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First Glimpse of New Zenit Lenses: Zenitar 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, & 85mm f/1.2

Over the last few years Chinese lens manufacturers like Mitakon and Laowa (ZY Optics and Venus Optics respectively) have held a monopoly—for what it counts—on the niche fast aperture lens market.

They designed new manual focus lenses with modern digital cameras in mind, such as the recent release of the Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 Mark II and the Laowa STF 105mm f/2.

Now the Russians are trying to cash in on the bankability of bokeh lenses. Zenit recently announced that they are going to start introducing a line of digital cameras, and evidently, new lenses to eventually pair with this system.

Photo Rumors has the first look of these lenses from a Russian photographer called Denis Gavrilov, who has also posted more information on the KMZ/Zenit collaborations on his website.

Zenitar 50mm f/1.2

The previous incarnation of this Zenit lens was described as decently sharp, although it only worked on APS-C cameras. This new version is designed to work on full-frame, and has 8 elements in 7 groups. It has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm, and is actually quite heavy, weighing in at around 630g.

See more sample images here.

Zenitar 50mm f/0.95

This is what everyone is interested in right?

Zenit have made this initially for Sony FE mirrorless, which is great since the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 is APS-C only.

It has 9 elements in 8 groups, and 14 aperture blades in two layers.

The price hasn’t been announced yet, but rumours say that when it is released in 2017 it will be available for $500.

Zenitar 85mm f/1.2

So far all we know is that this is meant for full-frame digital cameras, and is planned for release in late 2016 or 2017. Since it’s mounted on a Nikon, we can safely assume that it will also be available for Canon as well.

See more sample images here.

Who are these for?

Of course what any gear whore worth their salt really wants to own is the holy grail of fast lenses—the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH—because let’s be honest, even if you don’t shoot Leica there’s something appealing about that lens (perhaps the allure of the lens is the mythical f-stop number itself, similar to why $.99 seems drastically lower than $1 in the grocery store).

Since Noctilux lenses are basically unaffordable, these f/0.95 lenses allow us to dream a little, alleviating the itch temporarily.

A video of the current APS-C version. The new one will be for full-frame.

As mentioned before, while the Mitakon 35mm is for APS-C, this Zenit will mount on any full-frame Sony mirrorless camera. Note also that the 2014 Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 is already available for Sony FE.

The other two fast primes are a little more commonplace, and while Nikon don’t have a modern 85mm f/1.2 (only a f/1.4, and Canon have the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II), most photographers will likely favour Nikkor glass over Zenitar.