Meike 50/2.0 as a Very Cheap MF Portrait Lens

Started Jul 12, 2016 | Discussions
Alan WF
Alan WF Senior Member • Posts: 1,641
Meike 50/2.0 as a Very Cheap MF Portrait Lens

I've been known to advocate an adapted Canon New FD 50/1.4 as a very cheap manual portrait lens. You can buy it with an adaptor for $65 and it performs almost as well as the Olympus 45/1.8.

A couple of months ago Meike announced a 50/2 manual lens for MFT at the astonishing price of $80 new. (They also announced similarly priced 28/2.8 and 35/1.7 lenses and a much more expensive 25/0.95.) Is an adapted Canon 50/1.4 still worth considering compared to the Meike 50/2?

Here is a graph of the MTFs. The Olympus 45/1.8 is in green, Canon 50/1.4 is in blue, and the Meike 50/2 is in purple. The centers have solid lines and the edges or corners have dashed lines. Note that the graph shows the corners for the Olympus 45/1.8 and Canon 50/1.4 and the edges for the 50/2.

MTF50 of the Olympus 45/1.8 (green), Canon New FD 50/1.4 (blue), and Meike 50/2 (purple) in the center (solid) and corner/edge (dashed).

See my post on the 50/1.4 for the provenance of the data for the 50/1.4 and 45/1.8. The data for the 50/2 are from the ePhotoZine review.

All three lenses have similar performance in the center, being sharp from f/2 onwards with MTFs of 1900-2500 LW/PH.

The Olympus, of course, is sharp even in the corners at all apertures. The Canon is softer in the corners than the Olympus at f/2 but just about catches up from f/2.8 onwards. However, the Meike is very soft even at the edges, and even stopping down to f/8 doesn't bring the sharpness up to the level of the other lenses. I'd be wary of such softness, even in a portrait lens, although it might lead to some interesting creative effects.

One definitive advantage of the Meike over the Canon is weight and size. The Meike is 188 g and 41 mm long. The Canon (with an adapter) weighs 370 g and is 64 mm long.

I'd be interested in hearing other people's experience with the Meike 50/2.

Regards,

Alan

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tkbslc Forum Pro • Posts: 12,743
It's probably worth $80
1

It's probably worth the $80.  But I can't image most people using m4/3 are that hard up for cash that they wouldn't just find a used 45mm f1.8 or Sigma 60mm.  Both of those are easy to find for under $200.

Still, it's probably as good as anything you are going to adapt for around the same price and doesn't require a bulky adapter.  Interesting option.

Alan WF
OP Alan WF Senior Member • Posts: 1,641
Re: It's probably worth $80
1

But I can't image most people using m4/3 are that hard up for cash that they wouldn't just find a used 45mm f1.8 or Sigma 60mm. Both of those are easy to find for under $200.

Perhaps, but surely your imagination is sufficiently flexible that you can conceive that there are at least some people for whom there is a difference between $65 and $200? I'm one of them, at least at the moment.

Still, it's probably as good as anything you are going to adapt for around the same price and doesn't require a bulky adapter. Interesting option.

No, I don't think it is "as good as anything you're going to adapt for around the same price". Stopped down to f/2.8, my old 50/1.4 is sharp right into the corners, which makes it useful for other stuff (for example, groups, theatre, architecture, and landscapes). The Meike 50/2 seems to be a one-trick pony, useful only when you can accept softness away from the center. For example, look at the f/8 image of the geese in the ePHOTOzine review. Away from the center, the grass is a smeary mess.

On the other hand, the Meike 50/2 is half the weight of a typical legacy 50/1.4, so might be interesting to some people. Perhaps, those who are prepared to use the long end of their kit zoom or another existing lens when they need sharpness over a wider region.

The two portraits in the ePhotoZine review are at f/8. I've managed to find a portrait at f/2 here in the DPReview forums, but it was taken with a Fuji X body. On MFT, we'd have about 75% of the height and 83% of the width of this example. The center sharpness looks fine. The bokeh in the corners looks a bit swirly for my taste, but cropping to MFT would reduce this. Of course, some people love swirly bokeh.

Regards,

Alan

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tkbslc Forum Pro • Posts: 12,743
Re: It's probably worth $80
2

Alan WF wrote:

But I can't image most people using m4/3 are that hard up for cash that they wouldn't just find a used 45mm f1.8 or Sigma 60mm. Both of those are easy to find for under $200.

Perhaps, but surely your imagination is sufficiently flexible that you can conceive that there are at least some people for whom there is a difference between $65 and $200? I'm one of them, at least at the moment.

Based on my life experience, the tighter your budget, the less you can afford buying the wrong thing and ultimately spending more in the long run.    I would still recommend that most save a little more, wait a little longer and buy one of the AF options.

If you are truly so broke that you simply cannot conceive of saving another $100 over a reasonable time frame, then you are too broke for photography.  I would recommend that you sell your camera and put the money in savings, because you are obviously in danger of going hungry.

Alan WF
OP Alan WF Senior Member • Posts: 1,641
Re: It's probably worth $80
3

Based on my life experience, the tighter your budget, the less you can afford buying the wrong thing and ultimately spending more in the long run. I would still recommend that most save a little more, wait a little longer and buy one of the AF options.

Yes, I'd also recommend people consider paying more to get AF, better sharpness at f/2, and a lighter package.

We are lucky to have options at 40-50 mm and f/2 or faster all the way from $40 up to more than $1000.

If you are truly so broke that you simply cannot conceive of saving another $100 over a reasonable time frame, then you are too broke for photography. I would recommend that you sell your camera and put the money in savings, because you are obviously in danger of going hungry.

I'd recommend not making assumptions about other people's financial situations and their reasons for not spending as much as you advocate on what to many is simply a hobby.

Regards,

Alan

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Alan WF
OP Alan WF Senior Member • Posts: 1,641
Re: Meike 50/2.0 as a Very Cheap MF Portrait Lens

David Thorpe has produced a review on the Meike 50/2 and 35/1.7:

A Look At The Meike 50mm f/2 and 35mm F/1.7 Lenses For Micro Four Thirds Cameras

He confirms softness away from the center, but seems happy enough with them as a cheap option for portraits.

Regards,

Alan

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Concertinist New Member • Posts: 23
Re: Meike 50/2.0 as a Very Cheap MF Portrait Lens

I bought both the Meike 50mm and 35mm lenses for MFT.

Although some reviewers say the are similar, my experience suggests the opposite. I /really/ like the 35mm, but dislike the 50mm. I'm not really smart enough to be able to explain why I don't like the 50mm: sure it's a bit soft but there's something about it's rendering too.

The 35mm, however, is sharp enough, contrasty enough and is nice out of focus too. And of course it's small and light, and suits me when I'm not in a hurry.

I dunno... Is the 7Artisans new mf MFT 50mm worth a try?

Gavin

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