Review Meike 8mm f3.5
What’s in the box?
As usual with Meike, this lens comes very complete. The box contains a kind of lens hood (with fisheye lenses that is always difficult and limited by the angle of view), the two lens caps and a pocket to possibly store your lens. Great and complete package! The lens is large and heavy with its weight of just under 600 grams.
Meike seems to make one kind of lens for APS-C, full-frame and MFT and then to make a some kind of adapter with the corresponding mount through a tube. In the case of MFT, that is quite a bit extra (it is almost eleven centimeters from the mount to the hood!). For comparison, the Samyang 7.5 mm f3.5 is at least half the size! This way, however, Meike can make the lenses relatively cheap by having to develop only one lens and not having to make a completely new lens for each type of camera.
The lens feels very solid and sturdy. It has some play once connected to my camera, but I have experienced that with more Meike lenses and has no influence on the image quality! The lens is not super fast with a minimum aperture of f3.5, but that is also less necessary with a fisheye lens than with a lens with a larger focal length. Most of the photos I took had an aperture between f8 and f11, I had the idea that the lens was the sharpest with that aperture! Focusing is a bit of a search occasionally, but with a fisheye it is usually sharp from a meter, especially with an aperture around the f8. The 11 elements in 8 groups do a great job, and even against the light it was a nice image, sometimes a bit on the soft side, but just sharp enough. The lens had no trouble with the light and the contrast was also excellent. The angle of view of more than 160 degrees (MFT) was nice to work with and gave a nice wide image.
I have had the lens for three weeks now and I was very lucky with the various beautiful mornings we had. Often I already stood somewhere in the field or on the heath at sunrise and I was happy that with this Meike 8mm I had no trouble with the light and not even against the light! The distortion was not too bad for me, if you want you can get that typically convex horizon that we are used to from the fisheye lenses, but if you keep your horizon in the middle then the horizon remains fairly flat. I could also correct the horizon using Lightroom fairly easy. And sometimes you just want that bulge! Because the distortion is not that great, this lens is also much better and can be used more often.
I am happy with this lens from Meike, it will certainly stay in my bag. I find it a particularly fine lens, certainly when photographing landscapes. The manual focus is therefore no problem at all, in landscapes you often have more time than street photography.
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(Disclaimer; I am an advanced amateur photographer and have tried to portray my experiences with this lens as well as possible. I am not a techie, I can only tell you about my experiences. All photos in this article were made by myself with the Meike 8mm f3.5 on my Olympus OMD E-M1-2. Meike asked me for my opinion about this lens and made this lens available to me. I am not employed by Meike.)