Today I want to talk a little about this hidden little gem of a lens, the Kipon 75mm f2.4.
A full review coming soon, but since those take forever to build, compile, and process, I wanted to share a little bit about why this lens is unique and why it’s totally worth it.
So the big question is, since there are so many lenses out there for both Sony and Fujifilm, what’s the point of these Kipon lenses? What makes them special? Especially this 75mm f2.4?
The answer is simple, size and weight at an incredible cost. I shoot a lot with the Fujinon 90mm f2 which is hands down amazing – a must-have lens for Fujifilm shooters, but the problem with that lens is it’s kind of big, kind of heavy, and fairly expensive. For street photography or casual shooting, it’s just a little daunting to lug around.
The Kipon 75mm f2.4 is really quite nice for a light travel or street lens. It also performs very well with the full-frame sensor of the Sony A7rIII or as a 110mm on the Fujifilm. The closest thing for Sony is the Zeiss Loxia lens which is three times the price. I know those Loxia lenses are amazing, but personally, I can’t justify spending that kind of money on them when there are so many other incredible lenses out there for significantly less money that are “good enough,” like this one. For Fujifilm, there is nothing else out there like this that matches the quality unless you go retro.
This is why I love the Kipon 75mm f2.4. Very similar lenses to those Loxia lenses, but at a third of the price. The 75mm in particular is very sharp, has very nice bokeh and color, fantastic contrast and micro contrast, and is just really fun to use. It also has that great Ziess 3D pop, which comes from good microcontrast, render depth, and background separation. I know I’m throwing out a lot of lens nerd terms here, but just look at these sample photos and you can see what I’m talking about. Look how the background almost looks cutout from the foreground with an almost 3D look.
In terms of build quality, it’s good but not great. Definitely way better than those other Chinese lenses like 7Artisans, SLR Magic, Meike etc. You can sort of flex the lens around a bit as there is some play in the construction, it’s not bad though. You can also very subtly hear the metal of the aperture blades sliding against each other as you adjust the aperture, which is kind of weird. Maybe my copy didn’t get the right amount of oil.
When shooting on the Sony A7rIII, I actually do something interesting and weird, I mount this 75mm lens with the intent of using it as an APS-C lens in the Super 35mm crop mode, which gives the field of view of about 110mm. Then, if I need wider, I can always switch over to full frame and get the natural 75mm. I know it’s ridiculous to buy a Sony A7rIII and then only shoot super 35mm crop mode, but I really don’t need or want 42MP files when I’m shooting street or casual photography. I’m not going to print huge and I’m tired of constantly running out of hard drive space as I’m already halfway through my 40TB NAS. Landscape photography is a different story of course.
This also seems a little crazy, but the Sony A7rIII with the battery grip is a rock. It gives me some sense of security knowing that if someone decides to mug me, I can beat them over the face with it and ruin their day, as long as they don’t have a gun or machete. I only say that because Los Angeles is getting so sketchy these days, especially when shooting at night. Stoned and drunk homeless people roam the streets like hordes of zombies, especially in Santa Monica, and for some reason, they always love talking to me. I’m this magnet for drugged-out weirdos, so having a camera that can function as a club is a huge plus. 🙂
For Handevsion, the 75mm is my favorite so far and I’m very happy with it as a lens in general. The 35mm is ok, it’s nice because it’s very compact but has a really bad close focus distance, the 50mm is very sharp, but I haven’t been able to test it too much. The 75mm however does everything right.
The Kipon 75mm f2.4 is designed for mirrorless cameras including the Leica M. So if you buy it in Leica mount, you can adapt it to both the Fujifilm X-Mount and the Sony A7rIII perfectly, or even Canon or Nikon when they decide to actually make a mirrorless camera worth buying.
I always recommend manual lenses in Leica M, Nikon or Canon if they are available, unless they have CPU contacts and you want the EXIF information. Some of the Voigtlander lenses for Sony are built with CPU contact for EXIF information. I personally would rather have a lens that works across brands than a lens that tells Lightroom what aperture it was shot at.
Should you get this lens?
Yes! If you want a manual focus lens that’s fairly small and light. It’s awesome, totally worth the price especially when it’s on sale, just give it a good look for any quality control issues since it is made in China. Prices also vary wildly depending on where you look for some reason, but for the best deal try to find it on sale or wait.
These photos were all shot in this awesome tempura restaurant in Fukuoka Japan at f2.4 or f2.8. Processed in Lightroom using VSCO. I think the look was Kodak Gold.