Kickstarter: Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Standard Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kamlan/kamlan-28mm-f-14-standard-mirrorless-prime-lens?ref=478061&token=28710d49

“Recreate what your eyes see. Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Prime Lens delivers superior optical quality along with super low chromatic aberration…

… Normal lenses are valued because they provide a natural angle of view that is similar to what the human eye sees. The images they produce are very relatable and engaging because they feel like scenes people have seen. The focal length is extremely versatile for a wide range of applications – from landscapes to portraits to street photography. In recent years, many people have thought of the 50mm focal length (on full frame) as“normal”, but in times past a normal lens was actually closer to 40mm. The Kamlan 28mm f/1.4 offers a great “normal” focal length and a large maximum aperture at a bargain price…. “

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Machang Optics’ KamLan 28mm f/1.4 APS-C Standard Prime lens available in Canon EOS-M mount, Fujifilm X-mount, M43-mount and Sony E-mount.

Commentary

A new Chinese maker of affordable premium-quality manual-focus lenses has entered the scene with Shenzhen-based Machang Optical Co.’s KamLan brand launching a Kickstarter campaign for its Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Standard Prime for mirrorless cameras in the APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensor formats in Canon’s EOS-M mount, Fujifilm’s X-mount, M43-mount and Sony’s E-mount.

Until independent makers of affordable optics such as 7 Artisans, Cosina’s Voigtlaender brand, DZ Optics’ Kerlee brand, HandeVision’s Ibelux brand, Irix, Kowa’s Prominar range, LomographyMeyer Optik Görlitz, RokinonSigma, SLR MagicVenus Optics’s Laowa brand, VeydraYongnuo, Zhong Yi Optic’s Mitakon brand and Zonlai started becoming better known outside their home countries, with some releasing dedicated premium APS-C manual-focussing lenses, the APS-C format had received little to no lens maker love compared to the 35mm sensor format aka “full frame” or “full format”.

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The benchmark for perfect normal. Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f/2.0 M-mount lens for the famous, much-coveted Minolta CLE 35mm analog rangefinder camera, successor to the Leica CL. Image by SuperB Japan Camera.

I am interested in Kamlan’s 28mm f/1.4 APS-C offering due to its equivalence to 40mm in the 35mm sensor format, often described as the “perfect normal” or “perfect standard” focal length.

The desire for non-35mm-sensor-format “perfect normal” lenses has most often been met with slower pancake-style lenses such as Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 in APS-C and Panasonic’s Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric in M43.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 and Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II pancake lenses, equivalent to 40mm

Both lenses appear to be intended for compact camera users relying on autofocus as they lack manual focus rings and their size makes them unsuited for attaching the step-up rings and 77mm or 82mm fixed or variable neutral density filters required for professional video production.

Until the KamLan 28mm f/1.4 APS-C Standard prime, small size seems to have been a common theme with 40mm equivalent lenses starting off with the legendary though short-lived Leica Summicron-C 40mm f/2.0 released for the Leica CL compact 35mm analog camera.

Minolta later released its own version, the  Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f/2.0, to go with the Minolta CLE camera which carried on and evolved well beyond the Leica CL’s achievements.

leica_cwsonderoptic_m0.8_set_5_01_1024px_60pc
Matched sets of manual focus lenses are a boon for documentary photography and video. Illustrated: the first four lenses from the Leica M 0.8 cinema lens set by Leica Camera sister company CW Sonderoptic, in the 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, all with 77mm filter diameters.

Machang Optics’ KamLan APS-C lens range appears to be taking a very different approach, one more suited for precise manual focussing and thus video production, with a range of current and coming wide aperture manual-focus prime lenses including the 15mm f/1.8, 21mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.4, 32mm f/1.3 and 50mm f/1.1 Mark 2.

If they prove to be well-matched in terms of colour and optical correction the KamLan lenses may well make for a good set of video lenses for Fujifilm camera users.

APS-C new product roadmap 2018 for KamLan brand manual prime lenses.

In their 35mm sensor equivalents, these lenses will be 22.5mm, 31.5mm, 42mm, 48mm and 75mm, a fine set of focal lengths suitable for feature and high-end documentary cinematography.

When Fujifilm made it clear they were about to take video seriously, I wondered if they would be upgrading their current offerings for video capability and adding new focal lengths to fill in the focal length gaps.

If that does not happen, then Machang Optics’ KamLan APS-C lens range may provide a great alternative.

Will the folks at Machang Optical Co. be issuing a boxed set, as it were, of these five lenses in future?

Will Machang Optical Co. be offering a ciné version of all these lenses, with clickless aperture ring, geared for use with follow-focus devices and with 77mm or preferably 82mm step-up rings attached for use with fixed or variable neutral density filters?

Will they come out with a 10.5mm lens so that Micro Four Thirds users can have a six-lens set that includes a 21mm equivalent, an essential super-wide establishing-shot focal length, and so APS-C users can have a 15.75mm equivalent lens?

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The ever-popular Voigtlaender Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical lens for Sony E-Mount cameras.

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