The Meike 28mm f2.8 prime lens is an interesting prospect. I was excited to get my hands on it and take it for a test drive.
First things first, this is an all manual lens, with no stabilisation, and no communication to the camera body at all. This presents a whole list of pros and cons, and it really depends on what kind of photographer you are as to whether you'll benefit from this setup or not.
I really like manual focus. With the Panasonic focus peaking, getting the shot is a quick process, and the Meike 28mm lens makes it even easier by having very accurate lens markings; infinity focus really is infinity focus. (I know that sounds odd, but i've found it to be a rarity on some more budget lenses
Meike 28mm: Build and impressions
The Meike 28mm 2.8 is made like a little lump of dark matter. It's a trait with all the Meike lenses I've used, actually, they're all built like actual tanks. This is a great thing - I imagine the floor would break before this lens if they were to have a fight - but it's also a perplexing choice too, as (aside from the 15mm bodycap lens) this is by far the smallest lens I own. It's even smaller than the Olympus 17mm 1.8, and weighs significantly more. I mean, it's still tiny, so it isn't HEAVY by any means. It's just a bit of a surprise when you hold it for the first time. And when paired with a lighter camera like the Panasonic G7, which is what I used in all the sample images, it puts the G7 build quality to shame.
I found the image quality to be very sharp and clear. Fringing hasn't been any more of an issue than normal, and with the longer focal length I haven't noticed any unpleasing barrel distortion. There was only one area where this lens fell flat for me, and that's the lens flare. If you put this lens in a tricky situation - point it at a backlight, the sun, or a flashgun for instance - and you instantly lose contrast and get unpleasing light streaks. This is (obviously!) a very niche sort of photo setup, and 99% of the time it won't impact your work. Just, if you're taking a lens to the beach at sunset or are experimenting with off-camera flash, I'd recommend leaving this lens at home.
The small form factor is great, and it's refreshing for Meike in particular as their lenses tend to be on the larger side for micro four thirds, but the payoff of this is the focus ring and aperture ring are very close together. There's a short learning curve to get your hands used to the setup for sure. But after that, you're set.
You can check out my full video review below, and check out how this lens performs for video as well as photos. To conclude, this lens offers a hell of a lot for the price. It isn't going to be for everyone, but you can get some great results out of it.
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