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Meike 85mm f/1.8 Review

John Riley reviews the Meike 85mm f/1.8 - Meike's first auto-focus lens, the full-frame lens is available for Canon cameras.

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Meike Af 85mm F1,8 Front Oblique View
Innovation and development continue apace at Meike and now we have their first autofocus lens. The Meike AF 85mm f/1.8 takes a well established specification, the classic portrait lens, and adds AF giving it a definite plus in terms of speed of use and general handling. All looks well on paper, so let's see how the lens actually performs and handles and whether it can take on and compete with much more expensive optics.

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Meike 85mm f/1.8 Handling and Features

Meike Af 85mm F1,8 Front Vertical View

The lens provided is in Canon fit and for this review coupled with the Canon EOS 5DS R 50mp body. Later it is expected that Meike may follow up with Nikon and Sony FE mount versions. As already mentioned it is an AF lens. It is also designed for full frame bodies, although it could also be used on APS-C format if desired. For Canon, the “35mm format equivalent” would then be 136mm.

The initial impression is of a well made lens, with high quality markings and an excellent standard of overall construction. There is a generously sized petal lens hood provided that bayonets securely into place. There is also a standard 67mm filter thread. The lens weighs in at a very modest 372g, without hood or caps. There is no weather resistance.

The manual focus ring is smooth in operation and not electronic – the lens can be focused manually with the camera switched off. When using AF the manual focus is “full time” which means that after AF has locked on further tweaks can be made manually without having to switch to MF. Focusing is down to 0.85m, or around 3 feet. This is what would be expected from a traditional 85mm lens and is fairly close, certainly close enough for most portraiture, but nowhere near a macro lens.

Meike Af 85mm F1,8 On Canon 5dsr Front View

Closest to the camera body we have the AF/MF switch and also the distance scales, calibrated in feet and metres. There is no depth of field scale, which is always a shame as there is room to engrave one and it could be useful. The AF operation itself is fairly slow, but it finds the spot, generally without hunting. It does make quite a whirring sound. However, at the price levels we are looking at it would be churlish to complain too much as in terms of function it does the job and focuses the lens reliably.

The metal lens mount is well finished, carrying the usual electronic contacts, but also a USB connection that can be used to upgrade the lens firmware. This is a nice idea. The lens bayonets cleanly and smoothly onto the camera, with no roughness or play.

Lens construction is 9 elements in 6 groups, all lens surfaces being multi-coated. This should be adequate for a level level of performance, so let's turn to the performance and see how it worked out.

Meike Af 85mm F1,8 Rear Oblique View

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