I spent way more time in the forests in 2020 than ever before, thanks to the absence of other outdoor activities one can easily pursue (especially travel). Mind you, I have never been much of a forest photographer, I was (probably still am) more interested in fine art dramatic landscapes or blue hour cityscapes. But between sitting at home and complaining or trying to adjust and make the best of it I chose the latter, so here we are.
Surely you have heard of the MS-Optics lenses already, just lately there was a nice article on the 50mm f/1.1 Sonnetar published here. The 24mm f/2.0 is the second MS-Optics lens I personally bought, the first one being the MS-Optics 135mm f/2.4 Aporis.
Quirky is probably one of the nicer ways to describe the MS-Optics lenses. Many may rather go for overpriced and lacking in terms of optical performance, but here is not the place to discuss this.
Despite their flaws these lenses usually are unique, often in the way that they are very compact for their specifications, and this is clearly the case here, as this 24mm 2.0 only weighs 45g and has the size of a Leica M body cap (the 24mm 2.0 has a slightly smaller diameter, actually).
Now pancake lenses have always been lenses with lots of compromises. And this one is no exception: unusual handling, high field curvature, high vignetting, noticeable coma at wider apertures. The good news: astigmatism is well corrected even at f/2.0, so if you focus at the center or somewhere close to the rule of thirds intersections it is sharp enough at focus point.
At wider apertures you will also encounter some glow around point light sources. Some like it, most that are only used to modern first party lenses will be irritated by it at the very least.
Stopped down the lens is more capable than I would have expected. On an M10 field curvature is tamed around f/8 to f/11 and even the corners are not smeared but show a decent amount of details. If the light conditions allow: set the aperture ring to f/11 and the focus ring to the hard-stop, be done.
The lens does need some love in post though, at least when shooting color. Like the older Voigtlander ultra wide angle lenses and some of Leica’s own lenses there is nasty asymmterical color cast which has to be corrected in pictures like the one above.
The MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia is a low volume boutique lens. If you only rate it by some infinity sharpness chart it will appear as tremendously bad value. If you try to find an alternative – offering the same specs at the same size – you will end up being disappointed very fast, due to the lack of any alternatives.
I always think: if there is exactly one lens – out of thousands of lenses available to us these days – meeting your specific criteria, is it really too expensive?