What a time to be alive. We finally have some affordable, blummin’ fantastic quality cine lenses for micro four thirds. The Meike 16mm T2.2 cine lens is a little gem. Here are my thoughts.
Video review with test footage at the bottom of this article. This article contains Amazon affiliate links.
Meike 16mm T2.2 cine lens build quality
As with every Meike lens I’ve ever used, this one is built like a tank. The premium quality goes above and beyond their other lenses though, with full metal build quality, a nice — but not too OTT — weight, and fantastically smooth focus and aperture rings. The front element is massive by mft standards — 77mm! — And the whole package just feels premium.
10 rounded aperture blades and focus
The bokeh from this lens is absolutely lovely. The rounded aperture blade (and so many of them… ooooh ahhhh) make the bokeh balls perfectly circular throughout the aperture range of the lens. Often wide open we can achieve circular bokeh, but when we need to stop down things change. Not so with this lens, I’m happy to report.
When you couple this with the pleasingly minimal focus breathing, you can get some stunning shallow depth of field shots without any loss of quality, even when you’re pulling focus.
With it being a cine lens, the focus and aperture rings are ridged, designed to work with mechanical or manual focus pulling systems. You can definitely use this lens by hand, just be aware that the focus throw is pretty long, (turn turn turn!) so if you’re using this in uncontrolled environments you’ll need to factor an extra second to nail the focus.
Changing aperture is a breeze, and incredibly satisfying. I know that sounds nerdy as hell, but you just feel in control with this lens, which is what we all want and need as creators.
As with most lenses, wide open is always going to be the most challenging. I’m very happy to report that even wide open this lens shines. Of course for that extra crispness, stopping down slightly will always yield better results, but rest assured that at T2.2 the results are fantastic.
I’ve seen some test footage of the other cine lens in the range — the 25mm T2.2 — and that did suffer from quite a bit of purple fringing in more challenging conditions. Because of this I made sure to rigorously test the 16mm, and I’m happy to report that even in the most high contrast situations the chromatic aberrations/fringing are miles better than the 25mm, and almost non-existent to my humble eyes.
Competitors and alternatives
I have said it before, but let me say it again: the optics of this lens are premium. I actually can’t believe the price of it, especially when you consider the competitor Veydra cine lenses were/are over a thousand pounds more.
I suppose that’s an elephant in the room: the Meike lenses are very similar indeed to the Veydra lenses, from their looks to their optics. This is no bad thing at all. By all accounts the Veydra primes are the ones to beat, so to have something so similar at such an appealing price point is just fantastic.
If you want to up your video game, this is a great, video-dedicated lens to add to your line up. Of course if you are a hybrid photo/video shooter, something with auto focus might be a better shout and more versatile.
ND Filters and accessories
If you want to get the most out of this lens, I’d highly recommend an ND filter. I paired this lens with the Gobe 77mm variable ND filter, and it worked a charm. There is no odd colour cast, and the quality of both products is a damn good match.
Also, as an aside, if you wish to use this with a gimbal and micro four thirds gear, I balanced this on the tiny Zhiyun Weebill Lab gimbal, so it will work with basically any gimbal.
If you want to invest in a cine lens for micro four thirds… grab it. Grab it now! It’s affordable, optically delightful, and just a great asset to have.
I mean… I know we don’t have many options? But you really cannot moan at this price point. Rumour has it there will more cine lenses coming from Meike to add to their 25mm and 16mm, so keep an eye out for them too.