Test Meike 85mm F2.8 macro
Through the lens project of the Facebook group Microfornerds, I got another chance to test a Meike lens. This time it was the Meike 85mm f2.8 macro. A manual focus macro lens with two (!) Focus rings, more on that later.The lens is heavy (500gr) and has a solid design. He feels very sturdy, and the metal mount connects effortlessly and smoothly to my Olympus OMD E-M1-2. The whole lens is made of metal with a good grip on the rubber of both focus rings.In the package are the caps for the front and back of the lens, but also a pouch to possibly transport the lens. There’s also a good lens hood that can be attached to the lens with a bayonet lock. In short, a very complete product!
Although I already own a macro lens from Olympus (M.Ziuko 60mm f2.8 Macro) I was very curious about the results of the Meike lens. The focal length is slightly larger, 85mm vs 60mm, but the macro function is also larger. A lens is a macro lens if the lens can display real-sized objects on the sensor indicated by 1: 1. In normal language, something that is a centimeter in real life, would be on the sensor also one centimeter in size. (On your screen it is even bigger so you can always make something very small with a macro photo.) What the Meike lens does, is increase the macro factor. The lens starts with 1: 1, which is a normal macro, but with the second focus ring this can be increased continuously to 1: 4. Objects are therefore four times as large! This is usually no longer referred to as a macro, but is called “micro” in photography.
Getting started with the Meike. The lens focus manually, something that is not bad, because with macro you almost never use autofocus. The manual focus is very smooth and with 1: 1 the depth of field (dof) is as would be expected from a macro lens. Sometimes I felt that there was something or some play on the focus, but that can also be me or just this copy of the lens. The focus is sharp and good. Aperture f4 or 5.6 gives you enough leeway. The diaphragm is also infinitely variable, very nice! For flowers, that gently rock in the wind, it will work.
The moment you want to get even closer, and thus use the second ring and go beyond 1: 1, your depth of field becomes much more limited, and that takes some getting used to! At 1: 4 your dof is not deeper than a few mm, or even less, despite being at f11! That requires very quiet objects … At 1: 1 or 1: 2 it is still possible to take a picture out of hand, but beyond 1:2 it’s not. You’ll need to use a tripod and have a windless moment.
But if it succeeds, it is great! So cool to be able to enlarge something that is so small and sharp. As if Meike succeeded in making a lens with built-in macro extension tubes. Something that I use more often, extra rings to increase the magnification and even closer. I was lucky enough to find a dead wasp and a dead moth to play this extreme micro. Although it is, as mentioned, very difficult to focus sometimes. But I also have to say that with each photo it went faster and better, you just have to get used to this lens and do not let it scare you off! Just take the lens with you!Sometimes I use my macro lens to make portraits. Although the focus length of a macro lens is often longer, these are also extremely suitable for this. Macro lenses have a limited depth of field, that’s what you want with a portrait. This way you can separate your subject from the background.Even when taking portraits, it did not bother me that there was no autofocus. I also use very old glass often, and I’m used to manually focusing. The Meike is also fine for a portrait! I only used the 1: 1 stand for this, otherwise you will come too close to your subject, and that is not nice for me, but also for the subject!
In short, you get a lot of lens for your money if you purchase this macro lens. For beginners it can be a bit complicated and you really have to get used to this lens and the possibilities. Even if you have made macro recordings more often, this is a lens that slowly moves to your ‘hand’. But the Meike 85mm f2.8 is, in my opinion, worth your money and time!
(I am an experienced amateur photographer and I have tried to give my experiences with this lens as good as possible. I am not a technician, I can only tell you about my own experiences All photos with this article are made by myself with the Meike 85mm f2.8 macro on my Olympus OMD E-M1-2)