Meike 50mm f/1.2 manual focus lens for Z-mount review

Meike 50mm f/1.2 Z-mount manual focus lens review by Bill Hall (see previous guest posts):

Now that the Nikon Z-Mount system has been out for a couple of years, more and more third-party lens choices have become available. Meike, known for its budget-conscious quality products, is now producing this fast 50mm lens for the Z-Mount. It’s $360 on Amazon.

First impressions: There’s a nice heft to this lens, though it’s by no means heavy. The all-metal construction promises a long life and durability. The aperture and focus dials operate very smoothly, but also stay in place when you move your hand away. The mount is all metal also, and mounts to the camera securely with no movement or looseness. Its red stripe is a nice accent, and it looks very professional on my Z6, not revealing its budget price.

What comes in the box? The lens, front and rear lens caps, lens hood, a microfiber cloth, a lens tips card, and a warranty card. 

Why would you need a 50mm lens when quality zooms are available for your Z-mount camera? There are several reasons. First, the 50mm focal length for full-frame cameras is known for producing a “normal” view. What “normal” means is that the lens will reproduce the amount of compression that the eye normally sees. It is neither wide-angle nor is it telephoto. It produces the most natural view.

But there are other reasons to own a lens like this. Because designing the optics for a prime lens involves fewer compromises than a zoom does, it can have both a sharper image, and a wider f/stop. This lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.2, making it only about a half stop slower than Nikon’s $8000 85mm f/.95 Noct lens, which is about 25 times the cost, and the Meike lens is much more compact. This lens is a low light monster!

This is a good lens for walk-around use. The Z6, for example, weighs 675 g with batteries, and this lens weighs 620 g, making the total just short of 1300 g, or a little less than 3 lb. The lens is 72mm or about 3” in length, so the combination is only 7.5”, or a little under 200mm long, including the eyepiece and lens hood.

This is a manual focus 50mm lens with apertures of f/1.2-22, with 12 elements in 7 groups, multi-layer coatings, 10 aperture blades, a filter size of 67mm, and a minimum focus distance of .6m / 2ft.  It is compatible with the Nikon Z5, Z6, Z6ii, Z7, Z7ii, and Z50. On a full frame camera – all of the Z mount cameras except for the Z50 –  it has a field of view of 46.9º diagonally, 39.3º horizontally, and 26.4º vertically. On the Z50, which has an APS-C sensor, it has a field of view of 33.1º diagonally, 25.8º horizontally, and 17.4º vertically. On the Z-50, it becomes a 75mm equivalent mild telephoto lens.

What about the fact that this is a manual focus lens? I had trouble with manual focus lenses when I was using DSLR’s, but the Z mount mirrorless cameras have focus peaking. If you’ve never used focus peaking, try it out. When you adjust the focus with this lens with focus peaking activated, you see a high light of what is in focus in the viewfinder. It’s a simple matter to adjust the focus so that what you are interested in being in focus is, in fact, in sharp focus. Also, adjusting the f/stop gives you an instant visual indication of the depth of field, allowing you to hilight the object of interest, and producing beautiful bokeh in the background.

Detailed Specifications

  • Lens Type Fixed
  • Focal Length 50mm
  • Apertures f/1.2-22
  • Elements 12 / 7 groups
  • Aperture Blades 10
  • Coatings Multi-layer
  • Field of View
    • FX: 46.9º/diagonal 39.3º/horizontal 26.4º/vertical
    • DX: 33.1º/diagonal 25.8º/horizontal 17.4º/vertical
  • Filter Size 67mm
  • Weight 620 g / 1.3 lb
  • Dimensions
    • Length: 72mm / 3”
    • Diameter: 67mm
  • Price $360

Sample Pictures

The Meike 50mm f/1.2 lens for Nikon Z can be purchased at Amazon (check also Adorama and B&H).

Meike 50mm f/1.2 additional information:

New: Meike 50mm f/1.2 lens for Nikon Z-mount

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