This article is a mini-review of newest affordable ultra-fast manual focus lens, the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 in Fuji X mount.
About a year ago I was contacted by Pergear regarding reviewing their gimbals and studio light modules, but I’m not a video shooting person so can’t highlight much useful in that area. Then, a few weeks back Pergear messaged me regarding their Pergear 35mm f/1.2 manual focusing lens – and I could not resist. I just like compact lenses with large aperture, and enjoy manual focusing, so this is going to be interesting discovery.
I received Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens sample in Fuji X mount shipped directly from the manufacturer. It was not clarified if lens is provided for free, just because I’d order it anyway to try. It’s important to add that like my other articles – this one is just one more personal look at a new lens as a hobby photographer.
Unboxing Pergear 35mm F1.2 lens
The package contained a nice bonus – a mini air blower for dust removal. Pergear also shipped small 43mm metal vented hood, I’m yet to find out if there is a real need to use it with this lens.
The Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens box style reminds me Carl Zeiss white/blue design, it looks nice, though there are no real lens picture or model name on the box, just the production code. However first thing you see when opening box – is a neoprene lens bag. That is a positive surprise to see for the lens that costs about $110. The bag is nicely made, looks durable, and can also fit much larger diameter lens.
The Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens sample was wrapped in a bubble film envelope, and came with generic 43mm front cap and Fuji X mount rear cap. Nothing is to add there, caps look very simple but function properly.
Like with the 7Artisans 35mm f/1.2 (Hamish’s review here) – I didn’t expect 35mm lens with large f/1.2 aperture to be so small. But Pergear engineers did good job to keep the size minimal. It’s just a little larger than 7Artisan’s lens, and feels very comfortable on a compact APS-C mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm X-E2s.
Pergear Lens Design
A few things impressed me even before trying this lens on the camera. Pergear 35mm f/1.2 has minimal focusing distance of only 25cm! That is very close, and something I really appreciate. The focusing ring moves very smoothly without any lag which is good sign to me as it’s important for shallow DOF photography. The focusing grip is a little far from the camera body – it could be easily made to be closer, but is still comfortable to operate.
The aperture ring on the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 is click-less, which is not a surprise. At some point, I’ll take a look if it’s possible to introduce click-stops like I did with 7Artisans 35mm f/1.2. The aperture ring rotates with noticeable effort though, which makes it easier to keep selected value. There are 10 aperture blades that keep shape close to a smooth circle when stopped down. (UPDATE: here’s article on DIY aperture click-stops for Pergear 35mm F1.2 lens)
The Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens has unusually deep filter thread. I might try to embed the filter glass there and see if it will still allow me to mount a second filter on top.
Clearly the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 has very different optical design compared to the 7Artisans 35mm f/1.2. The rear glass element is huge!
An important thing to add regarding the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 focusing ring – it has three bolts. That allows it to precisely calibrate infinity focusing position. My lens sample was focusing at infinity while the focus ring showing 5m distance. So I took small flat screwdriver and calibrated focus in just a few minutes. I like such a maintainable lens design!
It’s quite easy to focus quick on desired subject. There is only 90 degrees to rotate from infinity to 1ft shooting distance. I’m using focus zoom assist in Fujifilm X-E2s electronic viewfinder to make focus precise as well.
Optical performance of Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens
It’s my first Pergear lens. So I tested the optical alignment on a Siemens Star chart to make sure I received sample with properly calibrated optics. There are no obvious optical shifts in this Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens sample.
I then proceeded to take a few random images at home followed by a few whilst out on a photo walk. All pictures below are taken at f/1.2 aperture.
There is a nice color reproduction and level of detail wide open at f/1.2. It immediately feels that Pergear 35mm f/1.2 optics are noticeably advanced compared to the 7Artisans 35mm f/1.2. Details in image borders look much more clean.
Regarding optical distortions – the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 has noticeable barrel distortion, which you may want to correct in post processing.
And now few close up pictures in low light conditions (no tripod used), also at f/1.2
I like how smooth the out of focus looks in the background. Clearly the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 should render very good portrait pictures or any other object-isolation compositions. The foreground blur is less attractive though, but generally looks fine to my personal taste.
Finally, here are a few images taken with Pergear 35mm F1.2 lens and Fujifilm X-E2s camera. It was relaxing photo walk at Gold Creek Pond, Washington.
At some point soon, I will test how the Pergear 35mm f/1.2 performs compared to some of its closest competitors that I already also own: 7Artisans 35mm f/1.2, Voigltander 35mm f/2 Ultron and Risespray 35mm f/0.95. I will also look to highlight more details about it’s optical qualities as well as detailing disassembly process steps within an continued flow of this review on my website here: Pergear 35mm f/1.2 lens – extended review