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Lens review

SainSonic Kamlan 50 mm f/1.1

15 October 2018
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary

Pros:

  • sensible build quality of the barrel,
  • good image quality in the frame centre,
  • moderate lateral chromatic aberration,
  • slight distortion,
  • nice appearance of out-of-focus areas,
  • affordable price.

Cons:

  • very weak image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • some spherical aberration problems,
  • huge coma,
  • distinct vignetting,
  • weak performance against bright light,
  • some casualness when it comes to aperture markings.
Ok., own up: who was taken in enough to believe that a lens with just 5 elements, an aperture as fast as f/1.1, and costing just $180 will produce excellent images? Realists, who don’t believe in miracles, cannot be surprised by results presented in previous chapters and they won’t be disappointed. I count myself among them so the summary is going to be positive.

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Do you remember our tests of the Mitakon Speedmaster 50 mm f/0.95 and the Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G? Their results proved that you dealt with two expensive devices producing photos of low resolution. Many commentators emphasized the fact that these lenses were simply designed that way but personally I feel it is a poor excuse for the incompetence of designers. You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to get blurry areas in your photos along with other optics flaws (like ghosting or flares) and use them in a creative way. The tested Kamlan showed that much. It doesn’t pretend or dress up as something it is not. It is a simple, cheap device for people who want to play with photography and get results impossible to achieve with slower lenses. It is a lens for people who don’t want to ruin themselves for instruments with similar parameters but more optically complex and better corrected in many aspects. Full stop!