I was looking around for a fast, wide prime lens. The 12mm lenses from Panasonic and from Olympus are really expensive. So what alternatives are on the market?
Well there is the Samyang 12mm f2.0 and the Meike 12mm f2.8
The Meike is about 100€ cheaper than the Samyang. So as I like to go on a budget I decided to order the 12mm from Meike (Meile 12mm, Amazon) I like to use this lens for classic landscape photos with tripod and so I don't need the f2.0 aperture.
My landscape photos are usually taken with an aperture between f4.0 and f8.0.
Meike MK 12mm f2.8 multi coated
What is in the box?
The lens comes with the tow covers, a hood and a pouch. That's all, but who needs more? The lens is small but not light, a tribute to the robust metal construction.
As I am using this lens on micro four thirds cameras the 12mm are acting like a 24mm on 35mm equivalent. This lens is also available for Fuji X-Mount and Sony E-mount, this cameras have a APS-C size sensor and here the lens is a 18mm equivalent (wow). The filter thread is 72mm.
The focusing ring is very smooth and nice to use, the aperture ring has soft and nice clicks. The hood sits very tight on the lens you have to turn it hard into the lock position but it will never accidentally fall of the camera.
On interesting thing is the f-stop marking on the lens. It starts with 2.8 the next half stop is not marked and then it says 3.5 (?) the 3.5 acts like a f4.0 so as I was expecting it. The other full stops markings are as usually.
The minimal focusing distance is really narrow, the marking on the lens says smaller than 10cm and this is an amazing feature to create special composings with close focusing and nice blurred backgrounds. The lens worked very well on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark 2 and on my Panasonic GX8. As the lens has no electric contacts there is no EXIF Data transferred to the camera or no auto focus confirmation. This is no big issue because modern system cameras have focus peaking that allows you to set the focus fast and accurate. (One hint for Panasonic users, you need to set the camera to allow shutter release without a lens in your menu).
I was happy with the image quality. The lens is for my use sharp from f2.8 but most of my pictures were taken between f4.0 and f5.6 to enlarge the depth of field. When setting the aperture to f5.6 you nearly can forget to set the focus because of the hyperfocal distance.
The lens exceeded my expectations. With the compact design it fits ideal in your micro four thirds kit.
The image quality is really good and the lens will join me on my photographic adventures the next time. The only strange thing is the f3.5 marking which should be a f4 marking instead, but honestly I don’t care.
Sample photos with the Meike lens
Click on the photo to enlarge
Photonerd, 36 years old, Mirco Four Thirds Shooter.