Today we’re going to talk about a fully manual lens that I got for the Sony A6400 but works on all Sony E-Mount cameras. This is a 50mm lens from Kamlan, it is a f/1.1 max aperture, which is super wide. To be honest, the reason that I decided to buy this was because I was just looking on Amazon and there was this picture of this lens and I just want to show you this.
Look down the barrel! Super wide. I just had to try it. I wanted to see if a lens that is under $200 was going to perform well at all. Let’s dig in a bit deeper.
I really enjoy manual lenses, like fully manual lenses that don’t have any form of communication with the camera as far as being able to adjust the aperture or use autofocus. It’s just fun. I wouldn’t want to use them in a situation where I’m shooting professionally. I wouldn’t want to use a lens like this if I was trying to get a sharp focus on a moving object, but when I’m shooting things for fun, still life photography, landscapes, whatever, it’s a lot of fun to have a manual lens and sometimes it’s actually even easier because you can set your lens up exactly how you want it and then take consistent photos over and over again without worrying about the auto focus point moving or changing, which affects the look of your images if you’re going for some sort of consistency.
This lens is under $200. I don’t want to quote the price because in the past sometimes the price has changed but I got this lens when I bought it for $169.99, which is pretty cheap considering it goes as wide as f/1.1. Seems to have really nice construction. As I pulled it out of the box, I was pretty impressed with how it felt in the hand. It’s definitely not a plastic-y cheap lens. It definitely feels good. It doesn’t have really any sort of weather sealing on it, which means paired up against your camera there’s really no protection there as far as protecting things from getting in, so you definitely don’t want to get this lens wet or get any drops of water along that edge there.
The lens also has no form of communication with the camera at all, so when it’s connected to your camera, your camera is not going to know that there is a lens attached at all, which means that you’re going to make sure to have the option enabled to be able to shoot photos without a lens attached because the camera just doesn’t know. I think by default the camera comes set up that way but if for some reason you get this lens and put it on there and it does nothing, you’ll definitely want to go in and change that setting.
This lens, like I said, shoots a max aperture of 1.1 and then goes all the way down to an F16. Now I spent a lot of time right when I got this lens shooting wide open at f/1.1 because why the heck not? I mean, that’s why we buy a lens like this is to shoot at that 1.1, but the image is not super sharp across the entire image and you wouldn’t really expect it for a lens that’s under $200. The edges of the photo are definitely softer than the center of the photo and there is definitely a fall off there in sharpness there from the center.
It’s extremely hard to get focus on anything at all when you’re shooting at f/1.1 so I recommend shooting on some sort of a tripod or what not. I use the Manfrotto Pixi tripod that’s really small, easy for me just to take with me. I could just set up the camera and then one of the things that I actually do is enable a two second countdown so that even me pushing the shutter button on the camera and maybe making the camera move even a millimeter, it doesn’t affect the focus that I was able to achieve.
I also set up the camera so that when I am in manual focus mode I can press this button here in the middle and have it do focus magnification. Now typically when a lens is connected to your camera and you have it in manual focus, lens magnification is something that automatically the camera will want to do, but because it doesn’t know that there’s a lens on the camera you’re going to need to go ahead and set it up to do it automatically by pressing the button.
Let me just show you how to do that really quickly. We’re going to go to our second tab here towards the end to custom key and then as you can see here, I set number two to focus magnifier and so when I am shooting or when I’m trying to get my shot framed up … So let me just get it close here, so I’m pointing at the camera that I’m currently recording on now, so we’ll get it close, I’ll go ahead and tap focus magnifier so you could see it gets me in there and then I get those numbers on that lens and then I have to press it a couple more times and then I am focused on that point.
So very challenging because now if I move the camera … I mean, let me just show you. I’m at f/1.1 right now. If I move the camera in or out even a little bit, everything falls out of focus, they’re not super sharp. Like right here they’re sharp, but back it up just a little bit, not sharp. Move it forward just a little bit, not sharp. I’m moving maybe an inch here, moving the camera, so that definitely gives you an idea of just how shallow that depth of field is.
