We Review The Thypoch Simera 35mm f/1.4 Lens

We Review The Thypoch Simera 35mm f/1.4 Lens

For the last few weeks, I've been carrying around the new Thypoch Simera 35mm f/1.4 M mount lens. When I test new gear, I try to incorporate it into my everyday carry kit and use it on actual assignments and stories to see how it performs under real-world conditions. Sometimes, a piece of kit that looks great or has fantastic specs underperforms in the field; other times, you get something that exceeds expectations. 

So, where did the Thypoch Simera 35mm f/1.4 M mount lens fall between those two? We’ll get to that shortly.

I cut my teeth in the film era. Even as photographers began abandoning their analog gear in favor of digital, I held on to my film bodies and lenses. Today, I rarely go on an assignment without some type of film camera with me. For the purposes of my testing, I mounted the Simera on my Leica M3, and for comparison, I used an adapter and shot it on my Nikon Z6 II

Side by side with my Z6 for a size comparison.

Out of the box, the lens is sturdy and very well-built. The focusing ring moves smoothly and with just the right amount of resistance to feel like you’re not going to lose focus when adjusting your framing or camera settings. The mount is sturdy, without any wiggle or give between the barrel and the camera. One element I found particularly fascinating was the depth of field scale. The distance is measured in small open vents on the barrel, and as you change your aperture, they shift from white to red to let you know what area will be in focus. This is a handy little tool for quick zone focusing, and I found myself referring to it from time to time while shooting.

Here, you can see the depth of field preview windows on the lens. As you turn the aperture ring, the areas that will be in focus shift from white to red.

The 14-blade aperture allowed for a pleasant, but not oppressive or overwhelming bokeh, and can be adjusted to declick as desired. According to the manufacturer, the “Thypoch Simera 35mm incorporates three high refractive index (HRI) lens elements and one aspherical lens, meticulously correcting curvature of field and spherical aberrations.” During my tests, the glass itself performed very well and provided sharp, contrasty images. The minimum focus was roughly 17 inches — closer than the rangefinder on my M3 allowed for, but not at all an issue on my Z6 II. The glass — nine elements in five groups — featured a number of floating elements similar to several Leica-brand lenses. 

I brought the lens with me to two shoots. The first is part of a larger project I’m working on regarding New Yorkers with a personal stake in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The second was to photograph Columbia University engineering students and an electric car they had built. For both, the lens performed admirably. I will suggest that, when shooting on a mirrorless body and shooting wide open, use both focus assist and zoom in on your screen to double-check your focus. When shot wide open, your focal plane is razor-thin.

In the end, what did I like about the lens? What needs improvement? The only complaint I had was that it sometimes took a little effort to get the lens to lock properly with my M3. It's entirely possibly the spring in the lens release button is a little worn, and with a little work it does catch; but it would be nice if the notch on the bayonet mount was a hair deeper. This is not in any way a significant issue, and I suspect it was more a problem with my camera than the lens. Mounting on an M4 and M6 did not present a similar error.  

Other than that, it’s an impressive, solid and well-engineered bit of glass that’s comfortable and easy to use. I absolutely loved the depth of field preview, and the glass performed well above its weight class. The images were sharp and contrasty, with a pleasant bokeh when shot wide open. I noticed no significant fringing or color aberration, nor did any mechanical issues pop up in the field. While an M3 isn’t always the best Leica to use a 35mm lens with, the two performed well together. From construction to use, I have no real complaints. At $699, it’s more than reasonably priced. Given the attention to detail in this lens' construction and the quality of images produced, I can happily recommend adding it to your everyday shooting kit. 

Thypoch is currently selling this 35mm f/1.4 and a 28mm f/1.4, both in silver and black, and as I understand it, there are some new lenses in the works in the coming year. If the next line of lenses performs as well as this one has, I suspect Thypoch will become a larger player in a growing field of M-mount lens producers.

C.S. Muncy is a news and military photographer based out of New York City and Washington D.C. With a passion for analog and alternative formats, he is rarely seen without a full cup of coffee and is frequently in trouble.

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1 Comment

Thank you for this review. Your photos are excellent. By the way, the cool depth of field scale appears to be lifted from the Kern-Switar 50mm f1.9 lens for Alpa (and perhaps other mounts) from the 60's!