Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens review

I was very excited to hear that Zhong Yi optics were going to release the ‘Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm‘ a super fast f0.95 lens for the MFT mount which would compete with the Voigtlander equivalent but at a cheaper price and promising to be just as good.  If so then this could turn out to be a very nifty fifty, I ordered one as they became available to find out!

Speedmaster 25mm at f0.95 – shallow DOF

Black dog 1

The speedmaster 25mm ships in a retro style leather look book and is very well packaged.  I had seen in the product images that it was smaller than the Voigtlander, but this lens is really small.  Almost the same size as the Olympus 45mm f1.8 and it costs $399 (£260), less than Olympus’s own 25mm f1.8, which is impressive considering the f0.95 aperture and metal construction.

The lens is a perfect size for the E-M5 mkII and works well on the E-M1.  The body is solid metal and has a good sturdy feel without being heavy.  Focusing is fairly easy with focus peaking and the focus ring is nice and smooth.  The aperture ring has a bit more resistance, which is good as it does not have click stops, making it well suited to video.  I did notice a few times that the aperture ring had moved a little during shooting but not by much and I wouldn’t considerate a problem, I just check it from time to time.

Blue eyed baby

Candy store

When it comes to the images, I love the look this lens produces, and when combined with the E-M5 mkII it is a great combo.  The f0.95 aperture gives you that shallow depth of field that is lacking in the MFT format, but the lens is far from perfect.  It suffers from vignetting, chromatic aberration, lens flare and is fairly soft around the edges, but I feel this adds to the charm on the lens.  The centre circle of the lens actually produces crisp, acceptable quality, making this lens a viable option for a number of photographic styles.

Full size image with 100% crop below – shot at f0.95

GWAC_mitakno-15

mitacon_04

If you are into resolution charts and like to view all your images at 100% corner to corner and/or don’t like manual focus then this lens is probably not for you.  While the speedmaster 25mm is not the sharpest tool in the box, it does serve a purpose, this lens will allow you to shoot good images in much lower light than many other lenses.  It is also able to produce images with character and a very shallow depth of field.

Full size image with 100% crop below – shot at f0.95

GWAC_mitakno-5

mitakon_06

Knowing the weaknesses of a lens means you can work to it’s strengths and I could happily use this for documentary styles, social situations, location shoots and images for web, newspapers & magazine size print.  Only where critical sharpness is required and or edge to edge sharpness would this lens be a problem.  I believe the look of an image is very important and this lens does have a nice appeal, especially when combined with excellent VSCO Lightroom presets.  VSCO simulates different film types to achieve some great looks including some vintage and nostalgic styles along with modern film types.

f0.95 – Bokeh is smooth up close but can get busy at mid range..

GWAC_mitakno-22

GWAC_mitakno-13

GWAC_mitakno-1

Conclusion

I really enjoy using this lens and love the results it produces, paired with the E-M5 mkII it is a killer combo, great for social images, street photography, documentary, environmental portraiture, low light and subject isolation.  It is not perfect but if you can work to it’s strengths it will reward you with great looking images with acceptable sharpness in the centre.  It will not be to everyone’s liking especially if you don’t like manual focus or if critical sharpness if required.  Bokeh can be a bit nervous at mid range, but for the price and size of this lens, it is hard to complain.  A great little lens at a great price!

GWAC_mitakno-8

GWAC_mitakno-11

GWAC_mitakno-3

GWAC_mitakno-26

GWAC_mitakno-16

GWAC_mitakno-25

GWAC_mitakno-17