I have approached Jack from Jackar Lens for a chance to review and hands on with Jackar Lens Snapshooter 34mm f1.8 lately, to be surprise he send this review sample for me, this is my first time to write up a review for camera lens. Most of the review will be written up based on my perspective and shooting style.
Who is Jackar Lens?
Jackar Lens is a new comer in camera optical lens industry, since they released the 34mm f1.8, I have already itchy to test them
I personally think this can be a good lens for every budget shooters.
Olympus and Panasonic do offer some of the very best optical lens, but all wonít come without a hefty price tag. Being cheap and offer a fairly large aperture, is what we m43 users are searching for a long time, and this is PRIME LENS!
My background and my review
I named myself ĎHardcore Olympus usersí, knowing Olympus since I am still a child and use Olympus until now, I have also owned Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Fujifilm and Panasonic before, I am not biased other brand, but Olympus is the one of the brand that I am comfortable at.
I have use manual lens more than I can remembered, I am not a professional photographer. I am just a man with a camera, and take photographs happily. My review will 100 percent rely on my experience and shooting style, the most honest opinion from me, there is no right or wrong, but everyone;s shooting style are simply differ from each other.
Focal Length : 34mm
Max Aperture : f1.8
Weight : 145g
Size : 48 x 53mm
Filter Size : 37mm
Mount Available : m43 and NEX
Outlook and Operation
Jackar Lens 34mm (Will be naming 34mm in this entry) is a small and little lens, has a silver colour body and very light in weight, with just 145g. Although not as versatile/light/small as a pancake lens, I just keep surprise how light and small it is.
This is a manual lens (Manual focus only), so donít expect any motor or weird sound while focusing, this is good especially when you are shooting video. Being a manual lens means that you will not have any exif data, autofocus feature, control aperture through camera and information exchange between camera and lens.
Jackar 34mm is a beautiful and nicely built lens but sadly I do think that it has some of the most unforgiveable weakness. Focus barrel is smaller than aperture barrel which is not convenience at all, in crucial moment, you might canít get shots because of the inconvenience (Hand will naturally on the aperture barrel while want to do focusing). Besides, focusing barrel is sadly a little bit too tough and hard to turn, through time this might get better and smoother though, I have tested quite a number of manual lens before and I have to say that manual focus feeling of Jackar 34mm is not in the game.
All of the weakness I mentioned here can be overcome through time, after I spent time with Jackar 34mm I managed to get used to these issues.
Who this lens is aiming for?
This is unquestionable a budget lens, with just 190USD you can get plenty of accessories and it is brand NEW! If one need a lens that can do fast focusing or adjustment quickly, one will not appreciate Jackar 34mm. This is lens for those:
1) Seeking for cheapest solution to own a new lens.
2) Need a fast prime lens.
3) Need a small and light lens.
4) Want to try manual focus lens.
Although manual focus is not a big problem for me, I donít make photography for living, my shooting style allowed me to shoot slowly. Anyway, I did take out of focus shots along the review session, and not by little.
Those who demand every shots to be precise, I doubt it would be great to go with Jackar 34mm. Especially when you are using camera such as Olympus EP2 that has subpar screen.
Now let Pictures talk
Generally this lens is not sharp when shoot wide open. I will post up 44 pictures that I have took this few days, and if you would like to see more, you can browse through my facebook album (Full Resolution), pictures here have been resized to 1600 x 1200.
Pictures are all straight out of camera without editing, except those you see duplicate, I have apply some 'auto contrast' purposely, just to show that although Jackar 34mm is a bit low contrast,with an easy adjustment can bring some life to image.
Shoot at f1.8 wide open will not give you sharp image but when stopped down to f4, I do think the image quality is more than acceptable especially consider the price.
Most of the time we rushed ourselves for taking a photograph quickly, we have forgot to enjoy the moment, enjoy our hobby. After all, shoot happily is the most important factor isn't it?
Shooting with a manual lens allowed you to think before pressing the shutter. Compose your picture slowly and think, without 'crop' or 'edit' in mindset, think before shoot.
Image quality wise is a little bit mixed bag, you won't be getting any sharp image until you stop down, also focus plane is little bit weird, I will also prefer that if minimum focus distance can be shorter. I can also complain the low contrast image and even with lens hood attached, flare is still very apparent. I probably can complain more but all of the weaknesses can't stop me enjoy this lens to be frank.
Jackar 34mm is not a perfect lens, but it offer some good choice for photographer with tight budget, and demand some lens to work in low light situation.