I've reviewed a few Meike lenses recently, and they all share some amazing qualities. They're all built like tanks: full metal build, nice heavy feel to them, and they're all incredibly sharp. The Meike 25mm 1.8 is no different. It also brings a few new interesting characteristics to the table.
The focus and aperture rings are well spaced, and have a very distinct feel to them. The focus ring has notches, much like the vintage Minolta lenses, and the aperture ring has lines in the metal for grip, but is otherwise smooth and click-free. Because of this, the learning curve with this lens is incredibly quick, especially if you're used to manual focusing.
The design is very visually appealing too. The front element has a lovely silver ring to accent the black, and there's a cool door to see your focus settings on top of the lens. This looks and feels like a premium lens.
But what we all care about, of course, is the image quality, and I'm happy to report there have been improvements across the board in this department too. Meike lenses are always sharp, made with good quality glass, but sometimes their flares are unpleasing in challenging situations. The 25mm 1.8 so far hasn't suffered from this at all. This could be because the glass is buried deep within the front of the lens, and there are ridges leading down to the glass, to help refract any unwanted light. Either way, this lens hold up a treat in even the most challenging lighting conditions. So two thumbs up from me.
The aperture range spans to a rather limiting f1.8 - f16, so if you're shooting video an ND filter is advised. Otherwise the shutterspeed can run wild on a bright day. But I feel that the positive payoff of this is that the lens performs brilliantly across the entire spectrum. It's sharp throughout, and the depth of field you can achieve is really pleasing.
With the click-free aperture, the tactile focus ring, and the robust performance in challenging lighting conditions, this lens is wonderful for video. The full manual focus makes focus pulling a breeze, and you can get some impressive results.
Manual focus won't be for everyone, but if you're into it, this lens is also great for photography. I tried street, portraiture, and landscape during my extensive test, and I enjoyed it was a pleasure to use.
Manual focus isn't the best option for some circumstances of course. It was quite funny when my friends tried to take photos, watching them try to figure out the different rings. Most of the time the shot were overexposed and out of focus. But if you know your way around camera settings - or want to learn more about them - manual lenses can be a real treat to use.
And the price? Well, I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised.
Amazon M43: http://geni.us/tuAr
Amazon Sony E Mount: http://geni.us/H88hwG
Check out the photo samples below. I've included the original files as well as my edits just to show you the quality of the images you can get from this lens. I did very little to them, just a little boost here and there. Lovely piece of glass for sure.