Meike 12mm lens

Some of you may know that among the cameras I use there is a Fuji XT-1 and a Protech Photographic Infra red converted Fuji XE-1. Ever eager to make them even more usable I have obtained a 3rd party wide angle lens, this being the Meike 12mm lens in the title of this article.

Thus a review was inevitable!

To make the review a little more extensive (and dare I say more interesting!) –¬† for the colour tests I have also used a wide angle converter lens fitted to a Andoer 25mm Fuji fit lens and for the infra red tests I have used my collection of STC Infra red clip filters.

Technical specification of Meike 12mm lens

Manual focus
Focal length – 12mm.
9 blade diaphragm.
Aperture values – f2.8 – f22 with click steps between apertures. (See additional notes)
Lens structure – 12 elements in 10 groups, all elements multi coated.
Filter thread – 72mm
Weight – 380g

About the lens

The Mieke 12mm is made in China by Hong Kong Meike (Mieke also make this lens for other companies)

The lens is well balanced on either camera, construction is metal with a rubberised focussing ring and ribbed metal aperture ring. The aperture ring has clicks at full and half stops from f2.8 to f8 then a single click step between to f22, having tested the lens it would appear this step is f11 according to the camera meter.

The focus ring is smooth although focusing is a little difficult due to the large depth of field ( thank goodness for image magnification!) Note that the focus ring does go beyond infinity. Aperture stops are positive.

Note that with a Fuji (and some other cameras) the camera must be set to ‘Shoot without lens’ to operate correctly and the dial controlling focus mode be set to ‘M’ for manual focus to enable image magnification in the viewfinder and on screen.

The lens comes supplied with a lens hood, unlike a lot of lens hoods this one does not reverse mount onto the front of the lens for storage, a soft drawstring pouch is included to store the lens and hood.

Test set up

For the colour tests the Fuji XT-1 was mounted on the Mark made 4 leg adjustable camera mount.
ISO set to 200, exposure on Auto with -1/3rd exposure compensation, white balance on Daylight (in Fuji menu ‘Fine’) and images saved as Jpeg fine.

Photographs were taken at wide open (Meike f2.8, Andoer f1.8) f8 and f22.

Infra red tests the Fuji XE-1 was tripod mounted.
ISO set to 200, exposure on Auto with +1/3rd exposure compensation, white balance on Daylight (in Fuji menu ‘Fine’) for colour comparison test and set on custom white balance – with a custom white balance created for each of the three infra red filters. All images saved as Jpeg fine.

Photographs taken at f2.8, f5.6 and f22 (since infra red works better at wider apertures)

Aims of the test

The objective of the test was firstly to see how sharp the Meike lens is, secondly how even the coverage is and thirdly how well does the Meike lens perform in infra red. This is of interest since some native Fuji lenses are known to be unsharp and exhibit a hot spot when used in infra red.

The Results

Colour:

I was interested to see how well a wide angle converter would perform against the Meike lens, given that when the converter is added to the Andoer 25mm lens it equates to 10.75mm focal length. The results were along the lines of what I expected.

When focused on the centre of the pier:

The Meike 12mm lens was sharp in the centre at all apertures with the edges starting to loose sharpness at f22, no fringing was evident. Exposure was even across the frame and there is no evidence of barrel distortion.

Meike 12mm lens – full image (left to right – f2.8, f8 and f22)

Meike 12mm lens – edge detail (left to right – f2.8, f8 and f22)

The Neewer branded converter plus Andoer lens combination produced good central image sharpness  but bad edges along with obvious fringing at all apertures,being worst at full aperture. Exposure was even across the frame. It is a shame considering how sharp the Andoer lens is without the converter.

Andoer 25mm lens plus wide angle converter – full frame (left to right – f2.8, f8 and f22)

Andoer 25mm lens plus wide angle converter – edge detail (left to right – f2.8, f8 and f22)

Infra red:

For the infra red tests I used 4 different STC clip filters, firstly a series of exposures using a 650nm UV-IR cut filter, they were taken with the camera set to daylight, I have included an image taken without the filter for comparison.

I made a custom white balance for each IR pass filter, before making the exposures, the filters used were: 590nm, 720nm and 850nm pass filters.

Images taken with all 4 filters gave even and sharp images at all apertures, image quality will degrade as sunlight fades especially with the 850nm filter due to the high amount if infra red light required.

An interesting point is that STC do not recommend using the clip filters with lenses wider than 14mm due to cut off on the edges, pleasing to see that the Meike 12mm performed so well.

Fuji XE-1 set to Daylight balance without filter

Meike 12mm lens on Fuji XE-1 set to Daylight balance with STC 650nm UV-IR cut clip filter (left to right – f2.8, f5.6 and f22)

Meike 12mm lens plus STC 590nm IR pass clip filter with custom white balance (left to right – f2.8, f5.6 and f22)

Meike 12mm lens plus STC 720nm IR pass clip filter with custom white balance (left to right – f2.8, f5.6 and f22)

Meike 12mm lens plus STC 850mn IR pass filter with custom white balance (left to right – f2.8, f5.6 and f22)

Conclusion

The Meike 12mm lens is a sharp lens, only becoming a fraction soft when pushed to extremes. Shooting at minimum aperture with all lenses there is always a risk of diffraction, which reduces sharpness. As with all extreme wide angle lenses flare can be an issue if not careful, hence use a lens hood!

I am looking forward to using the Meike 12mm lens a lot more in the future for both colour and infra red photography.

 

Useful links:

STC
Protech Photographic
Meike

 

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