Kowa Prominar MFT 8.5mm f/2.8 - Review / Lens Test Report - Samples & Verdict
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Sample Images & Verdict

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window). Please note that the originals are FULL SIZE samples (=several megabytes) thus requiring a significant amount of bandwidth so please take care of the limited resources here.

Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/125s
Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/400s
Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/1600s
Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/1250s
Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/500s
Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/500s
Make Panasonic
Model DMC-GX7
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length
Aperture: f/
Exposure 1/800s

Verdict

The Kowa Prominar MFT 8.5mm f/2.8 is entering a busy segment of the market. It has some interesting value propositions but the pricing is, unfortunately, very bold. At 900US$ it better has to be excellent. Now while the lens is certainly good, it stays somewhat short of this expectation at least. The center quality is great and the borders are also very sharp at mainstream settings. The extreme corners aren't quite as convincing though. They are downright soft at f/2.8 and it's a good idea to stop down to f/4, better f/5.6 where the results are decent. The vignetting is also higher than usual especially at f/2.8. A downright stellar performance is the lack of distortion - probably the best ever measured quality here and we are talking about the native characteristic and not about a digitally corrected result.

The mechanical qualities are also impressive. It feels like a lens from the good ol' days - in a positive way. The lens body is made of metal and the controls are smooth as silk. As aspect that is probably going to be less popular is the lack of AF and an electronically couple aperture. However, thanks to its unique Dual Link Iris, the aperture ring can be changed to a movie-friendly mode (smooth settings rather than clicks) so this makes some sense at least.

Convincing mainstream MFT users of this lens is probably going to be a bit tough especially at this price point. Movie makers have different priorities regarding the AF and aperture handling though and we could well imagine that the Kowa Prominar MFT 8.5mm f/2.8 will find some friends here.

Optical Quality: 3 Star Rating: Recommended
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
   What does this mean ?