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MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Lens Review

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Lens Review - John Riley reviews this new, budget, mirrorless lens for APS-C cameras.

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MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 in Interchangeable Lenses

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Meike 50mm F2 Front Oblique View
One of three new lenses (the others are a 35mm f/1.7, and 28mm f/2.8) from Hong Kong Meike Digital Technology. Meike means “beauty” (Mei) and “technology” (Ke) and immediately the lenses remind us of how small and light manual focus optics used to be. Do beauty and technology meet to make something special? Let's find out.

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Handling and Features

Meike 50mm F2 Vertical View

The lens is of metal construction and highly reminiscent of the Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar lenses of the 1960s. The knurled metal focusing ring looks very similar to those classic lenses, and the distance scale is found within a similar cut-out in the lens barrel. There is a depth of field scale provided and distances are marked in both feet and metres. Focusing is by helical thread, the whole optical unit extending forwards as we focus closer. The front element does not rotate, so use of polarising and graduated filters is much easier. A push on plastic lens cap is provided and this shows no signs of being likely to fall off in use.

The focusing initially showed a slight roughness at some points, but soon became much smoother with use. Not the same silky smoothness as those classic lenses, but nonetheless not at all bad. The overall finish of the lens is of a good standard.

The six element in five groups optics are multi-coated, closest focus is 2.5 feet (0.65m) and the lens takes inexpensive 49mm thread filters. Maximum magnification is 0.08x. The diaphragm has eight blades. Finally, the lens weighs just 185g.

The aperture ring is unusual. It has no click stops and remains closed to whatever value is set. This will be useful for video shooters but less so for those shooting stills. The progression of apertures marked is f/2, f/2.8, f/3.5, f/5.6, f/8 and f/22. There is no obvious advantage to this departure from the normal markings.

Meike 50mm F2 On Lumix G6

Although supplied for review in Micro 4/3 mount, the lens is marked as suitable for APS-C format. Accordingly, it is also available for other CSCs including Sony E, Canon M, Nikon 1, and Fujifilm X series. The 35mm-format equivalent will be 100mm on Micro 4/3 cameras and around 75mm on APS-C. This is a useful short telephoto length.

There is a highly polished metal mount, smooth and positive and matching the Panasonic Lumix G6 used for this review perfectly. There are no electronic contacts, so the camera does not know the aperture set. The Lumix G6 works fine in manual and aperture priority modes and meters correctly when the lens is stopped down.

In use, the lens is easy to focus, provided this is done at full aperture. There being no auto stop-down it is then necessary to turn the aperture ring to the desired setting. Unfortunately, the absence of click stops means that this is done by guess unless the camera is taken from the eye to look at the settings. With practice, this guess can be honed and could become quite accurate, but the precise value set will not be known unless constantly checked and noted. Otherwise, it could not be simpler in use.

Meike 50mm F2 Rear Oblique View

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Performance

The expectation for this lens inevitably will be set against its modest £65 price tag, although there are no electronic or mechanical complications in it so there are many areas where costs of production can be lower without necessarily sacrificing performance.

Sharpness is very good centrally at f/2 and peaks at excellent levels at f/3.5, thereafter remaining very good to f/8. It dips to only fair at f/22.

The edges are very soft, with poor sharpness at all apertures, but improving to a fair standard at f/8, and this will be even more noticeable on APS-C cameras.


 

 
Meike 50mm F2 MTF
Meike 50mm MTF

How to read our 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.

 


 

 
Meike 50mm F2 CA
Meike 50mm CA

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration 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 Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

 

The overall look of the images is very good, with nice colour, lovely bokeh and very well controlled CA (Chromatic Aberration). Distortion measures at +1.51% pincushion. CA and distortion can, in any event, be corrected in software.

Flare is also well controlled, although there is a significant loss of contrast when shooting with the sun just out of frame. There are no obvious internal reflections or image artefacts. There is no lens hood supplied, but use of one is to be recommended. They are readily available.


MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Sample Photos

Value For Money

As far as Micro 4/3 format is concerned, we have a 100mm-equivalent f/2 short telephoto that could be an ideal portrait and low light lens. Central sharpness is high and provided this is where the main subject is, the lens could give a very good account of itself. It is priced around £65.

However, looking at APS-C, for very little more we have some marque lenses that also offer AF and full electronic communication with the cameras. These are also much sharper. 

Under the mirrorless lens umbrella, there's the Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS E-Mount which is available for around £199 while Canon fans will have to look at the Samyang 50mm f/1.2 as an alternative as Canon don't offer a native portrait lens. For Nikon users, there's the Nikon 32mm f/1.2 priced at £649 and Fuji camera owners can look at the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 for around £600.

Micro Four Thirds users have the choice of the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 (£299) or the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (£170) and Pentax users have the SMC Pentax-DA 50mm f/1.8 (£89). Canon offers the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (£97), Sony the DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM (£119) and Nikon the 50mm f/1.8 D AF (£109).

 

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Verdict

From a purist point of view, the Meike 50mm f/2 gives total freedom from automation. This may well appeal to some photographers who will enjoy the process of using it and live with the soft edges, even using its shortcomings to create distinctive images.

For most, there are inexpensive marque lenses that are sharper and much easier to use, for not very much more money.

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Pros

Totally manual for a purist approach
Very good central sharpness
Low CA
Low price 

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Cons

Edges soft
No click stops on aperture ring
No communication with camera

 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

 

MEIKE 50mm f/2.0 Specifications

ManufacturerMEIKE
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
  • Sony E Mount
  • Nikon 1
  • Canon EOS M
Lens
Focal Length50mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/2
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size49mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min FocusNo Data
Construction
Blades8
Elements6
Groups5
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight185g
HeightNo Data

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Comments


AlexandraSD 7 762 United Kingdom
30 May 2016 4:29PM
Intriguing! But as stated, there are so many alternatives, and considering all the legacy glass out there that sits on CSC's and MTF's perfectly, this is a bit of a non starter, still, be interesting to try one out for the weekend i think!

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