Yes, it’s made in china. Yes, it’s made very cheaply. Yes, there are some quirks to the camera. But for $20 it’s hard to beat.

I got this in the mail today for the rangefinder project and had a couple of minutes to test this thing out. So now I’m gonna do a quick run through of this little lens. Everything here is shot at f/1.7 since it’s night time and I don’t have enough light in my room.

We’ve had this multimeter for over 20 years and we still haven’t changed it’s battery. wth.

Advertisement

I’ve always heard people mentioning that C-mount lenses on mirrorless cameras are worth a try. They say it might be some vignetting becauses the lenses are made for a 2/3” sensor, but as they say, “it adds to the style”. Well, I’m on a budget to build my own camera, so the lens might have to be the first thing to sacrifice. At $20 off ebay with free shipping, there isn’t really a better choice.

This particular lens is the Fujian 35mm f/1.7. From what I know, it’s the most common (and cheapest) of the C-mount bunch, with her sibling, the Fujian 25mm f/1.7 coming close behind. I’ve chosen the 35mm f/1.7 since it suits my needs the best. I use a micro four thirds camera as a daily driver (if you can even daily drive photography), so that gives me a 35mm equivalent of 70mm, making it an ultra-compact large aperture portrait lens. The 25mm f/1.7 also works well as 50mm on M4/3, but there’s some vignetting problems and I already have the 20mm Panny Pancake - so it’ll be kind of pointless.

However, the ultimate goal of this is to take advantage of the compact size and add the rangefinder linkage to the lens to connect it up to a modified NEX body. Since the NEX has an APS-C sensor, it’ll have an equivalent focal distance of 50mm, making it the perfect walk around shooter.

Now onto the lens itself...

Design - 9/10

This is a very small lens in a very ordinary package. It’s probably the blandest thing you’ll ever see, so you won’t ever shine out from the crowd. The placement of the rings are exactly where I expected and the silky smoothness of it makes oil feel like sandpaper. There’s an unscrewable lens hood type thingy up front to attach filters, which is nice. The aperture ring is clickless, so yeah, filmmakers rejoice.

Construction - not bad/10

This isn’t going to be you Leica build quality, but it’s pretty solid for a Chinese made lens. Given that it’s made for CCTVs, it can take a bit of a thrashing. There are some niggles though, like how the rubber grip for the focus and aperture can shift a few millimeters up and down. It’s the result of a super large tolerance rather than shoddy build quality, so I’ll let that pass. The whole unit is made of metal (including the mount), so that’s already better than 50% of interchangeable lenses from all major camera manufacturers.

Optics - quirky/10

You don’t use this lens for it’s sharpness, but to make up for it this lens does have some pleasing bokeh and nice colors. It’s a good thing to note that the center of the lens is not in the same focusing plane as the outer edges, creating an interesting focus dropoff.

Electronics - 299,792,458 m/s /10

There is nothing controlled by a computer. You and your nervous system make up the whole auto-focusing system. You can work as fast as you want. And as slow as you want.

Overall - 9/10

This isn’t a total beast, but for $20, it’s worth adding it to your collection for some interesting shots and portability.

Now all I need to do is take this thing outside!

(All shots are unedited jpegs straight from the camera. If the shot has the lens in it, it was taken on the Panny Pancake. Otherwise, it comes straight from the Fujian.)