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Meike 28mm f/2.8 Lens Review

John Riley reviews this compact Meike 28mm f/2.8 lens for mirrorless APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras.


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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Meike 28mm F2,8 Front Oblique View

Meike is one of the new breeds of independent lens manufacturers, providing low cost, innovative designs, unusual specifications and rapidly finding a niche for themselves. This new 28mm f/2.8 is available for APS-C and MFT mirrorless cameras, providing a “35mm format equivalent” of 42mm and 56mm respectively. That is, a wide standard or long standard lens depending upon format. Tested here on the Panasonic Lumix G6 body, let's have a closer look at what this new lens has to offer.

Meike 28mm f/2.8 Handling and Features

Meike 28mm F2,8 Vertical View

The lens comes nicely packaged in a glossy, printed box, and also includes a soft pouch and a cleaning cloth. It is very tiny, weighing in at a minuscule 102g. The version reviewed is for MFT cameras and it makes a very compact piece of kit when fitted to the Panasonic Lumix G6. This could easily fit into a large jacket pocket and could be a useful combination for street photographers.

The lens provided for review is the MFT version, giving a 56mm “35mm format equivalent”, or a long standard lens. This may suit some photographers, as there is a precedent for long standard lenses, usually 58mm, going back to the early days of the SLR. Various APS-C mounts are offered, including Sony E, Canon, Nikon 1, Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Fuji X. In this case, the equivalent focal length is around 42mm, a wide standard. This falls more exactly into the concept of the pancake lens, typified by the 1980s Pentax ME Super with its 40mm f/2.8 lens. Whichever mount is chosen, there are no electronic contacts but the quality of finish is superb. The MFT version bayonets smoothly and precisely into the camera mount.

Meike 28mm F2,8 On Lumix G6

There is a push on metal lens cap that fits well, although as with all these caps with very narrow grip area, it could very easily be lost. The filter thread is an economical 49mm. The focusing ring extends the lens, the closest distance being 0.25m (0.8 feet), which is about the norm for conventional 28mm designs. Maximum magnification is 0.11x. Distances are marked and can be viewed in a cutout area on the lens barrel, similar to the design of Pentax screw thread lenses from the 1960s. A very clear and useful depth of field scale is provided. The smoothness of the helical focusing thread is commendable but after only a small amount of use, there is a tendency to develop an unevenness in its action. This does not make it any less accurate but does spoil the otherwise excellent feel of the focusing action.

Nanotechnology multi-coating is applied to the 6 elements in 5 group construction. The diaphragm blades are curved to improve the bokeh. The aperture ring is very close to the body of the camera, which does make it slightly fiddly to use. It has no click stops, so it is necessary to look closely to set the required value. The run of apertures indicated is slightly non-standard, going straight from f/8 to f/16 and missing out f/11. This seems to be something in common with a few of these lenses from Meike and others, although in this case, the progression is not as odd as some.

Meike 28mm F2,8 Rear Oblique View

Meike 28mm f/2.8 Performance

Anyone who thinks an inexpensive lens cannot possibly be up to the mark in terms of performance will find a pleasant surprise in the Meike 28mm f/2.8. Centrally, sharpness is excellent from full aperture right the way through to f/8. It is still very good at f/16, but thereafter tails off dramatically to being quite soft at f/22. Diffraction has taken its toll.

The edges are very good from f/2.8 right through to f/16, followed again by a dramatic drop in sharpness to becoming very soft at f/22. This really is an impressive set of figures and in terms of sharpness, the lens delivers.

MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.


CA (Chromatic Aberration) is extremely well corrected, with figures close to zero being measured at the centre throughout the aperture range. The edges are also very well corrected and colour fringing is not likely to be much in evidence.

MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

 

Wide angle lenses usually exhibit some barrel distortion, and indeed we can measure that at -1.29%. This is a fairly modest figure that is likely to go unnoticed for most of the time. Further correction in software can always be made.

The lens does have a slight tendency to flare. This is not so evident in terms of artefacts, but more of a slight haze that starts to soften the image. It is a pity that a lens hood is not provided as standard.

Bokeh is quite smooth and the general look of the out of focus areas is pleasing. The biggest problem is accuracy in focusing as this needs to be a considered affair. tripod and time are the two necessary ingredients so that the point of focus can be judged. Of course, ease of focusing will depend very much on the individual cameras used.
 

MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 Sample Photos

 

MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 Aperture range

 

Value For Money

The Meike 28mm f/2.8 lens for MFT cameras is priced at £70 and this is also true for most of the alternative mounts on offer.

Looking at alternatives across the range of CSC formats, these might include the following:

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN £269
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN £149
Panasonic Lumix G 30mm f/2.8 Macro Asph. £269
Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm f/3.5 Macro £209
Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM £294

Clearly, although none of these lenses could be described as expensive, none of them come near the price of the Meike. For more options have a look at the Top 33 Best Micro Four Thirds Lenses, or have a look at the Top 17 Best Budget Lenses.

 

Meike 28mm f/2.8 Verdict

The Meike 28mm f/2.8 lens is well made, handles well and only has the manual focus as a limitation. With the Lumix G6 used for the review finding the point of focus was not easy and when focusing aids are switched on they become very obtrusive when trying to compose an image. However, there is an excellent depth of field scale so setting the hyperfocal distance and then just snapping away is a viable option. At f/5.6 everything is in focus from 30cm to infinity and for a more critical sharpness, the lens could just be set to f/8 to make sure.

The Meike 28mm f/2.8 is a fully capable, sharp lens that can deliver excellent results. All this at an incredibly low price. What's to lose?

 

Meike 28mm f/2.8 Pros

  • Excellent sharpness
  • Low CA
  • Low price
  • Depth of Field scale is useful

Meike 28mm f/2.8 Cons

  • Tricky manual focus
  • No weather sealing
  • Flare can reduce contrast

Features3.5/5
Handling3.5/5
Performance4/5
Value5/5
Overall Verdict

MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 Specifications

ManufacturerMEIKE
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Nikon 1
  • Canon EOS M
  • Fujifilm X Mount
Lens
Focal Length28mm
Angle of View50.3°
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size49mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnification0.11x
Focusing
Min Focus25cm
Construction
BladesNo Data
Elements6
Groups5
Box Contents
Box ContentsSoft pouch, cleaning cloth, lens cap
Dimensions
Weight102g
Height29mm

View Full Product Details

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Comments


Juksu 2
22 Mar 2018 8:55AM
Call me skeptic, but I smell review manipulation when out of all options you get a MFT to test. Might there be problems with corner sharpness and vignetting that the manufacturer did not want to show up in the tests? Would be interesting to see you put the APS-C version through the exactly the same tests, and see how they compare.

At least you should mention in the review that with an MFT version you have not been able to test the corners and edges.

BTW... In the introduction you mention FujiX, which is left out in specs.

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joshwa Plus
9 918 1 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2018 9:04AM
Hi Juksu, we tested the Micro Four Thirds version, as this mount is popular on the site. We've added Fujifilm X to the specifications.
Juksu 2
22 Mar 2018 9:17AM
So you CHOSE to test only the center part of the lens! I am sorry, but your credibility rating just went down.
12 Feb 2020 12:43PM
Dear John,
I’m sorry, but your conclusion is seriously wrong. So seriously that I felt the need to create an account to say that. Your statement in Verdict is general and as such it seems important, it is more than just opinion about some lens. Hyperfocal distance is very good way, let me say clever way, to use our cameras and (wide angle) lenses.

But where did you get this:
However, there is an excellent depth of field scale so setting the hyperfocal distance and then just snapping away is a viable option. At f/5.6 everything is in focus from 30cm to infinity and for a more critical sharpness, the lens could just be set to f/8 to make sure.

30cm to infinity? “… more critical sharpness …”? Did you check this out?

Let me say, you wish! And yes, I wish.
I’m not an expert, but I immediately saw that this statement is seriously misleading. (It may be OK for my phone.)

It’s just a 28mm-wide-angle-lens, from experience this could not be true. Btw, even depth of field (DOF) scale on this lens is not excellent at all for APS-C (Fujifilm) sensor. I guess it is similarly off for MFT too. If I set hyperfocal distance for 5.6, I couldn’t come near hyperfocal distance with f/5.6 aperture. At f/16 I come barely close to the scale data for f/5.6 (meaning barely sharp “infinity” in photo).

Here are same “sad” but I believe true DOF calculator data for 28mm lens on MFT cameras:
1) at f/5.6 hyperfocal distance is at 9.65m. DOF (more or/and less) is from 5m to infinity.
2) at f/16 hyperfocal distance is at 3.38m. DOF is from 2.5m to infinity.

