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Meike 28mm f/2.8 Lens Review

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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MEIKE 28mm f/2.8 in Interchangeable Lenses

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
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

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