For some time now there has been some kind of cult following on an adapted lens of a French mirrorless forum : the Navitar 75mm F:1.3, a.k.a Navitron. It seems to be an industrial lens made by a former branch of the Olympus corporation (now independant from Oly for a long time), adaptable to hybdrid cams via a C mount ring.
Well first, it’s very sharp even wide open, which is not so easy to find. Of course, the super limited area of sharpness makes it hard to achieve critical focus, but when you do, it really sings.
Second, it gives you, if you’re shooting from a distance, “swirly” bokeh. Meaning out of focus areas that seemt to be part of a twister of sorts (easier seen if pic n°2). If you shoot closer to the Minimum Focusing Distance (which is way too long for comfort, mine anyway…), the swirls decrease and offer much more classic ultra smooth bokeh :
You do get controlled vignetting in all configurations. In short, this lens has tons of character built-in, you won’t spend any time in Snapseed or any other image enhancing program with its files, all the “effects” are already loaded !
Last but not least, it IS ultra fast at 1.3, and since sharpness is alread excellent at this wide aperture, it’s totally usable (and actually begs to be used) there, as long as you can nail critical focus (with Peaking, no sweat).
That particular lens sells for around 350-399 Euros at various French photo boards and selling ads websites. I was lucky to literally grab one about half of that, and I consider myself very, very lucky.
The Navitron works supremely well outside. It does flare a little, but elegantly so, the kid of flare that’s actually welcome and brings something to your images. It can also be put to good use indoor, and its mile long MFD will make sure you’re not invading you’re subjects personal space. It does peak reasonably well, but if light gets dimmer so does the peaking, which can lower your rate of keepers significanlty, should you chose to shoot it wide open (personally I wouldn’t even dream of stopping a fast lens down, if so, what’s the freaking point ?!?. Lol. Tongue in cheek, I know what the point would be. But that’d still defy the fast lens concept for me. So unless forced to do so outdoor by the shutter speed limit, it’s wide-open-at-all-times for me).So what do I NOT like with this lens ? First thing coming to mind is the MFD. I’d say about one meter. Yeah, that bad. Second, while the aperture ring cliks nicely (but quite firmly) in place, the focus ring is not as lose as I’d like it to. It’s definitely smooth and well dampened, but also on the firm side. I like my focusing rings more Rokkor like (which is a synonym for perfect, neither too much nor not enough, *just* right). The focus throw is VERY long (I’d guess slightly over 180°), because at max aperture the plane of focus is SO short, you have to find the perfect spot on that looong course, with a bit of too firm a ring : not an easy task. But that’s little compared to the beauty and magic of which it’s capable…