Meike 35mm f/0.95 APS-C lens for Nikon Z-mount review

Meike 35mm f/0.95 APS-C lens for Nikon Z-mount review by Bill Hall (see his previous reviews):

I just got a Meike 35mm f/0.95 lens, and here’s what I think of it.

This is a manual APS-C lens. For full-frame cameras, the 50mm focal length has long been considered to be the ìnormalî focal length. Lenses with a greater than 50mm length compress the apparent distances in an image compared to our eyes, while a smaller than 50mm will expand them. Thatís for full frame cameras, but this is an APS-C lens. APS-C lenses have an apparent ìmagnificationî factor of 1.5 for Nikon cameras. That means that the compression factor for a lens on APS-C acts like the compression for a lens that is 1.5X the focal length. The result is that a 35mm lens on APS-C is actually the ìnormalî focal length.

A very fast lens might have a max aperture of f/1.2, and that was the maximum aperture that Nikon F-mount lenses could be designed to do. But this lens will open up to f/0.95 because itís designed for Z-mount. That’s 2/3 of a stop faster than f/1.2. That’s just about as fast as you can get for Z-mount.

Meike, a Chinese lens manufacturer, makes low-cost, simple manual focus lenses at reasonable prices. This lens has 10 elements in 7 groups, apertures of f/0.95 – f/16, a minimum focus distance of .39m / 1.3 ft., a diagonal field of view of 44.2 degrees, and a 52mm filter mount. It is compatible with Nikon Z50, Z5, Z6, Z7, Z6ii, Z7ii, and Z9. At the time of writing, it sells for $249 on Amazon.

This is a fairly compact lens. It is very sturdy and is constructed of aluminum alloy. It weighs 380g(0.838lb). 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, and mounts to the camera securely with no movement or looseness.

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

What is this lens useful for? Well, it’s a good general purpose lens for any kind of photography, but the 35mm focal length, which is the equivalent of 50mm on an APS-C sensor, is in the range considered appropriate for portraiture. And, the f/0.95 f/stop will allow you to take pictures in low light with faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISO settings. The depth of field at f/0.95 is very shallow. It’s paper thin at close distances. At medium distances, it’s a bit deeper, giving more opportunities for blurred backgrounds than lenses with slower apertures.

Is it hard to focus a lens manually? I had trouble with manual focus lenses when I was using DSLRs, but the Z mount mirrorless cameras have focus peaking. When you adjust the focus with focus peaking enabled, you see a highlight of what is in focus in the viewfinder. Itís easy to adjust what is in focus. And the magnify function of Nikon Z cameras can help with focus, too.

This is an APS-C / DX lens, but it will work on all Z-mount cameras. On an FX camera, either set the option to shoot in DX format or crop the pictures afterwards. That will produce smaller pictures than the FX pictures that the camera normally takes. On my Z9, it will produce a 19 megapixel image instead of the normal 46 megapixels.

All of the sample pictures were shot with a Z9:

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