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Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Review

Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Review - John Riley reviews the Zhongyi Optics Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 bright prime lens.

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Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 for Micro Four Thirds Cameras (MFT/M43)
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Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 in Interchangeable Lenses

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Zhongyi 25mm F0,95 Oblique View

The Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 lens is a super-fast standard prime for the Micro 4/3 system cameras, with some important exceptions as noted later. It is fully manual, but very compact and very fast for a standard lens.

Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Handling and Features

Zhongyi 25mm F0,95 Front View

The Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 is for Micro 4/3 cameras, but it is important to note that the protruding extension at the back of the lens precludes use on the Olympus E-PL6, E-PL5, EM-5 Mk I, E-PM1 and E-PM2 cameras. Attempting to use the lens on these bodies may cause damage to lens and/or camera, as detailed on the Mitakon website. The body supplied to test the lens with was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6. The bayonet fit is smooth and positive, with no play in the mount.

The lens seems nicely made, is all metal, but still weighs in at an impressively light 230g. The focusing is manual and beautifully smooth in operation. The aperture ring is without click stops, which does have operational problems for judging the aperture set, but which no doubt will be welcomed by video makers.

Zhongyi 25mm F0,95 On Panasonic DMC G6

Markings are surface printed, helping to keep costs down. The other economies are of course lack of AF and lack of auto diaphragm operation. The lens is set at its working aperture and there it stays until altered again. In practice, focusing at full aperture and then stopping down seems to work well. The lack of click stops does mean that we have to look at the markings to judge the aperture set – we are not able to count click stops. There are no electronic contacts, so no communication between lens and camera is possible. As a consequence of this there can be no in-camera compensation for distortion or CA.

The f/0.95 aperture does mean that focusing manually is very easy, but if we are to use that widest aperture then keeping that point of focus can be problematic if the camera or subject move even slightly. How often we actually need such a wide aperture, with its inevitable wafer thin depth of field, depends upon the photographer's shooting style. It does open up low light possibilities, but if the subject is moving then that DOF may well be a problem.

Zhongyi 25mm F0,95 Side View

Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Performance

The centre of the lens returns good sharpness wide open, very good by f/1.4 and becoming excellent by f/5.6. This high standard only drops away slightly at f/16, where it can still be described as very good.

The edges start off quite soft, becoming fair by f/2 and improving until becoming very good around f/5.6. This level of sharpness is maintained well right up to f/16. It is a pity that no lens hood is supplied as the lens can be prone to flare. This appears as a purple area at the centre of some images.

 


 

 
MTF
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. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

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

 

CA is well controlled at the centre of the lens and very reasonable at the edges. In any event, this can be tackled in software. Distortion is apparent, measuring at -1.78% barrel, actually a good figure for such a wide aperture lens.


 

 
CA
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.

 

Bokeh is actually rather pleasant, as we might expect from an f/0.95 lens with an almost perfectly circular diaphragm. This is definitely a strong point and can be used creatively with the appropriate subject matter. The trade off is that the image at f/0.95 is actually quite soft at the edges. A lens in any event is a creative tool and this one is just that. This softness can usually be used to advantage and there is a good case for using this as a portrait lens, where it could yield very attractive results.

One problem with the wide aperture though will always be hitting the spot with focus. This can be quite difficult, and almost impossible with moving subjects. When we get it right the results can be impressive. Portraiture is one area where hitting the focus can be tricky, but as the hit rate improves with practice it does become much easier. Other more leisurely photography such as landscape allows for more precise focusing.

Zhongyi Optics Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Sample Photos

Value For Money

The Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 lens is available for $399 (£261 at current exchange rates), and there are a number of alternative manual focus 25mm lenses available for Micro Four Thirds, including the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 II (£742), and SLR-Magic 25mm T0.95 CINE lens (£579). If you want auto focus then the brightest alternative lens is the Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 (£370), followed by the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 lens (£280).

For more options have a look at to Top 5 Best Olympus Micro Four Thirds Lenses of 2015.

Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Verdict

This lens will appeal to those who see the lens as gelling with their particular style, be it portraits, dreamy landscapes or whatever creative use is seen for it. It handles very well indeed, and is a pleasure to use. It is easy to focus when the intention is to stop down afterwards, thus allowing the depth of field to cover any errors. It is hard to focus and hit the point required when used for shooting wide open.

Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Pros

f/0.95 aperture
Smooth controls
Aperture free of click stops for video use
Excellent central sharpness
Very compact
Well made

Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Cons

Soft edges wide open
Prone to flare
Accurate focus difficult when used wide open
Not compatible with some Olympus cameras

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

 

Zhongyi Optics Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Specifications

ManufacturerZhongyi Optics
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length25mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/0.95
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size43mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent50mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus25cm
Construction
Blades11
Elements11
Groups9
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight230g
Height45mm

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Comments


21 Oct 2015 8:58PM
Oh my. I already read 3 other reviews. This shows me, how hard it can be to judge from a review and photos in web-quality. There are reviews around comparing the mitakon to the voigtländer and the comparison pictures look nearly the same (photobyrichard). Close shots look even sharper for the mitakon.

