready to come lose. The 50mm also had a noticeably decentered element, so I sent that back for an exchange.
The 75mm lens was perfect and is perfect!
In terms of optical design. These lenses are beautiful. Very nice micro-contrast, very sharp and they just drip with character. I actually really like them, especially on the Fujifilm cameras and especially the 75mm f2.4.
Handevision 75mm f2.4
Of the three lenses the 75mm is the best buy. It’s nothing but great. If there are any sales grab one but be sure just give it a good check for any quality control issues. The contrast and sharpness of the 75mm is fantastic and it’s a winner for Fujifilm shooters considering there is nothing in this range at this price that is also this small and light.
Handevision 35mm f2.4
The 35mm f2.4 is a lot of fun and also has really nice color and contrast. The issue with this lens is the minimum focus distance is somewhere around 3-4 feet making the lens really hard to use casually with friends and family. For example, you can’t just take a picture of someone sitting across the dinner table from you.
For street and landscape it’s fine, but I donno, that minimum focus distance might be a deal breaker for a lot of people.
Handevision 50mm f2.4
The 50mm I haven’t really used much since that’s the lens I chose to send in for a replacement, I’ll have a new one soon.
Handevision Lenses | Bottom Line
I’m still testing my three Handevision lenses so it will be awhile before I can report on durability, but so far I’m really liking them. They are great lenses for street photography and for photographers looking for good microcontrast manual lenses for black and white photography.
If you can pick one up used, I would say go for it, as long as there are no flaws. For whatever reason, Chinese quality control just sucks and you’ll need to be careful when buying these new since they are somewhat expensive.
If you decide to buy one, just check the insides really well with your smart phone flashlight, some dust is fine and normal even for Japanese made lenses, but return it if there is any issues with the optics or scars from poor craftsmanship like with my 35mm.
Full Handevision Reviews Coming
I’ll have full and in-depth review and comparison on each of these lenses, but that’s a lot of work and I’ll have to slowly trickle those out. You can subscribe to my push notifications and I’ll send those out when they are ready. In the mean time, here are some sample photos taken on the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and the Sony A7r III.
Handevision Sample Images
For the look of these images, I’m mostly using my own custom black and white looks, or Classic Chrome with Fujifilm. For the Sony shots I’m also using simulated Classic Chrome that I custom built.
You can find full rez shots on my smugmug.