09th May 2021, Singapore – Many of you would have made a joke on Kamlan’s brand name since it translate into a swear word in the Hokkien dialect that was widely used by Chinese in the south east asia. On the contrary, the word Kamlan actually translate into “金蘭” which means “Golden Orchid”. Amazed? Let’s get to the review. Since I have been reviewing a few Chinese Brand lenses for the last 2 reviews (Meike & Laowa), I have since received mixed reactions from our readers. Some are very curious and some are just simply unconvinced.
All review images posted on our articles are not resized and posted as 100%, all you need to do is – double click on any of the review images, select 100% view or simply use an EXIF Checker. I fully understand why the scrutiny because I was once skeptical like this group of photographers who are anti-Chinese lenses. We will continue to maintain our stand with what we want to do and share with our readers what we discovered while testing out the Chinese lenses.
Back to Kamlan, one of our FB Group Trainer – Uncle Koh Lye Huat – recently read my reviews and offered to loan me his Kamlan 28mm F1.4 as well as the Zhonyi Mitakon 20mm Super Macro. I happily accepted his offer and I decided to review the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 on the very same day he passed me.
The first thing that struck me was – the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 was super compact yet weighty. Weighing at 348gm, at size of 66mm x 58mm (without hood), so the weight to size ratio puts the Kamlan 28mm on the heavier scale.
Small & compact, and made from almost 100% metal (except the lenses of course stupid), the lens does feels very solid and ready to take on harsh uses. Designed as a manual lens (like most Chinese lenses), the Kamlan does have some niceties up its sleeves. To start, it is definitely one of the cheaper standard wide angle prime lenses with a F1.4 aperture out there. The next thing that I noticed was, most 28mm lenses out there has a “pop-up” front element while the Kamlan 28mm’s front element spotted a caved-in design.
Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 8 elements in 7 groups – including 6 High Refractive Index Elements, and the lens starts focusing from as close as 25cm (minimum focusing distance). The lens focuses from F1.4 to F16 via its 11 (circular) iris blade aperture that produces very nice bokeh. The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 takes takes 52mm filters at the front and it comes with a slightly larger dedicated lens hood.
And interestingly, the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 comes with its own branded lens cap that comes in Graphite Grey color!
The Kamlan 28mm also spotted a Yellow ring line (Meike has Red, Laowa as Blue) on the lens barrel. It is available in Fuji X mount, Sony E mount, Canon M mount and Micro Four Third Mounts (Olympus/Lumix).
So how did the lens performed? I received the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 from Uncle Koh right before the start of a mini group outing. The theme of the day was to take a walk through Geylang Serai and capture whatever that is left of the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations (due to covid restrictions). Let’s check out the images!
At 28mm, effectively I am getting 42mm due to the crop factor of my Fujifilm camera. It is an excellent range for shooting on the streets, tight enough for most applications and wide enough to cover everything else.
Even at a wider angle, portraits are good enough to cover the person as well as the surroundings. The bokeh are evidently good too in this example where I shot my good friend Ara.
It was a rainy afternoon, I am glad I am out shooting as the wet weather allows me to shoot a little differently from my usual style and also to try to take advantage of the wet grounds etc.
The Kamlan feels rather weighty on my camera body, but somehow it just feels right for the balance between the body & the lens giving it a 40:60 weight ratio.
Strangely, I feel that the Kamlan 28mm was much easier to use (manual focusing) with the camera’s focus peaking as compared to the previously reviewed Laowa or even Meike. The focusing ring was super smooth and nice to the feel. Likewise the aperture ring is super smooth too. At 42mm, I took the above shot from one of the tall flats behind Joo Chiat Complex and spotting a setting sun shrouded by clouds.
I like how the lens easily captured the different scenes that I was doing and it certainly did well. Although in terms of details it is just slightly above average in my view, the colors rendered are pretty good on my little Fujifilm.
As the night approached, the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 turned into a real monster. I was shooting between F2 to F2.8 and the light bokeh are sweet, round and beautiful – most likely due to the rounded aperture blades.
At wide apertures, the focused area are very sharp and detailed, this is amazing for a
The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is certainly a great lens to have. Given its low asking price, solid build and F1.4 aperture, there is certainly nothing to hate about the Kamlan 28mm. The (very) useable focal length allows users to do a wide variety of genres and the easy-to-focus claims that are all over the internet is true, this little prime lens is a street monster. In the dark of the night, the caved-in front elements + the hood had cut many possible flares and stray lights which I personally think this is really well thought of.
If you are looking a fast prime lens at a budget, trust me, get the Kamlan 28mm F1.4.
Buying this Lens
If you are curious about the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 and needed a good prime lens for street use, then you should consider buying this lens from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!
Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first.)
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building, (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.