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  • Writer's picturemilo segundie kpims

CHROMA CAMERA 24mm F11 LENS, beyond pancake yet just as delicious as a short stack from IHOP!

Metals' heavy claw, jaw dropped on the hardened street along with the damp light of mid-day, draped the neighborhood in some kind of renewal. Steeped in the hopes of winter's end, the gray-green of life began, yet again to show itself here and there in patches of thinning white. I sat perched beside a small folding table watching a show, it might have been Seinfeld; It usually is. This being, resting, mental perking, dusted with moments of comedic jubilation lasted and went on; when I picked up my phone and noticed that I had received a long-awaited email. ‘Your package should be arriving soon’!!

I was in my floral rocker when the subtle sound of concrete crunching beneath the postal workers' boots, caught my ear; a leading line of sound right to the squeak and drop of the mailboxes front. I sat, calves tense, waiting to spring up and go grab what I assumed would be a tiny package. I got out there and saw the box sitting atop a piece of wicker furniture, I grabbed it, tripped down the few steps to retrieve the paper mail, and back up to close the door behind me. I tore that box open so fast that the little folded cardboard case almost popped out at me. Since writing this, Chroma has produced another case for the lens which looks a bit more secure. The lens isn’t packaged in any sort of foam or safety material inside the main case, but it is wrapped in bubble wrap and sits tightly in the bigger (small) box it’s mailed in; so look out. As I slid the lens carefully into my palm the first thing I noticed was how nicely it is machined, the edges aren’t rounded, and they are a bit sharp feeling, but nothing dangerous. The lens sits flush and snugs against my Canon P and oh is it nice. Cosmetically, and aesthetically the only thing I would say would benefit this lens would be a smaller font. I know, petty, but the lens itself is so unassuming, flat and the elements are so small, to have font around the whole of the thing that is calling attention in its stark white finish just kind of yanks the eye around and away from the main aspect… lovely small it is.

This is not too important, but it came to mind moments after plopping it into my hand. It weighs almost nothing, without feeling cheap. Mine has a dash of sharpie on the shined metal around the front element, whether this is a mark to disguise a knick in the finish or what…? I do not know. There is pencil writing, labeling the lens, and numbering the lens, which could be initials and the production number. Yeah, I guess for a lens so small and insignificant, something made to just point and shoot and not get in the way, all the text on the front would have to be the busiest thing. I think it mostly pops out since the lens is solid in its simplicity and doesn’t wear any other marks or choices. There are no apertures to choose from, just a fixed f11, no lines marking distance, and no dots of red, yellow, or white. All that being left out because they are not needed and then having all these front marks, just popped out at me. Ok, none of that is very important and isn’t going to tell you much about the lens's performance, I apologize, I just had to say something because now is the time. This lens is very nice to screw onto any LTM/L39/M39 camera body or adapter and go and shoot. Very much out of your way, so much so it is almost out of the way of the camera as well. It is cool looking at other articles from before production and seeing the prototype and how nice and small that looked and then seeing the finished product on my camera. It is even smaller, sleeker, and lovely than the first iteration others were reviewing at the time. Steve Lloyd, Jason Lane, and Max Affleck have delivered something special to the camera enthusiast. This lens may not be for every photographer, but it definitely can deliver and I must say I was pretty shocked upon developing and looking over the negatives, even before scanning. The center is quite sharp, and the field of view is very fine indeed, feeling somewhat cinematic. I have only tested this lens with black and white film, so I cannot speak of chromatic aberration, which it states this lens does not cause, but I did see quite a bit of barrel distortion, an unintentional lean in the subject, along with a sort of pulling within the already soft edges of the frame. A larger part of me liked this, feeling it added something to the composition and the feel overall, but it is worth noting that this could affect your image in a major way if you are not careful. I am assuming that all the lenses are on par with one another in their quality, so I don’t want to say that it is just my lens, but perhaps it is just mine and other lenses that have gone out have been affected much less so by this. That would be the better outcome in the long run, if I had just received a “lemon”. I don’t mind this at all, I just think I have to mention it for the greater good of the review.

Here are some examples of images side by side with a cropped portion that has been afflicted with distortion.

As you can see, this lens tends to lend a similar look to the image that toy cameras also produce. The heavy softening and dreamy pull that you get from Dianas, Holgas, and many others. The front of the shed here in this image was about 15-20 feet away, yet it still leans away from the center to bend at the edge.

Chroma Double glass on my Canon P.

On the Chroma Camera website, it currently states that it has, “zero distortion” whereas in an article by Kosmofoto it is stated as having “minimal distortion”.

Here is a Snippet from the Chroma Camera site about the Double Glass lens.

Here is an article quoting the Kosmofoto statement.

Now, these are two different things and I am not trying to call Chroma out for something as non-consequential as this, but it is worth them noting perhaps and changing that portion of text, just until they reach the point where that is an absolute.

There are a few other pre-sale reviews of this lens that are good reads, that are honest, and exciting:

And another I like can be found here:

These are great articles where you also get to see the lens in its test stage, the barrel and thread mount look rubberized, and it looks a little bit chunkier than the final product. It truly is a wonderful little lens for those of us who want to have the ease, the grace, the possibility to go out with your LTM rangefinder or any camera for that matter that can utilize this puppy and not have to think about a single damned thing, just snap and go. That is my favorite part of this lens, it turns my Canon P into a point-and-shoot without needing batteries, and all the while I have the nice familiar feel of that camera in my hand.

This was the brightest moment on my walk.

I can attach flash and make it even more of a point-and-shoot experience, and I will, but I haven’t yet. This lens is a luxury and the moment I saw that it was being made I knew I would be getting it. I know after all those little things I mentioned that calling it luxury is pretty weird, but it is, it's special, it feels special, it produces special images and it is well worth the time and money. All the images I am posting here were taken on a cloudy day with a (uv) filter on just for protection. I shot at 1/125th and 1/60th of a second throughout the walk and shot without an external viewfinder.

I have more recently attached a Yellow filter to it and went out, but have not yet finished that roll. These shots have pretty darn good contrast without me having to bump it or pull it back at all. The coatings on this lens are great and even in pretty low light produce solid well-balanced photos. When the sun comes out and I get to shoot in the general direction of it without cloud cover, I am curious how it will perform. In the 35MMC article, you can see a photo taken toward the sun, and there is a bit of flare. I am excited to see what can come of this, and how to use it and avoid it, haha.

The comments on the Petapixel article are hilarious and slightly true. There are mentions of toy cams and the “affordability” of this lens, the quality of the images being below that of other Chinese-made lenses that are cheaper, yet I am not bummed one bit about purchasing it. It isn’t the cheapest and I very well could’ve held off, but it does give me more options with one little camera that I love to use, so that makes it fun. This lens is a great jumping-off point for a company like Chroma Camera in their lens production. They are already working in many ways to produce fun and accessible items, some being a little more niche than others, but the more this company produces and gets feedback and finds its groove and more relationships with creators, the better the gear produced will be. It is just the act of making and keeping up with ideas and growth, experimenting, and failing that gives way to greater outcomes.

I am happy to get to use this lens and I will try to swoop up whatever lens Chroma Camera produces next! Today as I wrap up this article, I see the fog aglow beyond our pink curtains. It feels appropriate, it is lovely how it is, and after my morning coffee, I just my go out into it, softly and breathe; lucky to be alive, lucky to have options, and lucky to witness life through many different lenses. If you have this lens and have tested it out, love it or hate it, please comment down below, I am so curious about what you have to say.

Thanks for reading.

Also, I guess I lied, here is the one picture I took with flash semi-accidentally. Office photo, blur fest.

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