Hands-On Review: KIPON Lenses

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If KIPON IBERIT manual focus lenses seem “deja-vu-ish” to you, it’s probably because they were once marketed under the name HandeVision IBERIT, which was a partnership between German optics manufacturer IB/E Optics and the Chinese Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment company which, as you might have guessed, is based in China.

All KIPON IBERIT lenses feature maximum apertures of f/2.4, 58mm filter threads, solid, all-metal construction, and engraved depth-of-field and focus-distance scales. Plastic rear caps and 58mm metal screw-in front caps are included with each lens.

For this review, I chose the KIPON IBERIT 24mm f/2.4 and KIPON IBERIT 90mm f/2.4 for Sony E-mount cameras.

Photographs © Allan Weitz 2019

KIPON IBERIT 24mm f/2.4 for Sony E-mount cameras

The weight and size of the KIPON IBERIT 24mm f/2.4 balances perfectly when mounted on a Sony A7-series camera. Though it’s built like a proverbial brick, my key gripes with this lens were that the focus ring is too narrow, and though the travel distance from infinity to the lens’s closest focus point (9.84") was a relatively short throw, the ring put up too much resistance, which slowed down my focusing abilities more than I prefer. The aperture ring, which is located toward the front of the lens, while noisy compared to the focus ring, was easier to turn, with clear clicks at full and half-stop intervals. The KIPON 24mm f/2.4 contains 8 elements in 7 groups and features a 6-bladed aperture assembly.

The KIPON IBERIT 24mm f/2.4 displays strong color and contrast levels with minimal optical distortion.
When shooting with wide-angle lenses, strong focus points should serve as visual anchors in the foreground, background, or either side of the frame.

When shooting close up at wide apertures, the 24mm f/2.4 KIPON IBERIT is not the sharpest lens in its class, though it has a visual signature to which one can easily warm up. Once you stop down to smaller apertures, in addition to a notable reduction of chromatic aberration, the resolving power of the lens improves greatly.

The KIPON IBERIT 90mm f/2.4 for Sony E-mount cameras

Construction-wise, the KIPON IBERIT 90mm f/2.4 is comparable to the slightly shorter and lighter 24mm lens we tested. Featuring 4 elements in 4 groups, the 90mm IBERIT features a 10-blade aperture, which better defines the bokeh qualities of the lens compared to the 24mm IBERIT.

Once stopped down to between f/6 and f/11, the 90mm f/2.4 KIPON IBERIT delivery sharp results.
Details of classic cars captured with KIPON IBERIT 90mm f/2.4 for Sony E-mount cameras

KIPON IBERIT lenses strongly resemble Leica’s classic M-mount lenses. Featuring all-metal construction, they’re also as hefty as their German role models. In use, they are undoubtedly Chinese. Though they look and feel Teutonic, the tolerances and design of the components fall short of the very attributes these lenses visually emulate. This isn’t to say they are terrible lenses—they aren’t, but having extensive experience with M-mount lenses from other German, Japanese, and Chinese lens manufacturers, I’ve established a set of standards that I rely on when evaluating the look, feel, finish, and imaging abilities of camera lenses.

Street scene captured with KIPON IBERIT 90mm f/2.4 for Sony E-mount cameras

However, KIPON manual-focus lenses are built far better than your typical kit lens and are capable of capturing photographs you can be proud of without breaking the bank. In addition to Sony E-mount cameras, KIPON lenses are available for Leica L, Leica M, and Fujifilm X-mount cameras.

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