But if there is no calculation error in your mtf chart, the mitakon has roughly 1/3 of the center sharpness @ f0.95 compared to the voigtländer (mtf values from photozone.de) !?286024_1445457470.jpg

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22 Oct 2015 12:22AM
Results only refer to the one sample, so it's entirely possible that we will find some variation. The only way round this might be to test several samples, but that might be a bit impractical. The results wide open were very soft with this particular lens, but it was a lovely lens to use.
22 Oct 2015 5:21AM
Grin
Thank you. This review helped me to decide between these two lenses. I will go for the voigtlander.
28 Oct 2015 11:24PM
I think of you want anlens that is closer to perfect in IQ, there are plenty of other lenses out there that will get you closer to it.

That being said, if you're seriously looking for the fastest lens at f/0.95 for MFT, then you're looking for a specialty lens. I believe both Voigtlander and this Mitakon can deliver unique and special look to images. I doubt anyone would be disappointed with either cause they will get that special look when shooting wide open, and you want to shoot with such a lens wide open.

No f0.95 will be at its sharpest wide open, not this $400 piece nor $11k Leica Noctilux. Of course stopping down will bring things much sharper, but that's not to say the images are horrendously unsharpbwide open, quite the contrary. I feel most people will find shooting wide open more than sufficiently sharp. The overall quality of the image you can get should still be very satisfying. If you're wanting to shoot a 0.95 lens wide open, then you should expect that type of IQ involved when doing so.

I just got delivery of my Mitakon 25 for my e-m5 mk2 and i love it. Operation is smooth and bokeh is not as nervous as some have suggested. Great build and size and totally worth for half of Voigtlander equivalent. And, I've not notice any of the distortions, flare or color spot issues some reviewers have mentioned. Maybe my copy and the way I shoot doesn't shown such"flaws"... I suggest if you're interested in a fast standard for MFT, you should actually try one for yourself and judge if its really that bad or good for your own style and tastes.
2 Nov 2015 5:49AM
is it just me or the pix of the flower are way sharper at f0.95 than f8
more DOF but the flower is very soft...
problem with focusing or backfocusing?
2 Nov 2015 9:35AM
If there was any shift, far more likely to have been subject movement. Flowers blow in the wind and it's a case of choosing the moments when the air is still to shoot the images. The higher shutter speed of the f/0.95 shot will have also helped with freezing movement.
joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2015 9:28AM
We have updated the review.
31 Jan 2016 4:55PM
The lens seems to have a aperature of 1.4. When I go down from 2.8 to 0,95 the speed is only 4 and not 8 times faster. I compared it with a Nikkor 50 1.4. There is the is the same speed wide open. For less money i could get a Panasonic 25mm 1.4.
dpal 1
5 Feb 2016 4:15AM

Quote:The lens seems to have a aperature of 1.4. When I go down from 2.8 to 0,95 the speed is only 4 and not 8 times faster. I compared it with a Nikkor 50 1.4. There is the is the same speed wide open. For less money i could get a Panasonic 25mm 1.4.


sidorwan, f1 is 4 stops faster than f2.8. Please review any f-stop chart widely available on the Internet.
5 Feb 2016 6:09PM
I use mathematics.
2.8 1 stop 2.0 2 stops 1.4 3 stops 1.0 0.7 0.5... Grin
dpal 1
6 Feb 2016 6:17PM

Quote:I use mathematics.
2.8 1 stop 2.0 2 stops 1.4 3 stops 1.0 0.7 0.5... Grin


Yes. 4 stops. You said 8 before.
9 Feb 2016 8:40PM
Three stops.
There is a big difference between stops and speed. every stop the speed becomes halfe or doubles.
1 stop 2x, 2 stops 4x, 3 stops 8x.
14 Feb 2016 6:13AM
sidorwan, are you sure the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 would be as fast? I've read that its transmission rate is also somewhat slower than rated.
14 Feb 2016 1:37PM
I red the same. Thats the reason why I changed my mind. I am going to buy the Panasonic 20mm 1.7. AF is a littlebit slower and it seems to be prone for flares. I prefer the wider angle and it is really small. Size matters when you travel.
15 Feb 2016 12:19PM
I have the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. Lens flares are not a major problem, I've only noticed them a couple of times. It's not a super fast lens, but I'd say its fast enough for about 90% of occasions. If the light is still not enough you probably need flash anyway, not a faster lens.If you like the 20mm angle of view I think you'll be happy with it. It's supposed not to be as high-contrast as the f1.4 but you can always increase contrast in PP.

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