Now why would somebody buy a lens like this? I think that everybody should have a 50mm lens in their bag and you may not find that you would shoot with a 50mm lens that often so you might want to go with something more budget like this. This lens, of course, is fully manual meaning that you’re going to have to adjust your aperture with this ring and adjust your focus with this ring, but that also kind of makes it fun. You really have to think a lot more and so long as you’re not trying to shoot moving objects and stuff like that, it just allows you to just really kind of connect and spend a little bit more time on your camera with your settings and I feel more connected to my camera when I’m adjusting the settings like that rather than being in the menu, in the back end, or using dials on the back end of the camera.
I definitely really enjoy manual lenses when the situation calls for them. It would definitely be frustrating to try and use a manual lens if I was shooting professional or shooting moving objects or something like that. I’d probably miss every shot the majority of the time because the manual focus is just a real challenge, but if you’re shooting still life or you’re out shooting landscapes or something like that, you can most definitely shoot with a manual lens like this and have no problem at all.
The lens itself, I think, is pretty great. It has a 52mm filter thread on the front so if you’re wanting to shoot super open, like near that f/1.1 in the middle of the day, you’re either going to have to increase … You’re going to have to bring that shutter speed to 1/1000th, 1/2000th of a second to limit the amount of light that’s getting into that sensor or you’re going to have to get like a 52mm MD filter to thread onto the front of this lens, which probably would be the option that I would go for as opposed to speeding things up with the camera because speeding things up too much freezes the action. Even the background of the image is super sharp and there isn’t that natural blur in the background. Your image is going to look a little bit different if you just basically speed up the shutter speed a ton to try and limit the amount of light coming through on the camera sensor.
Other than that, I mean, I think this lens is super worth the money because it’s inexpensive, it is a lot of fun to shoot with, and I’m definitely going to be keeping it with me and shooting a lot more with it when I have the opportunity. Now I have a lens that actually goes down to a 0.95 aperture and I used to shoot with that lens all the time because it was just loads of fun, but I stopped carrying it with me because it’s quite a bit larger than this lens, it’s a lot heavier than this lens, and a lens like this is going to be super easy for me just to pack away in the corner of my camera bag and I could pull it out when I want to have a little bit of fun and shoot with something a little bit different.
This lens right here is for the Sony E-Mount. It will work on the A6400, it will work on your A73, it will work on the full frame cameras. There are other lenses like this for Canon, Nikon, and all the others. You could find these lenses on Amazon super cheap. I think they’re a great addition to your camera bag because they’re just loads of fun. Now to talk about image quality, just to touch on that a little bit, at wide open at f/1.1, like I said your images are not going to be the best.
They’re going to be a little soft on the edges, it’s going to be very hard for you to actually get that subject or object or whatever it is in focus because of that shallowness, but if you get to around maybe like an F2 to 2.5, F2.8, right in there, your image tends to look pretty nice all the way across and that’s where most of us would probably be shooting if we want to have anything in that image in focus at all. Of course, being able to go down to that f/1.1 means being able to shoot in real low light situations without stretching that ISO and bringing it up too high, which introduces noise to our photos.
The lens is definitely a lot of fun. I think it’s well worth the money. I’ve got the links down in the description below for you to the lens. I think it’s definitely worth giving a try. I’ve had a lot of fun with it and I’m going to continue to have a lot of fun with it attached to my A6400. Of course, keep in mind the A6400 itself doesn’t have any internal stabilization nor does this lens, but if you took this lens and put it on a camera that does have in body stabilization, it might be kind of tricky for the camera to figure it all out because it can’t communicate with the lens so your results may vary there even if you’re thinking oh well, maybe I’ll put it on my A6500.
But let me know what you think about it down in the comments section below. If you get one, I would love to hear your opinion and your thoughts so make sure to return to the video here and let me know your thoughts down in the comments. If you want to see some more of the photos that I shot with this lens, make sure to follow us on Instagram @DITCH_AUTO on Instagram and definitely comment, let me know that you came from the video because I’d love to see you there.
But that’s going to do it for this review of the Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 E-Mount lens for your Sony cameras. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think down in the comments section below. We’ll see you in the next one. Take care.