A look at two 25mm lenses

It seems quite a while since we last posted (ok, it has been a while!)

During this time of lockdown, Mark and I have had long distance conversations about 25mm lenses for our Micro four thirds and APSC cameras.

Subsequently we both purchased lenses, but at different price points. I opted for the budget end, choosing the Andoer 25mm f1.8  for Fuji X mount (via Ebay). Mark chose a Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f0.95 to fit his Panasonic and Olympus. This lens being at the premium end.

                                       Andoer 25mm f1.8       Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f0.95

Lens Specifications

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andoer 25mm f1.8 – Fuji X mount

5 elements in 3 groups
Manual aperture ring
Aperture range from f1.8 to f16, aperture ring is stepless with no marking for f11.
Diaphragm has 10 rounded blades
Manual focusing
Focus range from 0.2m to infinity
43mm filter thread
Weight 185g

 

 

 

 

 

Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f0.95 – Panasonic/Olympus M4/3 mount

11 elements in 9 groups
Manual aperture ring
Aperture range from f0.95 to f16, aperture ring is stepless with no marking for f11.
Diaphragm has 11 rounded blades
Manual focusing
Focus range from 0.25m to infinity
43mm filter thread
Weight 230g

How do they compare?

Both lenses have a smooth focusing action, the image coming cleanly into focus. As pointed out in the specifications, the aperture ring is stepless, this again rotates smoothly.
Despite the extra number of lens elements in the Zhongyi Mitakon lens the weight difference is barely noticeable.
Filter thread is 43mm on both lenses.
Where the lenses differ is in their optical arrangement, the Zhongyi Mitakon has a lot more glass – 11 elements in 9 groups (and some of these elements extra low and low dispersion glass) plus a maximum aperture of f0.95, as opposed to 5 elements in 3 groups and no mention of low dispersion glass and a maximum aperture of f1.8. Both lenses however have multicoated optics. Another difference worth noting is that the Andoer lens has the aperture ring at the back  (a fairly standard arrangement) and the focus ring which is nicely scalloped at the front. The Zhongyi Mitakon lens however has a ribbed focus ring towards the middle of the lens – Mark has fitted a zip clip to the focus ring to aid focusing. Whilst the aperture ring is set at the front of the lens.

Used wide open the Zhongyi Mitakon with it’s amazing f0.95 and focused to minimum distance has a depth of field of several millimetres whereas the Andoer wide open has a depth of field of 15 millimetres, both are very useful.

What are the lenses like in use?

We took them outside to find out!

The test set up.

Fuji X-T1 fitted with Andoer 25mm f1.8
Panasonic GX8 fitted with Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f0.95
Nikkor 24mm f2.8 with adapter for both cameras. This lens was used as a benchmark on both cameras
Cameras were tripod mounted and manually focused on building in distance (infinity)
Both cameras were set to 200 ISO, daylight balance, Jpeg fine, 3:2 ratio and aperture priority metering with aperture set to f16.

The tests

Our first test was to check for vignetting, for this both cameras were pointed at an even blue sky and exposures were made with the lens set to infinity with aperture wide open, f4 and f16.

Secondly we tested for sharpness, again both lenses were a sharp in the center but a little soft at full aperture, by f4 both lenses were sharp across the frame and remained consistent through to f16.

For our third test we set both cameras on a building in the distance (infinity). The lenses were focused visually and an exposure was made at f16, we then fitted the relevant adapter and Nikkor lens to each setup again visually focusing and using an aperture of f16. It is worth pointing out that the Nikkor lens has seen better days, but since it was a fixed focal length, closest focal length and similar element grouping, rather than a zoom lens with twice the number of elements and more complex lens groups.

Conclusions

The images from both camera setups were viewed on a colour balanced and profiled monitor.

Both lenses displayed vignetting in the corners when used wide open, the Zhongyi Mitakon improving at f4, whilst the Andoer took to f5,6 to achieve the same result and both lenses were clear of vignetting by f16.

Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm

 

Andoer 25mm

Compared against the Nikkor lens, both the Andoer and the Zhongyi Mitakon lenses appeared a little cooler in colour rendition but certainly nothing to worry about.

Image appeared darker with the Zhongyi Mitakon  on Panasonic, however this could be due to in camera image processing

Sharpness wise the Nikkor showed it’s age being slightly softer against the other two lenses.

Contrast, again the two new lenses had better contrast than the Nikkor, although strangely the Nikkor image reproduced flatter on the Fuji.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                             Andoer 25mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikkor 24mm on Fuji

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andoer 25mm crop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikkor 24mm crop on Fuji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikkor 24mm on Panasonic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm crop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikkor 24mm crop on Panasonic

A handy hint, since both lenses have manual aperture rings, focus with the aperture wide open then stop down to take the photograph

As an aside at a later date we will do some additional tests with the Andoer and Zhongyi Mitakon comparing them with zoom lenses at the same focal length.

Which lens to buy?

Both lenses are a delight to use and and give great results. Ultimately we would suggest it comes down to personal preference and budget.

 

 

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