So valid conclusion for me is that I can use hyperfocal distance with this (& every other 28mm on MFT) lens at f16 or smaller – if I’m interested only in objects 2.5m and more away. Of course, I can use f/8 or even f/5.6 for as much DOF as possible, but this is not hyperfocal distance (which includes “infinity”, not by chance).

Unfortunately for DOF from “30cm to infinity” (for 28mm on MFT or APS) f/32 or f/64 may be sufficient. I'm not talking about the numbers, but the usability and understanding.

Boodo

PS: Well, I forgot to say that I like this lens, no problems here.
12 Feb 2020 4:27PM
Whilst it's true that a lens only actually is ever focused on one distance, the DOF either side can be very acceptable. How much DOF is acceptable depends on many things, but particularly on our definition of how critical sharpness has to be. With a small format we do have an advantage.

With this lens, I would think in terms of street photography where the difficulty in focusing would make it all but impossible to focus for every shot. Then setting a moderate aperture and the optimum focus distance for the expected subject, using it as a snapshot setting could well be viable.

Some 35mm-format film lenses used to have a distance and f/8 marked in red just for this purpose, but for MFT format I would probably set f/5.6 as mentioned. At the price though what's to quibble about, and I'm glad that you like your lens!
13 Feb 2020 12:59PM
John, thank you for your reply.

I agree with you, no doubt, I like your second and third paragraph. To the first paragraph I will respond at the end*.

I really do wish that it were as you said, but optics can’t be fooled. Fortunately. Unfortunately we, people can be too easily.

Why did I respond to your review?
After reading the review thoroughly few days ago, I wondered for a few seconds, if I “knew” DOF in conjunction with the aperture well enough. If I were decades younger, I would – after reading the review and testing DOF with f/5.6 on my new 28mm – probably ask myself, what was wrong with my lens or what was wrong with me. Why? Pointless.

I understand hyperfocal distance from analogue times, I think.
1) Wider the lens, greater the depth of field – easier it is to use this method. With 35mm and 28mm it is not so easy, it gradually goes easier with 24, 21, 18mm and so on.
2) Smaller aperture (with any lens), greater DOF it is.
3) Further I focus (any lens), the greater DOF.

Just one more example (street photography); If I focus on 3m with 28mm lens on MFT sensor, DOF would be from 2,30 to 4,30m. Quite shallow. Usable, but not convenient. If I do the same thing with 21mm lens, I get DOF from 2 to 6,6m. Better. Btw, you forgot to say, where to prefocus in “30cm to infinity”. In any case, DOF “30cm to infinity” is faaaaaaaar away from 2m – and here we can’t choose our opinion as we wish, just because we think we have the right.

As I see with this lens (and every other 28mm on MFT) at f/5.6 you get 2m (in depth) of relatively sharp picture. You can tolerate unsharpness beyond that for whatever reason. But focusing in advance (zone focusing) with 28mm lens still needs understanding and attention. Much more so on MFT. True? Not?

For this discussion, I tested this lens few times and I agree with all (my) words and numbers. There are even your valuable review examples which clear out our discussion, your photos at different f stops under “MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 Aperture range”.

(And meanwhile I learnt something new; If I focus on 3m distant object, scale on this lens shows 2m. If I do the same with “legacy” Zuiko OM 28mm f/2.8 with adapter, it shows 3m.)

*At the end; sorry, really sorry again. In first paragraph of your response you wrote: “How much DOF is acceptable depends on many things, but particularly on our definition of how critical sharpness has to be. With a small format we do have an advantage.

Do we?

If we agree that (in this case) greater DOF is advantage: this is true only – because of shorter focal length lenses. Smaller sensor has greater depth of field with the lens with the same field of view (FOV) – but this is lens with different, smaller focal length (for the same FOV). Smaller focal length of the lens is the only reason for this advantage. But – with the same focal length here and there, 28mm for example, the smaller sensor has serious disadvantage of seriously smaller DOF than bigger one. Do you believe that? (= rhetorical question). And here we are. Wink

Let’s go out.
Boodo

Disclaimer: my discussion was about 28mm lenses in general. I didn't write any opinion about this particular lens, except few mentioning of printed scale data on this lens. Meike 28mm: price / design, construction, optics, size = *****.

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