Meike 50mm F1.2L RF Review and Gallery
December 3rd, 2020
There’s no question that Canon has developed some very impressive lenses for their EOS R full frame cameras, and the new EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras are also impressive. What is also undeniable, however, is that many of the new Canon RF mount lenses are also very, very expensive. Case in point: I spent some quality time with the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L in late 2019, and, while the lens is extremely impressive, it also retails for $2300 USD. That’s a very expensive lens no matter how you look at it! There’s definitely room for the lens currently being considered – the Meike 50mm F1.2 – a similarly “fast” lens (in terms of aperture), though at a radically different price point. The Meike 50mm F1.2 can be had for only about $340 USD.
That’s not to say the lenses are equivalent. The Canon lens is much sharper and has autofocus, and it is obviously exclusively for Canon. The Meike 50mm F1.2 lens is manual focus only, has a more “dreamy” rendering”, and is also available for Nikon Z, Leica L, and Sony FE mounts along with the Canon RF mount that I’m reviewing here.
Meike has managed to give us a very nice build here, with an all-metal construction (save the lens hood, which is plastic), a smoothly turning, well damped focus ring, and a precise “declicked” aperture iris with ten blades. Manual focus with most modern mirrorless cameras is really fairly simple, and things like focus overlays or magnifying the image in the viewfinder/LCD allows for consistently well focused results.
As for the image quality, the Meike 50mm F1.2L (as mentioned), is more of an “old-school” large aperture lens rather than a modern, ultra-corrected behemoth. You won’t find super high contrast or edge to edge sharpness at F1.2, but what the lens does have in large doses is the ability to deliver very creamy out-of-focus areas (bokeh) and a unique “style” to images.
Optical strengths include that creamy bokeh and a stylish “look” to images that a lot of photographers will enjoy (get a sense of that in the gallery below). Optical weakness include corners that never really get fully sharp, some chromatic aberrations, and a tendency to be flare-prone in backlit situations (a common issue for lenses with extremely large apertures).
So what is it for? I see this as a lens best suited for those who love hipster-style portraits, dreamy or abstract photography, or those artists who love to play with very large apertures for photography or videography. People who like to experiment with toning images or using presets will enjoy the feel of images and have a lot of fun processing them.
This is obviously not a lens for everyone, but I do think there are those who are on a tighter budget but want to experiment with a large aperture prime who will have a lot of fun with this lens. Check out my video review for a more thorough look at the strengths and weakness of the Meike 50mm F1.2 lens.
Photos of the Meike 50mm F1.2
Images taken with the Meike 50mm F1.2
Purchase the Meike 50mm F1.2 RF @ Amazon | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK | Meike Global
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Keywords: Meike 50mm F1.2, Meike 50mm, F1.2, F/1.2, 50mm, Manual Focus, MF, Meike 50mm Review, Canon RF, mirrorless, L mount, Z mount, FE mount, Nikon, Leica, Canon, Sony, Review, Hands On, Dustin Abbott, Real World, Comparison, Sharpness, Bokeh, Flare Resistance, Image Quality, Sample Images, Video, Photography, Sony a9, sony a7III, sony a7RIII, a7R3
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