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Meike 50mm f/1.7 Review

Meike 50mm f/1.7 Review - John Riley reviews the Meike 50mm f/1.7 full-frame lens for Sony E / FE mount cameras.

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MEIKE 50mm f/1.7 in Interchangeable Lenses

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Meike 50mm F1,7 Front Oblique View

Meike has been steadily introducing some excellent lenses and now have turned their attention to the full frame standard 50mm f/1.7, a lens that was once the first option taken up by almost all purchasers of an SLR camera. With all our zooms of amazing specifications, there is still much to be said for the fast, bright 50mm and in many ranges, this is often labelled the “Plastic Fantastic”. In the case of this new Meike manual focus, full frame lens, made solidly of metal, do we now have a “Metal Fantastic”? Let's dip our toes in the water and find out.

Meike 50mm f/1.7 Handling and Features

Meike 50mm F1,7 On Sony A7III

Before we get to the lens itself, the packaging has a couple of errors on it. The lens is described as a “Standard Fixed Focus Lens” but of course what is actually meant is that it is a Standard Prime Lens, or a Standard Fixed Focal Length Lens if we prefer. It certainly does focus. The second small error is that the filter thread size is 52mm, not 50mm as stated in the specifications and on the box. For this review, we are looking at the Sony FE mount version, coupled with the Sony Alpha A7 Mark III 24MP camera body. Other mounts available are Canon EF-M, Nikon 1, Fuji X and MFT.

Starting with fitting the lens to the camera, the fit on this sample is very, very tight. Having said that, it proved to be much easier on another Sony body, so it may well be a case of the tolerances being at opposite ends of the scale and not matching as smoothly as one would hope. However, fit it does and there is no play once clicked into place.

Our tour of the lens starts with the petal lens hood, which bayonets cleanly into place. A petal hood seems odd for a 50mm lens, but it is just a reflection of the style of the modern kit lens, carried from the ubiquitous zooms and perfectly efficient. As previously mentioned, there is a standard 52mm filter thread.

Meike 50mm F1,7 With Hood On Sony A7III

The aperture ring is clickless, an advantage for those who shoot movies, and it is very smooth in operation. The spacing is not uniform and f/11 and f/16 are reduced to dots on the ring as a consequence. There is no automatic diaphragm, so the aperture set remains set throughout. Focusing might usefully be done at full aperture and the various focusing aids in the Sony camera bodies help to ensure this is accurate. The aperture has 12 blades, potentially improving the bokeh of the lens.

The focusing ring is quite stiff in operation, but with use showing signs of smoothing out. Focusing goes beyond infinity and down to 0.5m, just under 1.6 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.11x, which is fairly close but not exceptionally so.

Finally, some engraving reminds us that this is a Meike 50mm f/1.7 lens, which we already know, and a trick is missed in that there is room here for a depth of field scale instead. With a manual focus lens, such a scale can be very useful and it seems a pity to leave it out.

Lens construction is 6 elements in 5 groups, with nano multicoating. The whole lens weighs in at 320g, looks to be well made and has the added benefit of being dust and moisture resistant.

Operation is naturally slower than using an AF lens, but the considered approach can often lead to improved images. The aperture ring moves in the Nikon/Pentax direction and the focusing ring moves in the Canon direction. This becomes more significant ergonomically with a manual focus lens, and perhaps choosing one style or the other might be helpful, rather than mixing the two. Apart from that, the lens operates flawlessly.

Meike 50mm F1,7 Rear Oblique View

Meike 50mm f/1.7 Performance

Central sharpness is impressively even, being very good throughout and rising to an excellent standard at f/5.6 and f/8.

The edges match that sharpness very closely, again being very good throughout and rising to excellent at f/5.6. Images are very crisp right across the frame.

 

MEIKE 50mm f/1.7 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 Sony Alpha A7 Mark III using Imatest.

 

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is virtually absent at the centre but relatively obvious at the edges. Nonetheless, there are many images where it is not particularly apparent and can always be tackled in software if desired.

 

MEIKE 50mm f/1.7 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 minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha A7 Mark III using Imatest.

 

Some barrel distortion is almost a given for a fast 50mm lens and in this case, it measures -0.55%. This is a very good level of correction and for most subjects will not be a problem. As always, further software correction is possible.

Shooting against the light does not easily generate flare, the only real effect being a slight drop in image contrast.

The well-rounded aperture does its work in helping to deliver pleasing bokeh. It sits well with the crisp sharpness of the area in focus and offers a smooth rendition as we fall further out of focus in the background.


MEIKE 50mm f/1.7 Sample Photos

 

MEIKE 50mm f/1.7 Aperture range

 

Value For Money

The Meike 50mm f/1.7 lens is priced at £114.99, which in isolation is an excellent price for such a high-quality optic.

However, there are quite a few full frame 50mm f/1.8 lenses at comparable or even lower prices, all with the added benefit of AF.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, £119
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, £90
Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8, £44
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D, £103
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, £199
Sony FE 50mm f/1.8, £179

The price of most of these lenses is unlikely to be the deciding factor, they are all terrific value, so it will have to be decided on other factors. For more options have a look at the Top 15 Best Sony E / FE Mount Lenses

 

Meike 50mm f/1.7 Verdict

Given that the price is fantastic, both for the Meike lens and the competition, then we need to consider whether a metal lens, manual focus, traditional in design, is preferable to the various camera makers' Plastic Fantastic offerings.

The Meike image quality is a strong factor, as is the dust and moisture resistance. On the other hand, the AF lenses will be faster and easier to use and are pretty good themselves.

Overall, Meike has produced a very impressive lens at a very impressive price, but the final choice is a very individual one based on features, performance and ergonomics rather than price.

 

Meike 50mm f/1.7 Pros

  • Impressive and even sharpness
  • Low central CA
  • Low distortion
  • Metal construction
  • Great price
  • Dust and moisture resistance

Meike 50mm f/1.7 Cons

  • Manual focusing not for everyone
  • No depth of field scale
  • Tight fit on the camera

Features3.5/5
Handling4/5
Performance4/5
Value5/5
Overall Verdict

Own this lens? Let us know what you think of it in the EQDB

MEIKE 50mm f/1.7 Specifications

ManufacturerMEIKE
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Nikon 1
  • Fujifilm X Mount
  • Canon EOS M
  • Sony FE Mount
Lens
Focal Length50mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/1.7
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size52mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnification0.11x
Focusing
Min Focus50cm
Construction
Blades12
Elements6
Groups5
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight320g
HeightNo Data

View Full Product Details

Spotted a mistake? Let us know in the EQDB. 

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